Happy 1 Year to Us

Today marks one year since we opened the doors to the cafe. What's changed in a year? Well, let's see:

Sure we ate vegetarian burritos from Santa Cruz for dinner.

Sure we're about to get four hours of sleep tonight.

Sure we cleaned someone's vomit up from the restroom floor this morning.

Sure we still don't have a sandwich board.

Sure we have cooked in this kitchen for a year and mixing spoons and spatulas are still the most coveted items.

Sure the cash register still beeps at us annoyingly just to prove to us we will never fully know how to properly work it.

Sure I still have minor panic attacks when the clock has yet to strike 7:50am and a noticeable line has wrapped itself amongst the sidewalk waiting...waiting...waiting...to get in.

But the point is that one year ago we opened the front door and we haven't looked back.

And here's what we are celebrating with this time:

mini Oregon peach pies

espresso experiments

semi-busted refrigerators

pony love

(no picture, sorry)
Southern challa french toast with Oregon peach compote, vanilla Kentucky bourbon butter and real maple syrup

Tomorrow night is the real celebration as we're having a dinner party for the whole cafe crew. Food porn, reactions and details to follow...
In the meantime, to all of you who have made our first year possible: WHEW! We made it! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. XO


Waffle Iron.

What's better than real maple syrup? Brandy infused maple syrup.

We'll admit it, we received a gift or two from our recent wedding. Don't worry if you didn't get us anything yet, according to Larry David you have one year to do so (insert sarcastic tone). It may sound a bit silly, but I really wasn't looking forward to receiving gifts from our wedding; the last thing we need is more "stuff" in our lives. That said, we did score more than a few things that I now might be hard pressed to part with. One such item that recently baked its way into our hearts:

the waffle iron.

After weeks of staring at the box we finally put the marvelous contraption to work this past Monday. As luck would have it my cousin Jennifer, who had no idea somebody else would be gifting us a waffle iron, had given us a decadent brandy infused maple syrup from a distillery in Napa Valley, CA (along with a pretty nifty set of glassware). Pair that with some leftover berry compote from Sunday's Challah French Toast special and what you have is a nice little meal at home for the couple who spends most of their time preparing breakfast for others. It was an exciting and delicious new development in our lives...cooking for ourselves again.

Now I hope that I am not getting your hopes up, because we have no plans of bringing the waffle iron to the cafe any time soon. Besides, if you're looking for waffles in North Portland than you already know the place to go. Remember, the important thing is that the waffle iron has inspired us to cook more at home. And when we cook for ourselves we tend to get excited about preparing new recipes at the cafe. So don't feel as though we are trying to torture you with food meant for our stomachs only. Rather, think of it as a celebration of inspiration. I promise you, the more we continue to cook for ourselves in our free time, the better your dining experience at the LRBC will be.

So on that note keep on sending us those expensive kitchen gadgets folks (do not insert sarcastic tone).


Wedding Vendor #5

Our Wedding Cake: Three Tiered Cheesecake;
chocolate peanut butter, orange, raspberry poppyseed
Made With Love by My Uncle Tim
photographed by Our Labor of Love

Our Labor of Love

You know how they say a picture's worth a thousand words? Well, it's true. And we've got the proof.
We caught wind of Jesse and Whitney's work during the earliest stages of our wedding planning. Safe to say it really was love at first sight. No joke. In fact, they were the first wedding vendor we picked; way back when, before we even had a clue as to what our wedding would entail. We just knew we HAD TO HAVE THEM. PERIOD.
We put a call into Atlanta and the conversation went something like this,

We have no idea where we're getting married, but we have a date. Is that enough?
THEM: You betcha.

At the time we were sorta kinda convinced that we'd do our nuptials in Telluride, Colorado, a place very near and dear to our hearts. We imagined a ceremony consisting of no friends, just family in the rustic setting of a place we'd grown to love. We (I) pictured an intimate log cabin ceremony, spas and horse drawn carriages. I think our guest count at the time was nine. Flash forward a few months later and we're getting hitched on a farm in our beloved home state of Oregon, surrounded by a plethora of friends, family, and loved ones (and livestock). Suffice to say it was more than nine. A lot more. Nonetheless, our faithful photographers journeyed out West to Orygon like true pioneers, and relished in local seasonal food, Subaru rental cars, gypsy jazz, and warm summer evenings amongst friends new and old.

It is truly an honor to be photographed by such caring and creative individuals. At this point it's ridiculous to even refer to them as wedding vendors because they feel more like family than anything else. They were able to capture our day in the most precious, loving, and unobtrusive manner and we have them to thank for solidifying these moments for us.

Please see for yourselves HERE.
photographed by Our Labor of Love
To Jesse and Whitney,
This writer's lost her words. I'm convinced there are none. *XO*


Training Day

The fruits of my labor...a 6oz Americano to help get the day started

I spent a couple of hours at the cafe last night doing a little 'barista training' with Kris. Luckily for us, the guy had a taste for espresso before he had ever set foot in the LRBC. We spent a little bit of time talking about making coffee and various techniques and 'tricks' utilized by baristas. Then we got into the fun stuff...steaming and pouring milk. As I have mentioned before, though latte art certainly does not improve the flavor of a given drink, one does need perfectly steamed milk in order to make good latte art. Thus, a drink with good latte art should suggest that the milk was steamed properly (not too hot, not too much foam).

Two hours and two and a half gallons of milk later, and I'm feeling as though the guy is off to a very good start. I have the utmost confidence that with a little more time behind the machine, Kris will be serving up some mighty tasty and good lookin' lattes and cappuccinos at the LRBC.

The biggest payoff of all came this morning when, after sleeping in late, I casually made my way to the cafe and ordered a short americano...

Rich. Smooth. Citrus. Nutty. Chocolate. Delicious. Yes sir, Kris is a welcome edition to our coffee pouring crew.


Ode To Ice Cream*

What happens when these two women get together? Ice cream. What kind of ice cream?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream
(to be exact)
Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Fudge Ripple and Oreo Cookie Swirl

Thanks to my mom's recent unveiling of her famous chocolate peanut butter pie at the cafe I was inspired to recreate her treat my way. With her recipe in mind I created my own version, of course in the form of ice cream. Little did I know that her pie and my ice cream whim would reignite my love of making the frozen treat that was once so near and dear to my heart. Not that ice cream and I had a tiff or a falling out or anything. We didn't fight or fall out of love. We just needed some time. I needed some time, to explore other possibilities. Simply, I had to move on to other things (see weekly panini specials: i.e. brie, cherry-rosemary jam, and candied walnuts on olive ciabatta) to realize what was lost. Until this afternoon it had been a few months since I had devoted a few hours to the frozen custard lab. Today after work while Evan and Kris worked espresso shots, milk steaming, and eventually latte art, I busied myself in the kitchen whisking cocoa powder, zesting oranges, steeping tea, tempering custards, inventing new flavors, and eventually churning them out like gangbusters. Ahhh, just like the good old days. Funny how a few days of perpetual rain in August and a taste of Mom's home cooking can spur some things on, isn't it?
Under Homemade Ice Cream our menu currently reads, "ask for today's selections." It always makes me laugh because oftentimes people ask and even after we tell them our flavors their reply is, "And what are your ice cream flavors?" They never really understand that those are our ice cream flavors (i.e. Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chocolate Pudding, Corn on the Cob, Avocado, Mexican Coffee). I'll be the first to admit that our flavors aren't your standard crop. And honestly I think that's exactly what we're going for. Hopefully our efforts do more than just confuse you. Hopefully they make you think about and enjoy ice cream in a whole new way.

LRBC Flavors On Board This Week:
Jamaican Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Evan's Grandpa's favorite, made with Myers's Original Dark Rum, Orange Zest, and a Mixture of Golden and Thompson Raisins

Coconut Mint Lime Ice Cream

You Put the Lime in the Coconut and Refreshing, Refreshing, Refreshing

Earl Grey Truffle
Okay so this flavor craze has totally been the rage and we've jumped on the Bandwagon;
Earl Grey Ice Cream, Fudge Ribbon, and a Hint of Grapefruit

Courier Coffee Ice Cream

Brazil Camocim Estate Peaberry (Organically grown at an elevation of 1,100 meters)

Green Apple Basil Sorbet
Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with Basil Chiffonade

Double Salted Caramel with Candied Bacon
Milk Caramel Ice Cream with Fleur de Sel, chopped Candied Bacon, and dusted with Sel Gris

Whether you like licking in the rain or melting in the sun this week we gots what's you need.

*A follow-up to Ice Cream 101


Come Back Summer...

Nothin' says summer like 32oz jugs of margarita

Dear Summer,

I know it was hot last week, and we were all complaining about how unbearable the kitchen was, and how we needed to get an air conditioner installed in the bike-thru, and how it was too hot to bike to work for fear scalding our buttocks on a hot seat during the ride home...but this 70F and raining thing is a bit ridiculous. I mean, its still the middle of August. Isn't this weather supposed to be reserved for the months of October, November, April, May, and the first half of June? We have ice cream to sell for God's sake! You know we didn't really mean all of those silly things we said last week, we we're just feeling really stressed and we let things get out of hand. It won't happen again. Just give us a chance to make it up to you and we promise, everything will be as good as new. You know you're the only one for us.



Much More Special

unforgiving landscape

The past couple weeks our friend Marley has been willing to contribute her artistic abilities to the "specials" board at the cafe. Her artwork (pictured above) is inspiring, and gives us some extra incentive to come up with new, creative fare each week. According to her whim, Marley has thus far created a new theme for the board each week. Thus our day off (Monday) has become even more exciting, as we relish in the chance to be among the first to view her latest masterpiece.


Traveling Man

Bad to the bone.

Our good friend, and OG LRBC barista Tim Roth is currently driving this car somewhere in middle America, en route to Atlanta, GA. In less than a few weeks Tim will be attending Emory University's Graduate School.

Congratulations Tim! You will be missed.

Perhaps if we are lucky we might be able to convince him to grace the cafe with his presence next summer as a celebrity guest barista. Just don't try to steal the man's tip jar.

And some thought this car would never become a classic


LRBC Little Known Fact #79

In pursuit of good food, we occasionally break the law.

But officer, you can't expect us to order food this good to-go.

While out for a late brunch a few weeks back, our stomachs apparently caused us both to miss that no parking sign...ouch!


What's For Dinner

We went over to Ali's dad's house tonight and cooked a nice little dinner. He has agreed to watch our dog for a few days, so we felt as though making something special to eat was the least we could do.

grilled focaccia w/ crumbled Gorgonzola, fresh strawberries,
and a balsamic glaze

barbecued pecan encrusted halibut and Parmesan grains

Caesar salad with homemade croutons and Pecorino Romano

Not pictured: a fantastic yellow peach crisp, served with vanilla ice cream...what you think we would let a silly photo op ruin a perfectly good dessert?


On the Menu...

Lil' Slice of Heaven
Homemade Creamy Peanut Butter Pie topped with Chocolate Ganache with an Oreo Cookie Crust

My mom dutifully made Evan's favorite pie for his birthday this year: Chocolate Peanut-Butter. Dare I admit we've been eating it since by the spoonful in bed right from the pie dish? Well, it's true. There I said it. But it really is that good. Now you can catch your own slice because Mom's famous Peanut Butter Pie is not just for birthdays anymore...
Thanks for having a birthday again this year, Bubs and thanks Mama for opening up a whole new set of doors at the cafe for the rest of us.


Saturday's Picture Perfect Menu

Two Thick Slices of Whole Grain Toast Spread with Honey-Almond Whipped Marscapone and Summer Berries

Roasted Artichoke, Roasted Red Pepper, Herbed Feta, and Caramelized Onions on Olive Ciabatta

Breasola, Quince Paste, and Blue Cheese on Olive Ciabatta

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf Sandwich with Garlic Mayo, Provolone, and Green Leaf lettuce. Served with Beer-Battered Onion Rings.

Ohhhh and did I mention that Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Candied Bacon is back? Well it is. And while I'm at it, you're welcome.


Tooting Our Own Horn

Sheeeeesh, snicker, snicker, tee hee hee. We cannot help but share the overwhelming news that the cafe found a place in the pages of this month's Gourmet (page 24 to be exact). Check it out! We are beyond "like totally stoked." As if we need yet another reason to re-subscribe to this culinary gem...


Summer is Here...





...and we are delighting in its beauty amongst the company of dear friends who are joyfully now new neighbors. Welcome to the 'hood, Ladies. How happy we are to call you "Neighbors." XO


Beach Love...

Looks like this.

Tastes like this.

Feels like this.


That sneaky lil' lady!

She thinks she's pretty smooth...and she's right

So we've only been back at it for a week, and wouldn't you know it, we're on vacation again. No, don't fret, the cafe is still open. However, we will not be at work on Tuesday morning. Ali, my wife of only a couple weeks, planned the nicest gift for my birthday (today) that she possibly could have given me: the gift of travel. Much to my surprise we hit the road shortly after work on Sunday afternoon, and now find ourselves lounging about on the Oregon coast.

It was great to reopen last week, but I am not about to complain about getting out of town again. Among the things I realized while we were closed for remodel, was that getting away from the day to day operations of running the cafe provide us with perspective and inspiration that is difficult to keep hold of when you are working all of the time. I love my job, but I feel truly blessed to be able to get away every once in a while. Thanks to my wife (I love typing that) for the wonderful birthday gift. Thanks too to our cohorts at the cafe for 'holding it down' while we are away.

Also, I have to give some big, big thanks to all of you who visited us during the past week. Your support continues to amaze us. Not really knowing what to expect after being closed for so long, we were overwhelmed by not only the bustling energy that filled our space each day last week, but also the many well wishes and congratulations that came our way. Though you can't see us now, know that we are blushing.

It's great to be back.