Deep Breath In...and Relax

chilled sweet pea soup with minted creme fraiche, served with a buttermilk biscuit
[soup art courtesy of Logan]

Since our post-flood reopening nearly a month a go, life has at many times felt like a complete blur. Over the past few weeks, we have often remarked that certain moments have been reminiscent of the time when we first opened the cafe back in the summer of 2007. A lot of anxiety, new routines to learn, and a whole lotta hours spent hard at work, both inside and outside the cafe. Throughout all of this we have gained two part-time bakers, revised both our weekday and weekend services, set our sights on a forthcoming dinner service, and somehow managed to make a huge stride forward in the never-ending process of organizing our home (the latter feat perhaps the most outstanding accomplishment given the snowball effect that two years of running the cafe has made on our personal live/work space).

I can say however, with the initial shockwave of the flood experience behind us, that I feel we have both become stronger people as a result of the accident. The overwhelming support we received from all of you, as well as our less media-literate friends, helped us keep everything in perspective during the most trying times, and ultimately helped remind us that we do what we do because we love it, and there is nothing else that would please us more than to be able to cook food for our fellow Portland community.

Thank you.

We are as excited as ever about the road that lay ahead. Additionally, it doesn't hurt that Courier Coffee Roasters is currently roasting some out of this world coffees! Take this one for example:

a recent arrival at Courier Coffee Roasters

2009 has thus far proven to be a year of amazing Brazilian coffees for Joel, Matt, and Alex (not to mention fabulous lots from Sulawesi, Bolivia, Honduras, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sumatra to name a few). Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima produces only 100% organically grown coffee and employs an agricultural engineer to constantly monitor all of their coffee growing operations. That hard work translates into some very consistent coffees that contain strong fruit notes, sweet chocolate flavors, and rich medium body.

ready for their close up

The above photograph shows one of Joel's intial roasts of this particular coffee (Perdizes de Minas). Definitely a light roast, which to me always provides a depth of insight into what a given coffee is all about. This particular roast was tested by yours truly in the Hario Syphon brewer currently on loan from CCR. Just this past Saturday I brewed up 2 gallons of toddy (cold brewed coffee) using 3lbs 6oz of a more recent roast of the same coffee.

In addition to the exciting arrival of the new Courier Coffee Roasters Blog, we have even more good news for all you coffee lovers...

In less than two weeks, we are planning to host what we hope will be the first of many monthly public coffee events featuring Courier Coffee Roasters coffee. Mark your calenders for Monday, June 15 folks (Joel that means you too). There will be more details to follow, but my hope is that by inviting people into the LRBC to taste and learn about Joel's coffee, we can enhance the pleasure of one's persoanl coffee drinking experience. Not to mention that there will be plenty of opportunity to take in the fruit of Joel's labor, as well as gain further insight into various facets of the coffee trade, from origin to delivery (via bicycle of course).

In other news, this past Sunday was Dekin's last cooking shift at the Little Red Bike cafe. It goes without saying that we will all miss his calm under pressure, not to mention his amazing skills which have made us all better cooks. The previous Sunday (originally scheduled to be his final shift) we "retired his apron" during an impromptu celebration that marked an important moment in LRBC history: the first LRBC Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Dekin 5/24; first ever inductee into the LRBC Hall of Fame

But believe me Portland when I say that Dekin's departure from his space behind the hotplates at the cafe is going to translate into a higher quality of life for all of us.

"Why?" you ask.

Well, that is because soon we will all be able to enjoy his cooking not one, not two, but three days a week, at four different locations! Yes friends, meet the magic that is "Lilikoi." Dekin and his wife Veth are hell bent on owning a food cart, and in order to make this dream become a reality they have entered into four different local farmers markets for the 2009 season. Lilikoi (which means passionfruit in Hawaiian), can be found during the summer and fall months at various farmers market locales such as St. Johns, Forest Grove, Interstate, and Lents. Clean out your shopping baskets and head to the market folks, and go hungry for egg rolls, dynamic noodle dishes, delectable donuts, and sesame flour blossom cookies.

We couldn't be happier for Dekin and Veth. As they fight to get their new baby off the ground, we simultaneously labor to resuscitate our toddler whom is poised to enter its terrible twos. All the while we have made great efforts to use our downtime to try to get our home life into some kind of order. In some ways, this task has proven even more difficult than post-flood rebuilding, as the disorganization that we are working to repair has taken months, if not years to manifest.

our mantra during for this kind of work used to be BTO's "Takin' Care of Business", but lately I have been leaning towards "It's Business Time" by Flight of the Conchords

As easy as it is to put off this kind of work, I find that in the end time spent working to clean up the mess always trumps the many months of endless procrastination. With a common goal in mind, Ali and I spent most of our free time during these past few weeks trying not only to get our house back in order, but to once again attain a general feeling that we had some level of control in our life.

It worked.

E's guacamole overboard

By week's end we were even able to have a couple of friends over for chips and dip; as true a sign as any that things are going well. Though the dramatic after-affects of the flood continue to take shape out of the public eye, we move forward feeling good about our place in life. We are as eager as ever to continue our dream of building a restaurant in our beloved hometown of Porland, Oregon.


Ali's pico


kati said...

that pico and guac looks amazing!

great to hear about all your plans and hopefulness.

i had to admit to ali the other day that i've been avoiding the lrbc lately. but please don't take it personally! i'm 12 weeks pregnant and my asthma meds make my blood sugar run high so i have to avoid almost all carbs (so i haven't tried your biscuits and gravy and i can't even look at your french toast!) and i've given up caffiene. it's just too painful to bring myself into close quarters with all my old favorites. but i'll be in every once in a while to cheat and enjoy a little something with a decaf latte.

gl. said...

at LENTS? i'm definitely looking forward to lilikoi! (the food options at lents were abysmal.) perhaps you can send a few lrbc dishes along with them...? ;)