Weekend Coffee Brief

I was going to write a post about the coffee that will be served at the cafe this weekend, but then I read this.

So there you have it. As Ray said it, "Thanks for the great coffee guys."

*Special Note*
I am currently cold-brewing for the weekend a batch of the new Guatemala Esquipulas de Chiquimula finca las Nubes, roasted early this morning (6:46am).


Can't Get Enough W.O.G.

the house of heavenly biscuits, and so much more

Our love affair with Waves of Grain Bakery (W.O.G.) continues to blossom. When we first discovered this little gem of a place, tucked away on the North Oregon Coast, we were two biscuit junkies who were elated to find our holy grail of buttery goodness. Time has fanned the flame of passion that we hold for W.O.G. Thank goodness for Hillary, Jason, and their families, for providing us "city folk" with such a special opportunity for escape.

In case you haven't noticed Portland, its hot outside! If you can make time, I recommend heading to the coast to cool off. No need to pack a cooler, the folks at W.O.G have got you covered. Need further convincing? Here's what you're missing:

my early morning assortment (day 1)

what do you know? great minds think alike!

W.O.G. sponsors a local animal shelter, each month awarding free dog biscuits for life to an animal in need of a home

can i get some stick with my cheese?

today i asked Ali if she had ever tried these..."Oh yeah," she said, "I bought two yesterday." news to me.

just to give you an idea, these are about the size of my head

a healthy option for those less butter-tolerant than myself

straight from the family farm in Pendleton, OR

handmade coffee cozy made by mom. no joke.

my afternoon assortment (day 2)

rosemary focaccia loaf

spelt loaf

Waves of Grain Bakery

3116 S Hemlock St
Cannon Beach, OR 97110
(503) 436-9600


Shout Out

all hail the summer fideos!

I kind of feel like a teenager on some MTV show, but I want to send a shout out to John Gorham of Toro Bravo for continuing to blow our minds with his amazing food. Actually, this is pretty appropriate given that anytime I am around John I feel like a teenage girl who is seeing the Beatles for the first time (a somewhat dated analogy I know, but those who know me would agree that I'm pretty old fashion).

Toro Bravo, we thank you.

Toro Bravo

120 NE Russell St # A
Portland, OR 97212-3791
(503) 281-4464

Calling All Pastry Buffs

Anyone who visits the cafe this Tuesday and/or Wednesday are in for a real treat. A few weeks back our a.m. baker/artist Marly informed us that she would be taking a much needed vacation. In effort to keep y'all satiated with high quality baked fare, we decided to bring in the big guns. Scratch that. We called in the bazookas.

You heard it here first folks. This Tuesday and Wednesday, our guest baker is none other than the legend itself, Fluer de Lis Bakery. The very same magicians that masterfully craft the ciabatta which make our sandwiches will be filling our little old pastry case with buttery goodness that is guaranteed to knock your socks off.

Here's a rundown of what they're making for us:

-cinnamon rolls
-pain au chocolat
-ham and cheese croissants
-almond croissants
-blueberry scones

Stop by the cafe early and taste for yourself. Then be sure to make your way over to the Hollywood neighborhood and visit the bakery. They do so much more than your average bakery. I recommend making a visit around lunchtime in order to try one of their amazing sandwiches and salads.

Fleur de Lis Bakery & Cafe

3930 NE Hancock St
Portland, OR 97212-5320
(503) 459-4887


Sunday Brunch

Honey Yogurt Bowl—7.00
Nancy’s Honey Yogurt with house granola, fresh fruit, cinnamon, & honey drizzle

Chilled Tomato Pepper Soup—6.00
with sour cream and toasted walnuts

Vegan César Salad—7.00
with romaine, roasted red peppers, corn, cumin-miso dressing, and tempeh croutons

Southern Challah French Toast—9.50
with spiced peach compote, Kentucky bourbon butter, and real maple syrup

Buttermilk Biscuits and Rosemary Mushroom Gravy—8.00
Half portion…5.00
Sonny’s Special: full order, side of bacon, and large Orange Juice…13.00

Wild Lox Plate—12.00
with boiled bagel, cream cheese, avocado, red onion, tomato, cucumber, capers, dill and balsamic
add two eggs…2.50

Oregon Tuna Melt—9.00
wild Oregon albacore tuna, lemon-herb mayo, cheddar, green onions, and farmhouse relish on Italian como bread, served with arugula salad
surf ‘n turf’ (add bacon)…1.50

Summer [Fried] Egg Sandwich—8.50
one egg, Carlton bacon, feta cheese, strawberry-balsamic black pepper jam, and arugula on ciabatta

House Pimento Grilled Cheese—8.00
with sharp cheddar, jack, onion, and sweet peppers, served with potato chips and dill pickle

smoked tempeh strips, arugula, tomato, vegan dill aioli, and avocado on toasted ciabatta, served
with arugula salad


All In a Day's Work

Apple butter is out of the crock pot and cooling in the fridge.

The puppy has been fed, exercised, and is sleeping soundly in her crate (for now).

I am eager to get some shut eye.


WTF: an explanation of all things

I'm not about to play the old blame game again. Forget the fact that we've only recently felt as though our collective heads were above water. Never mind that our computer has been in repair limbo for weeks, its owners unsure as to whether or not they should attempt a very expensive disc recovery effort, or cast away a year's worth of valid warranty to embark on a less expensive quest for missing data. We say "poo-poo" to the fact the summertime is in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest, each sunny day providing a new opportunity to cast aside one's obligations and engage in illicit "be here now" types of activities. And we wouldn't dare blame any lack of blogging on our dear new addition to the family (see below).

summer happens

Life happens. We're not ashamed. On the contrary, this unanticipated time away from recording it all has done a great deal in terms of helping to put things into perspective. Our days are still relatively the same as they ever were; pictures are being taken, food is being prepared and consumed with conscious effort, coffee is percolating, and we still go to bed at night dreaming of new sandwiches we might conjure up, the ultimate goal simply to bring a smile to somebody's face...including our own.

welcome home LaLa

I am being completely honest when I write that I am no longer emotionally attached to this blog in the same way that I used to be. Moreover, I love it more than ever. In effort to explain this idea I will highlight a bit of history that was recently brought to my attention by a good friend. During an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman, after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, artist/musician Warren Zevon was asked by Letterman if there was anything that he understood now, facing his own mortality, that he didn't before. Zevon replied, "Just how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich."

For obvious reasons this story spoke to me. It is a beautiful mantra by which we could all live our lives.

Enjoy every sandwich.

In a nutshell, that's what we've been up to during this most recent hiatus. I remain continually honored to be able to share the details of our "sandwiches" with you.

the long and winding road, as seen through Ali's sunglasses and camera lens


The Big Picture

After what seems like weeks of rollercoaster rides and clouded outlooks, today felt delightfully productive and focused. I love when that happens. Tremendous thanks to Evan and his new specs that helped to keep everything in persepctive.


On the Menu...

Zucchini Walnut Bread
with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting


Breaking the Silence

I've never been one "lost for words." Usually when I've been this quiet on the blog it means I'm busying plaguing myself with the guilt associated with writing a blog, and having your readers ask you, "Where have you been?" Lately however, I'm the one who has been asking myself that question. Seriously Ali, where have you been? After two weeks in contemplative silence I think I'm finally ready to answer that question.

You may have heard me speak of my mom. Those of you that frequent the cafe know her as The Strata Queen, the lady responsible for those intricate fruit garnishes on the weekend, that slow-baked banana cake and rosemary-mushroom gravy, and for spoiling your dogs while you wait in line to reach the counter.

Me? I know her as both my right and left hand. No, literally: We have the same hands. A fact I first became aware of when I was a child, clutching her hand as we crossed the street, as a teenager, when I could barely distinguish between the curvature of our knuckles and the lines in our palms, then later in my 20's, when I began developing recognizable signs of early arthritis, and then 16 days ago, as I interlaced my fingers through hers as she lay in a hospital bed, unconscious in McMinnville's Willamette Valley Hospital's ICU.

You see, 16 days ago around dinnertime my mom suffered cardiac arrest. Not once, but twice.

She was in McMinnville, on the clock at her other day job, the job she has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to as the director of a program that inspires and supports at-risk youth. A job that requires her to pack up her Portland life every summer and move down to Linfield College's campus (to eat, sleep, and live in the college dorms) for her Summer Program. When we were younger, my sister and I were allowed to move with her. We would all wave and kiss our Dad, four cats, and one dog goodbye, pile into the car, and head to wine country to live with my mom, 8 college-age counselors, and 60 high school kids. Once we got older and our summer schedules no longer permitted 8 week stays, Mom was forced to make the trek by herself, a task she's been diligently taking on alone for the past 30 years.

Sixteen days ago, when I first received the phone call from my sister who was in NYC at the time, I could tell immediately that something was wrong. Terribly wrong. Despite her attempts to keep her voice steady, there was a shrill uneasiness, and most troubling, a panicked eerie attempt to conceal just how bad things were. All I heard was, "Ali, Mom had a heart attack." I can hardly remember handing the phone over to Evan, who was promptly instructed by my sister to get us the car and on the road to make the hour's drive to the valley's hospital. She told us she would be there as soon as she could get a flight.

At this point neither my sister, Evan or I knew whether my mom was alive or dead. On the car ride to the hospital I couldn't stop thinking about Michael Jackson, who had been reported dead, having suffered from a heart attack just hours prior to my mom dropping on the cafeteria floor in front of dozens of witnesses. I wish to highlight this fact not to be dramatic, but because it is because she was in this very public place that my mom survived. You see, the cafeteria was the one location on campus that had access to a defibrillator, the one applied by a witness on the scene, that shocked my mom's heart, that saved my mom's life. Turns out my mom didn't just have a heart attack. She suffered and survived a cardiac arrest, which we have been told less than 5% actually manage.

I can only speak about this now, or even think about speaking about this now because four days ago we were finally able to take my mom home. After spending 4 nights in McMinnville's ICU, coming in and out of a sedative coma, she was finally stable enough to be transferred by ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital in NW Portland. After a week of floating between this hospital's ICU and Intermediate Care Unit, she was finally deemed well enough to bring home, to her own house, to her own bed.

Needless to say this event has created quite the ripple effect. My family is currently trying to digest the biggest challenge we have yet to be served in our lives, and our cafe is learning how to cope without its "Mom." It has become abundantly clear that nothing will ever be the same again, a fact we are simultaneously trying to accept and be grateful for.


Happy Birthday To Ali

Happy Birthday to Ali!

Happy Birthday to Ali!

Happy Biiirrrthdaaay, toooo, Alllliiii...

and many pictures to follow!


The Cafe is Closed Today

The cafe will be closed today, Sunday, July 5th. Thank you to all of those that attended our 1st annual All American Hot Dog Festival. We had a blast! Now get off your computer and go outside and bask in some of that summer love.


Happy Holiday

Even in times of doubt, uncertainty, and fear I do know one thing for sure: there is very little a viking helmet can't cure. Happy 4th of July, Everybody. I hope you too, have found your laughter this evening. Thank you to all of you who put the smile across our faces. (Psst...we needed that.)


"I'd like the Tuna Melt please..."

So would I.

Dear Customer,

We are currently out of our ever-so-popular Tuna Melt (blasphemous, we know).

We are committed to using wild, Oregon caught Albacore tuna fish for our tuna salad. We think that's just one reason why it tastes so darn good. Rick Goche and other local fisherman are currently fishing for the tuna that will eventually be served at the café. We appreciate your understanding.

Did you know that the tuna we serve at the café has the lowest mercury levels of ANY canned tuna on the market? To learn more visit www.sacredseatuna.com



After one night in the ICU, three nights in McMinnville's Comfort Inn & Suites (hospital discount rate available), and another evening spent at my parents-in-law's home, I've never been so grateful to see those beckoning green arches of the St. Johns bridge; my favorite bridge; the bridge Evan proposed on; the bridge that leads us home. Home. Home. I've never been so grateful to be home.