11.30.2009

Snapshot:


Pecan Pie French Toast
It came. It saw. It conquered.

11.29.2009

Sunday Brunch Highlights...


I didn't have time to publish the menu this morning but here's a couple of highlights I'm looking forward to today:

Pecan Pie French Toast
served with Kentucky bourbon butter, real maple syrup, and vanilla-bean whipped cream

"Cream" of Chanterelle Mushroom Soup
vegan wild mushroom soup with a hint of red wine and cayenne

Late Fall (Fried) Egg Sandwich
fried egg, housemade turkey-sage sausage, cheddar, heirloom Oregon apples, and roasted red onion mayo on ciabatta

Come have breakfast with us this morning. We'll take care of you.

11.27.2009

Once Upon a Thanksgiving


Our day began early. Evan turned off his alarm at 5:00 am. Actually, as is his nature, he turned his alarm off at 4:57 am because he (*almost*) always wakes up before it goes off. He went straight to the cafe to begin his baking for the morning. I roused out of bed at 5:30 am, fed the dogs, and was in the car by 6:15 am to go pick Mom up at her house in SW Portland. After dropping her off at the cafe to help Evan and Dekin with opening duties, I headed back to the house and turned to our trusty printer to help print off the day's special menus.

And what a day it was. We were warmly greeted from the moment we opened our doors. Many of you were not only delighted to find us open, but upon also encountering not one, but two new gas patio heaters outside. To make matters even cheerier was the unavoidable mass accumulating in front of the door of the cafe. We felt our hearts melt witnessing the donation bin outside fill with bags upon piles of warm clothing. By the end of the day it was clear: WE MADE A KILLING! What sat as an empty bin the day before quickly became overwhelmed by all of your generous offerings.


We knew it was only fair to share with all of you what happened to all of these precious gifts. Well, I'll get to that in a moment. First I'd like to finish telling you how our first Thanksgiving of the day ended up. We spent the majority of the day (non-stop) feeding friends and neighbors, Lombard stragglers, and first-time visitors. Quite the eclectic group, really. We were busier than we expected and really enjoyed seeing all the faces, familiar and new, and having the opportunity to chat up so many people on a holiday. It really made for a special day, and gave me the kind of giggles a snow day away from school would often induce. We loved it. Every single moment of it and in that pure state of bliss, it's easy to forget about all of the personal hiccups we've experienced at the cafe over the past three weeks.

After we closed up shop we headed home to collect ourselves before stumbling back outside for the night. While I baked our dishes for an upcoming dinner party potluck, Evan piled all of the clothing donations into the back of our car. We made a quick pit-stop at our dinner location in order to drop off the dishes while they were hot, and then headed east towards the Burnside bridge. We waited a few minutes for Venus and her entourage of volunteers to arrive, which gave us just enough time to sit in the car and become aware of our surroundings, conceptualizing what we were about to do. The sounds around us began to heighten our sense of anticipation; the traffic from the bridge overhead, the bells from the light-rail cars beneath the bridge whizzing by, the deafening sound the rain made hitting the windshield. We both wanted to jump out of the car and start passing out jackets to anyone and everyone who passed.

Ms. Venus, herself

When she did arrive, Venus' set-up was, well, to put it lightly, Venus' set-up was impressive. It became clear very early on that this woman meant business, and yes, she is an experienced, admirable 10-year veteran of this trade. No sooner had she arrived and car doors began flying open, Johnny Cash's soulful tunes were belting from rattling speakers, and tables were being unfolded and regulated into their designated areas: we had separate stations for clothing, food, coffee and dessert. Evan and I both began volunteering at the clothing table. We'd call out sizes, pulling clothes out of bags as fast as we could, folding and categorizing the items as best possible. As soon as we got something down on the table, eager and grateful hands came flying in to grab it. We couldn't stock the table fast enough.


The ear-to-ear smiles were noticeable...and contagious. There was definitely a lot of love passing through these exchanges and at that moment, we knew there wasn't another place in the entire world we would rather be.

And that was just the clothing station. Wait till I get to the spread!!! After two days of non-stop cooking (no really, she didn't sleep) and soliciting some friends in the industry for donations, Venus and River held nothing back when it came to feeding their guests. Everything you could possibly dream up and more was provided: ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, (2-day!) squash soup, noodle casserole, pastries, bagels, fresh fruit and veggies, pie, coffee, donuts, and candy.

If it didn't feel oddly intrusive, I would have taken pictures of the people waiting in line. Not only was the line long, but the joy and light sparked in these people's eyes was abundant. We couldn't turn around without having a "thank you" or "God bless" thrown our way. We simultaneously felt unworthy of the praise and filled with pride that we have the honor of calling the organizer of this event our friend and neighbor. With the music blasting and the chitter-chatter of happily-fed bellies echoing throughout the lot, we realized we were in the middle of one-happening party, one that did not feel too different than other holidays we've attended in the past.

River, Venus, and all their hard work

Once the troops were fed and all the clothing had been picked though, we gathered ourselves back in the car and continued sitting in the parking lot for a few minutes trying to take it all in. As we seemingly glided away from the bridge, still drunk with the emotions from the event, we both agreed that this was certainly our most memorable Thanksgiving to date. We're still having difficulty digesting all of the emotions, and cannot help but be overwhelmingly humbled by Venus' invitation to do our very small part in it.

And that my friends, was our Thanksgiving #2. Not.Too.Shabby.


We left the bridge and headed west back up towards our friends' potluck dinner. By the time we returned the party was in full-swing and the bird, which had aptly been kept warm by the crew's espresso machine (how genius is that?!?), had been all but desecrated. But fortunately there were still some leftovers floating around, including some bread Evan hasn't stopped talking about, as well as the lavish spread on the dessert table. A few chocolate-chip fleur de sel cookies (thanks, Elizabeth!) and one champagne toast later (Thanks, Adam!), and we were busy buzzing around the room, rocking out to tunes amongst some of our nearest and dearest.


We had an absolute blast hanging out in C-Ho after hours. The place looked slightly different given the holiday, but the cast and characters in the joint were all the same. Still dressing dapper, still busting out the best espresso in town (Evan even drank a caramel cappuccino- must be a holiday!), and still making us laugh hysterically. At this point I think we were a little delusional given the fact we were celebrating our 3rd Thanksgiving of the day.


We wrapped up the night pretty early, making it home before 10:00pm; we were both pretty exhausted from the day's festivities. We were greeted warmly by the dogs, who seemed pleased to have us home given their own state of vegetative bliss (they got xtra helpings of food, too), and as we both curled up on our couch, a dog tucked each tucked into our sides, I confessed this blissful observation: "There's no place like home."

Grateful indeed.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Much obliged to those of you who made ours so special. XO

11.25.2009

Thanksgiving '09 Menu:

(original artwork by River Winkler)

We had to put on our thinking caps to make this one work. You see, it's not just us who are normally closed on Thanksgiving, but many, if not all, of our vendors are, too. That means none of our regular deliveries will be showing up here tomorrow: no fresh bread, baked goods, produce, etc. That means we had to come up with a menu that worked with what we had on hand and what we could pick up and prepare today. Not only that, but we gave our employees the day off tomorrow so it's going to be me, Evan, and Momma all day, and thankfully Colin and Dekin have agreed to come in for 1/2 shifts. So please be patient with us, we'll be doing our best with what we got. And most importantly, please remember that this is all for a very good cause.

Here's what we came up with for feeding ya'll pre-Thanksgiving dinner:

Fall Harvest
maple-flax granola, baked apples, fresh ricotta and cardamom honey

Huevos Rancheros

2 eggs, black beans, salsa picante, queso fresco and avocado mousse on 2 corn tortillas, served with lime and mango chili slices

Django's Waffle Sandwich
bacon, brie, roasted butternut squash, fried egg, and basil sandwiched in-between 2 black-pepper buttermilk waffles, served with apple-maple syrup

Jalapeno and Avocado Cream Soup
spicy, creamy, and totally addictive

Havarti & Cheddar Grilled Cheese w/ Cranberry Chutney
creamy havarti, aged white cheddar, and cranberry chutney grilled on rye

Pumpkin-Hazelnut French Toast
thick slices of pumpkin infused challah french toast, served with butter, real maple syrup and crushed candied hazelnuts

Eggsgiving Sandwich
2 fried eggs, 2 housemade turkey sausage patties, apple-sage stuffing, and cranberry cream cheese on ciabatta

Holy Ham and Jalapeno Grilled Cheese
ham, roasted jalapenos, jack cheese, farmer's cheese, bacon and avocado, grilled on Como bread

Get your day started early with one of our elixirs:
From the Bar:
Boozy Espresso
Boozy Eggnog
Gorge Mimosa
LRBC Bloody Mary
Old Rasputin Imperial Stout Floats


Can't stay for breakfast? Grab something to go:
In the pastry case:

Banana Bread
Maple-Pecan Scones
Cheddar-Chive Scones
Pumpkin-Buttermilk Muffins
Baby Gingerbread Muffins w/ Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Cinnamon-Nutmeg Coffeecake
Pumpkin-Pecan Bars
and the *Perfect* $10 Host/ess Gift
(prepare to be automatically tagged "best guest")

And please don't forget: we are collecting donations tomorrow for our "Under the Burnside Bridge" Thanksgiving project. Please bring coats, hats, scarves, jackets, gloves, and other cool-weather items to the cafe tomorrow. All items will be passed out (along with a hot meal) to Portland's homeless, beneath the Burnside bridge tomorrow night, courtesy of our friends Venus and River. In addition to the clothing drive, we will be donating our proceeds from tomorrow's shift towards Venus' cause. Please come help support this very important and selfless act on behalf of our friends.

11.24.2009

Recycle Your Clothes: We Can Help!


Don't know if you've caught it yet, but yesterday we happened to mention the fact that WE WILL BE OPEN ON THANKSGIVING, something we're more excited about than you (obviously) but let us let you in on why.

Perhaps the most important reason to visit us this Thursday is because you will be helping us, help a really cool friend, who is celebrating 10 years of helping out homeless Portlanders on Thanksgiving. For the past 10 years the lovely Venus and her entourage have helped feed and clothe the homeless underneath the Burnside bridge every Thanksgiving. Her 10+ year-old son, River, has been doing this pretty much since birth and knows no other version of Thanksgiving. This is just one reason why we love this dynamic duo and think they're so cool.

With Venus' help, we have begun a "Warm-Clothing Drive" this week at the cafe. We are collecting hats, coats, sweaters, scarves, gloves, shoes and anything else that might help save a life of someone who does not have the privilege to a roof over their heads this winter. Sizes do not matter, people come in all shapes, and any and every thing is appreciated. While we are normally closed on Thanksgiving, we made the decision to remain open this year in hopes of raising some extra funds to go towards Venus' cause. In addition to the clothing drive, we will also be donating our daily proceeds from Thanksgiving to Venus, to help offset the cost of feeding so many people, and as a small gesture towards thanking her for her undeniably bad-ass grassroots approach.

We felt humbled when Venus' son, River, exclaimed, "Cool! We're like sponsored this year." If only we could explain to River how they are the real heroes in this situation. Superheroes at that. You hear that, River? You and your Mom TOTALLY RULE and we're so glad we're neighbors, and not just because you have really cool haunted houses during Halloween season.

So please, come help us help our friends. If you cannot make it in this week to drop off clothing, we know *most* of you will have Thanksgiving off, so clean out your winter closet, and come on in and buy a cup of coffee or something off our special Thanksgiving (TBA) menu. It's for a good cause. We promise. XO

11.23.2009

Be Thankful

The short of it:

WE WILL BE OPEN ON THANKSGIVING.
Ali and I will be at the cafe this Thursday, so stop on by so we can say "thank you" in person. Additionally, all this week we will be collecting clothing (specifically socks, gloves, hats, scarves, and jackets) that will be donated to some of your fellow Portlanders, this Thursday night, courtesy of our good friend, Venus.

Stay tuned for details, and in the meantime be sure to dig up any excess clothing you might have and help us keep Portland warm this winter.

Cheers!

Snapshot:

Totally convinced this soup is at its best on day three. Lucky for us that there is a pot full of it in our fridge. Perfect. Comfort. Food.

Leftovers for Breakfast



Breakfast Stone Soup

lentils, tomatoes, onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, garlic, chili flakes, lemon and vegetable stock, topped with soft croutons, a fried egg and basil

11.21.2009

Sunday Brunch 11/22

I have a really good feeling about this one, Folks. We hope to see you tomorrow.


Breakfast Stone Soup—7.00

lentils, tomatoes, onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, garlic, lemon and vegetable stock, topped with soft croutons and a fried egg



Honey Yogurt Bowl—7.00

Nancy’s Honey Yogurt with house granola, fresh fruit, cinnamon and honey



Curried Tempeh Lettuce Wraps—6.00

curry tempeh with toasted almonds, celery, scallions, coconut and raisins, wrapped with fresh basil in lettuce…(3 per order)



Buttermilk Biscuits and Rosemary Mushroom Gravy—8.00

half portion…5.00 add 2 eggs…2.50

Sonny’s Special: full order, side of bacon, and large Orange Juice…13.00



Lox, Sweet Potatoes, and Eggs—12.00

wild Alaskan lox stacked on top sweet potato gratin with 2 sunny-side eggs, hubbard squash, goat cheese and thyme, served with toast and house jam



Butternut Squash & Wild Mushroom Omelet—13.00

3 egg open-faced omelet topped with roasted butternut squash, crimini and chanterelle mushrooms, and goat cheese, served with sweet-potato gratin and buttermilk biscuit with jam

add bacon…1.50



Happy [Fried] Eggsgiving Sandwich—9.50

2 eggs, 2 house-made turkey sausage patties, apple sage-stuffing with gravy, and cranberry-cream cheese on ciabatta, served with potato parsnip puree, and Braeburn apple slaw

sub veggie bacon…no charge



Huevos Rancheros—9.50

2 sunny side eggs with black beans, salsa picante, avocado, roasted jalapeno mousse, tomato ranchero sauce, and queso fresco on two corn tortillas, served with lime and mango chili slices

add house-made chorizo…2.00


“Cinnamon Toast Crunch®” French Toast—9.50

served with whipped butter and red delicious apple-maple syrup



VLT—8.00

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



Holy Ham & Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese—9.00

Carlton ham, roasted jalapeños, Monterey jack and farmer’s cheese, avocado and bacon grilled on Italian como bread, served with potato chips and dill pickle



Oregon Tuna Melt—9.50

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



In Sunday's pastry case:

Slow-Baked Banana Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Mini Ham & Spinach Quiches
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
French Puffs
Fluer de Lis Cinnamon Rolls
and much, much more


11.20.2009

85.8 miles...


...or just under 2 hours, is how long it takes us to get from the cafe to Waves of Grain Bakery. It's a drive we feel like we know pretty well. I swear, when we crest the hills on some of those passes it is as though any anxious anticipation gives way to calm and relaxation. Psssst: You're nearing the beach.

When we first stumbled into the shop two years ago, we had no idea how fortuitous a visit we were in for. What began as a biscuit obsession over time blossomed into illicit romances with scones, cookies, cheese sticks, mini key lime tarts, quiche, coffee cake, granola, flour, and in one 24 hour stretch, not one but two entire loaves of bread consumed (no assistance needed). I believe it was a focaccia loaf and a (honey?) whole wheat.


You see, the reason every single thing that is sold in this bakery tastes so damn good, is because 95% of it is crafted by the loving hands of one or both of the people you see smiling here. It's safe to say that Hillary and Jason Fargo are making the world a better place by putting so much love into so many different shapes, sizes, and flavors of food. How lucky we were this past Wednesday when they visited our cafe (with their "day-olds" in tow-a real treat) as they sojourned through the city of Portland on their "day off" (Ha! We know those, too!).


Getting the chance to visit was quite a treat and reminded us of how lucky we are (the royal we) to stumble upon their bakery while tripping around the Oregon coast in the first place.

It's stormy Portland. Doesn't it sound nice to sit next to a warm fire, storm raging outside, and munch on some ginger-molasses cookies? If so, these two can help make it happen. Go see them.

Waves of Grain Bakery
3116 S. Hemlock St.
Cannon Beach, OR 97110
503.436.9600

11.19.2009

Happy Friday, Friends

Pumpkin Rum-Raisin Bread Pudding

Fall Waffle Sandwich
pear, ham, cheddar, and a fried egg sandwiched between two rosemary-waffles, served with a shot of maple syrup

Vegan Pumpkin Rum-Raisin Bread Pudding
with coconut-oatmeal crumble, served warm with maple syrup

SW Pumpkin Cheddar-Corn Pudding
served with guindilla sour cream

Croque Bloke
grilled cheese with bacon, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, cheddar, and house bbq sauce, topped with a fried and served w/ chips and hazelnut-arugula salad

A Bronx Tale
deviled egg & radish salad, cheddar, shaved red onion, and arugula on a toasted bagel, served with potato chips and a dill pickle

Sour Cream Apple Pie

11.18.2009

This Dessert Brought to You By:


Our BFFs in the industry (as well as in life) are those crafty thoughtful peeps over at Dove Vivi Pizza. Thanks to them, and to Delane in particular, we were able to indulge in homemade dessert the other night (and several nights thereafter.)

Homemade Cheesecake
with raspberry puree and chocolate shavings

Hot Almond Milk Chocolate


I am often convinced (and reminded) that Delane is the loveliest person on earth based on two principals alone:
1. She is a staunch believer in thank you/birthday cards (and thoughtfully well-written ones at that)
2. She never, ever returns a dish empty.

If you need more evidence:
she insists upon homemade gifts; she rocks "cutting-edge-sensible fashion" daily, basically inventing the look, incorporating influences from Homer, Alaska and Los Angeles, CA; she can read people and sum them up like the jacket-inlay of a book; she always has cunning, wise, and invested observations to make in every situation; she can "decide" to grow a garden with the ease of a veteran green-thumb (squashes, peppers, and tomatoes like you wouldn't believe); she (with help from her equally great partner) created a baby-genius whiz-kid; and she's a great example of a mum for an inspiring-mom-to-be (someday). Did I mention she's an amazing artist, baker, and carpenter?

And most of all, the surest sign that this person is the loveliest breathing soul on earth, is the fact that rather than being jealous of these qualities in my friend, I, as well as the other people in her life, are inspired to be better people; for ourselves, for the people around us, and for the world in general. Simple as that.

Anyways, back to the dessert portion of this blog post. Given Delane's old-fashioned and completely dreamy tradition of never returning a borrowed dish empty, she bestowed this zesty, lemon cheesecake upon us the other night in our 9-inch spring-form pan.

Since sharing that first slice with our friends, we have been able to serve it to dinner guests as dessert, which seemed awfully fancy at the time, and we have eaten it in bed while catching up on episodes of Glee and Mad Men (via the Internet). It's has been pretty amazing having this thing in our fridge. Delicious slices of food-coma inducing reminders that we are lucky to have these people in our lives.

It should also be mentioned that I just happened to be wearing the freshly printed (and for sale at a family-run pizza joint near you) Dove Vivi t-shirt when this photo was snapped. The shirt is printed on really soft, vintage inspired fabric, the kind that feels like you've worn it for ages. We we're delighted to find out that the design was created by our friend, and Dove Vivi's own, Lizzy. It has since been confirmed by numerous sources that this particular design, on this particular fabric, gives the shirts a very rock 'n roll flavor. In discussing the shirt among friends I think the band Van Halen was even mentioned once...or twice. It has also been confirmed by trusted fashionistas that these shirts can be dressed up or down. Anyways, consider this your first heads up that you should get your hands on your own, and soon. Limited production and all (isn't that what you'd say in the music industry?).

I already know that many of you have experienced and been transfixed by the hospitality of the floor, as well as the love emerging from the Dove Vivi Kitchen. I just thought it should be mentioned at some point that there is a reason for what goes on there. It's got really, really good roots. Good parents, basically. Solid, decent people, doing honest work, living inspiring lives while improving the lives of those around them. As a fellow citizen, you really couldn't expect more from these people. And just when you're ready to say, "Wow, you've really couldn't do any more for us," they happen to turn out the sickest chocolate chip cookies and pie in town (attn. babyboomers: sickest is a good thing).

So yeah, to sum it up:

Thanks Delane, for the cheesecake.
You are such a good friend. It was exactly what the doctor ordered...on several occasions.

Dove Vivi rules.

Yes, they have t-shirts. You can buy them there, in-house. On a personal note, I can testify to the rocker vibe I was getting
from these. Without prompting, I wore purple eye-shadow and invoked the spirit of Joan Jett the night I first night I wore it out.


This is not just a gimmick to sell shirts. There is a palpable reason why you should add this t-shirt to your collection and why you already feel naturally drawn to support this business and the people there: They are keeping our (and other friends') faith in humanity intact.

Not to mention the fact they make really good food, and that we, and many other devoted customers, would most likely starve without their provisions.

The End.

Dove Vivi
2727 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97232-2401
(503) 239-4444

Well Deserved


"Moving amid a tangle of bikes, roasting equipment, tools and paperwork, the 29-year-old Portland native has an unmistakable mad-scientist vibe. Stacks of dog-eared spiral-bound notebooks contain notes on tasting, temperatures, technique and results. Clever ink drawings depicting daily events are taped to the sliding doors."
-Heidi Swift

That sums up Joel very well. The image above and the ability to picture him perfectly make us absolutely charmed and proud to be his friend, honored to do business with him, and excited as ever for his one-of-a-kind business model.

This past Sunday's Oregonian featured an thoughtfully written article about our good friend, that amazingly talented coffee roaster, Joel Domreis. Heidi Swift wrote the article which appeared in the Outdoor section of the 11/15/2009 Sunday Edition. She also wrote a killer piece about Joel on her blog which includes some great photos of the Courier Coffee Roasters roastery.

11.14.2009

11/15 Brunch


Honey Yogurt Bowl—7.00

Nancy’s Honey Yogurt with house granola, fresh fruit, cinnamon and honey


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


Butternut Squash, Wild Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Omelet—13.00

3 egg open-faced omelet topped with roasted butternut squash, wild mushrooms, and goat cheese, served with sweet-potato gratin and buttermilk biscuit

add bacon...1.50


Croque Bloke*—9.50

grilled cheese with bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar, smoked gouda, and house bbq sauce, topped with a fried egg and served with chips and hazelnut-arugula salad


Lox, Sweet Potatoes, and Eggs—12.00

wild Alaskan lox stacked on top sweet potato gratin with local hubbard squash, 2 sunny-side eggs, goat cheese and thyme, served with toast and house jam


PDX Chai French Toast—9.50

thick slices of challah dipped in spiced black tea-batter, served with cinnamon fleur-de-sel butter and real maple syrup, topped with vanilla-bean whipped cream


Vegan Pumpkin-Raisin Bread Pudding6.00

with pecan crumble, served warm with maple syrup


Huevos Rancheros—9.50

2 sunny-side eggs, 2 corn tortillas, black beans, roasted jalapeno mousse, avocado, queso fresco, pico de gallo, house ranchero sauce, served with lime and chili-mango

add housemade chorizo…2.00


Fall [Fried] Egg Sandwich—9.50

2 eggs, Carlton ham, quince, pear, gorgonzola, and arugula on ciabatta, served with arugula salad


VLT—8.00

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


Oregon Tuna Melt—9.50

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



From the Bar

Pear Bellini

muddled pear nectar, cava, crystallized ginger

Gorge Mimosa
Columbia Gorge Organic orange juice, sparkling wine, Cointreau

Bloody Mary

vodka, house Mary mix, celery-salted rim, accouterments

*dedicated to our Aussie gal. Where you at, Mama? We miss reading your tales.

What's For Dinner

(a little tipsy and a little silly, pre-birthday dinner)

After five days of dressing quite dapper and going out for some of the most memorable meals to date in the Big Apple, we were both itching to get back in the kitchen once we got home. What can we say? We're the type of people who, when we eat well, wish to pass that gift along to someone close to us, be it at home or the cafe.

However, plans shifted upon hearing the news of the loss of our friend. We have not eaten a meal at home in days (let alone together).

Tonight after I returned home from work I knew I needed to remedy this. As cliche as it sounds, tonight I stood proud, representing an adoring wife whose only desire in the world was to make dinner for my husband. A dinner to thank him for his patience, his goodwill, and his compassion towards others. I know I do not speak alone on this; many others took me aside this week and confided that he was a rock for them too, during this turbulent time. Hearing this makes my heart expand to its fullest capacity. I need never doubt my sheer-dumb-luck in finding a man this decent and good to spend the rest of this lifetime with (with hopes of many, many more). He is persistent in his quest to beautify the lives of others and I am honored that I can partake and experience this as his partner.

So, For Evan. With Love.


Our First Home-Cooked Meal in Ages*
butternut squash ravioli in chili-I.P.A. broth, topped with roasted brussels sprouts, beets, hazelnuts and chevre

*Inspired by a halibut & lobster chowder dish we ate at Gramercy Tavern, the restaurant where we celebrated his birthday while in New York, I attempted a loosely-based vegetarian version, per the request of my husband who is battling a cold and is currently "detoxing."

11.13.2009

Moving Forward-UPDATE


I am having one of those mornings.
those mornings that begin with the realization that it's too dark outside to push myself out of bed, even though the sheets have already gone cold from the absence of my partner.
where I eat cold pizza for breakfast, and not really even the pizza, just the crusts.
where I sit on the floor of the tub in the shower and cry for both no apparent, and a million and one reasons.
where the only music that satisfies is that which doesn't make me necessarily sad, but definitely contemplatively thoughtful.
where the rain feels more like a personal insult than it should this time of year.
where I feel flaky for not returning emails, phone calls, or being able to keep appointments in a timely matter because doing so feels like an impossibility.


we went to our friend's memorial yesterday morning. we closed the shop up early, piled the troops up in the van, passed out pictures and sunflowers, and headed south towards a park. immediately upon our arrival, it became apparent that our friend was loved by many. it was both tragic and satisfying to know just how much, and how many people will miss her. during the service I was taken with a particular tree. its golden leaves leaving an impression on my view of the situation amongst such tangible loss and sadness.
we cried. we laughed. we held each other.
and I left feeling good, blessed, and whole.

but then we came home from the service to a letter from our lawyer with not exactly good news regarding the future of our business. and this brought up a new set of emotions, most of which have been harbored and buried in a soggy pile of rags in my heart for the last seven months.
the timing could not have been worse.
to add fuel to the fire, the two of us had to return to the cafe and finish the closing duties that couldn't be finished prior to the memorial. it felt particularly cruel to have to return to "business as usual." we spent the majority of the next two hours cleaning in silence, probably thinking about both the same, and different things. we flipped the sandwich station, made specials and restocked, just as we have done a million times before. but something was different this time. without being prompted, I could tell my husband's heart was aching.
I could tell because I could hear it. because mine was aching too.

then we met friends for pizza at "our place," trying to pretend everything was/is alright, and I drank too much wine trying to forget...everything. and I did. if only for a minute. or long enough to forget to order a chocolate chip cookie for the road home. something that bummed me out probably more than it should have.

and so when I woke this morning, it was with the knowledge that I was already on the wrong-side of bed. but I wasn't, my side just felt wrong. not a good sign or way to begin the day.
I am trying to conjure up some of those feelings I had yesterday after the service. like what it felt like to grasp onto my beloved friends and unravel the knot of grief in my stomach. like listening to the sounds of the birds chirping in the park. like the feeling of the sun coming out and parting the clouds long enough to warm my tights. like figuring out what that tree was saying to me, and how it made me feel hopeful.

I am hoping for another one of those perfect moments to come and grace me today so it can erase this morning from memory.
I am hoping to move forward.


UPDATE:

Shortly after writing this post, Evan returned home from work and suggested we ditch our funk by going out to lunch. We both agreed it seemed better to celebrate all of the good things in our life rather than sitting around focusing on the bad. I should have known Evan would be the first perfect moment of my day. Why? Well, because he is the old fashioned kind of romantic who knows that sometimes all your wife needs,


is something a little sparkling,


someone to empathize with her, and someone to go halvesies on with lunch.


(beer-battered halibut, housemade bratwurst and Beecher's Flagship Cheddar Sandwich, albi potato chips)


Thank you, Husband and Wildwood Restaraunt for the pleasure.

11.12.2009

Happy Friday the 13th

Thank you for the warm welcome back, Portland. Here's what we have cooking up in the kitchen:

artwork by Jill-of-all-trades, Marly

Huevos Rancheros
2 sunny-side eggs, 2 corn tortillas, black beans, roasted jalapeno mousse, avocado, queso fresco, pico de gallo, and ranchero sauce
...add housemade chorizo

A Bronx Tale
deviled egg & radish salad, cheddar, shaved red onion, and arugula on a toasted bagel, served with potato chips and a dill pickle
(inspired by a recent trip)

Turkey-Havarti Club
turkey, bacon, roasted red onion mayo, havarti cheese, apples, and radicchio served double-decker style on grilled Texas toast, served with potato chips and a dill pickle

11.11.2009

Closing Early

Little Red Bike Cafe will be closing at 10am tomorrow, (Thurs. 11/12) to honor the memory of a close friend. Thank you for your patience.

11.09.2009

Cafe to Reopen Tuesday November 10

First, thank you so much to everyone who has sent emails, phone calls, well wishes, and good thoughts our way. Your support never ceases to amaze us, and we are so humbled by your thoughtfulness.

The cafe lost a member of our extended family this past weekend; hence our inability to run service on Sunday. In light of these recent events we are forced to postpone our dinner service for Friday November 13.

The cafe will reopen Tuesday, and we will attempt to run a full service. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this personal time.

Again, thank you to all for the kindness you have extended these past couple days.

11.07.2009

CLOSED

Due to an emergency the Little Red Bike Cafe will be closed until further notice.

"More Gingham Than White Tablecloth"


Little Red Bike Cafe is open for dinners by reservation only. To start, we are offering one seating every Friday at 7:30pm, with hopes of expanding this service over time. Dinner is a five-course prix-fixe affair, with menus being posted on the blog (hopefully) one week in advance. Our dinner menu will change weekly, but will stick to the contemporary comfort food classics we love and have become known for. Despite our "elaborate" reservation policy we wish to inform you that our dinner service is "more gingham than white tablecloth." Our goal is to transport you back to a time when family supper was eaten together, and where each bite of food tasted as though someone had labored all day over a hot stove.

To make a reservation request, please email us at:

littleredbikecafe@gmail.com

Or you can try making a reservation via our reservation line. Someone should be available to take your call 12pm-4pm Tuesday thru Friday. Feel free to call and leave a message anytime. If you call during 'off' hours, someone will get back to you the following day (again, if you call Sunday or Monday we may not be able to get back to you until Tuesday):

503-953-3527*

*Please note that our reservation line is different from our cafe telephone number. ALL INQUIRIES AND REQUESTS REGARDING DINNER MUST BE MADE VIA EMAIL OR THE RESERVATION LINE.

We require a credit card in order to secure the reservation. Changes to or cancellation of the reservation must be made 24 hours before the event. Given that we are a small cafe and each meal is prepared individually, we must be strict about reservations and attendance. Any missed reservations without notice will be charged the full price of the meal for each person who fails to attend.

And now for this week's menu...

Friday, November 13th

Roasted Broccoli Soup
with Irish cheddar croutons

Meatball Slider
served on housemade parmesan brioche bun

Mache, Pear, and Butternut Squash Salad
with formage blanc and Oregon Hazelnuts

Macaroni and Cheese
with brussels sprouts and bacon

Dad's Apple Pie
with vanilla bean-bourbon ice cream

Price is $25 per person plus alcohol and gratuity. Service begins at 7:30pm.

11.06.2009

And I Thought Our Place Was Small...

REMINDER: NORMAL HOURS SUNDAY NOVEMBER 8TH, HOWEVER THE "BRUNCH MENU" IS TAKING A WEEK OFF


We had the great pleasure of visiting Abraco espresso bar this morning. This tiny (emphasis on tiny) cafe serves up Counter Culture Coffee using a La Marzocco Linea and what appeared to be (I couldn't get a close look) Robur E. Forget the equipment specs, what is most important was that the coffee tasted damn good.


Really good. I sampled both a macchiato and an espresso that were made from CC's 'aficionado' blend, while Ali had an appropriately sized americano (bonus points that their default americano size is 4.5 oz).


While I imagine that there are some patrons who might complain of the overtly intimate space, I found it downright comforting to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers while I waited for my drink. And hey, I know a thing or two about using every square inch of a commercial space; and why pay for an inch of space if isn't going to be filled by some strangers ass on a regular basis? We drink coffee to get us going, right?


Equally as amazing as the coffee was the limited food menu this place churns out. We sampled both a slice of their olive oil cake, as well as a simple cheese and cabbage sandwich (both pictured below).


Spot on.


I found the entire experience inspiring. It brought me back to the simple idea that made us want to open LRBC in the first place: good coffee, good eats, all under one roof. Now more than two years into our own experiment, it makes me laugh to think how far away from that simple concept we have traveled. We're currently stuck in this weird place where we're not quite a coffeehouse, yet something less than a full service restaurant. Somehow we're more often regarded as a restaurant, and whenever we are chastised on the world wide web for not living up to some stranger's expectations, I wish I could reach through my computer screen and into another person's monitor and shout, "We're just a neighborhood coffeeshop people!" But alas, at some point we grew bored with our limited menu and decided to get a little more creative, thus shooting ourselves in the foot (we're not in coffee land anymore, Toto)...

...sorry, I am not quite sure what I am blathering about. This post is about Abraco, not the LRBC.

Bottom line: Abraco kicks f*cking ass! If you're in NYC, go there.

Abraco
86 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-9731


11.05.2009

One Final Go 'Round

REMINDER: NORMAL HOURS SUNDAY NOVEMBER 8TH, HOWEVER THE "BRUNCH MENU" IS TAKING A WEEK OFF

egg salad on a whole wheat everything bagel from Murray's

About the only downside to having our family move back home is that we will no longer have a good excuse/free place to stay when visiting "The Big Apple."

Q: How does one order a "Homie" away from home (aka Little Buddy)?
A: Can I have a really short Americano?

(Proceed to get seemingly mocked for not having milk in your coffee)

Ali feeling right at home at Cafe Grumpy
Grumpy is currently featuring coffee they are roasting themselves, as well as selections from Ritual and Novo