What's For Dinner

Seared Sesame Tofu
with brown rice, black beans and broccoli


Vegan Banana Bread

It's what's for (Monday's) breakfast!


Bless This Man

These hands belong to my husband. They're the same hands that were the last to lock up the shop last night and the first to open the door this morning. Perhaps more significant to you, these are the hands that will be churning out that biscuit dough that all of you seemed so obsessed with lately.


Brunch Fit for a Baby Bear

Somehow (we're not really sure how we did it) we managed to make it two full weeks without the hard work, undying optimism, and comic relief of the man you see pictured above (minus the chocolate mustache). It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: we're pretty darn excited that at some time tomorrow he'll be leaving LA and heading north on I-5, Portland his final destination. In honor of his return, we're dedicating tomorrow's brunch service to the "Hustle" Simmons.

The latest weather forecast is calling for mild temperatures, and mostly sunny morning skies. Our espresso will be four days out from roast, the brunch menu features some old favorites, as well as a few exciting new concoctions (though you'll have to wait 'til tomorrow morning to get a look at the actual menu, but trust me, its worth waiting for). We're looking forward to seeing you then.

This Belly's For You

before we got our hands on it

After sleeping in a house rub for four days in the fridge, our pork belly was finally ready for braising.

We braised the belly in chicken stock (with a wee bit of duck fat for flavor) in a 200 degree oven overnight.

This morning I will trim all but 1/4 inch thick layer of exterior fat off the entire fatty, or bottom side.

Later we'll griddle portions of it for a Pork Belly and Jam Waffle, made with kale and house-made strawberry balsamic date jam. The odds are high that some of you will ask to add an egg to this dish. Without question we will happily honor your request.

The odds are also high that you may just go with your usual: an egg sandwich. And we'll be happy to do that too.

From us to you. Always with love.


Guilty Pleasure

My latest obsession?

Eating hunks of rustic bread topped with spoonfuls of our jam, and wedges of cheese.

Like this aged white cheddar and Oregon strawberry pinot-noir combo I did yesterday.

It's like an amuse bouche-sized wine party. Heaven.


Mom's Corned Beef Finally Unveiled

During the month of March we found ourselves in the throws of corned beef mayhem as Mom laboriously turned out batch after batch of her treasured Cream of Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup in celebration of St. Patty's day. No, we are not Irish but rather Hawaiian-Chinese so I have no idea where the staunch loyalty comes from. While Mom's version on Irish chowder is not to be missed, the real winner in the recipe is the corned beef. Perfectly pink and tender on the inside with a sweet and salty crust on the outside, we've been putting this corned beef in and on everything from sandwiches and hash to scratch-made white gravy spooned over roasted potatoes topped with eggs.

The problem is that my mother refuses to follow recipes or to write them. Everything is done by feeling, flavor, and eye. That said, whenever we wanted to feature corned beef on the menu or even eat it for ourselves, we had to ask her to do it for us.

After 27 years of being shrouded in mystery we were ready to remedy this. More importantly, my mother was finally willing to let go of her recipe for corned beef, down to the apricot jam glaze she spreads on the brisket pre-oven. Last Tuesday we were able to convince Mom to allow us to document her making the soup. Evan followed my mom around the kitchen and took notes while I followed the process step-by-step with my camera.

What a pleasure to be able to partake in the timeless tradition of learning a family recipe. We are so thankful of Moo entrusting us with her learned knowledge, and we look forward to being able to share our new found wealth with y'all (the soup, not the recipe...sorry, it's a family secret).


Lesson Learned/Keeping it Real

So yes. We were closed today. And yes. Someone who tried to visit us felt slighted by our closure and decided to suggest on a public forum that our business had unpredictable hours and that we were closed for "no good reason." Just to clarify for the haters those in doubt:

1) We are open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. You can find our hours clearly posted on our website, the front door of the cafe, or even up on the right-hand corner of this here blog. Please also feel free to call us and check-in before you arrive. We would love to be of assistance in helping you visit our shop. If you're lucky, you might get Kyle on the other end and he will delightfully entertain you with an unexpected and enlightening telephone exchange, with conversation topics ranging from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings to the compost for your vegetable garden. Ultimately know that our goal is to have you come and enjoy your experience. We will do everything in our power to make that happen. Even if that means we take a little "us time" now and again.

2) We were actually closed today for a very good reason which was to celebrate an important life lesson:




In other words, sometimes we need to enjoy the sunshine, too. Many thanks to Tyler, Malori, and the Sexy Lightning Ultimate Tandem for being our models for today's lesson.



After being open everyday for the past 3 months, the Little Red Bike Cafe will be closed Wednesday March 24th for some much needed rest. We will be using this time to: sleep in,
enjoy the sunshine, take care of our dogs, eat breakfast out, ride our bicycles, visit with friends, work on various landscape projects, and make rhubarb jam.


A Few Brunch Highlights

All the usual suspects with a few new friends to round out the group...

Cream Cheese and Jam Stuffed French Toast
with strawberry-rhubarb jam and vanilla-bean cream cheese, served with real maple syrup

Holy Ham and Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese
with ham, avocado, jack cheese, cream cheese, and roasted jalapenos on rustic como

Broiled Grapefruit (v)
with star anise sugar

Breakfast Salad
with balsamic eggs, bacon, roasted red pepper, cucumber, avocado, feta cheese and basil

Savory Strata

ham and asparagus

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Avocado Omelet
bacon, gorgonzola cheese and sliced avocado, topped with brown-sugar pineapple, served with greens and a buttermilk biscuit and jam

Mexican Black Bean Torta (v)
with black beans, avocado, pickled vegetables, and vegan sriracha mayo

Carrot Cake
with candied carrot and macadamia nuts

Banana Cake
with coconut cream cheese frosting

(v) vegan


Happy Spring, Folks.

Today is (or was) the first day of spring.

Yeah, I know. It crept up on us, too.

Happy spring y'all!

That coffee we mentioned yesterday? The one from the "budding local microroaster" that was to be served this Sunday, the 21st? Well that Microroaster just so happens to be Sterling Coffee Roasters, the very latest project brought to us by Adam McGovern and Aric Miller of Coffeehouse Northwest fame.

Located on NW Glisan St, between NW 21st Ave and NW 22nd Ave, Sterling Coffee Roasters currently roasts and prepares coffee daily. It you haven't already visited, rest assured that you're in for a real treat. These guys aren't messing around. This is some serious business.

This afternoon Tyler paid Aric a visit and loaded up his bike basket with 5 lbs of a freshly roasted espresso (Fri afternoon). This coffee will travel with Tyler when he comes to the LRBC tomorrow morning; which he will then serve via the Robur and Synesso for your drinking pleasure, beginning precisely (as possible) at 9:00 am. Early word from the men from Sterling is that the espresso is a washed Honduran coffee which bears a delectable sweetness. Sounds good to me.

We'd be delighted if you started your spring with us. And this delicious espresso.


Coffee Lovers Rejoice!

Take note coffee aficionados, this weekend is shaping up to be a special one here at the LRBC. Not only will we be serving coffee from our beloved Courier Coffee Roasters, but we are oh so excited to be able to share with you two new coffees from budding local microroasters. The first coffee, scheduled to be served as espresso when we open tomorrow morning, comes to us courtesy of our own Tyler Hauptman (and Justin of Badbeard's Microroastery)

Kattehollay Estate Peaberry, India, roasted Monday, March 15th, at 9:00am

But that's not all, as they say on the streets, "Tyler's packing weight yo!"

Daterra Estate Sweet Blue, Brazil, roasted Monday, March 15th, time unknown

There was talk of combining the two coffees to make an espresso blend, however the Kattehollay tasted so good it could definitely stand on its own. I can't say for sure what tomorrow will bring with the Brazilian but I can say that I am very excited that for the first time in LRBC history we will be serving coffee that was roasted by an employee (not really in-house, but cool nonetheless). The closest we've come to this in the past is when Alex of Courier Coffee Roasters has made a guest appearance on bar, which really doesn't count, 'cause Alex is more of a "ringer" than an employee. Imagine inviting Brandon Roy to join you and your friends for a pickup game at the local playground, when Alex pours coffee at the LRBC, it's kind of like that.

So that's our Saturday. Like I said before, if you like coffee you should plan on paying us a visit. As for what Sunday has in store? We'll give you a hint:


From Our Kitchen to Yours

After a few months of hibernation I've returned to the kitchen at last. For updates on what's been cooking in my kitchen keep your eye on the jars for sale located by the front door of the cafe.

Recent offerings include:

Oregon Strawberry-Pinot Noir Jam

Triple Berry Earl-Grey Jam

Blueberry-Lime Preserves

Raspberry-Marmalade Pancake Syrup
Spiced Apple Butter

Bourbon Peach Marmalade

Balsamic Strawberry-Date Preserves

Blackberry-Cherry-Rose Jam
Brown Sugar Pineapple-Peach Preserves

For those of you who are not lucky enough to visit us out on the Peninsula, hit us with an email if you're interested in getting your hands on some. Let's figure something that can work for you, us, and the USPS.


The Bloody Mary

...not just for Sundays!


Blog/Eat For Food

Our Blog for Food campaign ends on Monday, March 15th. Since February 15th, local bloggers and websites have asked their readers to make a donation to the Oregon Food Bank, a network consisting of 935 hunger-relief agencies serving all of Oregon and Clark County in Washington. In addition to effectively recovering and distributing food statewide, the OFB also works to address root causes of hunger through advocacy and education.

So after nearly a month of asking you to help out, tomorrow we're putting our own money where our mouth is. Please join us for a special Sunday Brunch benefiting the essential and tremendous work of the Oregon Food Bank.

Be informed:

  • For every $10 you donate, you enable Oregon Food Bank to move 50 pounds of food through the network, providing enough food to fill an emergency food box. A typical emergency food box provides three-to-five days of food for a family of four


Class Is In Session

To all you "Honey'd Yogurt" fans out there, Professor Simmons, master of all things granola and fruit-art, will be taking a two week sabbatical following this weekend, so get yourself into study hall when you can.

It's spring break y'all, even the most dedicated teachers need to take a break now and again.



Fried Egg and House Sausage Waffle Sandwich
with aged white cheddar and cider kale, served with real maple syrup

Sometime in January of this year we decided to dust off the old waffle iron and pay tribute to a good friend and waffle aficionado. I know we've said it many times overs but David Stokamer, Mr. Flavourspot himself, is the reason we were able to land our location on N. Lombard St. in the first place. For that we feel truly indebted and grateful.

Since our incarnation, David's regular order at our spot has been a paperboy sandwich. But this ain't no off-the-menu, kind of paperboy. Oh, no. David's personal breakfast of champions is a "paperboy with American cheese, bacon, salt-pepper, ketchup." And so it happened that on one recent fateful Tuesday morning I decided to pay homage to the Waffle Man himself, by inventing a waffle sandwich based on David's take on our paperboy egg sandwich. I could barely contain my excitement that morning when I text David with the news. I was ready to offer to box him one up and run it out to him at the cart, assuming he was busy running "Son of Flavourspot," his outlet's second location located on the corner of N. Mississippi Ave, and Fremont.
The Waffle Man

In my excitement and haste I forgot that David's Januaries are typically a month devoted to veganism. Needless to say, he had to decline my offer to try the latest creation. By the way, we think this, coupled with the fact that the fryer down at "Son of Flavorspot" is vegan Mon-Fri. speaks volumes to Flavorspot's mass appeal and diverse loyalists. It was during one of these past Januaries when David dedicated himself to mastering his vegan waffle recipe. We applaud that kind of dedication. We are also desperate to try one of his latest creations. Uh, did someone say chicken fried steak and gravy? Um, yes. Yes they did. And wait till you try the homemade (family recipe) apple cobbler. Get down there, what are you waiting for? Enough said.

So it is with much regard and and a great deal of conscious deliberation that we have continued on this quest, spending every week since that day exploring the vast possibilities for the waffle's more savory, egg sandwich-esque sensibilities in our own cafe. I commend those of you who have (stepped off the deep end with us) obliged our curiosities. If you're hoping to partake in one of these, all you need to do is keep an eye on our specials board. Our waffle concoctions vary weekly.

Triple B Fried Egg & Waffle Sandwich:
with Bacon, Brie and Basil
served with
blueberry-maple syrup
(huh- guess that should make it the "Four B.")

Cheers to waffles and to waffle-lovers everywhere. And thanks again to David. For many things.

Waffle 4:21
buttermilk waffles, bacon, nutella, bananas, candied hazelnuts and maple syrup


LRBC to stream live porn?

Courier's Ethiopia Sidamo, grade 4 or natural process, Oromia cooperative, roasted 3/1/2010 and pulled by Malori.

Food porn that is, and believe me that if we could, we would. I can't even think of how many times I've caught myself completely awestruck by the beauty of some of the food that leaves our kitchen. I love looking at food and pictures of food. This (food photography) is where we draw a great deal of inspiration. And when it comes to our own food, hell yes I'm proud of what we do.

I mentioned to Ali recently that I think its unfortunate that while (in my humble opinion) our kitchen continues to push out some of the best looking and tastiest food we've ever cooked, our camera has been M.I.A. in capturing it all. This is a problem I intend to rectify. And so I began my day off the same way I begin many of my days off: unable to sleep as a result of a circadian rhythm that is all too used to waking up at 5:00am, not to mention a highly overactive mind consumed with the thoughts of an all too uncertain future. How do I remedy this diagnosis? Why, I go to the cafe to bake of course!

You see, baking is really my personal form of mediation, a way for me to clear my head by focusing on a particular task at hand. And going to the cafe in the wee hours of the morning is ALWAYS just an excuse to drink coffee, as well as play around on the equipment I too rarely get a chance to work with. And so a couple hours later, 'round 8:00am to be more specific, I found myself still at the cafe (on my day off), ready to snap some photos of our food. But wouldn't you know it, in my early morning stupor, I forgot to bring the camera with me. However, if you've ever owned a cafe/restaurant (or even if you haven't) you should know that one need only spend 5+ minutes at their place of business before a need to run errands is born. Today's most pressing errand was the fact that the register was out of quarters (not to mention the fact that we have currently run out of decaf espresso, a problem I am anxiously hoping to rectify just as soon as I receive a phone call from our equipment repair guy in SE Portland, informing me when our flat griddle is repaired and ready for pick-up).*

I routinely thank god that we live only 0.4 miles from the LRBC. The trip home takes only a few minutes, and this morning I was back at the cafe, quarters and camera in hand, in what seemed like a matter of seconds. And so I snapped the following photos just for you lovely folks, in attempt to keep y'all abreast as to what we've been churning out at the cafe. Please note that like all of our photos, the food you see has not been "staged." These are normal orders, made for normal customers (except the espresso picture at the beginning of this post: that one had my name written all over it).


Sweet Morning Waffle: orange waffles, citrus mascarpone, salted dulce de leche, and real maple syrup

El Capitan: two corn tortillas, house chorizo, two sunny-side eggs, avocado, jalapeno mousse, tomato-poblano salsa, jack cheese, and pineapple pico de gallo


...and bacon

*Evan's Helpful Hint 'o the Day:
To those who are pondering careers in the restaurant industry please note that it is usually very difficult to group important errands into just one trip; especially when said errands involve visiting the same neighborhood on the same day, and especially when that "day" happens to be a Friday; I am beginning to wonder why I continue to taunt myself with the idea that I might somehow be avoiding rush hour today.


The Great Debate

In my ongoing survey of Reese's seasonal peanut butter products I was aided by an anonymous customer who was kind enough to furnish me with some recent test subjects, some 1.2 oz. Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts. Not one day after I received these generous gifts I found myself in a local grocery store and came across a 5 oz. behemoth!

Obviously a comparison was in order, and when it comes to Reese's products, I am always up for a challenge. Upon opening the packages and cutting in to each Peanut Butter Heart it quickly became apparent that there wasn't much to compare amongst the two Valentines themed confections; the 5 oz. heart proved to be little more than a novelty item, its size masking the sad reality of too much chocolate. The 1.2 oz. heart on the other hand presented a very strong showing, offering a generous peanut butter to chocolate ratio. It's only negative, in my opinion, resulted from a flat top to the peanut butter portion of the treat, which allowed a mound of chocolate to rest atop the middle of the heart.

To this day I believe the "tree," with its peaked peanut butter layer, provides the highest peanut butter to chocolate ratio among the many Peanut Butter Cup-inspired treats I have consumed. Until Easter, I suppose...



Beer flight at (the always reliable and super chill) Saraveza, our local North Portland watering-hole and craft-beer bottle shop

Speaking of North Portland businesses, have we told you lately (or enough) how in love we are with our neighborhood, the Peninsula, and our other North Portland peeps? After living in this city [on and off] for 28+ years, we feel more connected to the sense and idea of the word "community" than ever before. There are many creative and gifted folks in this area holding it down, putting out awesome product and doing honest work. And the best part is that we all seem committed to supporting each other's efforts and ambitions. It's a pretty good feeling, and one we're fortunate enough to experience often. Frankly, I feel like there is something in the water over here because we're beginning to realize that it is a special and important time to be a North Portland resident.