Monday, January 27, 2014


Twenty-four hour restaurant and diners and becoming a rarer and rarer breed.  Thus, Coppelia on 14th street has, at least, that going for it.  Everything else leaves practically everything left to be desired.  We were seated quickly enough, at tables across from the long bar, above which flat screen t.v.s are mounted.  I normally detest a restaurant with televisions, but on this night the Golden Globes were playing, and I was happy to be able to watch.  Also, the fanfare on the set was

 more attractive than the odd dining room, a stark rectangle that lives up to its diner reputation, in a somewhat geriatric, cafeteria-like sense.  The darkness outside helped soften the bleak room, along with glimmering, multi-colored votives tabletop that helped immensely.

Originally, I knew that Pichet Ong had a hand in this place, but also that he had recently busied opening up Qi Restaurant in Times Square, so I wasn't sure he still had anything to with this place.  Had I known, I would've just ordered dessert.  Coppelia bills itself a Latin-style diner, and I guess that pretty much sums it up.  The food is pretty straight-forward, so opting for a chile relleno, opting for
chile relleno seemed safe enough.  I nixed the rice-and-beans in favor of double brussels sprouts, since it was already stuffed with quinoa.  I didn't think I needed that much starch (, and I don't need to explain the brussels sprouts thing further.  Unfortunately, maybe there was a reason for the rice.  The blackish pepper, thin-skinned and a little leathery... err, no-  make that vinyl-y- encased a melange of cubed vegetables bound by the quinoa, and was surrounded by a moat of thin tomato sauce.  I can't fault them for false advertising: the menu specifically stated "thin tomato sauce", and that it most certainly was.  Brothy and not particularly flavorful, it floated about the pepper without too much purpose but for a nice, vermillion hue and imparting its mild flavor to the otherwise lackluster stuffing.  I have to wonder if the original

 plating of the dish would've sequestered the brussels sprouts as a separate dish as mine were, because as such they had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the relleno.   The sprouts, themselves, were all right, at best.  Lightly steamed and then given a little roast, tossed with red onion and doused in a shroud of flavorless queso fresco that sort of clumped and wadded among the luke-warm sprouts: I've made better myself on an off day.

The other dish we tried was a plate of Nachos.  Now, sure, why order nachos at all, ever... but especially in a place that's not really Mexican.  So whatever, the chips are nice and puffy-crisp, crowned in guac and a generous drizzle of crema, Underneath nuzzles a pasty smudge of black beans and chopped short ribs, indiscernible from one another in the homologous puree.

Any of these dishes, had I been eating at say, Chili's, I would be pleasantly relieved to have received.  But at a place with Julian Medina, a recognizable chef, it was sheer disappointment.  That said, I have never had a good experience at any of his restaurants, truth be told.  If there's one chef I have unfortunately no trust in following, it might be this guy.  What I've sampled of his cooking is not necessarily bad, it's just totally underwhelming.  Which belies his reputation, as he really does (aside from me) have quite a following.  If he can live up to it, I've yet to experience him at his best.. or even his medium.  I was, in fact, so disillusioned by the food that I didn't really feel like risking dessert, which is probably a pity, because given the reviews ( and I trust Pichet!), dessert's probably the best part.  We missed enticing concoctions like guava-strawberry velvet cake or a vanilla flan with coconut and mango.  And maybe most intriguing, the Spiked Milkshakes, creating adults-only tipples like Pisco Porton with creamy, cinnamon-inflected condensed milk ice cream, or rum with dulce de leche, coconut and a sprinkle of Maldon.  For these, I might put that 24 hour perk to use: milkshakes like these combine the dessert and the disco in one fell swoop.

207 West 14th Street


Cannibalism is a heroic feat- as it refers to dining at The Cannibal, at least.  Talented chef Francis Derby has long been my enticement for dining here, let alone the sheer novelty of eating somewhere with such a name.  A part of the Resto family, The Cannibal considers itself a Belgian gastropub, very beer- and meat-focused, but the foundation of the restaurant just circulates around great, sturdy food that does, in fact, pair well with suds.   Sourcing is paramount here, gleaning the finest from premium global purveyors or the adamantly local (much is made in-house) and seasonal.    That said, with the amount of curing and pickling going on here, they can get away with a huge variety that grants the menu spectral appeal.

It was a strange welcome we received upon our arrival to The Cannibal, as the room was absolutely bereft of diners on the early-ish side of a Sunday morning- a frigidly blustery winter one at that.  The only staffer visible sort of beckoned us to sit where ever we liked, but I knew they had a "covered, heated, and ... very bike friendly" garden (according to their website), but our waiter apparently wasn't quite friendly enough to heat it up and let us sit there.  He begrudgingly uttered it was possible, sure, but didn't seem very enthusiastic to say the least.  In retrospect, it would have been a little excessive to heat up that entire space for just the three of us, but it seemed a slightly awkward, chilly reception, given the advertisement on their homepage.  But once we sat, the vibe eased up immensely, our server warmed up to us as we did with in the cozy dining room, and additional diners began to trickle into the room, which ended up reaching full capacity.  Enough, I'm sure, that they did eventually fire up that garden.

As would seem prudent at a place called The Cannibal, we began with a salumi board, piled high with a selection of three artisanal hams chosen by the house.  They ranged in smokiness and moistness, and it was fun to compare their differences, alongside bites of a hulking, crusty biscuit with local honey to drizzle.  I can't imagine tackling this alone, but with two hungry teammates we made a dent (with still some left over for a plentiful doggy bag).  

After all that charcuterie, we reasonably opted for some greenery, and a heaping pile of mild arugula filled just that bill.  Diaphanous slices of pickled turnips leaned in to constrain the wild tangle, and crunchy roasted hazelnuts compounded the nuttiness of a sherried beurre noisette vinaigrette.   

A favorite on the menu is the country biscuits and gravy.  It wasn't really redundant to get more biscuit after the salumi board (I mean, honestly, can there ever be too much biscuit??), because between the three of us, there wasn't a crumb of that one left.  And this time, a
mild cream gravy smothered them beyond recognition of the crumbly, cakey marvels
that they were.   The silky gravy was pleasantly mellifluous, until you bit into a substantial chunk of pork sausage within, spotlighting the full savory, spiciness of the meat.   Down to the last crumb, the gravy retained its extraordinary silkiness, rather than succumbing to that gelatinous weirdness so chronic of white sauces of its ilk.   It came with a nice little heap of arugula itself, leaving more of that great arugula and turnip salad to the rest of us.

If there's anything lacking from The Cannibal, it's a surfeit of vegetable matter.  While the veggies that be are expertly prepared and perfectly wonderful, they are scant in proportion to meat and starch, although perhaps that makes more sense than not at a place called The Cannibal.  Although technically speaking, it is named after a Belgian cyclist named Eddie Merckx, who shared the eponym, not the it's-not-right-to-eat-your-own-kind interpretation.   I guess a Grand Tour cyclist's focus would be on energy, though, so still the heartiness of foodstuffs is the recurring theme.  I still couldn't resist seeking out the produce, here made even more precious by its paucity.  A handful of juicy, mild radishes were plopped into a chunky sauce gribiche, actually more of a loose egg salad than a sauce, sporting chunks of boiled egg in a zesty, smokey cream.  As described, the other options from Vegetables & Sides seemed a bit twee: a single slice of Japanese eggplant draped in lardo for $12?  Fearing disappointment, I went with the ingredient that
never lets me down:  my brussels sprouts, here shaved underneath a poached egg and tossed with country ham gremolata.  Although I obviously should've known the egg was going to dominate, and that the sprouts barely nudged their way past the chunky, bacony gremolata, it was still a delectable little dish. I still can't quite determine what differentiates the Brunch options from the Small Plates, given the diminutive size of this egg dish that wasn't designated "Small", but most certainly was.    What it lacked in size, it made up for in flavor, as well as three crusty slices of superbly fresh, chewy bread accompanying, lightly toasted and slicked with oil.  There weren't any desserts listed on the menu, nor was there any room left in my stomach to even tinker with that idea.    Quite possibly the best Stumptown coffee being brewed in New York is served here, and my uber-caffeinated inability to turn down another cup more than compensated for any lack of sugar rush.  And the cocktails: as impeccable as their coffee, The Cannibal serves a devastatingly good bloody mary, zesty and potent.

The aftermath of our repast speaks realms: besides some surplus ham, plates were virtually licked clean.  And that is fairly respectable behavior for a cannibal.

113 East 29th St


Friday, January 24, 2014

OSTERIA DI CIRCO: Sagra del Bollito Misto

To be sure,  my meal of choice would not normally be an assortment of boiled meat, but as the temperatures plummeted, these types of things become more and more appealing.  So on a (literally) frigid midwinter's night, under clear skies but a penetrating, single-digit chill, the Sagra del Bollito Misto held at the famous Osteria di Circo beckoned with undeniable belly-warming appeal.  A New York institution since 1996, Circo is the festive little sibling of world-reknowned Le Cirque.  Its playful decor and less formal atmosphere retain the grace and elegance for which the Maccioni family is famous, but imparts a festivity not only ambiance but in the menu itself.  Thus, this celebration of the classic Tuscan recipe, steeped in authenticity, comes just at the right time (the sagra, or festival, will be offered through the end of the month, at a thrillingly reasonable $49 per person, excluding tax and gratuity).

True to the  abundance typical of dining care of the  Maccioni family,  the Bollito wasn't the only course enjoyed.  You'll start with a bounty of affettati, featuring a hauntingly gamey Culatello di Zibello (the premier producer of this precious ham) and smooth house-made mortadella: both so tender and thinly-sliced so as to render chewing almost unnecessary.  Crumbly chunks of pungent grana paired exceptionally well with salty panzerotti, some fried to a satisfying crunch and others with a bit more doughy chew (I preferred the latter, where the flavor of the quality pasto came through).  Little pickles and candied fruit adorn the plate and impart festivity, as did the

 brilliant Lambrusco we enjoyed.  Jubilantly effervescent, this versatile wine would hold up as well against the summer's
 punishing humidity as it did to the
 sturdy winter fare, like the Tortellini Mamma Egi, Senora Egidiana's famous recipe of Lilliputian meat-filled tortellini bathing in a delicate, nourishing broth.

Tiny as they were, those tortellini didn't interfere with a pasta course, and this one was exceptional.  Floppy, oversize cappellacci were filled with a earthy, sweet puree of squash and topped with roasted cubes of more of the same, lubricated with nutty brown butter whose richness was cut by a zesty saba wine reduction, topped with crisp leaves of fried sage.    I wouldn't have argued with a larger portion of this delectable dish, but it's restrained size left room for the main affair.   Wide bowls soon arrived donning the anticipated bollito, a family recipe from Mamma Egi that blends her Tuscan and Bolognese heritage.  My favorite bites included morsels of the tender, salty chicken sausage: somewhat reminiscent of Spam (don't giggle), but in the best possible way.  A hulking knob of beef shank co-mingled with lean chicken breast, and a fatty, savory puck of cotechino.  Now, this dish, in and of itself, is hearty and substantial, but the real treat is the array of condiments provided to personalize and festoon each bite.  Frankly, without them, the broth lacked the voluptuousness that would've carried the dish without them.
  Like an Indian thali, small crocks of sauces and garnitures make up for any deficit: tiny cubes of candied citrus; a rustic whole-grain mustard; flaky, shimmering crystals of sea salt; a zesty Tuscan tomato sauce and (best of all) a
 snappy salsa verde rife with fresh herbs, minced pickles, flecks of chili bound in verdant olive oil.  Dollops of these condiments, especially the latter two, would make shoe leather taste grand.  Luckily, it had not so much work cut out for it.

Finally, we were bequeathed a lovely assortment of homemade biscotti, imbued with all the nostalgically Italian flavors: anisette, amaretto, hazelnut, along with intense fruit gelees.   And while gilding the lily a bit after all the hearty fare, a wine poached pear in an ethereally foamy zabaglione was one of my favorite courses.  The tender pear was lush and pert, swimming in the lush creaminess sprinkled with toasty browned sugar.  Alongside a tiny cup of expertly drawn espresso, it was a grand finale.  Grand, a quality that I've come to expect from anything with the Maccioni signature.

212.265.3636 | 120 West 55th St New York, NY 10019 |

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


There's a bit of a party going on at Pig & Khao.  This is definite asset, 'cause if I'm going to schlep all the way down to the far reaches of the LES, I not only want a meal, I want a great one, and a little entertainment thrown in on the side.  Which is precisely what they have going on at P&K.  We sat comfortably upon tall stools abutting the open kitchen counter: this way, we got a really good look at what was going on here.   Which is a lot of profoundly delicious food.  And this, truth be told, is almost disconcerting, given the jubilance and hijinks going on in front of the stove.  The quartet of cooks looked like they were having far too much fun to be putting out food this good.

A little line-up of tchotchkes between the counter and the kitchen adds to the playfulness, and made for good conversation pieces alongside perusing the menu.  I need to remember to bring them something funny to add to the collection if and when I ever make it back there.  I think my personal favorites were the humping crocodiles, but a miniature disco ball is never a bad addition to any party.  But the menu itself is almost stimulating enough, for as unfamiliar as I am with Filipino cuisine, almost every dish had some curious appeal.  Now, I can't speak at all for authenticity of flavor, but P&K does bill itself as Filipino inspired , so it may not be fundamentally true to its origins.  But of no matter.  Chef Leah Cohen does this food,

HER food (be it Filipino or pan-Southeast Asian or what have you) some serious justice.  The flavors are bold, sometimes brash, with shocks of chile and lingering funk.  A clay cup of fermented cabbage arrived first, just this side of tender, ensconcing minute zephyrs of brilliantly fiery chilis with unpredictable frequency, but an unfailing vegetal burn.  We didn't get the baby back ribs that got to call Asian slaw its garnish, but it looked so good on the pass that we requested it anyways.  They provided it unhesitatingly, and it was so worth asking for (although the ribs looked pretty spectacular themselves).   But actually, its raw, mild crunch was delicious on its own, and laudably well-behaved when mixed with its fermented brethren, as well, creating a twice off-menu treat that I'd actually recommend. 

Cod in a banana leaf was dense and flavorful, and although the thick coconut muddied the exterior in a somewhat sludgy manner, it imparted a balancing sweetness to the mild fish, which was stuffed with slew of curried peppers and aromatics, and sprinkled with whole cilantro leaves.  Speaking of curry, the mussels swam in a deep, fragrant curry coconut broth, brightened with pineapple and shreds of thai basil.  The mussels themselves were perhaps the best mollusks I have a had, nary a downer in the bunch, clean, sweet and tender, and
almost as buxomly plump as the bronzed fried mantao buns that floated amongst them.  Those buns were yeasty and sturdy, their steaming crumb chewy and pliant- just begging to soak up the richly perfumed broth.   And although we had no cow, we did have pig.  I loved the pork jowl with brussels sprouts, too.  Well, I loved the brussels sprouts: I had imagined pork jowl to be like pork cheeks, but it is more like lardo, big, gelatinous flaps that ombre into a tiny border of tender pink meat.  The flavor it helped impart to the brussels, though, was extraordinary.  Along with the funk of fish sauce, toasty puffed rice and a smattering if fresh cilantro it channeled Momofuku's exceptional sprouts in that how-does-that-combination-end-up-tasting-like-Nacho Cheese Doritos kind of way:  zesty and salty and habit-forming.  I kept meaning to stop eating them but then there were still some left... until then there weren't.  But they remain forever etched in my memory.

Finally, we bypassed dessert because I was dining with a borderline-diabetic.  Little did I know what I was missing out on.  While I could easily have bypassed the sauteed banana with salted caramel and chocolate, missing that halo-halo is gonna haunt me.  It looked like a whimsical Candy Land on ice- like a sno-cone gone ballistic.  A psychedelic dollop of fluorescent ube ice cream trickled its fruity purpleness into a mound of shaved ice and eggy cubes of leche  flan,  flecked with young coconut and toasted rice flakes.  A classic Filipino dessert, it looked crazy and fancy and festive and delicious. which would be THE perfect finale for a meal at Pig & Khao.

      68 Clinton St      Phone: 212-920-4485

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Diversion/PDX: AVA GENES

It may be the mark of a great restaurant that even after should've-known-better-ordering a wholly unsatisfying meal for one's self, that you can still soundly profess its competency of.  That,  a year full of raves from the press, and the glimpses and bites from neighboring plates.  Plus perhaps most telling of all, being seated at the counter overlooking the open kitchen, mesmerizing smells and swirls of sauces titillating every sense organ to the extreme, all but for my own, lowly, remorseful tongue.

Ava Gene's is warm, rustic, cabin-y in signature Duane Sorenson style.  He is the owner/restaurateur in charge of this place, Woodsman Tavern and the Stumptown Coffee Empire: in short, my idol.  Chef Josh McFadden wasn't in the kitchen that night, but his enormous talent beams through in the Pacific Northwest interpretation of classic Roman cuisine.  The menu isn't enormous, but it is formatted into a diverse sections that accomodate pretty much any desired dining approach, from alcohol-cushioning snackettes, picnicky salads and charcuterie, shareable family feasts or extravagant multi-course menus.  We began with a fennel, pear and apple salad, bright and fresh despite an excess of dressing, whose funky Roman condiment colatura  gave it enough zippy salinity that it needn't have been applied so profusely.  Crunchy pangrattato crowned the crisp produce, easily robust and voluminous enough to share, on both counts.   Alternatively, there are an array of pane, hulking toasts
The last quarter of borlotti bean pane
 with an array of toppings ranging from a mere drizzle of olive oil, to pork liver "a la Nashville", adorned with quince mostarda and chocolate.   A version with pudgy borlotti beans anchored themselves in a creamy, garlicky smear, the crostino easily big enough to quarter and share.

Salumi, Formaggi and Fritti round out the starters section of the menu, along with a myriad of Giardini, which are priced singularly or in combinations of three or four as samplers.  Contrary to what I expected, however, I think the selection is intended as a side or starter to share, as opposed to a type of vegetable main dish.  I would've enjoyed any of my choices immensely as salads, truly, but as a main course, in the thick of December, they translated as disappointingly rabbity.  They were served in a trio of individual wooden bowls, further emphasizing their individuality.  I limped through the chilled, blanched broccoli in a creamy sauce studded with hazelnuts and persimmons; a julienne of raw beets and carrots sweetened with golden raisins; and a rustic slaw of farro, shredded, raw brussels sprouts and some scant fronds of hedgehog mushrooms, all the while temped to reach through the pass and throw them on to the blazing wood burning grill, from which was emerging tantalizing roasts and steaks and juicy breasts of duck and goose, a Flinstonian T-Bone
Duck in Progress...
... and finished.
and worst of all, the succulent filet of black cod with chanterelles, which
god-only-knows-why I didn't order, except that I was lured by those damned brussels... those disappointingly unroasted crucifers that really only performed in an herb-like supporting role to the farro.  Alas.  Has I been dining with more patient co-eaters I might've gone ahead and ordered it midway, but with the company I was in, I sucked it up and pacified my chagrin with stolen bites of their exceptional pastas.

 Of these, fat mezzi rigatoni loomed about crumbles of succulent ground pork and salty ceci, cut with mild braised leaves of escarole, still gently bitter.   A savory lamb neck ragu sweetened with tender chunks of roasted butternut squash danced with chewy cavatelli under a saline shroud of crumbled ricotta salata. Perfectly wonderful plates of noodles.  Still... that cod haunts me.  I long to discover what were those unctuous dollops of tawny cream dispersed among the forest of golden mushrooms, perhaps sided it with the mysterious misticanza of sauteed greens, and experienced what a lady Ava Gene's really is.    

Instead, I have to rely on my intuition- and by the goodness of the restaurant that sort of seeps into your soul in an osmotic fashion.   Despite having experienced Ava far beneath her potential due to my own silly ordering, I would (and will) return here in a big, lusty, passionate, soulful heartbeat.

3377 SE DIVISION ST. PORTLAND971.229.0571

Friday, January 10, 2014

Best of 2013/RESTAURANTS

In no particular order:

1.  Pearl & Ash
2.  The Elm
3.   Betony
4.  Carbone
5.  Alder
6.  Salinas
7.  Mission Cantina
8.   Le Philosophe
9.  Lafayette

Proud to say that half of mine correspond with Pete's:  NY Times Best of 2013

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best of 2013/DISHES

To the best of my memory, these were some of the highlight dishes I experienced in 2013.  I hope I didn't leave anyone out, but, at least, these ten should be applauded.

1.  Grouper in a Gruner Sauce from The Marrow
2.  Sauteed Wild Mushrooms from Carbone
3.  Coles y Coliflor from Salinas
4.  Skate, chermoula, cauliflower, leeks from Pearl & Ash
5.  Dover sole with Tamarind Brown Butter from Le Bernardin
6.  Cornbread sundae from Odd Fellows Ice Cream Shoppe
7.  Huevos Revueltos with Smoked Trout from Alder
8.  Garden: Vegetables and Fruits en Cocotte from The Elm
9.  Short Rib tacos at ABC Cocina
10.  Soft Scrambled Eggs at Mission Cantina


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Diversion/PDX: LINCOLN

Jenn Louis cooks a lot bigger than her delicate, diminutive stature might foretell.  Maybe she chose the name of the imposing, six foot six inch president to indicate the big flavors she's dynamoing out of the kitchen, but whatever the reason, the food at Lincoln is lusty and honest- I guess a bit like Abe himself.

Lincoln is situated in North Portland, where Presidential street names are hallmark- another possible derivation.  Its menu is similarly fixated on locality: Louis is notorious for fanatically sourcing the best of seasonal and local fodder, and the menu celebrates it as enthusiastically as the atmosphere is festive.  There's a healthy din, but it is not raucous.  The waitstaff is as charming as they could possibly be, and as attractive as they are on their toes.

And we were a handful, a hungry party of six, celebrating Christmas Eve.  The menu reaches into lesser known comestibles along with more familiar ones, so there is ample opportunity to try novel items as well as tweaked traditionals.  Louis seems to like to turn proportions on their head, like the deliciously coarse pesto that accompanies the artisanal bread (on request), featuring a rough chop of chunky nuts anointed with honey and oil and just a hint of herbs, disproportionate to the original.  Similarly, a raw salad of julienned kohlrabi featured a greater amount of juicy winter citrus than the vegetable, scattered with bitter nibs of cocoa and preserved cherries, most likely put up from a nearby orchard.  The experimental among you can sample the likes of cretons (similar to rillettes), beef tongue or sea urchin.  We played

things a little more safely but to a great end: yeasted polenta fritters were the brilliant results of expert frying, their tender interiors melting away like cotton candy inside shatteringly crisp crusts of greaseless gold.  Teamed up with half-moons of tempura-ed acorn squash and a kicky pimenton aioli, 'tis not for the faint of appetiite, but their deliciousness justifies every last calorie.

Another ample salad updated the classic Caesar with  a toss of radicchio and endive gently swathed in a zesty dressing, and draped in gorgeous, shining jewel-like metallic white anchovies, their briny bite imparting the requisite oceanity.  Grilled octopus was a spherical study: round olives and new potatoes surround one long cylinder of grilled tentacle, plump and rife with beachy char, pickled onions strewn like shore reeds.                                                                      

The only pasta we tried was perhaps too subtle: it is already off the menu when I look back now, but then again, the menu updates daily based on ingredient availability and popularity, so one can't be sure our take was the reason.  The bucatini were perfectly cooked, supple and tender, but the mild crabmeat and slick of butter didn't result in much more than a sum of its parts.

This cannot be said for a plank of roasted sturgeon, wrapped in bacony-crisp ruby prosciutto and sided with firm tarbeis beans, resplendently flavorful and tossed with a colorful aromatics.  Veggies, however, are on a slightly shorter leash, and I ordered a side of braised kale, but
 the bits of apple and sweet glaze rendered it cloying.  Better off sticking to mainstays, and maybe come springtime the produce will emerge more reliably.  Like a beefy ribeye topped with a knob of butter, and sided with lightly poached duck egg (my picture didn't do it justice, so use your imagination).  Similarly, you can't go wrong with Louis' roast chicken leg and shoe string fries.  These frites are inconquerably crisp: we even played "wishbone" with one particularly horseshoe-shaped one, and I got the long end, but I think I shared my luck with everyone who was tableside.

This was most certainly the case with dessert menu, which somehow arrived at our table in its entirety.  For those of us who erroneously thought we just wanted a little taste of something sweet to share amongst the table, the bonanza of pastry just proved us wrong with each forthcoming plate.  From a  simple-but-flawless hot fudge sundae, cold and creamy, to brutti ma buoni, which were
 nothing like the misshapen biscuits with which I was familiar from Italy, but shared their delicate, nutty-meringue component.  Lincoln's is a one big, puffy oversized clod hovering over a dollop of creme fraiche, its crisply melting shell studded with lusty cherries and drizzled with a sweet rosemary-inflected honey.
A dense ginger cake, fudgy in texture and richly spiced, was crowned with a sastruga of ephemeral whipped cream.  Even a cheese plate, usually the last thing I'd order in terms of dessert, balanced a zippy Pecorino inflected with juniper with a variety of fun pairing options, from matchsticks of  julienned apple to honeycomb and toasty walnuts, and a buttery cocoa nib shortbread just this side of savory.  The blue ribbon prize winner, I think, though, was the pain perdu, dense and eggy with a a rich caramelized cider syrup simultaneously buttery and tart.  It had the added bonus of striking an unmistakable resemblence to my mom's decadent German pancakes, which she tops with lemon, butter and powdered sugar, and are the
 breakfast/brunch version of this sumptuous sweet.   Although the coffee wasn't Portland's finest (Stumptown), Ristretto  made a valiant alternate, brewed inky-strong and no short of a necessity after such a repast.  As a grand finale, our charming waiter, Gabriel, brought out a tray of short tumblers, filled with a complimentary dram of a thick, sweet housemade walnut liqueur from a tree growing in Jenn's own backyard.  And yes, by now I'd evolved from calling her Ms. Louis to Jenn: for a restaurant dubbed with a surname, Lincoln has a way of putting you on a first-name basis in no time.

  • 3808 N Williams Portland Oregon 97227
  • Tuesday- Saturday 5:30 to close
  • (503) 288-6200