A Swedish brunch, bee pollen ice cream, Portland’s Le Pigeon + a Tom Robbins bar.
Woke up bright and early today and got my work out of the way, just in time for Ali and Megan to pick Skylar and I up and head out to brunch. I wanted to try Broder Cafe, a small Swedish restaurant that specialises in brunch foods. Two of my best friends in Melbourne are Swedish, so I have grown to love (and now miss!) Swedish food.
Ali picked us up and we drove a few streets over to broder.
Portland is hook-up city alright – they seem to know someone everywhere and this time we got hooked up with a huge tray of Æbleskiver, big fluffy round Danish pancakes with lemon curd, lingonberry jam and maple syrup.
They make ridiculously excellent bloody marys with dill aquavit – topped with house pickled veg.
Ali and I had the baked egg scrambles – I had the hot smoked trout and chevre with walnut toast, and an apple fritter topped with sour cream and syrup.
Megan had the swedish hash, topped with eggs and pickled beets.
Skylar went ‘conventional Swedish’ and had the swedish meatballs with sherry cream and lingonberry jam.
After brunch I head out with my camera to walk around the neighbourhood. I ended up walking for 4.5 hours, through Laurelhurst park and around about three neighbourhoods. Portland is full of so many cute houses – they look so unique here.
The streets are full of cute little boutiques and specialty stores – I found Cosmic Soda Pop and Candy Shop on 34th and Belmont, where they stock over 200 obscure sodas and have a milkshake and soda bar.
Wandering a little further I came across Fifty Licks, one of Portlands artisan ice cream stores. I tried a few flavours, like Jasmine Rice and Pandan, Toasted Marshmallow and Candied yam, before settling on a Jasmine Tea and Apricot topped with bee pollen.
I ended up on Hawthorn, where I met a few people for drinks at Gold Dust Meridian before Skylar and I head out to our dinner reservation.
We were heading to Le Pigeon, one of the top restaurants in the city. Head chef Gabriel Rucker won the James Beard Rising Star, and then a second win as Best Chef Northwest.
My camera is so used to taking food photos I couldn’t focus on Skylar, it just focused on the restaurant. I’ve trained it well!
Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t flash hot, as is typical in fancy restaurants, so please excuse the terrible photographs.
We started with two appetizers that literally blew our minds.
The seared foie gras, smoked sable, latkes, trout roe and maple creme fraiche was exquisite. While there were a number of bold flavours in the dish, we agreed that they combined so perfectly that they added up to one ridiculously amazing flavour – it was hard to distinguish individual flavours as they all blended like they were created to go together.
Our second appetizer was equally mindblowing – eel pie topped with broccoli ice cream, radish, grilled broccoli and broccoli pesto. The pastry was stunning – delicate, buttery and rich it provided a beautiful textural contrast to the oily, rich eel filling. The almost sweet cold bite of the quickly melting ice cream actually toned down the richness of the pie.
Next we went for the King Salmon special, with kaffir lime hollandaise and lobster; and the duck with lentils, date mole and carrots.
Dessert was a pineapple coconut napoleon with goats cheese, goji berry, macadamia nut and a crisp ginger sorbet.
After over 2 hours of dining we went back to meet some people at one of the coolest bars around, Roadside Attraction. I loved the place already due to its open pit fire, bench swing, and alcoves where you could sit surrounded by candles and knick-knacks. But after I heard that it was named after a Tom Robbins novel, I was sold. As my favourite author who is completely obscure in Australia, I loved it even more.
We finished up at Vincenti’s, a cliched sitcom hangout neighbourhood italian joint with booths, pizza, and a few stragglers sitting at the bar when we got there at 11PM. After a wine or a whisky or beer, we head back home – recharging for day 3.