Honey and
a food journal

Monday, 26 June 2017

Tabor Bread

After a super early morning flight, we were greeted at the airport by mum and dad, large coffees, and spectacular muffins. The muffins were from, we were told, this amazing, amazing bakery just round the corner from where we would be staying. The sandwiches we devoured after a snowy hike (pictures to come, promise), were also from this magical bakery. So, obviously, for breakfast the next morning, we headed straight to said bakery.

Tabor Bread is a quiet, unassuming little spot. Wafts of freshly baked bread greet you as you approach, hinting at the wondrous treats inside. They mill their own flours, use local, organic grains, ferment everything for ages with wild yeast, and bake in wood-fired ovens. These kind of descriptors aren't unusual for Portland. Just one of many reasons why we fell in love with the city.

If we'd stayed for longer, I'd have spent a day at a baking class, but, with the four days we had, breakfast and plenty of snacks had to suffice. Rhubarb muffins, cinnamon sugar babka, coconut banana bread, and sweet scones are what mine and maman's dreams are made of. Dark, nutty flours, soft, moist crumbs, and a balance of sweetness from seasonal (obviously) fresh fruit or spiced sugars. The boys, meanwhile, dug into Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches, piled high with bacon, egg, cheddar, and garlic aioli.

We always said that when we move away from were we currently live, one thing we'll miss is Bien Cuit. However, Tabor Bread would be a more than satisfactory substitute.

Tabor Bread, 5051 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Voodoo Doughnut

In my previous job, I wrote an irritatingly long slideshow (irritating to write, publish, and read), naming the best doughnuts in every state. As a British person who'd only recently moved to New York, hadn't traveled much throughout the US, and only had half a day to pull together the list, I was in no position to be writing this piece. Sadly, this publication wasn't so bothered by that, so I wrote it anyway. 

As a consequence, whenever we now travel somewhere new, checking off the top doughnuts I told the country they absolutely had to eat has become a slightly nerve-wracking must-do. So, in Portland, we simply had to visit Voodoo Doughnuts.

I had previously described Voodoo Doughnuts (which, of course, I had never been to or heard of before writing this piece) as: "a quirky stand serving up some of the most off-the-wall creations the doughnut world has ever seen." Well, I wasn't too wrong. In fact, now, having visited, I wholeheartedly agree with myself. Phew. That was lucky. 

On a Monday morning there was, for once, no line outside. We walked straight in, stared at the mesmerizing doughnut carousel, and took a pick of two options of the far too many on offer. Were they the best in the state? I'm still not qualified to say, but they were pretty awesome. The Portland Cream was fluffy, exploding with silky custard, and covered in sickly sweet chocolate (and had adorable eyes on it). B's Dirt Doughnut was a perfect ring doughnut, covered in an amazing pile of smashed Oreos. Fancy schmancy doughnuts these are not. Fun, sweet, uber-American doughnuts these certainly are.

Voodoo Doughnuts, 22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Ava Gene's

We've found our new favorite neighborhood restaurant. Unfortunately it's not in our neighborhood. Or city. Or state. It's a five hour flight away, over in Portland. I'm still not sure what to do about this situation: if a move to Portland were possible, that would be best. Hey, Ava Gene's, fancy moving over to New York, and bringing the Portland lifestyle with you? And maybe some of those mountains too?

Of the four nights we spent in Portland, two were spent at Ava Gene's. This wasn't intentional. But it was a happy accident. By our second visit, we'd befriended the waiter and felt more like locals than we've managed to achieve anywhere other than Van Leeuwen in 2 years in Brooklyn.

When a restaurant tells you that "our story can be told through our pasta," the executive chef has just written a beautiful, uber-seasonal, vegetable-forward cookbook, and it's located in your dream Portland neighborhood, you can be pretty sure you're walking into a great meal. When Bon Appétit won't stop shouting about it, you can be pretty sure it's going to be wonderful. And after the first sip of a Negroni Sbagliato, we were head-over-heels in love.

On both visits we shared as many antipasti, giardini (veggie-centric salady things), and primi (pasta!) as we could manage. All the pasta is milled, rolled, and cut in house. This could lead to the claggiest, most indigestible pasta in the world. Obviously, it doesn't. It makes some of the best.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that we loved every single thing. Huge plates of greens, radishes with tonnato, pane with borlotti beans and rosemary, and bruschetta piled high with favas and English peas filled the table with color and bright flavors. Linguine with clams, Sunday's special sugo, agnolotti pillows which burst like magical candy, and charred spiced chicken combined the most spectacular pasta with the freshest Portland ingredients, and made for four very happy, greedy people.

We'd started dreaming of a future in Portland as soon as we arrived, and Ava Gene's made the return to this big, tough, sweaty East coast city 100% harder.

Ava Gene's, 3377 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Salt and Straw

We came home from a long weekend in Portland less than a month ago. After a few weeks back in NYC it feels like a lifetime ago. They were four very happy days.

Portland is beautifully different from New York: kids play in the street, adults leave work at five, stunning gardens spill onto the road, everyone smiles, people say hello, and you can breathe and laugh and not be looked at as if there's something wrong with you. 

However, it turns out we can't quite shake our New York spirit: we decided to spend a good 30 minutes of this mini break in a New York-style line for ice cream. However, the experience inside — both the ice cream and the service, made it totally worth it.

Salt and Straw has a few locations throughout the city (as well as in LA and SF), and on the hot, sunny weekend we were visiting, they all had a line out the door the entire time. A line of locals and tourists waited patiently, helping each other out to preempt what their order was going to be, and discussing the top flavor combination tips.

When you finally reach the front, an ice cream aficionado will talk you through all the options. We had a student from Johns Hopkins university who greeted us, talked to us about our background, family history, life, trip to Portland, and more, before insisting that we sample every flavor. Only then were we allowed to make a decision. I don't mean to sound negative. This was wonderful. We're simply not used to this obsession with making sure you're happy and getting what you want from a girl who I think could quite possibly be the next President. 

After a long tasting, we settled on different combinations. We found a shaded seat outside to perch on and enjoy the creamy chocolate gooey brownie, cinnamon snickerdoodle, honey and lavender, sea salt with caramel ribbons, and other fab combinations, all balanced in a freshly made waffle cone. And of course this was accompanied by a man and his guitar. This is Portland after all.

Salt and Straw, locations throughout Portland. 
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