Honey and
food and travel

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. 

Friday, 16 June 2017

East One

When a coffee shop opens with your old London post code as its name, nostalgia comes flooding back. Even before we'd tasted the coffee, we were unfairly biased towards loving this place.

While we're not short of coffee options in our Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill neighborhood, a beautifully designed new place, roasting its own beans and frothing creamy milk, is always welcome.

The imposing dark grey building is brightened up with huge windows, and a simple red London post code sign. The coffee roaster itself is displayed in a glass box: we can look, but not touch. There's no underestimating how much of a prized possession this magic machine is!

We stopped in for morning coffee and muffins: on a Saturday it's packed. On the weekdays, you can find a table to sit and work in an idyllic caffeine-fueled, airy space. In the back room, behind the bustling, Nordic-inspired café, you'll find an all-day restaurant. It's next on our list for a proper brunch — malted pancakes with berry compote, mascarpone, and maple syrup can't be ignored for much longer.

East One, 384 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231.

Friday, 2 June 2017

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Two sunny cycle rides.
3. Planning a trip back home.
4. B's cooking.
5. A present from maman.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. Molly's carrot cake looks amazing. Thanks to her for doing all the work to figure out the perfect recipe. And the in-depth info about how she got to her recipe is why I will never be a recipe writer!
2. Science shows that drinking coffee before a workout makes you run faster. Finally my coffee habit has some health-centric foundations!
3. Freya's photos of Senegal are breathtaking. Let's go and explore the world. 

Happy weekend friends!


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Spruceton Inn

When you reach six months of living in New York, the importance of escaping this city suddenly becomes clear. While many people have family or friends in the Hamptons, a house out in the countryside, or some connection to a nearby state, we really don't. We knew nobody in the city when we moved here, so befriending people who don't live just next door has not been a high priority. However, running away from the Big Apple on a regular basis has become a necessity.

So, with no ties to anywhere besides our Boerum Hill home, we're free to explore wherever we like, as long as it can be done in a weekend (time is not on our side). Last summer we headed out to Mattituck, during our first winter we spent a cold weekend in Hudson, every June we go for a run round Shelter Island, we skied and ate waffles in Vermont, and a couple of weeks ago, we retreated to the phone signal-free Catskills.

If you're in need of a NYC detox, aren't scared to temporarily lose connection with the outside world, and love sitting round a campfire, you need to book a trip to Spruceton Inn. Set five miles down a seven mile dead-end road, this ten-room 'motel' is simple, grounding, and, well, perfect. On a wet spring weekend, leafy green trees line the road, the lights glowing in the bar welcome you in after the three hour drive up from the city, and lying in bed listening to the rain sputter on the roof, the stream flow outside, and literally nothing else, is like walking into the biggest, warmest hug.

We spent our evenings cooking simple suppers on the stove in our kitchenette (sadly it was too wet to grill), hiding from the rain, celebrating with Champagne, reading, and wrapping up to head to the campfire to make s'mores. Because you can't spend a weekend in the American countryside and not make s'mores.

Mornings began slowly. Café Grumpy coffee and sprinkle-topped pop tarts can be found in Room One (the bar/reception/breakfast room/shop/chill out zone, where you'll find yourself spending a lot of time). Extra coffee should be taken back to your room to accompany your second breakfast of fresh eggs from the nearby farm and whatever else you bought with you (we recommend a Bien Cuit loaf). And then it's time to get outside.

Both Casey and Stephen, the owners of the inn (and the people whose lives I'd like to steal) will provide you with all the hiking tips, local information, and old Spruceton stories. By the time you've hiked up to the fire tower, you've probably already planned your future Catskills life. And you'll be ready to celebrate these plans with a glass of local cider and some freshly popped corn when you get back down.

Saying goodbye to Spruceton is hard. Despite the rain, the cold, and the lack of grilling, a weekend in this Catskills is peaceful, refreshing, and impossible not to love. If we return in the summer for more grilling and campfire time, I'm pretty sure I'll never leave.

Spruceton Inn, 2080 Spruceton Rd, West Kill, NY 12492.

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