I’ve been with Portland for nine years now, which is officially my longest relationship, and I’ll admit that sometimes I lose that lovin’ feeling. Like, every January, pretty much. But last weekend, after Snowpocalypse 2014 forced me to scrap all carefully laid plans and I ended up just wandering around town on foot with my visiting family, eating (because that’s how the Stevensons roll), it was a good reminder of just how deliciously lovable our fair city is.
Although we had stocked the pantry with provisions,
it seemed more fun to go out, so we laced up our Sorels and stuffed throw pillows in our long johns to guard against ice slips. We spent a good portion of our free time bakery hopping, and had three beautiful meals at Accanto, Little Bird, and Xico. Blood oranges and passion fruit were a definite theme. We visited a few city landmarks, drank a lot of tea, had a downtown staycation, and managed to not get run over by the snowplow. It was a ball of a weekend, and I’m officially back in love with Portland, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of which, seeing as Cupid’s big day is nigh, you can easily use this retrospective as a blueprint for an unforgettable V-Day weekend of progressive dining (you know, if one measly little prix fixe dinner on Friday night just isn’t going to adequately express your affection).
How do I love thee, PDX? Let me count the ways…
1. The first night of snowpocalypse, I thought about making soup. But then I also thought about how Accanto was but a few blocks away, and how they would probably have soup, and other things. Like Dungeness crab and grapefruit salad, and roast chicken over panzanella dotted with oysters and apples, and sweet potato gnocchi with hearty shreds of ham hock, and one of the most perfect Meyer lemon sorbets I’ve ever eaten, and a decadent dark chocolate pot de creme smothered with salted caramel. So we went to Accanto, obviously.
2. Little T Baker’s passion fruit cream-filled Paris-Brest heart. Words fail me.
3. Little T’s pineapple cream cheese danish. Again, getting choked up just looking at it.
4. Olympic Provisions’ blood orange and roasted red peppers salad. Best consumed with a glass of sparkling rosé.
5. Craving more blood oranges? Ok, let’s. Little Bird’s rich, fishy mackerel over blood oranges with oil cured olives and creamy fennel vinaigrette.
6. Sweet Little Bird endings–banana tarte tatin with bourbon creme fraiche. Not pictured, but equally revered, the passion fruit pot de creme with vanilla bean tapioca and orange clove mini macarons.
7. Ahhh, is there anyplace quite like Gracie’s glorious, glamorous dining room, inside the equally enchanting Hotel deLuxe? I love breakfasting here–mimosas, German pancakes, more mimosas…
8. The blood orange tart at Ken’s Artisan Bakery is just a life changer. The pastry shell is layered with dark chocolate truffle cream on the bottom, then pastry cream, then the oranges. It’s spectacular. You should go eat one right this second.
9. Speaking of things you need to go eat right this second, another would be Tabor Bread’s chocolate choked buckwheat chocolate chip cookie. Sure, that sticky bun is transcendent too, but my heart belongs to the buckwheat cookie. It’s special.
10. Did you think we were done with blood oranges? We’re not! Xico’s mezcal-dressed blood orange salad is winter bliss. So is the fontina fundido with beef piccadillo, so get them both. Oh and try the ground pumpkin seed salsa with mirin. It’s A++.
11. I talk about this cake a lot, because it’s one of the best desserts in Portland and the world. The famous Xico Woodblock chocolate cake, with passion fruit chile ganache and cinnamon Chantilly cream. If you haven’t had it yet, we can’t be friends until you do. We just can’t.
And that concludes my roundup of the 11 or so things I ate last weekend that renewed my flagging PDX passion.
This charmer didn’t hurt either. You’re awfully cute, Portland.
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