In the midst of last week’s intense heat wave, I escaped to cooler points north thanks to a timely work-related trip. As soon as I landed in San Francisco, sunny and 70 degrees, I hopped BART to my hotel, dropped off my baggage, and made a beeline for Craftsman and Wolves to indulge in avant-garde pastries (served with a side of gentrification).
The bakery’s unusual name is a nod to artisans and the “numerous challenges that one faces when pursuing their craft,” according to the website. Craftsman and Wolves’ proprietor, William Werner, was previously the pastry chef at Quince.
The bakery offers an ever-changing selection of breakfast pastries, cakes, confections, confitures, desserts, and savory lunchtime fare.
The best-seller, The Rebel Within (front center), is a savory Asiago and Parmesan cheese muffin flecked with breakfast sausage, black pepper, and chives and filled with an oozy-yolked poached egg.
Not in the mood for a runny yolk this afternoon, I started with a “Savory Tart” topped with tangy fromage blanc, snappy brined beets and turnips, and toasted pistachios ($5.50). My only complaint was that the flaky base was a bit difficult to cut through using the provided butter knife. Otherwise, this pastry was as good as expected.
Continue reading ‘Craftsman and Wolves – San Francisco’
With just 40 hours in Portland, my girlfriends and I managed to cram in 10 solid dining destinations without a hitch. From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, we filled our drizzly days with savories, sweets, and seemingly everything in between. Not to mention lots of walking to balance everything all out, or so we hoped.
While Bakeshop, Blue Star, Pok Pok, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and Salt & Straw delighted me most this trip, these five spots had their charms as well: Pine State Biscuits, Olympic Provisions, Le Pigeon, Nuvrei, and Tasty n Alder. The best of the rest—PDX style:
Pine State Biscuits
Pine State Biscuits launched their kitchen at the Portland Farmers Market in 2006. Even with a brick and mortar location on Belmont Avenue, which opened in 2008, the trio behind the operation continues to lug their stoves to the farmers market each Saturday to feed the hoards of hungry fans.
We dug into “The Reggie,” a fried chicken, bacon, and cheese situation, topped with a whole lot of gravy.
Continue reading ‘Portland Odds & Sods: Pine State Biscuits, Olympic Provisions, Le Pigeon, Nuvrei, Tasty n Alder’
Our second day in Portland was as wet and cold as the first, but we hardly noticed while spending the morning inside Kim Boyce’s warm and fuzzy Bakeshop.
Boyce moved from Los Angeles to Portland in 2010 and opened her retail and wholesale bakery in the northeast part of the city not too long after. Prior to making her mark in the Pacific Northwest, she worked for years at Campanile and Spago in Los Angeles and wrote the James Beard award-winning cookbook, Good to the Grain.
The specialty here is whole grain pastries. It takes a brilliant baker to transform hefty flours like amaranth, barley, and kamut into tender and light baked goods, but Kim Boyce succeeds in creating the loveliest textures and flavors.
Between the four of us gals, we purchased nine goodies to devour. Each one was wholesome and superb.
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The birthday girl usually gets what she wants, but Sunday brunch at Cortez just wasn’t meant to be last week. As we approached the usually bustling scene, we were greeted with dimmed lights, chair-topped tables, and a short but effective note stating that the owners had high-tailed it out of town in celebration of the restaurant’s first anniversary. Congrats to them, too bad for us.
Needless to say, alternative plans had to be made on the spot.
We briefly considered getting down at Guisados or popping into Xoia, but the birthday girl desired sweet nothings and savory somethings from Valerie, so that’s just what we had.
Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman Jr. opened this Echo Park outlet earlier this summer following the launch of their lunch counter inside Downtown’s Grand Central Market.
The food and drink served here is a “less precious” take on traditional afternoon tea. Y’all know how I feel about afternoon tea…
Continue reading ‘Valerie Echo Park – Los Angeles (Echo Park)’