Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Fall In Love With A Gingerbread Man When You Can Have His Cake And Eat It Too?

Boy, Portland really has a plethora of places to eat! This is the second Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurant of our trip; Arleta Library Bakery Cafe. No, it's not a library. Mostly because you can eat and talk as loud as you want. On the door was an OPEN sign; on the other side was an anagram of that word. It said NOPE. I'm so glad the place was open and not nope.

We put our names down at the front counter, waiting for a seat to open up. The place only had six tables that sat four people each; there were two stools at a window seat counter. I wanted a table. The front counter displayed homemade scones and muffins and in the cold case were bottles of Prosecco, for the Prosecco & OJ they had on the menu. The place was full but not chaotic. The cook had dreadlocks.
Juice was served in old jars, coffee in mismatched mugs. Ed's said Susan on it and proclaimed him/her a "winner". Food was served on plates of different sizes, clearly not from the same set.
But the food on those plates. Oh. My. God. I had the Pane Dolce. Their menu lists it as Pearl Bakery brioche, batter dipped and griddle-fried; served with whipped honey butter, organic maple syrup and seasonal fresh fruit. Like any sane person would do, I opted out of the fruit and requested their library fries. What an excellent choice.

When first asked if I wanted ketchup, I declined. But then after breaking open one of those crispy, quartered potatoes, I decided I wanted a little something with it. And boy, am I ever glad I requested ketchup. Because here they make their own ketchup. It was thick like tomato paste and once I tasted it, my mouth was all atwitter with flavor. I detected something, I thought it was clove. Clove?? Yes, I was sure it was clove.

But there was something else...I finally had to ask. I don't think she wanted to give out their "secret recipe" but she did say there was cinnamon, allspice and clove...and then I found a teeny piece of celery. My god, it was delicious. Who would have imagined clove in ketchup? Certainly not me, but I think I might have to make some.

I saved the best for last; Ed's breakfast. He had the special that was on the menu board by the front door. Gingerbread griddle cakes with housemade cinnamon Crème Anglaise and sliced pears. Holy mother of the griddle cake gods! (What is the difference between pancakes and griddle cakes? Is it just a griddle or a pan?) Whatever it is, these were THE BEST GRIDDLE/PAN CAKES I'VE EVER TASTED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. My LIFE, I say.

Mine was good, but Ed's was definitely food from a place unknown to humans. It was ethereal. I felt as if I were transported to another plane and wanted to send my order back and have what Ed was having. I didn't have to though, because Ed loves me and shared; he said I was allowed to have as much as I wanted. I wasn't greedy, but I thought about pulling the plate out from under his fork throughout the entire meal, until his very last bite.

The gingerbread, the Crème Anglaise, the pears. He didn't even use his organic syrup, as nothing could be more pure and organic than this breakfast. This was definitely a place we'd return to. Hole in the wall, yes. But certainly worthy of being brought to the world via Guy Fieri's Triple D.

Now how am I going to swing getting that griddle cake recipe??


Gil said...

I wish that place was in my town and not on the other side of the country!

Nina said...

OMG!! That food looks amazing!!!! My mouth is literally watering reading about it.