Last weekend, I filled up the Mini and headed down to Portland for a girls’ weekend with my college roommate. After 3 hours on “the 5″ and a pit stop at Subway for a drink, I met up with Jules at the Nike employee store for some serious shopping (on my part). Many tennis skirts and yoga togs later it was time to head out to dinner. After some pondering, we chose The Gilt Club.
At this point it’s only fair to tell you that despite best laid plans, we only managed to break out the camera once all weekend, for the photos in this post. So, I’ll just have to describe the Gilt Club for you because I have no pictures. Imagine entering a swanky bar with 60s style chandeliers and James Bond (Sean Connery of course) playing on the plasma. To the right, a cozy, yet open dining room lined with tall, red leather booths and lighted by gilt covered, curvy chandeliers with lights complete with lamp shades, poking out at improbable angles. We started our meal with a 2006 Jaboulet Beaume de Venise Rouge/Grenache & Syrah, from Rhone. This wine was complex and bold without completely overwhelming our food. I definitely recommend you get your hands on some if you have the opportunity.
Then it was on to the food. First up, steamed manilla clams with merguez sausage, preserved lemons & clam broth, topped with tomato conserve. This dish was everything you hope for in a steamed clam dish - perfectly steamed clams, flavorful broth and oh the tomato! To get our greens in, we each had a salad. Ok, mine didn’t really count as greens, as I ordered the Blood orange and beets with baguette crisps, dill, arugula, chili oil, and crushed pistachios, but still, the intention was there. The salad was deconstructed (so it was not hardy) and the blood orange slices provided a nice tangy contrast to the perfectly roasted beets. I wish I had ordered two . . . But that wish was quickly forgotten when our small plates arrived: Brussels sprouts with house cured bacon & pecans; Rabbit & pork mortadella with toasted pecans & figs and Pork terrine with cornichons, duo of mustards, & frisee. Yum, yum, and yum. Again, wish I had two orders of the crispy roasted brussels sprouts – in fact, just thinking about them makes me want to roast some up tonight.
After dinner we headed to Voodoo Doughnut (I apologize for the bad photo – the iPhone is just not up to nighttime shots) for some serious dessert – a maple cream and maple bar with bacon. Ok, serious dessert for me, because I’m pretty sure Jules only had a single bite of the maple bar with bacon. Doughnuts are not her thing.
The maple bar with bacon was good but could have been improved upon. Instead of adding two tasty crispy strips of bacon, I would crumble that bacon into bits that cover the entire doughnut like sprinkles so you get crispy bacon in every bite – because it pairs really well with the maple frosting (like dipping your bacon in syrup). That said, the taste was solid.
The maple creme was also tasty but . . . with a bizarre surprise in the middle.
Yep, that’s green creme filling. The Maple Creme was delish but I could have lived without the food dye in that gooey, generously stuffed doughnut. If you’re a true fan of Voodoo Doughnut or just into kitsch, they have a line of t-shirts, hoodies and panties – yes, panties – for sale with their logo. As their tagline is “The Magic is in the Hole,” I think I’ll pass on the panties . . .