(late august. number 32.)
When my parents were visiting Portland the week before Christmas last year, I took them to the Skidmore Bluffs on an afternoon where we had a spare hour. As we stood on the precipice, in the unseasonable warm and sunny air, I had the idea to do a sack lunch Secret Restaurant in that very spot. I could see it all, right then- the hazy light, the cold food and beer, a dramatic climax to the summer that was still so far away.
Everyone met and set out picnic blankets under and enormous apple tree. We passed around beverages and then paper bags filled with delectable lunches.
The drink options:
Waves Of Grain Amber Ale
Our home-brewed Amber ale, served up in unusual bottles, decorated with my letterpress labels.
Our frequent guests Amanda & Jordan were married in July, and the whole wedding was festooned with lavender they had harvested out on Sauvie Island. The primary use since has been lavender lemonade. So delicious! So refreshing!
What guests found inside the brown paper sacs:
1. Cucumber Sandwich.
Thick slices of ever-so lightly pickled (w/white wine vinegar and lemon juice) lemon cucumbers.
Thick slice of fresh sheep's milk feta.
Flat leafed Italian parsley.
I made this sumptuous "grandma-style" fresh white bread. Yogurt and lemon thyme added both a soft tanginess and a fresh snap. Dough rolled in butter at different rising stages. So rich and satisfying!
Credit for this sandwich idea must go entirely to the entirely phenomenal food cart called Picnic, located at NE 20th & Everett. I ate something very similar there a few weeks before this event, and couldn't stop thinking about it. Go there & treat yoself.
2. Vegetable Sticks in a Jar
Rainbow chard stalks (S.G.)
Carrots, both Mokum Orange and Purple Haze (S.G.)
Yellow Crookneck Courgettes (S.G.)
French Green Beans (S.G.)
Dressed in a Wild Plum Vinagrete.
Our garden at that moment, blanched briefly, meticulously cut, cooled, dressed, jarred.
3. Sea Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips
White Russian and Lacinato Kales, as well as a few Cauliflower Leaves (all S.G.), dressed in sea salt and apple cider vinegar. Tossed with a single bag of Kettle Sea Salt & Vinegar potato chips, just to sort of love-tap the batch with the original inspiration.
Wouldn't be August and Secret Restaurant Portland without figs. One green, one black mission, straight up.
5. Plum Cake
Made by Aria, the cake was delightfully soft, opened-crumbed whole wheat cake, tangy with plums and crusted with raw sugar.
6. Summer Sorbet
Raspberry, blackberry, and mango sorbet made by Lucas with his fancy Vitamix. So smooth and delicate! Delicious with the cake.
A special shout-out to Peter Schweitzer, a recent addition to our crew of frequent guests. His incredible photos grace the vast majority of this post (all except the prep shots in the middle and the random shot of the beer bottle), and his photos will likely be our primary source whenever he attends our dinners. Cheers to Peter!