Tag Archives: rabbit

Honeymoon: Portland, OR – Le Pigeon

19 Jul

One more round of applause for Mike for his restaurant research for our honeymoon. Our last night in Portland (after an awesome whirlwind drive along the Oregonian coast) brought us to Le Pigeon, whose chef won best chef of the Northwest from James Beard this year. Mike had read about him in Food & Wine and they were getting a good amount of buzz.

Le Pigeon had an open kitchen and I was envious of those around the bar who had a great view of the action.  (We were in the center of a 6 top communal table, but neither of the other 2 couples were very social, so we just observed their reactions to the dishes, made fun of the ridiculous date going on beside us, and enjoyed the food).



Here was the menu for the week:


DSCF1844 DSCF1845

And the specials of the day.


We opted for the Five Courses where the chef selected what would come out (though I made a special request for the beef cheek bourguignon to be included since that seemed right up my alley).

We decided NOT to do the wine pairings after our delicious yet unfortunately over-indulgence at Kingdom of Roosevelt.

Our meal started with the trout lox which came with raspberries, fennel, crème fraîche, and roe.  This was delightful.  A great, light entry into the meal and the raspberries tasted like they were grown especially to be paired with trout lox for the rest of time.


Everything was so insanely fresh.


Our next dish was grilled pork belly with peas and carrots, and strawberry jam.


This was cooked very well and the sauce went marvelously with the pork belly.  It was a hearty portion too.


Then we were served the braised rabbit (rabbit again!) which came with shells and cheese, truffle vinaigrette and crispy spring onions. Once again, we really enjoyed the rabbit here.  Everything went so well together and the rabbit was enhanced by the creamy shells and cheese, truffle, and the crispy of the fried onions.


And then came the beef cheek bourguignon. (Apologies for the dark photos… I tried to bring over the candles but it got quite dark in there).  This was packed with flavor.  There was richness from the meat (which was as tender as could be but still a bit of char on the outside) over a potato puree which may or may not have had pears in it (Mike thinks he heard that, I don’t recall).


On the side there was a roasted root vegetable (maybe parsnip) that we very much enjoyed.


And then came dessert: Foie gras profiteroles (yes, seriously) with caramel sauce and sea salt.  This was a masterpiece.  On the side was a roasted (?) fruit dish in a white chocolate cup.


The profiterole was incredible. The foie gras somehow totally worked with the sweet and it didn’t seem at all weird to be a dessert the moment you tasted it.


And then they came out with one last bite, a “spicy” chocolate.  I asked the waitress what kind of spice and she immediately said not to eat it and gave them both to Mike.


And brought me out a most perfect dark chocolate cookies (which I believe had some salt on it) and was a perfect final bite.


When we walked away from our meal at Le Pigeon, we were raving.  It was only a few weeks ago, but I really remember loving it.  Incredibly, however, when stacked up against the delicious and well served meal we had at Canlis and the original and fun meal we had at Kingdom of Roosevelt, it falls ever so slightly behind.  But that is not to say it wasn’t an incredible meal. It was just in very competitive company.

I’m very glad we tried it and I highly recommend it.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

nomscale- 08.0


Honeymoon: Portland, OR – Kingdom of Roosevelt

17 Jul

Mike did a lot of great restaurant research for our Honeymoon, and one place he was excited to try was Kingdom of Roosevelt. He read about them, yet again, in our great resource for all things dining out: Eater Heat Map. The description mentioned that the menu “features an adventurous, foraged menu teeming with game animals. Vegans need not apply, but rich flavors abound.”

Once again… sold!

The place is pretty far out of town and the cab driver wasn’t quite sure how to get us there. But GPS prevailed and we found our way to this hip version of a hunting lodge (check out the antler chandelier).



And the fox and game bird.



And the table stands.



Even though we had been drinking at craft breweries with some friends all afternoon, we (stupidly yet gleefully) opted for the wine pairing along with the 6 course menu. Apologies in advance for the slowly degrading story through this meal as we got drunker and drunker.  This was not our finest hour, but thank goodness I took notes!

We started with “bread and fat” which was local bread along with duck fat that had potato and herbs in it.  Awesome.


Next up we had oysters, which were Netarts Bay oysters with mignonette sauce and microgreens.   (We actually wound up at Netarts Bay the following day when we went to see the coast… loving local)


The greens and sauce were complimentary without overpowering the delicate oyster flavor.


And the shells were absolutely beautiful.


It was paired with a wine that was from Southern Oregon. I believe it was called an Albariño. Great pairing.

Our next course was beet cured Chinoock salmon with pickled beets, steelhead roe, yogurt and a bit of fresh horseradish.  The horseradish was not at all overpowering (which I usually find it even in small doses) and it all went very well together.  The beets were cut into different sizes (shaved, quartered, and cubed) which led to a differentiation in textures and mouth feel. Very nice.


The wine pairing was a Rose Pinto Noir from the Patton Valley. This went very well with the salty roe, sweet beets, and salmon and brought out new flavors in both the dish and the wine when paired together.

Our next dish was confit (!) rabbit with an asparagus puree and veggies (asparagus, carrots, radish).  This dish made me finally “get” rabbit. We’ve had it before (a few times actually in different forms: ragu, terrine, terrine sampler, and braised) and were underwhelmed.


But this was different. I didn’t know rabbit could taste that good.


And it was paired with a gruner veltliner from Johan Vineyards.  It was a bit heavier than the gruner veltliner we have had in the past and, again, paired incredibly well with the rabbit, each bringing out flavors in each other that enhanced the dish overall.

Up next was quail stewed with morels, allium, acorn dumplings, and quail egg.  The acorn dumplings were a lot like gnocchi and I loved the earthy flavor.


I was picking quail feet out of my teeth… and enjoying it.  I wanted to suck every morsel of quail off of that leg I could.  This dish was just great.  We asked for more bread just to be able to lap up the sauce.


It was paired with a sour ale, which, again, was great.  They told us it came from a brewery in Southern California and was a wheat beer that was barrel aged to have a sour finish.  This dish tasted like it was made for this beer.

Our final dish was wood pigeon liver custard.  It was topped with elderflower jelly, pickled huckleberry, and lettuce.  I am very sad that I had overdone it as much as I had at this moment and have very little recollection of this amazing part of the meal, but I did write myself one very telling note, all in caps: “WHY IS PIGEON LIVER SO GOOD??????”

I guess that says it all.



This was paired with a dry hopped cider from Square Mile Cider Co.  I forgot to write down what we thought of it, but I trust it was as good as the rest of the pairings.

Our final dish (surprisingly not a dessert, those are separate from the Tasting Menus) was deer saddle wrapped in lettuce with birch syrup baked beans and porcini syrup with mustard seed.  You will notice something missing from this review… I have no idea how I managed to take pictures of every last thing (including the candles, the water bottle, the floor… which I didn’t include since they were simply boring photos) but not this last dish.  I have a feeling that the amount of alcohol I had up until this point was the reason.  I wrote down that we loved the baked bean texture and that it was paired with an Omero Pinot Noir, but sadly, the rest is lost.

At this point… I’m not going to lie… things were very blurry.  I had far too many beers before starting on this adventure and while these pairings were some of the best I ever had, my head was swirling.  I did have the wherewithal to note 2 more things, however:

1- The soundtrack at this restaurant was fantastic

2- How on earth was this amazing restaurant empty?

This was the only time I really overdid it on the honeymoon, and it was not a pleasant experience, but the meal was worth every uncomfortable moment.

I am still shocked that this place wasn’t packed.  Sure, it’s on the outskirts, and sure “game meat” is a scary thing, but this was so damn good and so damn different than I can’t imagine why a place like Portland wouldn’t be all over it. I’m pretty sure it’s only a few months old, so I’m going to assume that the reason is that this is a well kept secret, but I highly recommend that you head to the outskirts and try some amazing, flavorful, incredibly paired, and well cooked dishes that you have never had anywhere else.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5


Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant The Marrow: Opening Night

22 Dec

I had been reading about the opening of The Marrow, Harold Dieterle‘s newest restaurant after the success of his other NYC spots, Perilla and Kin Shop.  Mike and I actually visited Perilla very early in our relationship, and it was one of the first “celebrity chef” restaurants we went to. He was excited to take me there after watching Chef Harold win Top Chef Season 1, and I had not yet started watching the wonder that is Top Chef (like I said, it was early!)  After that, I started watching the show and we soon found ourselves to be the Top Chef sluts that we now are.

I really loved our meal at Perilla, and we keep talking about how we need to visit Kin Shop (though I’m nervous it may be tough with my allergy to enjoy the way it’s meant to be enjoyed).  I was very excited about this opening and was hoping we could find a reservation sometime in the next 2 weeks during the holiday. Mike called and was told that, unfortunately, they were closed on Christmas Eve but they had an opening THAT NIGHT at 8:30.  So we excitedly went to opening night.

When we go to an opening night, or even opening month, I always feel a little bad reviewing the restaurant. I am fascinated by what it takes to open a restaurant (as you know from the “A Restaurant is Born” section) and know that it must be so hard to get to Opening Night.  There are bound to be kinks and issues with service, food, and just about everything else. But it is also fun to get a first peak into something so special.

We arrived a bit early, and the hostesses seemed a bit nervous that they didn’t immediately have a spot for us. They had us wait a bit and then recommended we go to the bar.  The bar is quite small, and the table next to it leaves very little room to stand. We had to keep moving around to allow the servers to get through with food. If (or rather, WHEN) this restaurant gets packed, it will be tough to keep chairs at the table by the bar.  But that was probably the worst kink we saw all night. That, alone, is impressive.

The cocktail list had a good amount of drinks that sounded great but were like nothing I had ever heard. I ordered the Miss Roberts’ Cobbler (cognac, red jacket cider, apple butter, pimento dram) and Mike got the Oh Tannenbaum (pine infused gin, clear creek douglas fir eau de vie, lavender and lime).  I really enjoyed mine, especially the apple butter taste. Mike wasn’t as crazy about his, but it was interesting.


As soon as our drinks were in hand, our table was ready.  I sat along the window with a perfect view into the kitchen, which was left open with a window of its own for kitchen voyeurs just like me.


The restaurant itself is kind of small but you only notice when people try to pass each other in between the tables. The ceilings are high and it uses light wood beams and some vintage style wallpaper in a simple style.  A nice aesthetic. 


When we read the menu, I was concerned. There were just too many things I wanted to try!  (Tough life… I know)  The full menu is at the end of this post if you’re curious (since I haven’t found it posted yet).  The menu was split up in a really neat way. Since the theme of the restaurant draws from the chef’s German and Italian heritage, the menu was split in two for his two families.

We decided to try one item from the Meat Plates section, one from each side of the Starters (one for each family), and an entree.

From the Meat Plates section, we got the Kobe Short Rib Crudo with aged anchovy extract.  It was a nice, delicate flavor and the anchovy added a wonderful salt flavor. It didn’t blow me away, but I’m glad we tried it.


Next, from the Famiglia Chiarelli section, we tried the bone marrow, which came with sea urchin, fried potatoes, meyer lemon aioli and baby celery greens.  We really loved this. The bone marrow and sea urchin went surprisingly well together, with that similar texture but completely different flavors. The marrow’s richness was also nicely cut with the lemon aioli. The fried potatoes were like teeny tiny little nuggets of crispiness, which was the perfect texture with the rest of the ingredients.  Everything here just blended nicely and the well toasted bread was perfect with it.


Then from the Familie Dieterle section, we tried the Badische Schupfnudeln.  This insane mouthful of German words translated to braised rabbit, beet greens, tarragon & creamy Riesling sauce. (I learned rabbit as hasenpfeffer, but I guess that is specific to stew… thank you Google). Sadly, this was our least favorite dish.  A whole bunch of mostly mushy things together. We keep ordering rabbit, trying to like it, but I think it’s time we give up. It’s just not my favorite. It’s too soft, too little flavor… so many other meats I prefer.  This dish needed something crispy or crunchy or just something to break up the texture a bit. The flavor was fine, but it just seemed pretty flat to me. 


We had to try the pan fried duck schnitzel off the Mains section. It came with quark spaetzle, hazelnuts, cucumber-potato salad and stewed wolfberries. My background is German/Austrian/Russian, so this fell right into the food I consider being akin with my family. My grandmother made awesome schnitzel so I have very high schnitzel standards.

This absolutely didn’t disappoint. The duck gave it a bit of a twist without losing the best parts about the schnitzel… the thinly pounded meat, the crispy breading, and the rich flavors.  The spaetzle with hazelnuts was especially great since it was toasted.  And the wolfberries (I want to know what a raw wolfberry tastes like now!) were really excellent adding a hint of sweetness to the dish. The freshness from the cucumber really added to things and it all was just perfect together. It was also a very nice portion (everything was, truly) so there was plenty to split.


And the best part of splitting everything? Room for dessert!

Mike decided he wanted to try some cheese off their great cheese menu.  3 cheeses for $10 is nicely priced, so we went for it.


The excellent toasted bread was back, and it came with a really nice honey and a date/nut cake (maybe? the server wasn’t positive).  We tried the Toma Walser, Challerhocker, and Chiriboga Blue. I really liked the Challerhocker. It had great bite and went really well with the sweet partners.


And I chose the Apple Hand Pie for dessert.


We asked what quark was, and our waiter compared it to buttermilk in that it is sweet and creamy with a tiny bit of a bite. The pie was very good, with a perfect crunch of the dough and nice sugared top. The apples could have been more plenty (or maybe thicker cut) but the flavors were really nice.  I also really enjoyed the caramel sauce.


At the end of our meal, a fellow diner came up to all the tables and mentioned that the Chef was going to come out soon and we should all greet him accordingly.  A standing ovation quickly followed, and the chef grew very bashful and ran right back into the kitchen. It was a very sweet moment.

photo (4)

We really enjoyed our meal and we were excited to be able to dine there on opening night.  I can’t say it was a top meal of 2012, but it was a solid meal and Mike and I agreed that it would be absolutely worth returning to try more.  The schnitzel was certainly the stand out dish, followed directly by the bone marrow.  I would skip the rabbit and the crudo if I were to return, but I’m glad we tried both.  Can’t wait to try more!

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

The Menu on December 21, 2012:


Waygu Bresaola 10
Foie Gras Mousse w/ gooseberry 7
Light Sauerbraten Lamb Ribs w/ fried garlic 13
Kobe Short Rib Crudo w/ aged anchovy extract 14
Prociutto Wrapped Dates w/ gorgonzola & saba 6
Housemade Weisswurst w/ apple butter 6


SKILLET-BRAISED CUTTLEFISH- Garlic bread, guanciale & white wine 14
HAND-CUT FETTUCCINI- Pork and sage sausage, acorn squash & baked parmesan 12
BURRATA SALAD FOR TWO- Giardiniera, grilled bread, EVOO, balsamic 26
THE BONE MARROW- Sea urchin, fried potatoes, meyer lemon aioli & baby celery greens 15

BRAISED DUCK & PRETZEL DUMPLING SOUP- Beech mushrooms, kale & marjoram 13
BABY RED OAK & LADY APPLE SALAD- Cambozola blue cheese & spiced pumpkin seed vinaigrette 12
BADISCHE SCHUPFNUDELN- Braised rabbit, beet greens, tarragon & creamy Riesling sauce 15
PICKLED HERRING SALAD- Roasted baby beets, horseradish cream, pistachios & baby arugula 14


GRILLED GAME HEN- Fennel, fried salami & brussels sprouts panzanella 24
BRAISED BEEF BRISKET “BRACIOLE”- House ground polenta, escarole, pecorino & red sauce 25
ROASTED WHOLE HEN OF THE WOODS MUSHROOM- Cardoon-creamed kale, crispy onions & truffled mushroom jus 26
SAUTEED STONE BASS “VITELLO TOMATO”- Fingerling potatoes, cippolini onions, olives, sweet breads & tuna belly sauce 30

GRILLED WAYGU CULOTTE STEAK- Cauliflower gratin, watercress & beerenauslese vinaigrette 33
PAN-FRIED DUCK SCHNITZEL- Quark spaetzle, hazelnuts, cucumber-potato salad & stewed wolfberries 28
JUNIPER BRAISED LAMB NECK- Rutabaga puree, whole roasted carrots & red sauerkraut 23
PAN-ROASTED SCOTTISH SALMON- Cabbage, pastrami & warm mustard sauce 25


BAMBOO RICE RISOTTO- Leek puree, steamed egg & parmesan 14
GRILLED BABY ROMAINE LETTUCE- Pecorino & warm lemon-anchovy vinaigrette 10
MASHED STUMPF- Snipped chives 10
DRY AGED BEEF FAT FRIED POTATOES- Pickled red onion & grains of paradise aioli 10