Tag: Besaw’s

200!

Well friends, this is post #200 on Serious Crust. It has been roughly 2 1/2 years since I started Serious Crust, and while 200 seems like both a big number and a small number at the same time, I’m definitely feeling a little proud of myself. I wasn’t sure whether to make this post just a normal recipe post, or a review, or a little recap of some memorable moments. After some deliberation, I decided on the last option. I’ve learned a lot about cooking and eating since we first started this blog, and I want to revisit some of my favorite posts that have really made a big impact on my culinary experiences. So, in no particular order…

1. Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

200! Top posts: Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Perhaps my favorite cookies on the blog…

These cookies are definitely one of my most revisited and recommended recipes. They where, I think, the beginning of my passion for interesting flavor combinations. I love the earthiness of them, the slight saltiness, the melty chunks of chocolate.

2. Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal”

200! Top posts: An Everlasting Meals // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Definitely my favorite food-related book.

This book has had a big impact in the way I think about food. I use more of my ingredients, I am more thoughtful of using my leftovers and how I can re-invigorate them, and I am more confident in cooking without recipes. A must read for anyone who likes food, cooking, and eating.

3. Lemon Baked Cod

200! Top posts: Lemon Baked Cod // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
This lemon baked cod is one of our top hits on Serious Crust.

Funnily enough, of all the things we’ve made on this blog, this recipe is one of the most consistently shared on Pinterest. It continues to be one of the most visited posts on the blog. I can’t remember whether Jonah or I wrote it (it says it’s by me, but I think Jonah is the one who made the fish), but needless to say, it’s delicious, and obviously people like it.

4. Lamb & Love

200! Top posts: Lamb & Love // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
This leg of lamb made for a memorable night.

This lamb meal was certainly a memorable one for us. First of all, we got a giant leg of lamb in the mail for free. Second, what was supposed to be a dinner gathering for about 6 people quickly turned into 11 people, and while that was stressful, it also ended up being a wonderful evening of delicious food and games with some of my favorite people.

5. Restaurant Review: Besaw’s

200! Top posts: Dinner at Besaw's // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
What a lovely spot with delicious food for an awesome dinner.

While this dinner at Besaw’s was absolutely delicious, it was also an eye-opening experience for me. It was the first of what would become many media events, and also was the tip of the iceberg that is the food (and food blogger) community in Portland. There are some extraordinary foodie women out there, and they are so inspiring to me. It was ridiculously fun to sit around a table with them (and Jonah), talking and laughing and eating and drinking and learning. I hope to have many more experiences like this one.

Also, keep your eyes peeled in the next week or so for a new look. A little birthday face lift, if you will, for this beauty of a blog.

Restaurant Review: Besaw’s (for dinner!)

About a month ago, Jonah and I were contacted by a local PR company to join them for dinner at a restaurant that’s a client of theirs, Besaw’s. Now, if you know anything about Portland, you know it’s a brunch city. Everyone goes to brunch, the lines are hours long, and brunch places are known for just that, BRUNCH. Besaw’s is one of these places. It’s known for its amazing brunch. The one time I tried to go, it was an hour and a half wait, and I was on a schedule, so I couldn’t stay. But if a place has an hour and a half wait, and people are WAITING, you bet your bottom it’s good.

The lovely dining room at Besaw's, feeling cozy and warm.

When I had long ago looked at the brunch menu, I had also glanced at the dinner menu, and let me tell you, it looked good. So I was pretty excited to have an excuse to drive across town (read: 20 minutes in Portland rush hour, really not so bad) to eat there. Now, I’m going to start with the end of our meal, because the owner, Cana Flug joined us before dessert and told us about how she came to own Besaw’s and the history of the place, and it’s quite cool. The restaurant has been around since 1903, when it was opened by loggers George Besaw and Medric Liberty as a beer hall. When the prohibition rolled around, Besaw became the sole owner and started serving food. Fast forward about 80 years, to when Cana started frequenting Besaw’s (it became a favorite spot and she lived nearby) and became friends with the owners. When they were ready to sell, they asked her if she wanted the place and, at the ripe age of 25, she said yes. Can you imagine owning a restaurant at age 25? I certainly cannot. The restaurant is sweet in the evening – nice lighting, and a very cozy and homey feeling. That, plus the fact that we were sitting with all these awesome, food-loving, powerful women, made the whole evening so comfortable and fun, filled with lots of stories and laughs.

On to the food: we started with cocktails and appetizers, specifically the Besaw’s Board (the house charcuterie board), fried pickles with a spicy aioli dipping sauce, and roasted mushrooms over polenta with marsala sauce. I shared these starters with Brooke, one of the publicists from Little Green Pickle, as well as Rebekah and Bee, two other food bloggers. My favorite of the starters was the mushrooms with polenta – so flavorful and the polenta was perfectly creamy. Yum.

Jannie holds a light while the photo shoot occurs, and Cana (owner of Besaw's) looks on and laughs.

We ordered our entrees while we waited for the rest of our party (Carrie and Jannie, the founders of Little Green Pickle). Our table quickly filled as the plates came out: Mac and Cheese, Fried Chicken over a Cheddar-Chive Waffle, Baked Fish (I think it was trout), Meatloaf, and the Elk Burger with an egg over easy on top. Carrie and Jannie arrived, and then came my favorite part of the evening. As a food blogger, I am constantly taking pictures of my food, which I think can be odd or annoying to the people around me. But surrounded by other food bloggers and lovers, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE at the table, whipped out their cellphones and started taking pictures of the dishes. Jannie even used her flash as a light to shine on the dishes in the dimly lit restaurant. It must have been a scene to the diners around us, but I thought it was hilarious.

Besaw's meatloaf with bacon, pan sauce, and roasted veggies.Besaw's takes on chicken and waffles: crispy fried chicken with a cheddar-chive waffle on the side. And syrup. Don't forget the syrup.

All of the food was really lovely, and it was definitely comfort food. But you know how comfort food can be really filling and heavy and make you feel like “oh, I should not have eaten all of that” afterwards? This did not feel like that. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t light, but it was really enjoyable to eat. The flavors were so homey and full without being overwhelming. My favorite dish, the meatloaf, was a surprise to me. I never liked meatloaf growing up, and if it’s on a menu, I never ever order it. But this meatloaf was so good. It had some bacon on it (let’s face it, bacon never hurts) and was served over roasted veggies (which are a serious weakness for me) and drizzled with some pan sauce. Oh gosh it was so good. I could have eaten that whole plate by my lonesome if I hadn’t been sharing with 6 other people. Also, the fried chicken was delicious – not too heavy and so crispy.

Besaw's Butterscotch pudding (in a cute little jar) served with molasses cookies and seasonal bread pudding (this one had lots of rosemary and was very fragrant).

After dinner, Cana sat down with us and talked to us about the history of the restaurant and her food and philosphy. She is extremely cool. I hope, should you decide to eat here (which you totally should) that you bump into her. She is enthusiastic, sweet, and very bright. After telling us her story, I heard perhaps my favorite words of the night when, after we had all been poring over the dessert menu, Cana told our waitress, “Just bring us one of everything.” Um, yes please.¬†Again, the table was filled with plates of chocolate cake, bread pudding, apple betty, a chocolate chip skillet cookie (with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream), and my personal favorite, butterscotch pudding. Again, I was surprised by what ended up being my favorite dish – I am not usually a fan of butterscotch and I do not usually order pudding, but here I was wishing I had a jar of the stuff to myself. The butterscotch was perfectly subtle, and the pudding itself was so rich and creamy. A close second was the chocolate chip skillet cookie, which was perfectly crispy and crunchy on the edges and chewy in the center, balanced by the cool ice cream.

Overall, I could not have been more pleased with the meal. The service was lovely, company was fun, and the food made me feel like someone’s grandmother was cooking me dinner. Because the food was so homey, I immediately felt comfortable in this setting and with these new friends. I am of the belief that food should bring people together, bond them, and give them a shared, pleasurable experience.