I used to despise fats. The flavour, the unmistakeable sheen it would leave on an innocuous batch of roasted carrots, and of course the high energy content (I’m not one to use the c-word). My freshman year of college I was the one who messed up my college’s environmental conservation efforts by the exorbitant number of napkins I’d line my plates with to soak out any remnants of oil/butter/other unidentified grease. The past is the past and my fat despising era was also an era of constant dry skin, an exponentially greater presence of split ends, a nearly non-existent social life, and the most lubricant-desperate brain you can imagine. I was also mean, antisocial, didn’t laugh at people’s jokes (nor make any of my own), and spent all my money on boring magazines, chewing gum, and children’s clothing.
Enough said. People change; maybe it’s some profound learning experience or just an improvement in consumption habits. I’ve seen enough nutritionists and taken enough classes to know how greatly one’s diet impacts one’s mood, perceptions, mental/physical stamina…and appearance. Lecturing or elaborating is not necessary; really I just needed a premise for this post since it consists of the two pleasantly fat-fused brunches I partook in this weekend…and how the only bit I’m bothered about is why I did not go with the fried oyster sandwich on Saturday.
Saturday: Clyde Common
Clyde Common is one of my favourite restaurants in Portland. In short, I relish those moments sitting at the bar with Erica in fur and Dolce splitting a plate of fideos and sipping on the Fool’s Gold as a starting point for a classy Friday night.
Just last week Clyde initiated a long-awaited brunch service; and of course as a Clyde-enthusiast, I insisted we go there before my brunch envy further seeped in from all the #pdxeats twitpics of instagrammed duck poutine and bruleed french toast.
These beignets were the crowd favourite; not too doughy and melatonin-inducing due to the oozing mozzarella centres.
This was a rich brunch; if you glance at the menu above you will see that it is nearly impossible to find a non-modified selection which could be considered light. It is also a very pork-centric brunch (to my detriment being a non-pork-consumer); and when Clyde does pork, boy do they do it. Erica and Anne both struggled to complete their dishes due to the thickly sliced bacon translating into three massive hunks of pork belly and Brook’s Croque Madame had what looked three little piglets worth of ham piled on it. Emily’s poutine was also a gluttonous choice, thick slabs of potato engulfed in gravy, feta, and delicious shreddings of duck while my plate of buttery brioche, bechamel, creamed spinach, topped with a fried egg somehow took the cake as “lightest” choice.
I’ll be honest; I was not that crazy about Clyde’s brunch; the bar and dinner menus in my prior experiences have been far superior. The preparations for the dishes on the menu were all impeccable, however the choices available seemed to shun anyone not nursing a negroni-induced hangover; and hey, maybe Clyde Common does not want to be that place with an organic veggie omelette. I will say though that the beignets were brag-worthy and that I will come back here because I love the vibe and want to give the brunch menu another chance once some of the kinks have been worked out.
Sunday: Grain and Gristle
Anne, David, and Emily were going to Dim Sum. A couple weeks back Erica and I gave Dim Sum a chance, which for me consisted of shrimp dumplings and moon cakes and a whole lot of waiting for David to confirm which mysterious little buns were void of pork. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t crazy about Dim Sum- I found myself craving vegetables, getting bored with the two things I was able to eat, and going back to bed afterwards. Erica on the other hand was turned off by the fact that she asked for a Diet Coke four times and still no one brought it to her.
So, we decided to go to brunch together instead; and to Grain and Gristle on NE Prescott and 15th, a destination which has been on our neverending ‘To Eat’ list for quite some time.
First things first, this place had no wait whatsoever; that’s already about eight gold stars considering Saturday night dinner for us consisted of a split bottle of Cava, craft cocktails at Dig A Pony and 2am homemade red kale quesadillas (sadly due to a barren fridge and NOT creativity).
Next, the setting is adorable with the space being large and reminiscent of a cosy Alpine ski cabin. Plus, both of us were appropriately outfitted in beige sweaters, Burberry, and leggings (inadvertently if I may add).
The portion sizes at G&G are just perfect; large enough to be satisfying and small enough to not leave you napping away the rest of your Sunday. Erica’s scramble was delightful and oozing of cheddar; my burger on the other hand…phenomenal. Being a self-proclaimed burger snob, I can easily say that G&G’s has just been inducted into my top five list and perhaps even inching out the Gruner burger (I could be saying that because I end up at Gruner every single week and may be suffering from variety-craving syndrome). While it is a very simple burger, the simplicity of it is exactly what allows the flavours of the few ingredients to be so beautifully highlighted.
I will admit, I ended up eating it with a fork and a knife due to how ridiculously juicy the meat/buttery brioche/fromage bleu combo was. The patty is small but high in fat content and whatever they put in the aioli beautifully compliments the meat and the slight acidity of the pickles. Definitely a winner; we plan on coming back for libations and supper in the near future.
Oh yeah, and it’s cheap! We spent $10 a piece then made mimosas and had a Weeds marathon for the rest of the day.
What’s your favourite fat-centric ingredient? Mine is foie gras but you already knew that.
Off topic question: How do you stay stylish in wet depressing weather?
Side note: I attended a local fashion/designer showcase event at The Ace Hotel last week called Content 2012 and did a guest post on it on Sarah Cargill’s fashion blog so check it out if you have a minute (lots of cool artsy pictures which would have been way better if I had Instagram):