Lunch? Eastside? Accanto? Done.

When was the last time you lunched on a week day? And by lunched I don’t mean packing a melange of salads at the Whole Foods hot bar or microwaving last night’s leftovers while scrolling Reddit in your cubicle.

No.

By lunching I mean: When was the last time you grabbed a dear friend, left the office for two hours and indulged in a proper lunch. A sit-down establishment with plenty of nearby parking, a focused menu, and tranquil ambiance? A place where you can catch up, discuss your next holiday and indulge in some much needed midday bliss. It’s been a while, huh? The last time I lunched must have been during my one month of funemployment between my job at Gilt and my current on at Conscious Box.

When Frances of Little Green Pickle e-mailed me a couple of weeks back to invite a guest and I to experience and enjoy Accanto’s new lunch service- I couldn’t say no. I’ve been to Accanto once before for an Urbanspoon event last year and adored it. For one, it’s a darling neighbourhood establishment on SE Belmont- and for another the dishes are beautifully executed; Northwestern-influenced Italian- unfussy, fresh and familiar with an injection of unconventional.

From the inside of Accanto

From the inside of Accanto

Who did I decide to take as my guest? No other than my dear friend, Zoe- a “foodie” herself having gone to culinary school and interned with Cookbook/Oregonian Gluten-Free columnist Laura Russell. Zoe, in fact is in the process of starting her own blog, Toasty Talk so I’m definitely more than stoked to have a partner in crime to hit the PDX Dining scene with in 2014.

I started with a glass of Prosecco since it was after all 1PM on a workday- however, the craft cocktails at Accanto are most definitely worth ordering (perhaps at their weekday happy hour when it’s a slightly more socially acceptable time for a libation). As for the food, we decided as usual to do everything family style so that we can experience multiple facets of Accanto’s new lunch service.

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Dungeness Crab Salad: Butter lettuce, grapefruit, avocado and creamy tarragon vinaigrette

Dungeness Crab Salad: Butter lettuce, grapefruit, avocado and creamy tarragon vinaigrette

We started with the Dungeness Crab Salad; a light, refreshing and healthy lunch. I can see this being a fabulous choice in the summer time.

There were three bruschetta options on the menu; all unique (one with duck confit and candied kumquat and another with chocolate)! We decided on the one with pepper jelly, escarole and duck egg atop slabs of Ken’s Artisan Bread. I, personally was a fan- the pepper jelly was a bit sweet but balanced nicely with the slight bitterness of the escarole and rich duck yolk.

And since Accanto excels at Italian fare, it was only right that we ordered a pasta dish. The first time I tried Cacio e Pepe was in Rome this past summer where I fell in love with this extremely simple albeit comforting dish so it was fantastic to see it on the menu here. Zoe and I were both huge fans of the pasta- al dente and lots and lots of cheese. Win.

And, our delightful waiter persuaded us into ordering the Brussels Sprouts. These were OUT of this world. I seriously cannot believe that I was under the impression that I was allergic to Brussels up until a couple of weeks back. They were perfectly crispy and who would have thought to combine anchovy flavours and almonds with them? I guarantee if you haven’t yet had a love affair with Brussels Sprouts, you will indeed after trying them cooked like this.

Since no meal can be truly complete without dessert…

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Pot de Creme: Chocolate, Grand Marnier, salted caramel, whipped cream

…we split this luxurious Pot de Creme. While it looks like a small serving- this dessert is no joke and will relieve you of any lingering sugar craving.

A fantastic lunch and a huge thank you to Accanto and Little Green Pickle for providing Zoe and I with this fantastic experience. We will most definitely be back soon.

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