Monday, December 04, 2006

Mini Travel Dish: Saint Honore Boulangerie in Portland

This is the last of my three-part series looking at my food adventures in Portland, Oregon. Today I'm featuring two unique eateries in the Northwest district. No stars given for these reviews since they're just mini reviews. But you can pretty much tell what I think. ;-)

A slice of pastry heaven in the Northwest

2335 NW Thurman St., Portland
(Northwest district)
(503) 445-4342
Open daily

There are a couple of things that make me jealous of my younger sister, who lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon. One is that she gets more home for her money. The other is that she can take a five-minute walk from her home and find herself transported to Paris.

In her trendy neighborhood in the Northwest District is the Saint Honore Boulangerie, a bakery and cafe that captures the look, feel and taste of a Parisian boulangerie with flakey croissants and artisan breads. In the couple of times I've been in the beautifully designed boulangerie, it has always been crowded with hungry patrons sitting at the communal French country tables or small circular bistro stands.

Even me, someone who isn't a regular consumer of baked goods, know well that there is something special in the dough of chef and owner Dominique Geulin, who moved from France with his wife to create a bit of Paris in Portland. He does this by making fresh pastries and bread on the premises. In fact, on the day that I came in for a bite, Geulin could be seen behind the counter and in front of his clay fire-brick oven kneading some dough.

It seems like every baked item has the perfect balance of taste and texture. My tartiflette was a satisfying puff pastry with potatoes, bacon and brie baked with a slight spread of creme fraiche and fresh herbs. Even the pie shell of my mini citron tart was perfection.

Geulin also uses seasonal and local ingredients of the Northwest. My sister ordered one of his new items: a champignon frittata croissant with seasonal mushrooms, chicken-apple sausage and a bechamel sauce.

The cafe's menu also offers a variety of quiches, panini and salads. The pastry and dessert choices behind the glass counters seem endless.

People have come far and near to experience Saint Honore's little piece of Paris. When you're in Portland, make the trek out to the Northwest district. Visit the trendy boutiques and then sip a cafe au lait at a real Parisian gem.

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