Our Oregon tour ended on Sunday in Portland. I may be one of the few people in the world who is not a fan of Portland. It’s a little too much on all fronts. Yes there are tons of cool shops, restaurants, food carts and people are nice, but I am not a fan. Part of the reason I think is I am always there after being on the river for a few days and it is so beautiful and practically perfect down there that the city seems to feel like a let down.
With that being said, we did have a great field trip dining experience while there at Le Pigeon. I’m not sure how I came across this place, probably Gourmet or Chowhound, but I was excited by the experimental menu that changes frequently and has some offal components. Offal according to Wikipedia is a term used to refer to the entails or organs of a butchered animal.
The place is small there is table seating for about 20 and then 10 more seats at the bar which overlooks the place where all the food is prepared. It’s cozy and warm and lovely. The menu is equally brief, maybe 12 items, half starters and half mains. The 5 desserts and cheese plate were listed on a board.
We started with Pork Belly with green beans, cashews, and mushrooms. It was amazing and really my favorite dish. There was an Asian flare to the sauce, sweet, salty, and gingery. Our other starter was Sweatbreads that were fried in a walnut batter that really had the effect of a cornmeal batter. It was not heavy or thick. The Sweatbreads were served with an amazing cold beet salad and a what seemed like a blue cheese cream. This was my second favorite. It was so good. The various textures from the Sweatbreads to cold but cooked beets, to blue cheese complimented each other perfectly. The colors were beautiful and the flavors exquisite. Sweatbreads can be awful. These were fabulous and it wasn’t just because they were friend. The batter was, and this is rare in my Sweatbread experience, secondary.
Our main courses, Duck with fresh figs and leeks and Beef Cheek Bourguignon were both good but not nearly ask good as the starters. My duck was overcooked a bit, but was served with these little fried potato balls that were awesome. The Beef Cheek while amazing in flavor would have been hard for me to eat more than a bite of. It was a big punch of red wine and beef in equal amounts of force.
Finally for dessert, Honey Bacon Apricot Cornbread with Maple Ice Cream and an Olive Oil Cake with Goat Cheese whipped cream and Plum sauce. These were both pretty excellent although I liked the Olive Oil cake better. Neither of them were very sweet but the cornbread, well wasn’t really cornbread and was too dry. The bacon and apricot together however were lovely flavors.
The evening of amazing food was of course rounded out by lovely conversation about what makes a good place amazing (otherwise known as, why doesn’t a place like this exist in Knoxville), family dynamics (or congratulations to my boyfriend or surviving 20 Sohns all at once), and what were some of our best meals of the year since clearly we were in the middle of one on Sunday!