Thursday, April 06, 2006


One of the best things my dad ever did was make make these things for breakfast called dutch babies. The dish was a family legend. Not only delicious, but completely unusual and not-so simple to make (you had to have the RIGHT PAN). They are basically a huge popover, a custardy pancake-like thing. He made them for special occasions, in old, seasoned cast-iron skillets, so they’d come out as big as a small pizza. He cut them into wedges, and they were always topped with powdered sugar and lots of lemon juice (not maple syrup or anything like that). Anyway, they’ve always been my favorite, for their taste, texture, and overall specialness.

I was lucky enough to have that taste experience recreated for my mouth yesterday, by the obviously talented line cooks at Doug Fir. One of Portland’s hippest venues (it’s been in design magazines like Wallpaper, AND is actually frequented by a cross section of portland youth, including even the greasiest grungsters if their band’s playing) actually serves a pretty good breakfast. It’s probably due to the hotel ajacent, and the bands who wake up groggy and hungry from playing/partying the night before.

My best friend’s mom was in town, so her uncle took us out to eat, and it was hearty and great. Family memories past and present. My dutch baby came with thick-cut peppered bacon, and their egg stuff all looked good too. Back to my friend’s mom, I spent MANY a night at their house, watching her cook, and taking notes from childhood on. She taught me how to throw together the best things, pastas, salads, snacks--just good, melange-type food to feed a family (and all the kids’ friends). And that patis, fish sauce, is the secret to flavor. Take that note and be saved from bland food forever! Just never put a bottle unattended in any part of your car, if it spills, like it did in my auntie’s toyota, you’ll never get the smell out.

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