I can't stop thinking about the food that my friends and I had last Saturday at Beaker and Flask. A couple of entrees, to be specific. The food there is "French/Northwest" which is very Portland - taking our local, seasonal ingredients, preparing them in a traditional French way, etc. Done and done and...boring. And it can be too rich, with pork and cream and butter. Which is why this meal at Beaker was so refreshing. The dishes, while so deep in flavor, were not overly heavy, or rich in fat. The elegant touch which really made them pop was the acid balance with the protein.
One of these was a whole trout, grilled (and I'm sure seasoned and stuffed with some fabulous spices - I didn't order this one), on a bed of purple radicchio salad in a vinaigrette with slices of small fingerling potatoes (I loved how it was just the smallest bit of starch there), and topped with a quince salad. Orange, purple, charred whole trout -a beautiful presentation.
My absolute favorite, which inspires salivation just at the recollection of it, was the porkbelly. Not for the faint of heart, a large slab of browned and jiggling pork fat was placed in a shallow nest of creamed curly kale and teeny-tiny diced green apples. This was the brilliant part - the creamed kale was actually tangy - in the same way that southern collard greens are the perfect foil for greasy bbq ribs, this was the ideal match for the pork belly. There were a couple of rings of yellow delicata squash with it as well. It was perfection. And even more so with Oregon Pinot noir (Soter North Valley '07).