Posts Tagged ‘wood fire oven’
It was a blissful afternoon of shopping in Portland. Alder & Co., Canoe, Flora, Hive and Woonwinkel were a modern collection of stores with curated homeware, jewellery, artworks and furniture. The contemporary aesthetics and stylish designs were stimulating! We re-caffeinated at Caffe Allora and joined the queue at Ken’s Artisan Pizza for dinner.
We were seemingly banished to wait at the back of the restaurant in the Bermuda Triangle of the dishwashing nook, an iron rack of logs for the wood fire oven and the bathrooms. I was surprised by a sprig of eucalyptus flower, leaves and gumnut at our table. I admired the vibrant hue as we sipped wine and whiled away two hours.
The wood fire oven is at the front of the restaurant where all the pizzas were made.
Paola‘s family serendipitously arrived as we were seated. It was nearly nine o’clock on a Friday night and Ken’s was buzzing.
Myra recommended the wood oven roasted vegetable plate. We ordered quickly as we were hungry and two of us were returning to Seattle afterwards. Clockwise from top right: carrots, chard, porcini and Asiago Vecchio; white runner beans, artichokes and tomato sauce; and polenta, kale, red pepper, almonds and chilli sauce. Tender and mellow, it was a requisite serving of vegetables.
We shared three pizzas. Ken’s crust was puffed and charred, a chewy dough that was sturdy support for the pizza toppings. The fennel sausage, onion, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and hot Calabrian chilli pizza was spicy and bold.
I’m ambivalent to bacon but the guanciale pizza was a crispy homage to cured meat.
Last was my beloved prosciutto with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Generous ruffles of prosciutto di San Daniele were unctuous and sweet.
A creamy chocolate custard concluded our day in Portland. Paired with a quenelle of cream and studded with hazelnut crunch, the terracotta bowl was emptied with the assistance of an adorable mademoiselle!
Portland, we will return!
I’m an expert at booking tickets. I note the on sale details on my calendar and I’m on the website at the precise time to click ‘purchase’. Thanks to this quirk I have learnt to brine and roast chicken, knead and throw pizza dough, bake macarons, and pleat dumplings at The Pantry at Delancey.
On a residential street in Ballard adjacent to Honoré Artisan Bakery, Delancey occupies two simply decorated rooms.
I was seated at the counter with a view of the custom made wood fire oven.
A row of lights above the counter were inverted cylindrical Weck jars.
The ornate silverware was engraved with an elegant cursive ‘D’.
Each setting was spaced with a votive candle, and dainty glass bowls of chilli and sea salt flakes.
Chef Brandon Pettit cooks every pizza at Delancey. An assistant stretches the dough and tops the wooden paddle with ingredients. Brandon then slides the pizza into the wood fire oven. As I was eating alone, I observed the dexterous pair in harmony.
I ordered the crimini mushroom pizza with olive oil, onion, mozzarella and thyme. Thin slices of crimini mushrooms were intertwined with slivers of onions and molten splotches of mozzarella. The textured crust had charred blisters, and was both crispy and chewy.
Each bite was a joyful union of flavours, the bread and toppings waltzed in time and sang in tune. After the pizza class with Brandon and being recommended by just about every Seattleite I know, I’m a Delancey convert.
I caressed my flat foil package of leftover pizza home for supper the same night.
I have two pizza classes scheduled within a month. I was at Serious Pie Downtown on a Wednesday morning for the first one. The pizza classes are held on weekdays and Saturdays before the restaurant opens. The city felt lethargic on a cloudy midweek day and it was a little odd walking into an empty Serious Pie.
Coffee and banana chocolate walnut loaves greeted us. I nibbled on the sweet, nutty bread as I leafed through the printed notes.
The Kitchen Table is the new private dining room at Serious Pie Downtown. For dough-shaping and dining parties, the dual purpose room was rustic and decorated in warm tones. Twinkling lights were strung overhead.
Vases of dried flowers lined the window sill as an organic curtain. Metal shelves were laden with commercial size tubs of World Spice herbs and spices.
I was happy to spot a large container of Murray River flake salt in their inventory.
Chef Audrey Spence was ill so Cari kindly shared her expertise with us. The Serious Pie dough recipe is a secret but there is a modified version for the home cook. Cari detailed the three-day dough making process. Bread flour, semolina flour, biga starter, olive oil, honey, salt and water are mixed, proofed and hand-shaped. Cari demonstrated how to stretch the dough.
Silky and supple, the wet dough wobbled and yielded easily to touch. We each dusted the wooden surface with flour and stretched a ball of tacky dough. Gentle and nimble fingers were the key! We sprinkled the pizza board with semolina flour and slid the dough on top.
Mise en place: basil, caramelised onions, clams, fennel sausages, hedgehog mushrooms, pancetta, potatoes, olive oil, roasted garlic, roasted peppers and tomato sauce.
Parmigiano, Provolone, Feta, Mozzarella and herbs were in terracotta dishes for us to sample.
Clockwise from top right: Provolone, tarragon and Parmigiano.
I created a half and half pizza. On the left: olive oil, hedgehog mushrooms and caramelised onions. On the right: tomato sauce, pancetta, roasted red peppers and basil.
My half and half pizza on the rack in the queue for the oven.
Our cheeks were rosy from the heat of the apple wood burning pizza oven.
Gauge of the wood fire pizza oven indicated a temperature of 658 °F (348 °C).
The pizza was placed at the edge of the fiery glow and in one swift motion the board was displaced. An enormous stainless steel paddle pushed the raw pizza to the side and back where it blistered and crisped. After five minutes, Cari dabbed on the Provolone, and the pizza was rotated and cooked for another two to three minutes.
A pinch of marjoram perfected the seasoning. I wielded the mezzaluna and sliced the pizza into eighths.
We settled into the dining room with our artisanal, personalised pizzas.
It was deeply satisfying to eat the pizza I had handmade, and without any clean up afterwards!
It was fun to be in the Serious Pie kitchen to learn some of the techniques of their famous pizzas!
We embraced the cool change yesterday. It was welcomed with a happy dance after a couple of weeks of humid weather. I withered in lethargy, desperate for reprieve from dense, still air. We relished the wind as we strolled to MistralKitchen for brunch. Autumn is here!
I have walked by MistralKitchen many times, always peering into the candle lit dining room. The restaurant name is stamped out in sheet metal with vines twisting across the entrance. A heavy door opens to a small alcove with stacked wooden crates of Granny Smith apples.
To the left is the Chef’s Table and Jewel Box for an intimate and formal dining experience. On the right is the main dining room. The interior is sparsely decorated and there are generous gaps between tables. A high ceiling and a long windowed street frontage brightens up the space of pewter and charcoal tones. It has an industrial warehouse feel with exposed air ducts and simple furnishings.
The bar is the length of the room and is anchored by a wood fire oven at the counter seating end, and mirrored shelves of liquor at the other.
It was an interesting brunch menu with items such as lamb ragù and braised greens, and pork belly BLT and buttermilk biscuit. There was also a dessert section with curious pairings such as chocolate zucchini cake, spicy peanuts and bay leaf pudding, and Italian plum crisp and liquorice ice cream.
Ms C eschewed her standard breakfast of raisin toast with Vegemite for the brioche French toast with apple butter and maple syrup. Three thick triangles of browned buttery bread rested on puréed apple. With a crisp edge and soft centre, it was a decadently sweet version of French toast.
Mr S ordered the scrambled eggs with roasted squash, tomatoes, potatoes and Hollandaise sauce. Chunks of vegetables were enveloped in fluffy eggs and doused in a creamy sauce. Micro leaves freshened the plate.
I opted for the wood fire oven pizza with salumi, basil and soft egg. Translucent slices of cured meat were draped over fresh basil leaves on a tomato base. A just cooked egg wobbled in the middle. A pair of pizza scissors was wedged under the crust. The crust was a little oily from the drizzle of olive oil but the pizza was a classic combination and a large serving.
MistralKitchen is a quiet spot for a relaxing weekend brunch.