Wednesday, August 4, 2010

local love

My truly good friend Holly treated me to delightful lunch & dessert in SE Portland this afternoon in honor of my impending birthday, and I am compelled to share these gems we visited so you, too, may indulge when you find yourself in the neighborhood.

First stop: Creme de la Creme, a jaunty bus named "Charlotte" that has been converted into a magical French bistro by Holly's lovely friend Bianca [which happens to be my very favorite name since seeing The Rescuers as a kid and reading Taming of the Shrew in 9th grade; only good people/mice can be Biancas].

Bon jour, Charlotte

I partook of the croque monsieur (buttery cheesy hammy perfection on a plate) and shared with Holly the most extraordinary escargot in a bowl of garlicky butter sauce; those snails were obviously raised in a loving, pampered home to have tasted so tender.  Mon dieu and merci.

Hello, delicious Mr. Crunchy

Because my dear Holly is bon amis with the lovely Bianca, we were given a tour of the bus/kitchen where the French magic happens. I think I could live there, and you know how I generally feel about camping and cooking. Creme de la Creme, oh oui.

Bianca and her garcon, Guillaume
Je les aime

As we sauntered back to our car, Holly & I were drawn into Couronne Chocolate where we immediately startled then ingratiated the clerk with our giddy references to Chocolat. (I find worship of Johnny Depp is a universal link among women; it must be so difficult being him. I should offer to console him. I digress).

Everything looks edible in here

There were samples of caramels to convince us that we would, indeed, mortgage our homes to keep this place in business. Besides the typical [though still spectacularly tasty] offerings, Couronne creates whimsical treats like maple bacon brittle (which I bought for Stu to take to Boy Scout camp) and solid chocolate mustaches on sticks.

My selections were staged on this silver plate while I continued to shop

To be clear, I received nothing free today. Except my lunch because Holly was placating me because I felt ignored earlier this week celebrating me, and the sea salt caramel sample which was technically up for grabs to whoever walked through the shop door. I simply want to pass on the love I felt at these places today, because love is such a nice thing to share.