16 June 2013

Rachel's Guide to Portland: Little Bird

You know how some types of cuisine make you feel comfortable and nostalgic all at once? For me, that cuisine is French food. I've lived in France twice, and during my first stay, my host family made a point of educating me about good French food. At the time, I was an omnivore and willing to try anything. Now, as a vegetarian, I don't get to eat many of the foods that I once loved (choucroute garnie, anyone?), but I still love the atmosphere of a French restaurant, and the kind of love that goes into French dishes.

My local favorite is Little Bird. It's a fancy little spot in downtown Portland, and appears to be frequented by business-types and couples out for a special evening. For me, it's a nice place to eat with my parents.

The wine list is very French-centric (as it very well should be), and they have a rather nice French-inspired cocktail menu. On this visit, I opted for the "La Vie En Rose," named after my favorite French song. Featuring pisco, Lillet rose, and pamplemousse liqueur (grapefruit liqueur for you non-French speakers), it was an absolute delight. I love grapefruit cocktails, and this one was perfectly chic and refreshing. I felt like a skinny French woman sipping this cocktail as I waited for my mom to arrive.

As a starter, my mom and I ordered the sheep's milk cheese of the day: Le Berger Basque. The Basque Shepherd. I adore sheep's milk cheese, all thanks to my French host parents. They had recently returned from visiting the Pyrenees when I went to live with them, and they had brought back some sheep's milk cheese with them. It was love at first bite. I love the earthiness, the nuttiness. Le Berger Basque was no disappointment. It was technically a hard cheese, but it had such a smooth, creaminess to it. Paired with the accompanying rhubarb jam and candied hazelnuts, it was a match made in Heaven. I was definitely seeing la vie en rose.

For the main course, I ordered soup and salad. The soup of the day was a cream of celery root with waldorf salad on top. I forgot that waldorf salad includes bleu cheese, but luckily there wasn't too much of it to ruin the soup for me. The soup itself was very creamy, perfect for the rainy day we had been having. My salad was a butter lettuce salad with mint dressing, radishes, and pecorino cheese. I don't think I've had a fresher salad in a restaurant before this. They might as well have picked the greens from the garden right before putting them on the plate. The dressing was light, and it was all so crisp, I had to feel proud of myself for eating so healthy in a French restaurant where rich foods tend to be de rigeur.

My mom ordered the Sherry-Glazed Pork Shoulder with roasted corn, fingerlings, manchego and padron peppers. My mom said that it was delicious, and given how big it was, she took the rest home and said that the leftovers heated up very nicely.

Dessert was a tough choice, but I ordered the strawberry ile flottante and my mom ordered the chocolate profiterole with cookie ice cream and mint. I think the pictures speak for themselves. All I can say about these is that they were both delicious.

One of the things that makes Little Bird special is that when they bring you your bill, they also bring you enough mini macarons for each person at the table. They make them there in the restaurant, and the flavors change constantly. This time, they were carrot cake macarons. Such a wonderful way to end a nice meal.

What kind of food makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Little Bird Bistro on Urbanspoon
 photo Rachelsig_zps92ed9769.png

7 comments:

  1. That looks AMAZING. I really love French food and have trouble finding great (affordable) French restaurants. Can't wait to try this one!

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    1. It's so good... A little on the spendy side, but one way to cut back on cost is to go in for lunch!

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  2. I NEED to try Little Bird. I've been having a thing lately for French food - and funny enough birds! haha! That drinks sounds delicious! Is it safe to say that most all food makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside?

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    1. Haha, then I guess you could kill two birds with one stone and eat French food at little bird (too much?).

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  3. hitting it out of the PARK again, my lady. can't wait to run through all of these places when we're making our itinerary. you're the best! Macaroons sort of seal the deal on my need to try this spot, though.

    <3 eileen
    www.leanerbythelake.com

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  4. I love a meal that takes me back to a special memory. That place looks great!

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  5. Woah, all this food looks amazing. Especially those desserts!

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I'd love to hear from you!

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