Hours: Mon-Sat 5-10pm; Lunch on Wed 11:30am-2:30pm
If for some reason you’re talking with me and can’t think of a conversation topic, just ask me about food. I can chat your ear off. I pretty much spend all day reading, talking or thinking about food. Restaurants I want to try (yes, I have a spreadsheet with my never-ending list), recipes I want to make, oogling over food photography (I’m sorry, I really don’t like the term food porn, but I guess that is pretty accurate). So it isn’t really surprising that I also really love listening to food podcasts on my way to work.
One of my favorites is Right at the Fork. Hosted by Chris Angelus and Heather Jones, it is an hour-long show that is all about the Portland food scene. Chris interviews chefs, artisan producers, wine makers, and anyone else in the culinary world to get the inside scoop on what they are up to, where they like to eat and any other restaurant gossip.
Episode #7 which aired back in February featured Adam Higgs, owner and Executive Chef of Acadia Bistro in North Portland. Ever since then I’ve been dying to check this place out (yes, in fact it was on my Google spreadsheet of restaurants).
This place has been around for a quite a few years. Adam helped open Acadia back in 2001 after working at the acclaimed but sadly now closed L’Auberge (which was in the space that is now Meriwether’s). I’m not sure why I just heard about it recently – I blame my mom for telling me the eastside was scary growing up. Quite the opposite I’d say. Fremont St, where Acadia is located, is a really cute, bustling street now with lots of great cafes, shops and other restaurants.
Brice and I finally were able to check out Acadia for a date night last weekend.
I loved the feel and decor of the restaurant with fun hand-painted signs, Mardi Gras masks, and a lively crowd (it was evident that I was part of the outcrowd not knowing about this place sooner).
I especially loved these mason jar lights.
We started the night with some really great cocktails. Brice got a classic Julep with bourbon, mint and sugar, which he loved but being a total baby, I thought it was too much bourbon. Ha!
I got the “Study Retreat” which was made with cucumber vodka, blood orange, bitters, port and a touch of salt. The cocktail also had byrrh, which I learned from the friendly bartender is an apertif made with red wine and quanine. It was really refreshing thanks to the cucumber and just a little sweet from the port and byrrh.
I kept hearing about how good their Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp were, so we started with those. The shrimp were delicious and I was obsessed with the peppery sauce. They know how good it is so they give you tons of bread to soak it up and not let it go to waste. I probably could have just been given a spoon for the sauce and been a happy camper. We also got the cornmeal-crusted Soft Shell Blue Crab which was topped with peas and jalapeno tartar sauce.
For the entree, I couldn’t decide so I went with a bowl of the Black Roux Gumbo and a really great radicchio and rhubarb salad. The gumbo had large pieces of sweet gulf shrimp, crab, crawfish, and okra. In traditional Creole style, it was served over fluffy white rice. I loved the contrast in flavors in the salad. The bitterness from the radicchio and sour kick from the honey-cured kumquats were beautifully balanced by the sweetness of the poppy seed dressing and candied pecans and the creaminess of the Portland Creamery Chevre.
Being at a Southern restaurant, we had to order some cornbread also. But sadly, it was a tad disappointing. The tangy buttermilk was overpowering and there was no sweetness in the batter or honey as a accompaniment to sweeten it up and give it some additional flavor.
To finish, we of course had to order the vanilla bean bread pudding. I know I’m biased since I have such a sweet tooth but still, that was probably my favorite dish of the night. A big fan of bread puddings, Brice loved this dish as well. It was served warm with a white-chocolate brandy ganache, thickened sweet cream and fresh strawberries. Lightly sweet, gooey, and a delicious way to end the meal.
Disclaimer: This meal was complimentary but as always, these are all of my honest opinions.