Delicious Blogger Breakfast at The Sugar Cube

Posted on

3039 NE Alberta St. & 31st Ave, Portland • thesugarcubepdx.com • 971.202.7135

Hours: Wed-Sun 8am-5pm

DSC_1064

Oh. My. Gosh. I finally went to The Sugar Cube bakery in North Portland and it was fantastic.

My wonderful blogger friend Rachel of love, Rachel set up a “Portland bloggers breakfast” and when she threw out some options that included The Sugar Cube, I emailed back immediately placing my vote for that one.

DSC_1068

Admittedly, I had not made it to The Sugar Cube when it was a food cart either. A few years back when I did a bakery crawl for my birthday, I had it on our agenda but sadly it was of course the same day they were closed for a private event. Shortly thereafter owner and “badass baker” Kir Jensen closed the cart after publishing her awesome cookbook to prep her new brick and mortar storefront in September 2013.

DSC_1077b

The bakery, set in the Alberta Arts District where Dovetail Bakery used to reside, is bright, cheery and well decorated. It also turns out to be a small space for a large group, so we found out. The seven of us bloggers (myself, Rachel, Spencer from 12 oz Beehouse, Brooke from Babbling Brookelyn, Sarah from Will Run for Pasta, Erika from A Tiny Rocket and Annie from Serious Crust) strolled in early Sunday morning and pretty much took over.So this visit been years in the making for me. But let me tell you, it lived up to the hype and was well worth the wait. (Just don’t be like me and wait years to go yourself…)

DSC_1044

When you walk in, you are greeted by a case filled with beautiful pastries and desserts. Three two-top tables and one larger booth are on the left of the entrance, with a small space of bar stools and self-serve coffee/tea condiments on the right. We all hovered awkwardly next to the bar stools until a family of three eventually left the booth, after teasing us about three or four times by getting up to use the restroom or grabbing their coats.

DSC_1078b

Our lively conversations about blogging events, Feast Portland, favorite restaurants, day jobs, and celebrity gossip continued as we sat down and enjoyed local Steven Smith Tea and Ristretto Coffee.

DSC_1071b

Kir demonstrated that bakery owners do way more than just bake as she took orders, made French Press coffee, cleaned tables and constantly checked in to make sure we had everything we needed.

DSC_1070b

Then out came the food. Fortunately we got plenty all-around to share and sample.

There isn’t an extensive “breakfast” per se. For instance, there are no traditional egg dishes or very many savory options In fact, I think there are only two – their savory quiche and savory strata.

DSC_1060

In an effort not to just eat desserts for breakfast, I decided to try the quiche which had a perfectly crispy crust, loads of cheese and filled with potatoes and mushrooms.

But if you are like me and have a massive sweet tooth, this is the place to be. So of course, I ordered something sweet too.

DSC_1058

I decided on the cinnamon rolls with brown butter cream cheese frosting as they were just too insane looking to pass up.

DSC_1067

There were several Toast Plates ordered. Served on a Little T Baker’s Sally Lunn brioche-type bread, you can get your choice of topping. Like housemade lemon curd or housemade nutella with cinnamon-kissed caramelized bananas. First off, I love Little T, and secondly, I love nutella, so that is an amazing combo.

DSC_1062

Rachel got the Raspberry “Crack” Coffee Cake with a pecan spiced streusel.

DSC_1065b

Sarah ordered the Raspberry Brown Butter Crostata with a beautiful buttery crust and sweet fruit filling.

DSC_1081b

I couldn’t help myself and brought home a lemon poppyseed scone with that tart housemade lemon curd. It packed a lot of lemon flavor, had a fluffy interior, and a crisp, sugary crust.

I wish I could have tried more though. There were a lot of other items that I would love to taste. Like the Highway to Heaven Cupcake made with chocolate stout caked dipped in bittersweet ganache and doused with salted caramel. Or the Twisted Toll House Cookies with Freddy’s Guys Roasted Hazelnuts. Or the Bourbon Brown Butter Honey Pie featuring Bee Local Honey and topped with Jacobsen Sea Salt.

DSC_1075

I tried not to eat everything… I failed…

Guess I’ll just have to go back again soon!

DSC_1066

Makings of a blogger breakfast

Want even more Sugar Cube? Sign up for their Cookie of the Month club which includes two dozen  of their insanely delicious cookies. Or (slash and!) their Pastry CSA, a “community sweets alliance” where you’ll get seasonal pasties baked just for you every month. There isn’t anything wrong with veggies, but between you and me, this kind of CSA is way more fun. :)

DSC_1076b

 


Who Needs Gluten? Tula Gluten Free Bakery Cafe

Posted on

4943 NE MLK Jr Blvd & Alberta, Suite 101 • tulabaking.com • 503.764.9727

Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm; Sun 8am-3pm

DSC_0706

I got to spend my Monday evening with a few really wonderful Portland bloggers and Lisa Hill from Lisa Hill PR checking out Tula Bakery Cafe in North Portland. I have driven past Tula numerous times since it’s on the way to my friend Hannah’s and also to where our Sunday kickball games took place, but I had never stopped in.

DSC_0678

Now clearly, if you read this blog at all, you know that I eat gluten, sometimes a lot of it. So I don’t need to eat gluten-free but I’m always down to try a new bakery, regardless of the dietary restrictions on their menu.

DSC_0702

And let me tell you, Tula is the kind of place you could do a blind taste test and no one would guess it was gluten-free.

Just like any other bakery, they have a beautiful pastry case filled with delicious pastries, cupcakes, muffins, you name it.

DSC_0691

But their menu is filled with so many delicious savory options, not just sweets. Like owner Mieke Johnson (who owns Tula with her husband Caleb) told us, if you eat gluten-free, you sometimes want more than only cupcakes in your diet. I don’t see anything wrong with this, but I guess not everyone just wants to eat dessert all day, every day… I guess sometimes you need more nutrients or something. And for those who are gluten intolerant, options aren’t always that plenty.

So that’s where Tula comes in. You could stop in multiple days in a row and not double up.

DSC_0692

Paninis, soups, salads, pizzas, dips, and really incredible focaccia breads are all part of their line up. My favorites of the savory options that we tried were:

DSC_0694

“Bread, cheese and plant based things panini” with parmesan, asiago and romano cheeses, pesto, balsalmic-roasted tomatoes, arugula and tempeh.

DSC_0696

Mediterranean Layered Dish with spinach, tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, red pepper, red onion, pesto-glaze and hummus. Served with a side of grilled olive loaf.

DSC_0703

Salami Pizza made with Olympic Provisions Salami

DSC_0701

Rosemary Walnut Currant Bread – seriously this focacccia bread was so good! Gluten free or not, I would eat an entire loaf myself. Truly.

DSC_0707

Now, of course I really loved the sweets too. We tried the Chocolate Hazelnut Roll which was like a Nutella stuffed donut. Yum. But I particularly liked the Cranberry Raspberry Tart in Almond Flaxseed Crust. It was crisp, fruity but not too sweet, and was perfect for a cold night with a mug of tea.

DSC_0710

Tula is a 100% gluten-free facility so no wheat products of any sort are allowed in Tula. To ensure that, nearly everything is made in house, like the soups, salad dressings and sauces. Plus “that adds a little extra love to everything we serve,” Mieke mentioned to us. Even their coffee syrups are made in-house!

DSC_0690

Speaking of coffee, Tula has more than just great food too. If you’re looking for a morning beverage on your way into work, give Tula a try. Mieke and Caleb want Tula to be high-quality coffeehouse with talented baristas. Their coffee is made with small batch specialty roaster, Lone Pine Coffee Roasters, based out of Bend, Oregon.

Also served are the always delicious Steven Smith Teamaker teas and Hot Lips all-natural sodas. As for my ultimate favorite morning drink, Tula makes a super creamy, rich chai tea that is supposed to be out of this world – as it isn’t anywhere near my way to work, I have made it is a point to stop in on an upcoming weekend to check it out. I will keep you posted.

DSC_0684

Tula sells a few packaged goodies to take home, like banana bread and their par-baked focaccia bread, which can be refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready for it. It’s perfect for gluten-free sandwich bread, or for that dinner party you’re hosting with a couple gluten-free guests, or just because it’s delicious!

Tula is all-around a really local bakery/cafe/restaurant/coffee shop (I couldn’t choose just one word to describe their shop). Even though I don’t have to eat gluten-free, I know I will definitely be back soon.

DSC_0713

It was so great hanging out with these ladies! While you’re browsing around the internet, check out their awesome blogs as well.

From left to right:

Mieke, owner of Tula Gluten Free Bakery Cafe

Rachel of love, rachel

Kristen of Winning Without Gluten

Sara of Salt. Walt. Coffee.

Sarah of Will Run for Pasta

Spencer of 12 oz Beehouse

Myself

Lisa Hill of Lisa Hill PR

 


Vunderbar Recipe from Butter Baked Goods Cookbook

Posted on

I am totally loving this Butter Baked Goods cookbook (I wrote more about it here PLUS there is a giveaway for the book on that post. Don’t miss your chance for a free copy! Winner will be announced on Monday, November 4th!).

I’ve already made a ton out of this cookbook and everything has been really great. I’ve made pumpkin muffins, banana chocolate chip bread, some cookies, and now…the Vunderbar.

Rosie Daykin, the book’s author and baker/owner of the Butter Baked Goods storefront graciously allowed me to share this delicious recipe for Vunderbar with you!

It’s basically a bar mixed up with all my favorite things: chocolate, peanut butter, Rice Krispies, more chocolate. It kind of is like a Muddy Buddy bar – you remember that delicious sugary snack mix made with Chex cereal?

I think Rosie sums it up well in her cookbook: “Trust me when I tell you that it’s insanely good. Unless you don’t like peanut butter and chocolate. Then it’s bloody awful.”

Photo courtesy of Butter Baked Goods

Photo courtesy of Butter Baked Goods

But really my question would be, why in the world would you not like peanut butter or chocolate? Both are amazing ingredients. Little gifts from above.

So you can see just how pretty this cookbook is, here is the recipe straight from the book. (Because some of the ratios didn’t come out so well, it’s also copied below.)

Vunderbar recipe

Vunderbar recipe

from Butter Baked Goods

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (I couldn’t find these, so I just used chocolate graham crackers all smashed up, which worked just as well)
  • 2 1⁄2 cups icing sugar (aka powdered sugar here in the States :) )
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup large-flake rolled oats
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1⁄2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 3⁄4 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Finishing:

  • 1⁄4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1⁄4 cup smooth peanut butter

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, icing sugar, Rice Krispies, oats and salt. Set aside.

2. In a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the peanut butter and butter. Pour over the chocolate crumb mixture. Use a spatula or large spoon to mix until well combined. Press the mixture into the prepared pan firmly and evenly. Smooth the top with a bench scraper or offset spatula.

3. In a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the dark chocolate chips. Pour over the base and spread evenly. Tap the pan on the countertop to help smooth and level it. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill.

4. In two separate saucepans over low heat or in two separate bowls in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds, melt the milk chocolate chips and 1⁄4  cup peanut butter.

5. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and use a small spoon, or the small piping bag to drizzle the melted chocolate over the chocolate layer in a haphazard fashion—have some fun with it! Then repeat with the melted peanut butter.

6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

7. Run a small knife along the two edges of the pan that do not have parchment  handles. Carefully remove the slab from the pan and cut into approximately 2- × 1-inch bars. Make sure to use at least a 10-inch knife to avoid cutting and dragging the knife across the bars.

Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of the Butter Baked Goods cookbook but all thoughts are my own. I am not required to write about this cookbook or bakery and will receive no compensation for doing so. I am writing about it only because I truly enjoy the product.