Brian's Photo Blog — Article 553
<< PreviousNext >>Blog Index
Gourmet Groceries From Portland’s NW 21st Avenue
Monday 16 May 2016   —   Category: Cooking & Food
In a recent article I gave an overview of my final photo outing in Portland, Ore­gon, for 2015. I spent the day ex­ploring NW 21st and 23 Avenues, in the North­west District, which included shopping at a few grocery vendors. Rather than cluttering the overview article, I am pre­senting the delicious details here.
I had breakfast at Ken’s Artisan Bakery, and returned later in the day to buy a couple loaves of bread. After months of trying to follow the bread recipes of Portland master baker Ken Forkish in his cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, I finally visited his bakery at 338 NW 21st Avenue to find out how his bread is really supposed to turn out.

I have to confess I have been having trouble achieving his awesome results. See Artisan Baker Wannabe Not Ready For Prime Time for the dismal details.
Here is a loaf of Ken’s Country Blonde.

He writes in his cookbook that “this is a pure levain dough that gets no help from store-bought yeast. It is beautiful, natural bread with just a bit of tang to it.”

I love how his bread has a light texture with big holes, along with a crunchy yet chewy crust. Yummy!
Next is a loaf of Ken’s Country Brown.

He writes in his cookbook that this pure levain bread has “mellow flavors and a gentle tang (rather than being sour) and a very pleasant, rustic look and taste. The chew of the crust from this loaf is par­tic­u­lar­ly satisfying, and the way the crust flavors permeate into the crumb is soulful.”

It’s definitely not that styrofoam stuff they call bread in the grocery stores!
I did some more grocery shopping at City Market NW, located at 735 NW 21st Avenue. It houses five separate businesses sharing one large space and a common cashier, without any walls in between.
Half a pound of exquisite Molinari sa­lami I purchased from Pastaworks, one of the vendors in the City Market NW. I think it is the best salami I have ever had. Surprisingly, it is from San Fran­cisco, and not Italy!
Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese I bought at Pastaworks. Even though this may mark me as a cheese boor, I must confess that I much prefer Trader Joe’s domestic Fon­ti­na over this authentic Fontina from It­a­ly. Sad, but true! As an extra bonus, the TJ’s Fontina is less than one-third the price of the Italian cheese.
Some raw French boudin blanc I pur­chased from Chop Butchery, another of the vendors in the City Market NW. This sausage is similar to the German weiss­wurst we buy elsewhere in Portland.
Because this boudin blanc sausage is not pure meat, but a mixture of meat, eggs, starch and cream, there is a lot of mois­ture inside, which tends to cause the sau­sages to split open when cooking. There is nothing like the taste of a barbecued sausage!
I served the sausage with a pea and car­rot medley, and potato latke. Another scrumptious meal from the gourmet chef wannabe!

The French boudin blanc sausage was pretty good, but I think I still prefer the German weisswurst.
For more of the epicurean delights I experienced in the Northwest District, don’t miss my previous article: Portland NW 21st and 23rd Avenues Pub Crawl.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 553
<< PreviousNext >>Blog Index