Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Apple Pie I've Ever Had - Higgins, Portland, OR

I've never been to Portland, OR but I've read enough food blogs to know that there is a lively food and beer scene. So when my hubz tells me he's always wanted to go to Portland and books our trip there as a winter getaway, I get schoolgirl giddy.

This time, I leave everything up to my hubz so I don't have to plan a thing. I don't research food blogs or read restaurant reviews. I just sit back and relax as my hubz creates an itinerary for our winter getaway. He deftly calls on his foodie friends who have been there before and through all the recommendations, we have a food and hiking plan.

Portland is a beautiful city. Lively, even when it's soggy. I get a lot of mileage out of my yellow rain boots as we walk the downtown streets. It's great to take a break from driving everywhere in LA. We decide to check out Higgins, based on a few friends' recommendations. Located on the corner of Broadway and Jefferson in Downtown, Portland, we wade through rain with our loaned hotel umbrellas from Hotel Lucia.

We pass by the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, where a line forms to watch Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band. WTF? I never knew Woody Allen HAD a band. I'm the worst film school student ever.

There are two parts to Higgins. The restaurant and the bar. The bar is obvious from the outside as it is the one that has the fogged up windows while the restaurant is dimly lit and quiet. The ambiance is that of a serious gourmet restaurant in that old school kind of way. The food, however, is very much up to date.

The menu is all locally sourced. Our server has a fun sense of humor and one of the servers zig zags throughout the restaurant with his dancing feet.

We start with the House-made charcuterie plate with Higgins pickles ($15.50). The salami, lardo, the thinly sliced salami, mortadella, pate, terrines, the Italian cookies, and the pickled asparagus and vegetables are out of this world and only made better knowing that everything is made in-house. It's plentiful for two people, probably better shared for a group of three or more. The only thing I'd question is the plating. That looks awfully sexual.


At Higgins, ordering beer is just as easy as ordering wine. Their beer menu is extensive and the markup isn't bad. We get a bottle of Delirium Tremens ($16) and a bottle of Lindemen's Framboise ($9).

My hubz orders the Rigatoni pasta with spicy fennel sausage, broccoli, garlic cream and pecorino romano ($20.50). He likes it, doesn't love it.


Nothing really jumps out at me from the menu except the oysters and my hubz is allergic so I opt for their special that night, the Flat Iron Steak ($30 something ish) that comes with cauliflower, potatoes, and collard greens. The steak is perfectly cooked but the sides made the dish. The potatoes, cauliflower, and the collard greens round out the dish and it all goes down well with my Delirium.


The best part of the entire meal and the reason why I'm even writing this post, is the Apple Pie. I know what you're thinking. It doesn't even look gooey or gelatinous - how could it be good? Well, I'm telling you... this apple pie expands your mind. Look, I don't want to feel like I put on ten pounds eating a slice of pie. I just want to enjoy it.

The menu's description doesn't do it justice, "Warm pie, cheddar crust, bay leaf ice cream." From the rum soaked raisins that dot the plate to the cheesy contrast to the warmth of the apple pie in juxtaposition to the cold and creamy ice cream makes this dessert the best thing ever. I'm not even mad that I can't taste the bay leaf flavor in the ice cream. It's very subtle.

There is no way to describe this apple pie than saying that it's the epitome of culinary contrast in a bite - cheesy/crusty/creamy/warm/cold/sweet/salty/herby/subtle/flavorful. My hubz just says the pie is "erotic" and come to think of it, that might be the best way to describe it.

Higgins Restaurant
1239 SW Broadway 
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 222-9070
Mon-Fri 11:30am-12:00am
Sat & Sun 4:00pm- 12:00am