No hummus and pita plate! (An update, of sorts)

I realize I’ve taken a bit of a jump from what I used to talk about.

Food has kept me more than alive these past few months. I don’t know if I would have been able to cope with my personal life if I wouldn’t have had a kitchen to cook in. The industry is funny like that. As stressful and demanding as it can be, it is a home for many. It’s been a home for me. Not just in a kitchen, but with other cooks and industry folk. They have held me tightly, given me space to create, and have fed me and let me frequent their barstools. If not to take the edge off, just a bit, but the company has been so important.

I wrote a long time ago that I had been given the task to start a dinner service at Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry, where I was once a barista, and now sous chef of a kitchen.

Well, in June, we started serving dinner hoping our liquor license would show up the next week. A lot of weird things happened and it was just taking too long, and we were being stretched too thin. So, I went back to doing breakfast, lunch and prep shifts until we got our liquor license straightened away. And so, a few weeks ago, we were officially given our liquor license. Woo!

So this Thursday, we will be having a sort of ‘grand opening’ harvest party to showcase some of the food we’ll be serving, and also as a way to have fun and welcome in the new season. It’s been a long time coming, for sure.

I’m stoked on my menu and am really proud of the way it looks.

I am, though, in the process of figuring out how to run a kitchen. Which means, thinking about food at least two weeks in advance and figuring out how to cook food with a kitchen staff that is pretty much just me, and the occasional runner, prep cook.

It’s a little scary, but I’m ready. And let’s be honest, when cooking in a kitchen, you will think you are ready, but it can change in a heartbeat. You just gotta power through it and hope to come out on the other side.

I’ve been learning a lot from other cooks. Learning to degrease as much as I can so our sink won’t back up. I’m always so amazed about how cooking relies so much on being clean, and cleaning. Always, cleaning. Haha. (I never write laughs in my blogs, but it’s so true…)

Woodlawn-Coffee-Pastry.-Perfect-spot-for-a-rainy-day-cup.-And-it-is-really-raining-today

Like I said, I’m super stoked on the menu. It’ll change quite often, considering I try hard to keep it seasonal.

This time, we are adding some house charcuterie on the menu. Pork rillettes, pate de campagne (country pate), and eventually, chicken liver mousse.

I suppose I am designing a menu on people drinking. Personally, I love rich, satisfying food when drinking a stiff cocktail or sake or wine.

No nachos. Not that I’m opposed to them, they’re just played out drinking food. No pita and hummus plate! Bah humbug! I always crack on this. I don’t know why. I just know whenever I go to a pub and see pita and hummus with raw veggies, I realize it’s easy and it’s filler, and honestly, it sells. I just can’t do it right now.

I’m excited to showcase pimiento cheese and house made crackers.  A killer meatloaf sandwich (which I’ve been told is better than most burgers on the block) and of course, since we’re a pastry shop, our desserts will be bangin’.

I’m excited, y’all. Feeding people, given its trials from time to time, really is meaningful to me.

If you do find yourself wondering about Portland, come by and say hi!

I’d love to feed ya.

Until next time, I raise my glass to those who have stuck with me during these hard, hard months. Thank you for reading and following and just being super wonderful people. It means so much to me.

-Josh

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9 responses

  1. Okay, so I discovered your blog on Freshly Pressed (congrats by the way!), and I loved your post… so I kept reading. And reading. And then, I realized you live in Portland! I should have known as much, God knows all fantastic food & foodies are located in this glorious little niche of the Northwest. Your passion for food & community remind me so much of my own life. I live with 5 women in SE in this ridiculously awesome house that we should never be able to afford (seriously, answer to prayer), and we spend all our money cooking and feeding people, because it makes us come alive and makes those at our table come alive and feel safe and known. There is nothing like it. I know the way I feel about it, but I just love it when someone puts it into words so beautifully. And now, I can’t wait to check out Woodlawn! Keep feeding people, and keep writing.

    Blessings,
    Cayla

  2. Josh, I just discovered your blog and thoroughly enjoy your topics and style. Any chance you’ll share that pimiento cheese recipe?

    • Hey there,
      It’s super easy.
      1 1/2 cup white cheddar, grated
      1 1/2 cup yellow cheddar, grated
      1/2 cup of pimentos
      1/2-3/4 cup of good mayo (or however much you need till it comes together how you like it. I don’t like very wet, enough so I can dig in with a cracker.)
      1TBsp yellow mustard
      a few dashes of Crystal hot sauce (or your hot sauce of choice)
      salt and pepper to taste

      • Thank you! I love that great chefs are generous with their recipes. I haven’t heard of Crystal hot sauce; Louisiana hot sauce seems to be our popular brand in the Houston area.

  3. You’re running your own place?? Wow! Congratulations! That’s an awesome accomplishment! I don’t know when I’ll make it out West, but I’d love to visit your restaurant when I do get out there; I’m a sucker for a place with a seasonal menu. Something about it is comforting even though the menu is ever changing. The farthest west I’ve been is Iowa. Yeah. I think I’ve visited more places outside of the country than in it.

    anyway, I love your writing. Keep doing it! I’m kind of going through the blogs I haven’t read, and I enjoy reading what you write. Plus, the food pics make me drool. Now I see what I’ve been doing to my friends, lol.

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