By Iron Chef Leftovers
Photos by Mrs. Iron Chef Leftovers
On a recent trip to Portland, Mrs. Iron Chef and I made a stop at Olympic Provisions for brunch. Located in a group of warehouses in the southeast part of the city, it would be easy to miss if you didn’t know exactly where it was. Olympic Provisions specializes in cured meats and it is a very industrial looking space. The food however is to die for.
Wanting to sample the charcutiere, their menu lists all of the current cured meats they have, priced at $4 per ounce. They had about 15 on the menu when we were there.
Not knowing what to order, we stared our meal with the Chef’s Choice plate, which included 2 salame (cacciatore and andalusiuan), 2 pates (pork liver and country) and pickled vegetables. The salame was fantastic, the cacciatore, probably my favorite salami, was sweet and peppery was as good as some of the ones that I sampled in Italy. The andalusian was off the charts good. A great balance of spices with a hint of heat and clove, I could have eaten it all day with some bread. I would seriously go back to Olympic just for that salami. The pates were both outstanding. The pork liver was smooth and creamy with a nice balance of pork flavor and just a hint of liver taste; it was a pate that I would serve to someone who had never tried pate. It was amazing on the crusty bread that came with the platter. The country pate was a flavor bomb, and with the addition of a touch of the stone ground mustard on the board, was among the best I have ever had. The veggies, while good, had a lot of vinegar and would not be enjoyable if you did not like your pickled food really tart.
For our meal, we had the sweetheart ham sandwich and the eggs benedict. The eggs were probably the best I have tried. Perfectly cooked poached egg pillows sitting on top of sliced ham and an English muffin, covered (but not drowned) in hollandaise sauce. The sauce, with just a hint of lemon, exploded when the runny egg yolk combined with it, producing an unxious, delicious experience.
The ham sandwich, piled high with thin sliced, house cured ham, a fried egg and a brioche bun, was pork overload; the perfect sandwich for the morning after a little too much to drink. The perfectly cooked fried egg provided a wonderful contrast to the slightly sweet and smoky ham, especially as the yolk ran out of the egg.
Olympic Provisions has a small but “something for everyone” brunch menu with most items priced between 8 and 12 dollars. The Chef’s Choice plate was $16, and I believe the most expensive item on the menu for brunch. They also offer an extensive beer and wine list and have the hard stuff for those who are inclined.
They also have a second location in the Northwest of Portland. I would head back to Olympic Provisions any time I am in Portland, but I really need to get there at some point for dinner, which I am told is equally as outstanding as brunch.
Overall, Olympic Provisions garners 5 laurel wreaths out of 5.