I mentioned previously that Fenouil tied for top meal this past trip to Portland, and part of the reason was that Pastry Chef Kristen Murray’s black pepper cheesecake was, by far, the best bite of the five days, let alone in recent memory. When she invited us back to sample some more desserts, I simply couldn’t resist – even though it meant crowding the experience in between two big meals. When you meet a master, you don’t decline such an invitation. We have a few fine pastry chefs doing great desserts in Seattle, but I enjoyed Murray’s work even more. Her desserts are imaginative, full of texture and flavor (I especially enjoy the savory elements), and incredibly artistic.
The dessert tasting was amazing, and worthy of its own blog post. I present the dishes here for your pleasure.
Hood strawberry and pea amuse bouche (a gorgeous start)
Cornmeal crepe, Jacob’s Creamery fresh ricotta, heather honey, muscat grape and lemon balm salade (an intriguing favorite)
Rhubarb vacherin with almond biscuit, celery leaf sorbet, pink peppercorn meringue (another favorite)
Champagne mango tarte tatin (made with duck fat puff pastry) with salted butter ice cream, passion fruit caramel sauce
Viridian strawberry tart, fromage blanc mousse, lemon balm anglaise, meyer lemon creme
Chocolate souffle with mint ice cream and peppermint cacao lollipop
Dark chocolate tablet with hop macaron, cherries, nibs and hay-infused caramel stick (rich, and structurally stunning)
And then, believe it or not, it was off to dinner.
I don’t want to go overboard with accolades, so suffice it to say that Fenouil will be one of my first stops next time I go to Portland – and I encourage you to do the same…