-pix website (images borrowed from pix website)
this past weekend, my husband and i drove the 3 hours to portland. our mission was to visit my good friend from high school, get to know his new bride, and see their new home. he was lovely, his bride was lovely, and their new home was lovely. and really, exceeded my expectations for a fun, relaxing weekend spent with old friends. little did i know that they were about to treat me to an amazing culinary adventure! i returned back to my city with an additional 3 lbs in tow. *sigh* but it was so worth it!
after arriving, we headed into the city and spent time at powell’s books in the pearl district. i swear powell’s is about the size of a macy’s with floor after floor filled with new and used books, as well as other quirky and fantastic odds and ends. then we had lunch at a fabulous irish pub that my friend’s wife used to study at when she was in school. her friendship with our server earned us a traditional irish bread pudding–on the house! we walked off our lunch by checking out her old neighborhood, which is blooming into another tucked away district, near fremont street. darling boutiques, stationary stores, and fun/delicious looking tapas bars are springing up everywhere. then our little walk brought us to pix patisserie. and i thought i’d gone to heaven.
pix is in a little residential neighborhood and looks unassuming when you walk up to it. my husband and i blew right past it until my friend and his wife called us back. but once we went into the place, i knew we’d hit on something special. pix has a pastry case full of the daily available pastries, turkish delight, macaroons, and chocolates. they have a full bar serving fancy drinks, and fun concoctions–like a chocolate stout/chocolate ice cream float–and a vanilla ice cream/framboise float, and a chocolate ice cream/cassis lambec float. trying, in vain, to reign in the calories, i ordered a kir royale–champagne and crème de cassis. my friend’s wife ordered the framboise float–it was delicious.
i had a ridiculously difficult time choosing what to order. but after a lot of eating and a large stout at the pub, i decided to go for something “light.” and i chose a delicious lemon tart. my husband ordered what is known as a “royale with cheese”–paying homage to pulp fiction, and my friend’s wife ordered the st. honoré–a delicious creme puff dessert.
the “royale” pictured above is a chocolate creme hazelnut dessert. while it looks like it has a hard shell, it is actually just extremely smooth creme on the surface, powdered with gold dust. pix describes it as: The Royale – Chocolate mousse blankets a crisp hazelnut praline filling and dacquoise base. Grab your paper Burger King tiara and indulge yourself! and the royale with cheese includes a slice of warmed brie cheese. which believe it or not, is a fantastic pairing.
the lemon tart was light and perfect–dusted with pistachios and powdered sugar. the crust was crisp and crunch–and a perfect compliment to my kir royale. the tarte au citron–as it is called–is described by pix as A French classic-luscious lemon curd in a crisp, buttery pâté sucrée shell.
my friend’s wife graciously shared one of her creme puffs with me–beyond words. the crunchy caramel was amazing with the creme and puff pastry. pix says of the st. honoré: One could find this gâteau in 1840 in France. 166 years later you can find it in Portland. Puff pastry, caramelized cream puffs, Grand Marnier pastry cream and vanilla bean crème chantilly…Wee! Wee!
being who we are, and loyal to our local chocolatier, we couldn’t resist a taste comparison, and took some chocolates home with us, and sampled them after breakfast the next morning. they were delicious, though i can’t bring myself to say they are better than theo–but certainly beautiful.
the spanish peanut was like the ultimate peanut/chocolate marriage. crunchy, rich, peanutty and wonderful, the peanut and chocolate were perfectly balanced and finished with glitter.
my favorite of the bunch, the ambrosia chocolate is, as pix puts it: Rosemary ganache and a port reduction nestle together in a geometric chocolate shell. as i put it, it was delicious. and unique, though the rosemary wasn’t overwhelming, and the port reduction was divine.
finally we sampled the blue cheese truffle, which was rich, and good, but a little over the top for me. we also sampled a rochet, hazelnut and chocolate, which was good, but extremely rich and almost hard to handle!
the ambiance, delicious food and delicate drinks made for a wonderful experience at pix pasisserie! a real find–it’s a wonderful place to meet friends and chat, read a book alone, and just luxuriate. the food is fantastic, but the atmosphere is not overly formal–as my friend’s wife put it, when we were young, we might go to the ice cream parlor as an activity, and now that we’re adults, this is exactly the kind of place we would come instead! it is like the adult version of an ice cream parlor. the atmosphere is local, the music is quirky and modern. and who can resist the desserts! next time i will sample the macaroons and the turkish delight!