Friday, December 31, 2010

A Jewel in Sellwood

Excuses. We've all got 'em. "Don't have time" is one of my regulars. "Slipped my mind" is becoming alarmingly frequent and, alas, all too true. "Had to answer an e-mail" slips in with startling regularity, too.

Such was the case when Dave and I had errands to run on the west side of the river and found ourselves peckish. Without a decent place to eat in sight, we opted to drive across the notoriously wibbly wobbly Sellwood Bridge and stop in at Jade Teahouse. That's when the cascade of excuses poured forth.

You see, Jade has been near or at the top of the list of my very favorite places since April Eklund (on right in photo at left) and her immensely talented mother, Cuong "Lucy" Eklund, opened it in October of 2008. Pretty soon April's exquisite design sense coupled with her mother's training as a chef and patissier in France, not to mention the handmade noodles, breads and pastries pouring out of Lucy's kitchen, made it an instant hit. And when PDXploration blogger Joshua Chang joined the team with his extensive knowledge and love for blended teas, as well as a killer smile and can-do attitude, things heated up even more.

But, and here's where the excuses come in, I hadn't been there in awhile and nothing gets past Lucy's eagle eye. So after her usual warm greeting, she very tactfully mentioned my absence from the lunch counter. Gulp. "Well…um…uh…" and brought up my brother's wine shop moving out of the neighborhood, the holidays, work, dragons, fires, floods.

Needless to say, Lucy just smiled and brought out her homemade roasted chile oil to go with my khao soi (top photo), a bowl of deeply flavorful broth filled with ground pork, tomatoes, chopped greens and some of Lucy's crazily light and luscious wide noodles. Dave opted for the beef and squash in red curry broth, another perfect combination and an ideal antidote to the wet, cold day outside.

Sufficiently fortified, we said our goodbyes and headed home, swearing to return soon despite work, holidays or dragons. Really.

Details: Jade Teahouse and Patisserie, 7912 S.E. 13th Ave. 503-477-8985.


thesharps said...

Yes we often make the trek to Jade from the Pearl District, even though it's a bit of a haul in Portland terms. The food is more than worth it, and it is presented with uncanny consistency - - we have yet to have an "off" meal there. Simple, informal, moderately priced and very tasty. Just be aware that it is not an undiscovered jewel; it's quite popular with the neighbors and area denizens, so sometimes there's a bit of a backup.

Kathleen Bauer said...

My advice during a busy spate: check the counter seating. It's almost always available, and the stools are amazingly comfortable. Plus you get to kibbitz with Josh, Lucy and the crew!