Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jade Teahouse & Patisserie

Jade Teahouse & Patisserie is located on SE 13th Ave. in the Sellwood district of Portland, Oregon. Headed by mother-daughter tandem Lucy and April Eklund, Jade brings wonderful Southeast Asian flavors to the Northwest!

Menu (as of late September 2011)
Lucy Eklund was born in Vietnam, but her cooking also embodies "Thai, Laotian, and French influenced Vietnamese." She opened a very successful restaurant, Beau Thai, in NW Portland in 1993. She sold the business to travel to France and learn more about French baking. After returning, Lucy and daughter April opened Jade, a homey atmosphere, to serve delicious food and teas to their customers.

Lucy's baking prowess shows with her amazing desserts, which just happen to be right at the ordering window. She bakes macarons (a sandwich-like confectionery using egg whites, almonds, etc.), macaroons (the light baked cookie that may use either ground almonds or shredded coconut), and tarts.

Two of Lucy's signature desserts include the Sesame Ball ($1.50 each): a "crispy rice ball filled with coconut & sweet yellow bean," served with a coconut caramel dipping sauce; and the Vietnamese Wedding Cake ($4/slice): an earthy vanilla cake with a center layer of puff pastry.

Sesame Balls (Jade Teahouse & Patisserie)
Vietnamese Wedding Cake (Jade Teahouse & Patisserie)
Summoning all my willpower to not buy out the entire stock of desserts, I asked April what were some of their more popular entrees. They included:

Fresh Wide Rice Noodles ($9): a stir fry of fresh wide rice noodles, eggs, broccoli, carrots, bok choy, and choice of chicken, shrimp, beef, or tofu

Salad Rolls ($5): Rolls that include your choice of chicken, shrimp, or lemongrass tofu

Drunken Chicken Baguette Sandwich ($7): Chicken marinated in a sweet-sour concoction, which includes red wine, topped with pickled daikon radish, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, and mayonnaise, all encased in a homemade baguette.

Knowing I really couldn't go wrong, I decided to get the Drunken Chicken sandwich. And because it was sunny on the day I went, I decided to quench my thirst with a Thai iced coffee ($2.50; $9.50 total).

Drunken Chicken Sandwich (Jade Teahouse & Patisserie)
Thai Iced Coffee (Jade Teahouse & Patisserie)
A tasty, refreshing iced coffee here. Just the right amount of milk/cream to complement the coffee.

The sandwich...delicious. The flavor imparted on the chicken actually reminded me a bit of char siu pork and brought back memories of when my dad let me have some of his ramen with the char siu inside. Moist, tender chicken here, and the slight sweet-sour flavors tag-teamed nicely with the pickled vegetables, cilantro, and mayonnaise. Major props here for the homemade baguette, nice and firm on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.

The entire staff was extremely friendly; they really made me feel welcome here. I even inquired about the location of another food business in the area, and they took time to give me the proper directions.

I have no clue how I avoided ordering dessert this time around, but next time, I just might have to try at least one dessert item to round out the experience here. In the meantime, a big thumbs up for Jade! 8/10

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