Even though I have begun to make yogurt and bake sourdough bread, and yes, there are jars of kimchi and Morse’s sauerkraut in my fridge at this incredibly instant, I do not take into account myself a fermenter, if there is these kinds of a term. Included proof: Several magnificent, really regarded and in depth fermentation publications have been revealed in the very last ten years, but they are not on my shelves. I feel considerably way too aged and square for just about anything as Brooklyn-esque and hip as a fermentation hobby.
Still when I uncovered myself at the freshly expanded Onggi Ferments & Foods on Washington Avenue in Portland on a recent Friday afternoon, I was as beguiled as the constant stream of other shoppers.
“Oh my God, Emily, seem at all these factors!” claimed one particular, as she browsed the cabinets of wonderfully packaged fermented (and other) merchandise. “Look at this ume jam!” yet another customer enthused some 20 minutes later on. “I tried the mochi matcha,” a 3rd advised her pal as the pair wandered the compact, hugely curated store. “Unbelievable!”
Onggi, which started life in the close by repurposed transport containers, also on Washington Avenue, moved to its new locale in April. Now, in addition to things for tiny-batch sale like that jam, as well as – to name just a number of – chili crisp, local cider vinegar, black garlic, pickles, nearby miso, black sesame seed butter, fish sauce, natto, Polish cabbage shredders and Korean onggi (the ceramic fermenting pots from which the retail store requires its title), it also serves a smaller modifying menu of Korean-inflected lunch things, house-designed fermented drinks, teas and coffees, and an array of uncommon and imaginative East-West pastries.
You can buy lunch for takeout, and significantly of the food items is effectively-suited for that, or you can sit at the counter or a single of two tables tucked into window nooks at the front of the retail store. It is a sunny, pleasant place for lunch. As you wait around for your get, you have time to browse all those tempting shelves and check out to winnow down which jars and bottles to convey residence.
I experienced the exact same struggle with the menu. It is small. Even so, it’s so fascinating and private – not a biggest hits list of stylish menu things (fried Brussels sprouts, I’m wanting at you) – I required all the things on it. I finally settled on an egg omelette gimbap ($12), the “vivaciously vegetarian” selection (eggs, jalapeno, carrots, spinach), according to the menu. Gimbap, I acquired, is the name for Korean-style rice rolls. They appear very substantially like the Japanese model, but don’t flavor like it, at least not like regular Japanese sushi. In which vintage Japanese rice rolls are refined and sensitive, my gimbap was daring, vibrant, spicy – and delicious.
The roll came cut into 8, sesame-seed sprinkled items, with a alternative of two sides. Feel bento box-sized sides, not Southern-type meat-and-a few-sized sides. The garlicky soy sauce-cucumber salad and bean sprouts had been both refreshing, brilliant and crunchy the mung beans stained my fork pink with gochugaru (Korean chili flakes). Usually immediately after lunch, I want a nap. But my lunch at Onggi was a zippy, wake-me-up food.
That was significantly less accurate for the goods I brought residence, though I’m not complaining: a pork-kimchi pop-tart of kinds ($4.75), and that matcha-black sesame butter mochi ($3.50). Regrettably, I lacked abdomen area for the miso-scallion scone with chili crisp butter ($4). A further time. The mochi, which is gluten-totally free, was not remotely vintage, but much more like a blondie reimagined with rice flour and matcha. It was chewy, not also sweet and pleasantly dense.
Would you go again? Which is the most primary examination for what makes a excellent cafe. In this circumstance, in a heartbeat.