You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Portland’s Sunshine Tavern

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“You Are the Sunshine of my Life” is a song that has been cursing through my brain over the last week (for unspeakable reasons), so tonight, I decided to walk down the street to the Sunshine Tavern, a relatively new eating establishment/tavern in the hood. Loved the atmosphere, with books stacked on a shelf and cool art by local artists, hanging on the wall.  I love dining alone.  It is such a treat to take myself out for a nice dinner at the end of a long day of work.  Sunshine Tavern was quick, easy and unassuming.  I really enjoyed my meal there.

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Located at 3111 Division Street here in Portland, everything about this family-friendly pub is casual and “easy” with the exception of the sophisticated food menu.  Their food has been featured in Bon Appétite Magazine, The New York Post, Food and Wine, and they have even received mention in the Wall Street Journal.  I am fortunate to live within walking distance of it.  Sunshine Tavern does offer some well-thought-out fare.  Unfortunately, there are few vegetarian offerings.  I would like to see more, but what they do offer is exquisite!

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I had the  garnet yam and quinoa cakes smothered in  fennel, softly cooked onions  and sliced almonds.  The cakes were soft with  hot and full of rich, delicious flavor.  Each bite was a mixture of interesting texture provided by the nuts and the vegetables.  I had never experienced a taste combination quite like this one, and admittedly, probably would not have thought of this myself, but I feel I have discovered a real treasure in this particular dish, and can’t wait to try it again.

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Also on the menu, is a small selection of toast.  This is not just any toast, mind you.  They offer garlic toast with butter, chicken liver mousse spread thickly on a toasted baguette, a housemade terrine with toast and accoutrements and what I ordered, the chopped egg on toast with créme fraiche and tarragon.  The tarragon accented the flavors of the yam cakes perfectly.  This was an outstanding light dinner.  I had a tall Sierra Nevada ale with it and reveled in the flavors as I slowly enjoyed the food and atmosphere, but after I had finished, I was still a little hungry, so I asked the very nice waiter what was good for dessert.  He recommended the soft serve with Fernet Blanca.    With the first bite, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

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Fernet Branca is a bitter, aromatic spirit from Italy.  The marriage of this complex herbal blend with the sweetness of the housemade soft serve was a union that is unsurpassed in harmony.  I freaked out with the goodness of it all, and am already yearning to go back…ah, but alas.  Today is a fasting day.  I shall save my return trip for later, and sleep tonight, dreaming of how good it all was.  Love this place.  I shall return!

 

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