Monday, December 18, 2017

Cheese and What? A Review





I had heard of Cheese and Crack first from the Food Cart Festival OMSI puts on every year–which by the way happened last month. If you ever have a chance to go, it’s worth the $20. At first, I wasn’t too impressed. They just served little bites in cute plates, but I would never call it substantive–which is what I’m looking for in food–more like h’doerves at a fancy party.

But when I saw that the weekly Willamete Week had included it in its Cheap Eats edition, I decided to give it a chance, especially because I needed a place to take my friend for her birthday, and she LOVES cheese. I was willing to give Cheese and Crack a chance.

Apparently, Cheese and Crack started humbly as a food cart off Hawthorne, but it was getting so much business, it was able to move to a bona fide location off Burnside on 28th–which is a treasure trove of cool shops and restaurants, but shh, keep that on the DL–replacing the Black Bike Cafe there previously.


What I found when I went there was a mix of personality. It had the aura of a laid back unpretentious eatery, minimal design with wooden diner stools and tables. Who wouldn’t think so with a name that includes “Snack Shop”? It was a perfect “picnic bench” spot to watch passerby or do projects, which is what I had my friend help me with, not too crowded. Perfect.

Courtesy of PDX Eater

Courtesy of PDX Eater


But talk to one of the owners, William Steuernagel, about the menu or look at the offerings: Cana de Oveja, House Savory Oatmeal Cookies, Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider, and Port, and you’ll realize they mean serious artisan business.

Courtesy of Amanda Allen.

Owner William Steuernagel. Courtesy of Amanda Allen.


I ordered the Salami and Cypress Grove Fromage Blanc with Marrionberry jam plate, which came with housemade butter crackers, savory oatmeal cookies, a baguette, olives, cornichons, dijon, honey and chocolate ganache. Looking at the plate, I wasn’t too impressed, just overwhelmed with all the sppons though it’s a novelty. My thoughts were: will this fill me up for $8 and how do you eat this appropriately? My friend had the same thought with her plate, the Mycella Bleu and Cypress Grove Fromage Blanc with marrionberry jam. We joked as we tried to figure out what to spread on our crackers.


Courtesy of Portland Monthly.


But I was pleasantly surprised with how content I was after, including my iced yerba matte with honey and peach bitters. And the owner was super attentive. They also offer soft serve, sandwhiches and breakfast, which I think I would like to try next.

I don’t know if Cheese and Crack would be my hangout per se, but if ever I need to find a quality place to take a friend for a decent price, or if I was in the hood and needed to grab breakfast, it would definitely be on my list.