Tag Archives: Lucy’s Original

We Made This

1 Sep

Blueberry-Black Pepper Pie

with cornmeal crust, lemon cream and basil

This was the final dessert served at the aforementioned horseshoes tournament. We used blueberries picked from a friend’s property. E. Dohrmann made the crust and I made filling and lemon cream, which is really just homemade lemon curd mixed with crème fraiche. Our friend Tim from Pupil Photo took a beautiful photo of our truck in the park. Evan said this is his favorite picture of Lucy to date. She does look mighty fine.

Photo courtesy of Tim Roth, Pupil Photo

The horseshoes tournament was being put on by our friends over at Urban Honking. We were asked to create a custom meal fit for a casual “cookout in the park.” Many of the guests were vegan or vegetarian so we decided to make all of the sides vegan. When Evan and I were vegan we tended to like things fairly spicy. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the dishes we made for the event incorporated chiles, fresh herbs, smoked spices and fresh squeezed lime juice. We shopped a local farmers market for all of the produce. My favorite part came when we selected the beans for the succotash. We used favas, blue lakes and purple burgundy beans. Here is the rest of the menu from the day.

Peach-Mint Julep Popsicles
Veggie Beet Burgers
balsamic pickled beets, avocado, butter lettuce and caper berry pesto (goat cheese optional)
80/20 Beef Bacon Burgers
gorgonzola, butter lettuce and tomato-peach Jam
Summer Succotash
corn, green beans, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet onion and shell beans
Spicy Baked Beans
pinto, black, butter, garbanzo and kidney beans baked with onions and peppers in spicy bbq sauce
Jalapeno-Lime Kale Slaw
lacinato kale, cabbage, carrot, red onion and jalapeno with lime dressing
Sliced Watermelon with Lime
Vegan Coconut Peach Rice Pudding

One of my favorite parts from the evening was passing out the peach mint julep popsicles. It was fun seeing adults’ faces light up with glee at the thought of a popsicle containing bourbon. These were a huge hit and a great way to start the meal. Many thanks to our friend and personal girl friday, Erika Polmar from Plate & Pitchfork, who successfully tracked down popsicle molds for us so late in the season.

I also got a kick out of the tournament prizes. 1st:Hancocks Presidential Reserve bourbon, 2nd: Old Grand-dad Kentucky bourbon, 3rd: Pickle juice.

Evan and I would like to thank the peeps over at Urban Honking and specifically Steve, Mike and Judah for including us in this spectacular  (biannual) event. It is definitely one of the highlights from this summer and certainly one of our better catering gigs.

Brunch Menu

27 Feb

Today we’re serving brunch outta Lucy’s Original. We’re featuring some old LRBC favorites. Here’s the menu:

Biscuits and Rosemary Mushroom Gravy
Olive Oil Granola with Yogurt and Maple-Blueberry Compote
Challah French Toast with Balsamic Strawberries
Fried Egg Sandwich with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Salted Apple Butter
Fried Egg Sandwich with Cheddar, Green Chiles, Caramelized Onions and Red Chile Aioli
Jucy Lucy Cheeseburger with Zucchini Pickles
Fresh Mint Tea
Mexican Coke
Banana Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Malted Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Tomato Confit

21 Feb

Recently, Little Branch received a plug in an article written by Tony Perez, food columnist for the Portland Mercury. Out of the many reviews we’ve received throughout the years, this one was one of the most well-written and best researched articles we’ve come across or had the pleasure of receiving. I’d like to take a minute to thank Mr. Perez for taking the time to review our food truck, Lucy’s Original, and for diligently doing his homework. In honor of this occasion I’d like to give the recipe out for the “fantastic tomato confit” we make. We like keeping a jar of this stuff in our fridge at all times. It’s the perfect topper for burgers but also on sandwiches, goat cheese tarts, and it makes an excellent alternative to the tablespoon of tomato paste needed in your favorite pasta sauce or soup recipe.

Tomato Confit

(or just another fancy way to say slow-roasted tomatoes)

Traditionally, confit is  a French word used to describe salting and cooking something in fat for flavor and preservation. Because tomatoes lack  the fat to be rendered, we use olive oil here.

  • 20 large plum or roma tomatoes (6 pounds), peeled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Use a sharp paring knife to remove the core and stem end of each tomato, scoring the end with an x. Place tomatoes in a large bowl.

Pour boiling water over tomatoes; let sit until skin is easily peeled, about 15-20 seconds. Drain tomatoes, and cover with ice.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from each tomato,  and cut in half. Gently toss tomatoes in a large bowl with olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomatoes on the baking sheet. Top with the springs of rosemary.

Roast slowly until tomatoes are dried halfway through, about 5 to 6 hours. Use a pastry brush throughout the process to baste the tomatoes in the olive oil and juices from the pan.

Once the tomatoes have cooled, remove the springs of rosemary and transfer the tomatoes into an airtight container, adding more olive oil (if needed) to cover. We actually like to smash them to make a nice spread for our burgers but I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Lunch: Lucy’s Original

12 Feb

My sister-in-law Jamie and friend Lynn turned me on to these. Normally I turn my nose up at American cheese, and I’ve always been a blue cheese burger kind of gal (thanks to The Spotted Pig), but I’m afraid after this combo there’s no going back. There’s just something about the creaminess of the cheese and dressing, the tang of the pickles, and the saltiness of the bacon that HitsTheSpot. I also love how the inside of the bun is nice and toasted but the outside remains soft. The texture and flavor combo can’t be beat! Truth be told, I ate this beauty at lunch and  had another for dinner (no joke).

Jucy Lucy (add bacon)

Country Natural beef stuffed with American cheese, homemade 1000 island, zucchini pickles, bacon and toasted potato bun

Compliments to the Chef: Lucy’s Original

7 Feb

Meet Lucy. She’s the other woman. She’s a smooth talking, show-stopping beauty that first introduced herself to my husband back in the fall of 2010. She came across as a reliable and trustworthy (albeit old-fashioned) kind of gal, beaming with a heart of stainless steel. Since that fateful meeting, my husband has devoted the past 21 weeks to her.

I miss my husband. I miss the softness of his hands. I miss our evening chats on the couch, legs draped across his, slurping whiskey and dreaming about the future. These days, we’re lying somewhere in between “what needs to be done” and “what’s gone missing from the fridge.” These days are all about Lucy. Whatever Lucy wants, Lucy gets. They/we could practically rename the song. I can’t blame him. Looking back on it now, I’d say we were equally foolish to think we could allow this woman into our home without disrupting the equilibrium in our relationship. Besides, even I can admit to falling for her beauty and to being intoxicated by her charm. She’s a few years younger than me. Usually, my husband and I have the same taste in women but I’ll have you know better; I am not the kind of gal who says one thing and does the other. On the contrary, I may be shy, but I am upfront and honest (sometimes a little too honest). Lucy is different. She’s flashy, and smells delicious and gives the impression of being wise with her sturdy and gorgeous, vintage exterior. And oh, how she tugs at your heart-strings with her charming family history, her seemingly innocent remarks and passive mannerisms. Most of the time, she’s got you convinced she’s the one doing you the favor. Not knowing any better, she had us believing we were taking advantage of her. As you very well know, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and let me tell you, on the inside, Lucy is no gem.

Huh. Funny how we can look back on life and can pick the exact moment when we wished we would would’ve chosen differently–how we can pin point the exact second when our lives are destined to become irrevocably changed. For us, it was the moment my husband ever laid eyes on Lucy. He came home that day and said to me, “I’m going to buy that food truck.”

If I haven’t been clear enough, Lucy is our food truck. Or to be more concise, Lucy is my husband’s 1986 Chevy Step-Van converted into a food truck, out of which he sells cheeseburgers. And to be even more concise, out of which he sells inside-out cheeseburgers, like the Jucy Lucy cheeseburger out of South Minneapolis, MN, which is how the truck got her name. How we came to this point is debated. I can recall a road trip in which the existence of such a cheeseburger was discussed, though the destination of this particular road trip has yet to be confirmed. The facts we do know are as follows:

  1. We purchased the vehicle back in September of 2010 under the assumption it would be a perfect distraction from the closing of our cafe in June 2010
  2. It was known from the beginning (and from past experience) that this operation would be best operated by Evan
  3. It was known from the beginning (and from past experience) that this operation would be heavily meddled in by myself
  4. It was important to us to own the real estate that houses our business (even if that business is mobile)
  5. He wanted to serve burgers

As I mentioned before, I’m a meddler. My euphemism for this plaguing addiction is: I cannot contain myself. Despite my skepticism for Evan’s latest obsession, that is, the launching of a food truck serving burgers in the unforgiving freezing cold, over saturated economy, I insisted on being part of the process. I was admittedly nervous about spending our entire savings (and then some) on a food truck, and attempting to join the ranks and earn the respect of Portland’s so called “Food Cart Mafia.” Fortunately for me, I married a patient and loyal partner who is open, patient and kind and loving, and have mentioned patient? Throughout our years together, he calmly puts up with my antics, and our (ad)venture of Lucy’s Original stands testament to his strength and devotion.

Lord knows, we have both struggled with our decisions when it comes to our dealings with Lucy (like the time I bought a busted/over-sized soft serve machine off the internet we couldn’t squeeze through Lucy’s door). Mechanically there have also been issues. So far, we’ve replaced the alternator, battery (+external batteries), electrical wiring, fan belt, gas line, interior lighting, soft plug, starter and a window. That’s just the beginning of the amount of work that has gone into turning this 1986 Chevy Step-Van into a woman named Lucy. My early skepticism did not originate from questioning my husband’s integrity towards the project. Everyone who knows him agrees you cannot doubt his ability, determination, creativity or passion. Therefore, it came as no surprise that he would insist upon seeing this project through and with his own flair. From the beginning, he insisted upon coming up with a special blend of beef that he would grind fresh, himself, and hand-form into patties to grill (on a flat-top, “has to be a flat-top”) to eventually combine with his own condiments on a (soft) toasted potato bun. He owes this passion to few places and people (namely, Chef Frank Castronovo who turned us on to Burger Bar in Amsterdam, Portland’s Little Big Burger, Chef John Gorham and dear friends Lynn, Ben and Liam Russell,) Evan would also attempt to make Portland’s headiest vegan burger, packed full of sunflower seeds and topped with locally grown sprouts, inspired by our favorite all-vegan fast food chain and our favorite vegan band. Oh, yes. We do have a favorite vegan fast food chain. #OnlyinLosAngeles. And hell yes we have a favorite vegan band. #OnlyinPortland

Finally, once December hit, he got the truck mobile enough to move in to a super supportive farmer’s lot in our neighborhood, and was able to gain some experience behind the grill and say hello to a lot of (familiar) friendly faces. At the close of the month, he even hit up a couple of Blazer games outside of the Leftbank Building. He still talks about those (cold) adrenaline-filled nights. He loved loves every minute of it. The month of January granted us another opportune move to a popular North Portland avenue known as Mississippi. Parked in the lot of a friendly and locally owned gallery and gift shop, our neighbors at Land have taken good care of us.

The menu is good and simple. Perhaps it’s so good because it’s so simple, this ensures that we literally have our hand in every item. Currently we have eight (cheese)burgers, Tim’s (lightly salted) potato chips and Mexican coke. That’s it. We make our own pickles, jams, sauces and confit. Er, or if you really want to be specific, Little Branch makes all the pickles, jams, sauces and confit. Evan grinds the (locally raised and ethically responsible) meat, stuffs all the patties and does all the grunt work. Together, we’ve found a way to make this dream of ours work.

As difficult as it’s been to adjust to a life walking the dogs without Evan and his silly dog voices, mad scientist-like coffee-making skills and shared Blazer fanaticism, I’m proud of him. My heart exceedingly gushes pride (and joy!) at his successes both internally and externally. Trust me, this is a man you want to know. At the very least, it’s a guy worth buying a burger from.

Beginning February 10th and through the end of the month he’ll be parked at:

3925 North Mississippi Ave
Portland, Oregon 97227

For the latest news and updates, find him on Twitter at twitter.com/LucysOriginal. Tell him his wife sent you.

Holding On

10 Nov

We know from experience that building a business isn’t easy. Right now we are attempting to build two different businesses under one roof. For this reason, the energy in our home the past two months has fluctuated between chaotic and blissful.

photo by Ashley Forrette

This is what “holding on” looks like in our house. Evan and I are having a lot of these moments lately. Sometimes out of love, and sometimes out of necessity. We are reaching for something concrete,  grasping for something familiar, and clutching on to what remains once the storm has passed. At least that’s what it feels like. A storm, I mean.

The end of October ended in a flurry of business meetings, dinner parties, birthday parties, car-maintenance issues and buyer’s remorse. There was hardly time to keep up with the blogging. This is how we work. It is how we’ve always worked. All at once, like frenzied bees.