A Nibble of Frice Bakery and Philippe’s Bread
Chefstable’s new bakery experiment unfolds on North Williams with old-school French breads to watch, composed desserts to go, and a feminine mystique to upgrade Lardo’s big-boy sandwiches.
First, let us pause to mourn the memory of St. Jack’s patisserie. The sweet arm of Aaron Barnett's Lyon-riffing restaurant felt like a roadhouse diner perched in the Alps of heaven, with French treats caught under swooping glass domes at its intimate counter. Alas, the Amélie-cute bakery didn’t survive the ChefStable-backed restaurant’s recent jump from Southeast to the swankier clime of Northwest 23rd Avenue. Instead, pastry gal Alissa Frice (formerly Rozos) headed to ChefStable’s newest brainstorm, a bakery that can operate independently while also supplying composed desserts to St. Jack and rustic French breads to the company’s various other restaurants, which include Ox, Racion, Oven & Shaker, and the fast-growing sandwich empire, Lardo.
After months of speculation about how it would all fit together, Frice Pastry and Philippe’s Bread debuted last weekend under the same roof as the new Lardo outpost at 4082 N Williams Ave. The two businesses operate shoulder to shoulder, the bakery’s marble counter and chic, little-black-dress palette alongside Lardo’s pig-loving charm. It’s the masculine and feminine versions of the food id.
Fortunately, Frice’s signature made-to-order madeleines—a bag of warm, buttery, three-bite affairs—survived the journey, and they’re reason enough to visit the new bakery. The sweet maker’s candy-like canelés and cream-filled eclairs are also still available as well as a new line-up of composed desserts. I happily devoured her lovely scone jam-packed with currants but a nice cream cheese frosted cinnamon roll was hindered by one-note sweetness.
I was impressed with baker Philippe Garcia’s walnut-chunked campagne loaf, as well as the olive baguette—its crispy jacket enclosing oil-cured olives, the usual scent of thyme. A French baker who sold bread to Huffman years ago in Lyon, Garcia is a Portland newcomer and a baker to watch, one who lives for slow rising, old-school levain dough churned in a state-of-the-art Fermentolevain machine. Grab a loaf to go, or order a half-baguette as crusty toast sided by Frice’s wonderfully tart orange marmalade and butter flecked with local Jacobsen sea salt (which has become more ubiquitous in Portland than eco-napkins).
But the biggest winner in this new arrangement may be Lardo, which feels a little more put together with a shiny new lady counter and giant flower sprays by its big-boy side. Who would have thought that a glossy bomb of ganache, mousse, and apricot jam would ever chase a hulking pork belly bahn mi? Lardo has never looked more confident.
Frice Pastry and Philippe’s Bread
4082 N Williams Ave.
7 am - 7 pm daily