Nancye Benson is back, and she brought the biscuits.
Benson gained a loyal following as the co-proprietor of Moxie Rx, a pioneering juice/smoothie bar and breakfast-focused food cart on N. Mississippi Avenue. Along with partner William Macklin, her cart was one of the first to serve restaurant-worthy food from a trailer decked out with style and verve. But the food truck life isn't easy, and after five years of setting the tone for Portland's cart scene, she shuttered the silver bullet in late 2010, taking her beloved cheddar biscuit sandwiches with her.
She went on to work as the pastry chef at The Woodsman Tavern, and served as the head of the food program at the now (temporarily) shuttered Woodsman Market next door. But she's had her eye on finding a spot of her own once again, and this time she's gone brick-and-mortar.
The charming, 28-seat Milk Glass Market and cafe opened last weekend in the former Atomic Pizza space on N. Killingsworth Avenue, serving up small plates of breakfast and lunch fare. Warm wood, creamy white paint, and walls of windows provide the backdrop to a modern, Scandinavian aesthetic grounded by a collection of antique milkglass.
The menu ranges from oat and apple butter scones, and housemade granola with yogurt and fruit compote, to more substantial dishes like those famous cheddar biscuits topped with an herbed egg and smoky bacon, or a Moroccan salad of kale, carrots, and chickpeas in harissa vinaigrette.
Benson's pastry background is evident in the well-developed list of sweets, which could rival the dessert menus at most of the finer restaurants around town. In addition to the selection of inventive cookies (think flourless peanut butter & chocolate chip) there are delights like chocolate pudding with malted whipped cream, brown butter almond cake with sour orange caramel, and bourbon-espresso tiramisu.
But Milk Glass Market isn't just a market in name. Benson has stocked a small but well-curated selection of artisan items in the same vein as those carried at The Woodsman Market.
Currently Milk Glass Market is open until the early evening, but the ultimate plan is to expand the hours into the night and add cocktails.
Milk Glass Market: 2150 N. Killingsworth Ave., Portland; 503-395-4742
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.