One of the most famous food critics to ever live, Ruth Reichl is no stranger to Portland dining, and, this week on her blog, she wrote a full-on ode to Kristen D. Murray's Maurice, a “pastry luncheonette” in downtown Portland and member of the Eater PDX 38. Maurice “is, for me, the quintessential Portland restaurant,” writes Reichl, adding via Twitter it’s “the one restaurant you don't want to miss” when you visit.
Maurice started filling its pastry cases near Powell’s Books at 921 SW Oak St. in 2013, and, with its rather ethereal, blisteringly white decor in a hidden nook of a space, it can be easy to overlook if you haven’t, say, tasted Murray’s black pepper cheesecake. Here’s what specifically grabbed Reichl’s attention:
- Walk in and “find yourself surrounded by that cozy aroma — all butter and sugar and sugarplum fairies.”
- “A citrus cloud,” the lemon souffle pudding is “one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.”
- Don’t overlook the bird seed coconut tea cake: Each slice hides a “crunch and crackle” and “unexpected flavors,” as “the butter slowly melts.”
- The famous black pepper cheesecake “is the cheesecake of your dreams” and “the most mature cheesecake on earth.”
Reichl goes on to extol Maurice’s virtues. But what exactly makes it a quintessential Portland restaurant, according to the world-famous food writer? Maurice is “quirky, passionate, and personal.”