Friday, February 19, 2010

Legares -- A Bohemian Cafe Portland Style

Legare's is a small, cozy intimate place, with a neighborhood cafe vibe and a charm that a corner Starbucks can never conjure up.  This charming cafe is located in the Clinton Street district of Portland, Oregon and it boasts an eclectic crowd and an equally eclectic menu.  A cafe culture in a neighborhood is often seen as inspirational, one that invokes images of a bohemian cafe house of Europe; Legares fits that image perfectly.
The restaurateur Jon Legare, let's me in on some of the weekly happenings and events at the cafe -- he explains that it is a community resource center, a gathering place for writers, artists, poets, and a family friendly place.  There is one wall that is reserved for artists to hang their work for sale and on another wall that is reserved for film night.  The cafe is often a buzz with congenial conversations; everyone seems to know each other.
In the end though, it is the food that draws them in, and it is the food that brings them back.  It is hard to find a restaurant that serves gluten free pancakes or waffles.  A friend turned us on to Legare's and since then it has become one of our favorite spot's.  Jon's menu is reasonably priced; everything is under $10.00.  The portion's are big, and the food is delicious.  He takes great pride in selecting the best ingredients; he goes early to market and buys the freshest he can find.  His menu is rather unique, as is Jon.  You will find cajun blackened alligator -- sorry, it is already sold out to this lunch crowd.  Other menu features are elk patty's bison burgers, barbequed quail and of course here in the Northwest, we love our salmon. 
The gluten free waffle comes with a variety of toppings -- this one is a personal favorite, it is featured with brie cheese, fresh sliced pears, almonds, lavender seeds, and it is oh so good!
The other dish is a cup of vegan chili, with a delectable tomato base sauce that packs a punch with garlic and red chili flakes and Jon's secret ingredients that makes it unique in favor and taste.  Chili with meat is also available. 
In the Northwest we love our coffee, and Legare's doesn't disappoint us.  Jon serves his own  special blend.  He also has a variety of French presses of specialty coffees.  Legare's also is the only one in the country to serve the rare Kopi Luwak coffee.  Personally I have not tried it yet, but there is a young couple from Reed College who told me that every week they come for Sunday breakfast and try a different French press specialty coffee.  I asked which is their favorite --- after some reflection on their part, they hadn't decided yet, but  will let me know when they try them all.  Real connoisseur's no doubt.
For the tea lovers there is also a nice selection of blooming teas, and a ten year old pu'erh.  Remember to save room for desert, for there is also an assortment of pastries, and of course Jon's special home made cookies. 
Bon Appetit!