Thursday, October 9, 2014

Portland Pop-Up: Morgan St Theater

What: Morgan St Theater
When: Monthly
Honeys Heart: Watermelon sorbet, feta, basil oil & cherry tomato confit sundae

If you follow the Portland restaurant scene closely, you know that pop-ups are the next big thing. And if you follow this blog, you probably guessed that I would be all about that ish too (such a restaurant lemming... sorry not sorry).

I've been on Morgan St Theater's mailing list since I read about them in The Oregonian's pop-up roundup last June. Morgan St Theatre is a pop-up dessert club run by Jared Goodman that specializes in combining flights of nontraditional ice cream sundaes with storytelling and live music. Intriguing, right?

Each "performance" has a different theme and our night's was "It's My Party and I'll Make What I Want To"- essentially a compilation of Jared's favorite sundaes that he's made in the year since starting Morgan St Theater.

When we arrived at that night's venue, din din, we were greeted with a communal table set for 20, a live jazz duo, and a half dozen or so other guests who all already seemed to know each other. Let's just say it was not Doug's ideal scenario...

However, we were quickly made to feel more welcome by Jared who came over to introduce himself and explain a bit more about the night's proceedings. We would be served three different courses of ice cream sundaes with optional cocktail pairings. Jared would start each course with a short story that would provide some context for the dessert we would be trying. Mingling was encouraged as was taking the bartender up on his offer for a pre-dinner cocktail.

After choosing our seats and chatting with the other guests, it was finally time to get our ice cream sundae on. First up: Put a Bird on It made with wild huckleberry ice cream, buttermilk raspberry biscuit, lemon honey sauce, and huckleberry shrub. Everything on the plate was delicious but the lemon honey sauce was my favorite element. It was the perfect combination of tangy and sweet and if you force-fed me spoonfuls of it I wouldn't try to stop you.

That was paired with a Tennessee Orchard cocktail made with bourbon, campari, oregon cherry shrub, and soda. Yum.

Next up was Sofia made with watermelon sorbet, feta, basil oil, and cherry tomato confit. Doug and I agreed that this was hands down the most impressive dish of the night. It was very simple and refreshing,  and all the flavors paired perfectly together. Plus the cherry tomato confit was so rich and homey- you could just tell this sundae was made with lots of care and love.

Paired with Sofia was The Yakuza made with gin, garden herbs, ginger beer reduction, lemon, and honey.

Last up was Alma Mater, a peanut butter ice cream pie with chili chocolate brownie crust and cream. This was definitely the most traditional of the dishes we tried, but it still had that unique touch thanks to the chili in the brownie crust. Jared explained that it was inspired by Alma Chocolate's Thai peanut butter cups and I obviously need to try those immediately since Jared's take on them was so good.

That came with the Mucho Gusto made with rum, lemongrass-chili syrup, lime, "Don's mix", and Aztec chocolate bitters. The tiki feel of this cocktail paired well with the heat of the brownie crust.

We ended the night by paying by check and leaving a note in the comment box that was passed around.

Overall, we had an amazing time. The sundaes and cocktails were tasty and unique and the storytelling and live jazz added some extra pizzazz to the evening. And while chatting with strangers has never been Doug's or my strong suit and we definitely kept to ourselves more than some of the other guests, it was fun to be part of a communal experience.

Here's what Morgan St Theater has coming up in the next month:

Sunday, Oct 12- Sukkot: A Jewish Year in Ice Cream Sundaes

Thursday, Oct 23- A Night at the Opera

And if you want to join their mailing list, you can do that here.