The Nines & Urban Farmer
Food that is to die for!
These days I say I live half-time in Portland, Oregon because I’m there so much. I’m still a visitor to be sure. But I’m spending enough time there these days to have developed all kinds of favorite haunts. So, stay tuned to discover some of my top picks right here on Around the Block.
One of my new loves is The Nines, a gorgeous property in downtown Portland. Calling it uber chic would definitely not be out of line. The suites and rooms are impeccably decorated and the service is top notch from the minute the valets greet you when you arrive. Staying there is like having a pie de terre that everyone you know is jealous of. In other words, it’s perfection.
I had the chance to attend a swanky event there called High Comfort at the Nines, which was part of Feast Portland, an amazing food and wine festival, which will celebrate its third anniversary this year in September. I couldn’t wait to have the chance to come back and stay. I knew that if the ballroom was any indication, this place was truly stellar, and I was right.
I was so in love with the feel of the room, that I could imagine copying nearly every design detail from the plush sofa to the cozy desk nook to the oversize bathroom in my own dream house one day. The linens were gorgeous and soft and even though the room is located in the perfect downtown spot, I could still imagine myself never leaving that lush little haven.
Despite its perfection, wander out we did. The hotel, of course, has a business center, fitness center, and outlandish party and meeting rooms. They have classic rooms as well as outrageous suites. But perhaps best of all, they have a restaurant that demands visiting whether you’re a local, a hotel guest, or an out-of-town visitor with other accommodations.
These days some of the best restaurants in any given city can be found within the finest hotels. So perhaps it’s not surprise that Urban Framer finds its home at The Nines in Portland, because it is definitely one of those restaurants.
The atmosphere at Urban Farmer is open and breezy, with a surprising outdoors feel, despite the fact that you are in a hotel. The atrium setting, soft lighting, and simple décor all conspire perfectly to create the tone.
The food there is all about showing off the delicacies of the season with just the right preparations. The focus is on showcasing Portland cuisine, which they do by partnering with Oregon farmers and ranchers so they can offer the pride of the Pacific Northwest in this Portland steakhouse extraordinaire. Local, organic, and simple. That’s what makes Urban Farmer and executive Chef Matt Christianson tick.
I was so excited about dinner at Urban Framer having heard rumors of the amazing things they were doing that I went hungry, and I was glad I did. My meal started with the Dungeness crab cake, which was preposterously rich, and not because of anything added to it. This crab cake was basically nothing more than delicious cake shaped pile of pure crabmeat.
For my main course, I indulged in the insanely sized 20 oz. Imperial Ranch Rib Eye, a Wagyu beef from Nebraska. It was so tender, so melty, so juicy and flavorful, that it was hard to imagine a better breed, cut, or preparation.
My girlfriend had the 24 oz. Painted Hills Porterhouse a grain-finished Choice Oregon beef, which I was lucky enough to sample. It was equally flavorful and tender. Steaks like these make you wonder why you ever bother with anything less.
For sides, we shared the creamed spinach gratin and the baked mac n’ cheese, both of which were nothing short of culinary perfection.
After a steak of that magnitude, there was simply no way either of us could tackle dessert. But I guarantee that I’ll be back for the Butterscotch Sundae comprised of a warm brown butter blondie, cherries, praline, and toffee chip ice cream and the Mud Pie made up of chocolate espresso cookies, hot fudge, and rocky road ice cream. Yes, please.
Somehow we woke up hungry and I lost no time getting myself back to Urban Farmer for a breakfast that turned out to be just as delectable as dinner the night before. I opted for the Grilled Flatiron Steak and Eggs. All too often, the steak served with the steak and eggs is a sad excuse for steak. Not surprisingly, this steak was flavorful, melt in your mouth, dinner quality.
My girlfriend enjoyed the eggs with potatoes, bacon, and English muffins, which was spot on as well. If you think bacon and eggs is bacon and eggs is bacon is eggs, you need to get out of the iHop and into some ingredients that will make you rethink what breakfast can mean.
I also made the delicious mistake of trying their homemade English muffins that had me begging for mercy. Why a mistake, you ask? Because now I’m hooked (so much so that I ordered a few to go to enjoy for the next few days). These freshly baked goodies are giant and soft and so tasty. Thomas’ should be ashamed.
Pardon the expression, but The Nines and Urban Farmer have got it going on and visitors and locals are flocking there to partake. Go for a meal. Go for a staycation. Go and make it your home base for that long over due trip to Portland, OR it’s perfect for any and all of the above.