“A significant part of the pleasure of eating is on one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which the food comes.” Wendell Berry
My first job when I moved to Portland after college was at a little coffee shop on Stark and 45th. One of the best parts of the job was that it was a real neighborhood place, most of our customers were regulars so it quickly became like serving friends all day, like Greg. I’d been serving him coffee for a few weeks when one morning he mentioned he was on his way to the blueberry bogs in Olympia, Washington. We immediately launched into a lovely conversation about the pleasure of picking and preserving and food in general.
Fast forward 7 years and enter Ned Ludd.
Greg is the sous chef at this sweet little spot in NE Portland and I had the pleasure of visiting him at work in the hours before flying back to Charlottesville.
Dining at Ned Ludd gave me the sense that I was over at a friends house, cooking dinner in their old farmhouse kitchen. All of the cooking is done either in the dining room in a wood-fired brick oven or in the smoker on the patio.
The food is assembled on the large bar separating the oven from the tables, providing easy access to chat with the cooks.
The decor is mostly salvaged trinkets and every corner is filled with little finds and the space maintains an open yet cozy feel.
My sister and I arrived in late afternoon, just as they were starting their happy hour menu.
We started with a sampling of the in-house pickles: golden beets, carrots, rhubarb, chard stems, and garlic scapes. All delicious. I was partial to the rhubarb and the scapes and they served as a good reminder to add more spices to my own pickling brine as these ones had tasty hints of cinnamon and clove.
Speaking of brine…
To drink I had a bourbon with a side of asparagus pickle “jus”! Not something I’d order everyday but I enjoyed the novelty of it.
Amazing salad. Chrysanthemum greens as an edible were a new one to me and they were awesome.
The thing that excited me the most about Ned Ludd’s food is the attention to detail; every ingredient is high quality and the combination of flavors are very well thought out.
A chat with the owner, Jason French, enhanced the feeling of being hosted in a friends kitchen.
A true foodie, this man wears his love on his arm.
Thanks Greg and Jason for an awesome taste of Portland!