You know when you see those heavily edited photos on Instagram of cute restaurants or places and you ask yourself, “Is it REALLY this beautiful in person though?” Like it almost seems too perfect in the photo. And when you actually see it in real life you feel a little jipped.
(Worse is when the food is hyped up and it doesn’t deliver.)
NOT THE CASE with MAURICE. No. The photos you see is exactly what it is. Just beautiful. Gorgeous. Light and airy with the cheeriest ambiance. From the people to the mood. It’s simply enjoyable dining there.
Maurice is a French “Modern Pastry Luncheonette” that– is as cozy as it is elegant. Think: The perfect place to grab coffee, tea, a light meal or a sweet dessert. Where you can get together to catch up with a lover, friends, or family and drink rose and just be merry. Yeah it’s that kind of place.
Says Radhika: It’s the Portland equivalent of San Francisco’s 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley. Cute ambiance, well-plated food, and great service. The “bright, airy-ness” makes you feel like you’re on the set of some French movie.
OH yeah, and the food is DIVINE.
We got to interview the owner and Chef, Kristen Murray, who is truly inspirational. She takes pride in community, has loved food and baking since she was a little girl, and present day– has been nominated for many James Beard awards for her baking! (That’s a big deal in the foodie world.) So just to give you a heads up: this place isn’t sub-par, it’s wonderful. And ya gotta go.
Kristen says this about the decor: “My business looks much like my home. I have always liked a mix of clean minimalism with vintage touches.” (Her home must be so cute!!)
The restroom walls. You gotta appreciate a place where even the restroom looks nice and can be part of the story.
Simple flowers all over.
We discovered Maurice through Nao, VF’s new Portland Writer.. She always posted fantastic photos of the place and food and said, “The owner is the sweetest too. She always comments on my Instagram and thanks me for coming in!”…. I don’t know why, but I just love that. I love when there is a connection between restaurant owner/Chef and their customers.
Owner Kristen with one of her regulars. 🙂
Women love Maurice. There’s definietly a loyal following of ladies here. When we asked Kristen about this she said: “I feel terribly lucky to have created a small and intimate space where I get to know our clientele. Treat them and cook/bake in a very transparent atmosphere. I think it is refreshing for both of us… the regulars have truly become friends + chosen family.”
Kristen is also active in her community and has raised money for Planned Parenthood, a cause she deeply cares about.
We asked her what her favorite dish was to make, and what the customers can expect in the Spring:“I love making lefse, it is a very thin Norwegian flat bread that my great grandmother taught me to make as a little girl. Chilled fruit soups, rhubarb + celery leaf vacherin, asparagus + wild onion quiche…Love spring!”
I’m not a seafood fan but the girls LOVED the mussels.
Radhika: I dream about these mussels still. They were simple and so so good.
Personally, my first favorite thing was the bread and the BUTTER. Oh my gosh… French Butter. Delectable.
Radhika: I had never had the combination of radishes and butter before, but they ACTUALLY worked. The slight bitter bite of the radish paired smoothly with the creamy French-style butter. I wonder if I can serve this bad boy up to friends as an aperitif. I’m not sure if I can plate it as beautifully though… lol!
The Smorbrod, which we could not pronounce for the life of us (and also should have slashes through the o’s but our formatting won’t allow for- rar!), was WAY tasty. We got two… and finished it in 10 seconds flat. A must order if it’s on the menu that day!
Radhika: The quiche was rich and smooth. It didn’t taste like egg at all, but rather like… creamy goodness. Again, I loved that she served greens on the side – it made me feel a LITTLE bit healthier. 🙂
The menu changes daily. I love how it’s hand written. Such and a sweet and personal touch.
Speaking of an ever changing menu, we asked Kristen if anything stays year round: “Our black pepper cheesecake, currant + rosemary scone and lemon souffle pudding cake…all else really rotates with the season.”
The black pepper cheesecake is soooo dang delicious. A must get.
Radhika: The desserts were my favorite- you can tell Kristen puts thought into the ingredients. The lemon curd was the bomb.com.
You guys gotta visit. <3333 Highly recommend an afternoon lunch here. It’s just lovely at Maurice. Seriously… we spent like 3 hours here.