2016 has been a banner year for Coquine. The Portland restaurant was named Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian and one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. Owner Katy Millard is keeping it all in check; she’s just a regular gal who shops at farmers markets (“I particularly like the Shemanski Park market on Wednesday.”) and spends time with her family on her rare days off (“On my days off I let other people cook.”). Cooking or not, Katy says she is always thinking about food in some fashion: New dishes for the menu, orders to place, what’s coming into season next, what to feed her son, what to plant in her garden. Being a working mom often means eating what’s right in front of you.
Meal #1: Cortado
I love a cortado for my first coffee of the day. I don’t otherwise drink milk drinks, but a cortado in the morning is a treat. It’s an espresso with a small amount of steamed milk, like a small latte (though I like them kinda foamy). I think it reminds me of a galão, which is a similar coffee drink served at cafés in Portugal… only good memories there. I usually just have them at Coquine first thing when I arrive in the morning. On a rare day off I’ll get one at Good Coffee.
Meal #2: Socca
Socca, a chickpea flour pancake, is found everywhere in the south of France. It’s popular street food in Nice, where I spent a lot of time when I lived there. It is traditionally served drizzled with olive oil and topped with lots of fresh ground pepper. It’s a perfect snack for cocktail hour, and a wonderful thing to have in the fridge. The batter lasts for days and cooks up really quickly in a cast iron pan. I love that it’s fast and easy and acts as a vehicle for pretty much anything I have in the fridge. I love topping it with roasted veggies and fried eggs, or leftover grilled chicken and fresh mayo from last night’s barbecue, or just eating it with a salad for a more substantial lunch.
Meal #3: Chicken
We have roast chicken on the menu at Coquine. We sell them by the half or whole, so sometimes if I’m lucky, there is a rogue half chicken that didn’t get sold leftover at the end of dinner service. We cooks live with the obnoxious fact that there is food everywhere, but most of the time we don’t eat properly. I love that I can snag a leftover chicken leg at the end of the night, though the scene is very unglamorous — me standing by the speed rack in the back of the kitchen, eating a delicious chicken leg before I run out the door to go get my son Hugo from his nanny.