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Rostra rating: 4
“A box without hinges, key or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.”
The folks at Trinket would have no problem solving Bilbo’s riddle, because they get eggs, precious. Any place that declares forthrightly that their duck eggs Benedict will always be on the menu and always made the same way are true aficionados of the mighty quackleberry. You can also substitute duck for chicken eggs on any dish, and the eggs are cooked precisely to order regardless of origin.
This is what they do with those eggs and other goodies, as exemplified by six representative dishes (aka, what we have eaten so far):
Savory waffle with onion, bacon jam, thyme & goat cheese. For three bucks you can add chicken eggs or do the duck for two bucks more (guess which I did). The waffle’s classic grid topography was a perfect platform for the sweet pig candy and the tart herby whipped goat cheese. Even the scallion rounds added crunch and a mild onion flavor to the dish. Now add in the lake of yolk supplied by Daffy delicacies and you have a brunch fit for, uh, Portland.
Huevos al pastor: pineapple braised pork, corn tortillas, fried eggs, sour cream, and avocado. A very nice riff on huevos ranchero, which demonstrates that Trinket digs on swine as well as dotes on duck eggs. The nectarous piggage was in desperate need of heat and Trinket deploys three kinds, representing US, Mexican, and Asian variants. And they don’t skimp on the avocado either, dude.
Grilled cheese with spicy black bean and rice soup: A very good grilled cheese sarnie with white cheddar that was fully melted yet still thick (i.e., nice n’ stringy). The bread (you can get it on white or wheat but who would want grilled cheese on wheat?) came out of the pan with a perfect crispy and dark brown crust — what a grilled cheese sandwich should look like as well as taste. The soup was a decent vegetarian potage that could have done with more cumin and some white pepper. Despite its name, the soup was not really spicy, but the table-side salt and pepper grinders (always appreciated) plus hot sauce made it so.
Salad of raw kale, carrots and beets with avocado, garlic dressing and pumpkin seeds with (optional) tuna salad. The kale salad was pretty, tasty, and healthy. The light garlic dressing let the ingredients shine through. The julienned carrots and beets worked well with the kale and the pepitas supplied crunch while the mound of avocado lent richness to the dish. Skip the tuna salad, which was a bit dry, needed some punch, and cost extra for no real discernible culinary gain.
Duck egg sandwich: Is definitely NOT your mother’s Egg McMuffin. Served on a grand central rosemary brioche with julienned kale and carrots for a nice textural contrast and acidic slaw that cuts the rich egg with a bitter hit, this is just one more way that Trinket salutes the superiority of duck eggs.
Daily hash: The version Team Mago inhaled was made with big chunks of pig candy, carrots, and sweet taters, precious. And, of course, duck eggs on top (be sure to cut into your eggs immediately to distribute the molten gold, or carry over cooking will harden it).
If that is not a good enough reason to partake of Trinket’s cuisine, then consider the locale. A kitschy oasis on Cesar Chavez in north central Richmond, Trinket defiantly eschews the ubiquitous Portland restaurant industrial template for hunting, logging, and general old timey memorabilia on dingy walls in need of paint and plastering. An antler chandelier competes with a ceiling fan and ducted ac/heat vents on the bedimmed ceiling. Diners have their choice of dark wood booths and tables inside or a low rise mini-deck on the north side of the structure next to dedicated parking (a rarity in the Richmond area). The clientele is very local, often with three generations represented in larger parties.
Trinket’s comestibles are complimented nicely by the establishment’s potables. The small bar produces intriguing cocktails, such as the Jerez 75 (cava, gin, sherry, ginger, lemon, up). Taps flow with craft beer and cider, and the sixteen-odd wines on offer are both reasonably priced and carefully selected. The Torre Oria brut cava from Valencia makes a great brunch tipple. The coffee, while only drip, should satisfy even spoiled-for-choice denizens of Rose city.
Three other Portland hallmarks are on display at Trinket: a) the service is friendly and patient, b) the generous but not ridiculous portions are served on carefully mismatched plates, and c) you need to dine mid-morning during the week to avoid long lines and associated waits.