Just west of downtown Portland, Gracie’s Restaurant in the Hotel DeLuxe is serving up Oregon berries in a variety of stylish and delicious ways.
The sumptuous Hotel DeLuxe, which opened in 2006 in the former Hotel Mallory, is inspired by the Hollywood color lab Deluxe that brought brilliant color to the silver screen. The hotel’s décor takes its influences from Art Moderne, and the Art Deco movement that ignited during Paris’ 1925 World Fair.
With soaring ceilings and an abundance of elegance and style, Gracie’s Restaurant, named for showbiz icon Gracie Allen, exudes Hollywood glamour. Their menus feature unique, classic American fare and innovative Pacific Northwest dishes. We spoke recently with Chef Mark Hosack at FEAST Portland about Gracie’s and his latest Oregon berry creation, Iron Skillet Cornbread with Oregon Marionberry Sorbet. Download the recipe card.
Chef Mark, tell us about working at Gracie’s.
What makes it fun for me at Gracie’s is that we have multiple outlets to keep ourselves entertained. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, banquets, outside catering…and on goes the story. I love making people happy with food.
How do you feature Oregon berries in all of those different menus?
On the breakfast menu, we start out with a parfait or fresh berries on top of your waffle or pancake. We also make a syrup using local berries. For lunch, we can do an arugula berry salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts. And then at dinner time, we candy Oregon berries and make a marmalade to put on top of a meat dish, pork for example. We also make vinaigrettes, and currently we have a berry vinaigrette with another salad.
Tell us how you came up with the recipe for Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting’s Iron Skillet Cornbread with Oregon Marionberry Sorbet.
The cornbread was inspired by something I tried from a high end store in Dallas known as Eatzi’s. I figured out that the secret ingredient was creamed corn. I remembered it when I realized I wanted to do something savory for this event, combined with something different than just using berries on their own. We paired the cornbread with an Oregon Marionberry sorbet, frozen with liquid nitrogen which is basically 280 degrees below. It freezes instantly.
For a home chef making this recipe, would freezing it in your home freezer work as well?
Yes. You can make it as a granita, where you lay it out in the freezer in a pan and occasionally stir it with a fork. The mouth feel is a little different, but the result is similar.
Of all the different ways you use Oregon berries, what’s your favorite?
These days, I’m much more of a salad guy and I try to keep the added sugar down as much as possible and so on their own is the best way.
Tell us one thing about yourself that people might find interesting and unique.
My favorite hobby is dirt bike riding in the Gifford Pinchot forest. It’s a single track trail where the risk/reward factor is extremely high so it works your mind like nothing else. The level of commitment you have to have in order to not crash is very high. And I also ride a scooter to and from work and seeing as I’m 6’5” it’s a fun thing to look at!