Life, Restaurant Review, Travel

Schilling Cider House in Portland Review: a.k.a. Fifty Shades of Cider for Celiacs

If you’re Celiac, imagine a place you could go to where everything on tap is gluten free. Where you don’t have to worry about cross contamination or cross contact from any deep fried foods. Or where everything on the pub food menu is gluten free so it’s safe to eat. No gluten at all on the menu or in the pub. Oh, and those drinks on tap?They have close to fifty cider varieties to try – all gluten free. Call it Fifty Shades of Cider for Celiacs.

Now, imagine this cider house is only 20 minutes away from you? Well, then it’s time to hop in the car and check them out for lunch. And boy, am I glad we did.

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I love their tagline of “Your Apple A Day Just Got Interesting”. Smart marketing there, folks!

Let me introduce you to Schilling Cider House in SE Portland. This cider house is relatively new to the area but I hope stays around for a long, long time. They also have their original location in Seattle.

All of their ciders are free of artificial colors, artificial flavors and corn syrup. Just as a cider should be!

The ambiance inside is pretty cool and I realized after I didn’t take a photo so I apologize. Imagine long wooden community tables with metal bar stools. The table next to us had a group of five playing cards while drinking cider and talking. I loved that – such a sense of community. They have a great outside seating area too but it was just too hot for me and The Artist to sit out today so we opted for a/c.

When you walk in, the cider menu on the wall is a bit daunting but don’t fear! Again – Fifty Shades of Cider! The staff is great at helping you decide what may wet your whistle!

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Ciders are color coded so you can easily distinguish characteristics (is that the right word? Variety? Tones? I don’t know….)20170708_123418

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20170708_12304720170708_12332620170708_123331The Artist and I each chose our own flight of six ciders for $12. Each was a generous sample size and a great way to try many new flavors. I asked the staff to tell me what their most popular cider was (I won’t reveal – you have to go try it for yourself!) as well as some ciders that I may never be able to taste elsewhere. Number 43 for example! Now, don’t quote me, but it is something like a London cider processed using French techniques.

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My tasting flight menu
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Here are the ciders I chose. From left to right, they follow the items on the card from top to bottom. Blackberry Pear was my favorite.

It was fun to try so many varieties that I’ve never heard of or would be able to taste elsewhere.

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Here are our tasting flights. The Artist chose a few different ones than I did. The one on the far left was really interesting. Called The Grumpy Bear, it had notes of coffee. Have you ever tried a cider like that before?! I imagine most folks haven’t.

And to go along with the ciders, let’s talk about the food!

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What? ALL items are gluten free?! YES! They were out of the risotto balls that day. Just means I have to go back and do more research. 😉

The menu above is the pub food. Short, sweet and simple. And oh so good. You can get any of the sausages made into a corndog. I had the Red Hot and The Artist had the frankfurter. We also split a pound of tots (you have to, right?!) and the fried zucchini. Which let me tell you, is amazing. More on that in a bit. Let’s see some food!

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The corndog batter was perfect. It held to the meat, was the perfect “GBD” (golden brown deliciousness) and to be honest, was amazing. I have not had a fresh, real corndog in 10+ years, and the frozen ones that come in a box that you put in the toaster DO NOT COMPARE! The Red Hot was spicy and juicy and fried to perfection. The Artist said his dog was equally as good. I was in such a food porn heaven I didn’t even think to ask to try his dog. Again, I’ll have to go back to try it.

Now the sides. The tots – good. Nice crispy outside. Flaky inside. They needed salt but they were good. But my favorite was the fried zuke. If they had had a side of marinara sauce, I would have set up permanent residence on site and never left. I’ve made fried zuke since being gluten free. It’s not the same. This batter was just like a tempura batter. Light and flaky with a hint of garlic. I just can’t begin to tell you how truly amazing the fried zuke was.

While we were eating, the chefs were preparing something that I just could not figure out what it was. So I went and asked and it was parsnips they were preparing for the veggie crisps. He brought me a small sample of the fried parsnips and carrots.

20170708_131805Folks, let me tell you this about the fried veggies. GET THEM! They are matchstick thin but fried to perfection. And seasoned with a delicious combo of what tasted like light brown sugar, salt and curry powder. I’m not a huge curry fan (though it is growing on me) but these were light years ahead of your fried foods at the county fair. Not even the same category.

I am so grateful that Portland “gets” gluten free and does a good job with it at many restaurants. I want to thank the staff there for putting up with my questions, for me taking photos and for the sample of the veggie crisps. And a warm welcome to the new cute chef who was on Day 1 today when we visited. He was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and gave me a hug, too. (Spoiler alert, he was a total mancrush for me and I asked for the hug!) Every staff member there was wonderful to talk with and seemed to really care about making your experience a great one there.

It’s a fun place to eat and we will definitely be back. If you’re in Portland, (or Seattle) please check them out and support them! Oh, and they only take cards – no cash! Just letting you know in advance.

Thanks for reading.

Gratefully yours…

 

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