Is eating brioche worth driving 5 hours?

I don’t make a habit of writing much about my personal life – this blog is about cooking – but when I find good food (no, AMAZING food!) I feel obliged to share.

I spent some time in Ashland, OR this past week and discovered a secret treasure: Deux Chats. Just when I begin to feel like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, I stumble on a place like this. Bittersweet, indeed.

Sunrise Brioche

Sunrise Brioche

Deux Chats (Two Cats) is only open two days a week (Friday & Saturday). Michelle, owner & baker, spends the rest of the week prepping for these two very special days.

I made my plan to visit on Thursday evening when Dan & Margaret (two locals) shared their best restaurant tips with me (thank you!). Deux Chats opens at 7am. I think I was there at 7:15 and I wasn’t the only one.

Deux Chats

Deux Chats

By 7:30 I was settled on a park bench basking in the morning sun, coffee in hand & pastry on my lap. I peeled back the first luscious layer of brioche. The outer layer had a thin, crisp crust  – not flakey, but perfectly moist and cake-like. Unlike some treats where the first bite is the best, this pastry just kept getting better with every layer. OMG!

Okay, maybe I am a complete freak about pastries but I can’t stress enough how much goodness was packed into this brioche! So much so that when I finished it, I walked back to the bakery and bought another one PLUS a caramel knot (I could justify it because I was walking, after all).

Carmel Knot

Carmel Knot

I didn’t eat all three right then (although I totally would’ve, if I physically could’ve).  Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t live in Ashland. Deux Chats is open until 2 or until they sell out of goods, whichever comes first. I’m guessing they rarely ever make it until 2PM.

That was the best food by far, but not the only good food I had in Ashland…

I didn’t get any photos of my dinner but I’ll tell you about that, too, just in case you’re thinking about driving to Ashland now. You can’t live on pastry alone.

Lark's (Ashland Springs Hotel)

Larks (Ashland Springs Hotel)

Larks is located in the Ashland Springs Hotel. I can’t speak for the hotel (it was fully booked) but the restaurant was delightful.  I had a surprisingly spicy salmon bisque followed by a moist & flakey seared halibut with lemon-dill aioli and parmesan-barley risotto. Of course, as an amateur baker, I had to analyze and dissect their lemon tart. Served with coconut creme and a meringue cookie, the tart was “tart” but not biting, and the coconut creme had a mild vanilla flavor. The balance was just wonderful. From now on my lemon tarts are going to be served with a coconut creme (as soon as I figure out how to make it).

Okay, now you’re going to Ashland, right? You’ll need a place to stay. Call Michael and book a suite at the Peerless Hotel!

Suite 7

Suite 7

This small boutique hotel was built in the early 1900’s. It’s located within short walking distance of Ashland’s main streets, attractions (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and, most importantly, Deux Chats!

The Peerless is true old-world, with all the charm and furnishings (this also means no television – but they do have satellite radio).  And, of course, the room includes a full breakfast (for the days when Deux Chats is closed).

Ahhh...

ahhh…

Despite having lived in Portland for 8 years, this was my first trip to Ashland. The five- hour drive always seemed so daunting but that was before I knew what I know now. Up against perfect brioche, five-hours is a walk in the park.

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About Gretacooks

Foodie and artist: www.glatchford.com
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