I’m a classical music nerd. Well, a classical music nerd in the sense that I grew up with it my entire life and I listened to nothing but 89.9 fm (Allclassical radio) and sprightly Mozart and good old drama king Chopin until I finally entered high school. And as I started taking piano lessons, Joseph Hadyn was my homeboy right in the beginning. After pounding out Clementi Sonatinas, then little Bach Inventions, Hadyn was the next step.
So when I heard that Portland has a famous restaurant called Papa Hadyn’s, I had a mini internal case of joyful hysteria for hearing that Hadyn’s namesake was now part of one of my greatest loves of all time—dessert.
For classical musicians, passion and musicality are crucial. No one wants to hear a musician playing as if it’s a job, not with genuine fire. Similarly, Papa Hadyn’s clearly presents that it ardently burns for dessert. Thank goodness, really. Dessert should never be dull, or simply slapped on the menu as the least among the three courses. Maybe it’s just my sweet tooth urging me on, but I am heartily glad to announce that Papa Hadyn’s refutes the notion that dessert acts as the most challenging course.
The Papa Hadyn’s located on Portland’s famous 23rd Ave. always has clusters of patrons hobnobbing and eating. The place’s design features elegant black accents and a bit of European flair. And there is this bright glass case boasting all the desserts in the flesh. People are always crowding around, and sometimes it can be a bit uncomfortable (or hilariously entertaining) with, you know, people doing the typical bend down and shove their bums into the person behind them while they’re peering at the display.
But enough of my strange observations. Papa Hadyn’s lunch and dinner entrees are still notably exemplary; for dinner one day I savored a chicken sandwich that was a piping hot brioche bun engrossing apricot preserves, tender grilled chicken, arugula, and cheese. However, in all honesty, it’s their desserts you should gallivant towards.
For example, the Boccone Dolce. The name itself just sounds elegantly refined. (My mother is seriously obsessed…she’s ordered this confection three times in a row.) It’s a staggering slice of heaven with layers of meringue between generous spreads of whipped cream and fresh berries.
My summer fling, on the other hand, is the Autumn Meringue. Where have you been all my life? Even now, I’m relishing my memory of it. Dark chocolate ribbons encase meringue layers and dark chocolate-orange mousse. It’s spectacularly rich and I love the hints of orange. I admire the meringue texture even more. Usually made of egg white and sugar, its light yet crumbly hardness dissolves easily in the mouth, giving off pure sugar sweet flavors.
I’ve also tried the Marjolaine (hazelnut meringue with Guittard chocolate mousse) and the lemon chiffon cake, but alas my devotion remains with the Autumn Meringue. Looking for luxurious desserts to celebrate occasions? Papa Hadyn’s is your homeboy.
Address: 701 NW 23rd Ave. Portland, OR 97210
Other address: 5829 SE Milwaukie Ave. Portland, OR 97202