Story & photos by Patrick Alexander
Oregon Coast TODAY
As a restaurant that specializes in locally grown, seasonal ingredients, it’s no surprise that December finds Lincoln City’s Hearth & Table creating mouthwatering dishes from winter staples such as potatoes, celery and squash.
But guests browsing the ever-changing menu will also find echoes of a warmer season thanks to pickled vegetables and chilies — and a massive freezer packed with hundreds of pounds of blueberries and nectarines.
“Little things like that, we are still borrowing from the summer,” said co-owner Ethan Granberg.
Pickled offerings include tangy sauerkraut as well as a South American curdito, which accompanies a cheese and masa cake. Meanwhile, from the freezer, smoked chipotle chilies add a touch of warmth while summer fruits elevate pastries into the perfect antidote to a gray winter day.
Winter vegetables also get their day in the sun, with brassica and root vegetables from Osprey Farm of Willamina playing a role in many dishes, often supporting the undisputed star of the cold-season show — squash.
“We have 500 pounds of squash that we are still chipping away at and that will probably run out halfway through the winter,” Ethan said. “You can do anything with squash.”
Co-owner Danelle Lochrie said she and Ethan test that theory every winter, serving squash in every conceivable way, shredded on to salads, blended into soups and baked into pumpkin pie.
“It’s that time of year,” she said. “People look forward to seeing it.”
Ethan said the winter weather has also led customers toward some of the heartier breakfast offerings, like Mexican chorizo hash or biscuits and sausage with gravy — both of which use Hearth & Table’s house-made sausage.
The cold-weather demand for soups sees the restaurant serving up three varieties a week, while also offering other winter warmers such as baña cauda, Italian for “warm bath.” The dish transforms humble roasted broccoli into a decadent feast with a sauce made from garlic and anchovies cooked in equal parts olive oil and butter.
“It’s good to dip your pizza crusts into,” Danelle said, offering a reminder that, alongside its ever-changing bistro menu, Hearth & Table also operates a full pizza kitchen, with toppings ranging from traditional favorites like mushroom and olive to more unusual options, such as fresh bartwurst and dry-cured salumi.
And the list of beers to complement that pizza continues to grow, with Ethan particularly proud of the breadth of the selection, many of which are available to take out.
“It’s wintertime; people like the roasty, malty, coffee, chocolate beers,” he said. “We have everything from super light and fruity to extremely dark and coffee roasted right now.”
And if talk of chocolate and coffee flavors gets you in the mood for dessert, Danelle has you covered, producing a steady supply of pastries and pies that are the fitting postscript to the grandest feast.
This winter’s creations have included a bourbon walnut layer pie; a French apple custard pie; and a chocolate chess pie, a Southern recipe that calls for baked chocolate custard covered with a layer of sugar and cocoa.
No, Danelle will not come round to your house and take care of your holiday baking; but she is willing to do the next best thing by taking orders for the festive period up until Tuesday, Dec. 20, offering everything from bread to eggnog cheesecake pie.
“We are doing cinnamon rolls, which are always super popular for Christmas morning,” she said. “And a fantastic almond cake, made with almond paste. It’s super light and not too sweet but really strong with the almond flavor.”
And Hearth & Table will be marking New Year’s Eve as well, serving up a special, all-day Southern-style brunch, with comfort food combinations including fried chicken, biscuits and gravy and shrimp and grits.
From Christmas pastries to New Year brunch and everything in between, Ethan and Danelle’s accessible approach to gourmet food starts with a focus on finding the best ingredients — no matter how small.
Ethan said eggs from Schooner Creek Farm are the perfect example — offer consistently great quality from a local source.
“Sometimes easy to overlook a relatively small ingredient like an egg,” Ethan said. “But when it’s that great and locally produced by happy, healthy chickens out in the fields, I feel really honored to be able to offer it.”
“We can add an egg to any of our dishes,” Danelle said. “And it will be a great egg.”
Hearth & Table is located at 660 SE Hwy. 101, across from City Hall. It is open from 11 am to 8 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Call them at 541-614-0966 or go to www.hearthandtablekitchen.com.