From some of my foodie friend’s feeds, I’ve been drooling for quite a while for the skillet fried chicken and the cornbread of Maya Lovelace.
She has been doing a pop-up called Mae PDX since late spring offering 10 course family style dinners and BYOB in terms of your alcoholic libations.
Maya Lovelace and Zach Lefler making the delicious in the kitchen at the back of Old Salt Marketplace
It used to be after she sent out the date and sign up email to her mailing list, the 24 seats would be taken before I even read the email (which sometimes would only be within a few hours and more lately, a few minutes!). But, I finally got my opportunity at the beginning of September, which I will recap in photos here.
The Mae PDX dinners are served family style where you share dishes at a table of 6
The menu does change, so this is just a sample. Rest assured that the one constant will always be that mind-blowing buttermilk brined skillet fried chicken, fried in 3 fats, will be there.
Since my visit, Maya has also switched from reserving by email (and then paying cash donation at dinner) to
now selling the pop-up dinner tickets via Brown Paper Tickets for $65 a seating that includes around ten courses, sweet tea, house roasted coffee, and digestif cocktail. Update 11/21
“We’re going to be returning to our original reservation format. This means saying goodbye to tickets and instead taking reservations on a first-come, first-served basis through email. It’ll be pretty simple… we’ll send out a dinner announcement, and you’ll respond to the email with the number of seats you’d like.
We’ll also be returning to a suggested cash donation for payment… this allows us to get great feedback from you on what you think our work is worth.”
You should sign up for the Mae mailing list and also like the Mae PDX Facebook page to be in the know and get the tickets link however! The trend I’ve seen is that they tend to be on Wednesdays – in fact there are still tickets available for the 9/23 dinner.
In addition, you can bypass the whole family style dinner with multiple courses if you’d like by attending the Mae PDX and Lardo pop-up happening this Sunday, September 27! If I wasn’t out of town, I would be there myself, no question.
On Sunday, 9/27 from 5 PM – 10 PM , Maya and her partner in slinging the Appalachian meets Pacific Northwest food, boyfriend Zach Lefler, will be at Lardo cart at the SE location of 1212 SE Hawthorne. They accept cash and credit card.
They’ll be offering that fried chicken and a variety of tasty sides. According to the newsletter, their rough draft of the possible menu (which may change based on farmer availability) includes
- buttermilk brined, lard fried chicken (white, dark, wings)
- green garlic deviled eggs
- angel biscuits with sorghum butter and benton’s country ham
- fried cornbread & late summer vegetable panzanella
- porky braised greens
- pimento cheese baked grits
- fried green tomatoes & buttermilk ramp ranch
- slow-cooked sea island red peas
- bacon fried cabbage with pickled mustard seed vinaigrette
Ok, now onto my dinner photos to get you in the mood. And, did I mention this is the best fried chicken I’ve had in my life?
Sassafras and Pluot Luzianne Sweet Tea
Pimento Cheese and Benton’s Bacon Jam with Fresh and Preserved Pickles, served with a basket of Benne Butter Crackers
Left photo: Maya Lovelace of Mae PDX introducing the starters of Pimento Cheese and Benton’s Bacon Jam with Fresh and Preserved Pickles, served with a basket of Benne Butter Crackers
Black Locust Farm French Breakfast Radishes with Preserved Ramp Butter
One of the prettiest salads I’ve ever seen, Gathering Together Farms Sweet Corn, Pickled Chanterelles, Chrysanthemum Greens, Flame Nectarine
Anson Mills Stoneground White Cornbread with Sorghum Butter and Strawberry Spruce Tip Jam served hot from the oven in the skillet with the butter still melting
Compressed Melons and Petite Plums with Benton’s 16 Month Aged Country Ham and bourbon Smoked Salt and Shiso
The main event! The life changing… life changing I tell you- Skillet Fried Chicken with Crystal Hot Sauce. Behind you see a gorgeous skillet of Creamed Corn with Summer Savory and Smoked Soy
So MUCH LOVE for this dish. You could really see and taste and feel the love from Maya that goes into the dish and then to us.
Who knew that simple Angel Biscuits with Duke’s Mayo and Sliced Siletz Tomato could be so good that I ate like 3 of them. Or maybe 4. Well, that’s only 2 whole biscuits right since they are halved? Right?
I’d never had Dragon Tongue Beans, but I enjoyed the snap of these that helped balance the richer chicken, corn, and biscuits. I did eat these Dragon Tongue Beans, Benton’s Bacon Vinaigrette and Tomato Gravy with my hands since I was already all in with the fried chicken and biscuits. And that little flower detail in the plating just makes me melt with the care Mae PDX has for their dishes.
Now heading into the final round, we were treated to a pretty potent Elderflower and Cherry Old Fashioned (don’t worry, it’s poured into a little mason jar to drink, that bottle is shared for the table – that’s how potent it is), then Zach’s House Roasted Coffee accompanied this Sundrop Glazed Pound Cake with Blackberries and Buttermilk
Thank you to the very gracious and patient people at my table who made paused from digging in so that I could take the photos.
If you’d like to learn more about Mae and Maya, check out this excellent podcast with Right At The Fork featuring Maya.
Which of these dishes appeals the most to you?