Oven & Shaker

Saturday began as a frigid December day; the type where the sun shines in it’s entirety in it’s mere eight hours of appearance. The light poles and trees are snaked with holiday lights and the air chilled enough to turn my shins blue. I will never learn.

Naz and I spent the afternoon in a cinnamon-scented daze of shop-phoria; purchasing copious amounts of candied ginger bubble bath bubbles, chamomile eye make-up removers, Kate Spade lipsticks, and of course enough bars of grapefruit red currant and jasmine scented soaps to bathe and scrub the entire population of Bombay (this is true…)

We then pop into Mario’s, where I am having buyer’s regret in the form of the Elizabeth & James silk frock I had put on hold and never got around to purchasing. Sadly though the downtown Mario’s doesn’t even purvey Elizabeth & James so instead we try on fur lined Prada gloves and discuss with the shopgirlswomen the illegality of python in the state of California (something I have become quite familiar with due to my line of work).

As $450 really is several degrees far outside my budget for a pair of gloves, we head to Nordstrom. Naz shows me a dramatic black patent Dior pump she is lusting over as I express disgust at the sight of a Chanel tennis shoe. Of course we wander over to the purses, first at Chanel where Naz finds her newest object of lust- a magnificent structured camel-hued calfskin shopper tote. We have the sales lady write us down the information as proper research is always to be done prior to purchasing any purse with a 4+ digit pricetag.

As we continue to meander the designer handbags of Nordstrom, I see it. An Alexander Wang black suede and multiple leather belt detailed satchel. A roomy bag with the option of carrying it as a satchel (think Balenciaga Motorcycle bag style) or as a crossbody/shoulder bag. In love. I grasp at it to do a mirror reflection just to find that it’s locked; luckily however my favourite Nordstrom sales-lady runs over to unlock it for me. In love. To ensure it’s not just lust, I put it on hold…and it’s not.


Of course, the excitement of finally unearthing the likely candidate for my newest “It” bag has the potential of working up quite the appetite. Therefore, our Saturday night ended with pizza. And lots of it.

Portland has a new pizza hotspot in town, and this time in the Pearl District, which truly is about time considering the lacking presence of an awe-inspiring pie on the West side of the Willamette. And what’s even better? Oven and Shaker is the culinary offspring of Portland’s Cathy Whims (of Nostrana, a favourite for classy PDX pizzas), Kurt Huffman (of ChefStable which runs most of the city’s top spots such as Gruner and Pok Pok), and Ryan Magarian (of Avitation Gin)*. Therefore, if you could not already tell, the premise behind Oven and Shaker is cocktails and pizza.

The space is inviting and open with a lengthy bar lining the back wall, communal bar-stool tables down the middle and some booths along the other side. And since it opened just under a week ago, the place was bustling as ever on a Saturday night- complete with an hour wait (which was in no way a hassle considering I was with some of my favourite people- Naz, Kat, and David- who of course suggested we pass the time with Egg Nogs and Dark & Stormies a few blocks down at Clyde Common).

Once we were seated, we were more than ready to go to town on some Italian streetfood:

We started off with the lamb lollipops; but the photo was a flashfail so it will not be included. They were delicious, as any shank of parmigiano-reggiano and breadcrumb fried meat would be.

However, as expected, the pizzas stole the show:

White Anchovy Pizza: Parsley, fried capers, garlic, oregano
A cheese-less glory of salt-cured anchovies against the sweet, pungent tomato sauce.
Wild Fennel Sausage: Chillies, green onions, potatoes, smoked mozzarella, and some other cheese

Absolutely amazing (Naz had my share of the sausage though since I am a non-pork-eater). Potatoes do belong atop a pizza, especially when basked with a tinge of smokiness courtesy of the mozzarella.

Calabrese Salami: provolone piccante, honey, some other stuff I cannot remember...

Also impeccable; who would have though to add honey to pizza? It adds a perfect dollop of indecisive sweetness which serves as a welcome compliment to the perfectly charred yet centre-doughy texture of the crust.

Talk about a satisfying meal- all I need to do is come here one more time in a group of four and I’ll be able to say I’ve tried the entire pizza menu. Plus, the best part? This place is within a few blocks of where I work.

Oven and Shaker on Urbanspoon

Now, if you’ll excuse me I must go bathe in my new candied ginger bubbles so I can pop in to Nordstrom for a pre-work errand.

*= source: Eater PDX

Most innovative pizza you have ever had?

What is your idea of a successful Saturday?

What is the longest you would be willing to wait for a table at a restaurant?


6 thoughts on “Oven & Shaker

  1. I know most pizza places offer cheese-less pizza as a vegan option but I can never bring myself to order it so I’m glad it receives your seal of approval (as a cheese aficionado)! One of the best pizzas I’ve ever had pre-vegan was used a spinach and alfredo herb cream sauce as the base instead of tomato and it was insanely good.

    1. Sorry to ‘intrude’ but you MUST try the veggie leggera pizza (order it cheeseless) at Pizza Express: it’s loaded with so many toppings that you don’t even miss the cheese!

  2. I do like the Tandoori Chicken Pizza that CPK used to have. I make a pretty good replica of it actually! It’s tasty if I do say so myself.

    Isn’t Nordstrom so great? I think it’s my second favorite store after Bloomingdale’s! I love to meander in both.

  3. My pizza obsession is still in full swing and this post ain’t helping- this restaurant definitely looks worth the wait! I think 45 mins, max 1 hour would be my cut off point to wait for a table! Most innovative pizza topping I’ve had is pear & goat cheese…I missed the marinara sauce but it was still pretty darn tasty!

  4. i love innovative pizza, but the most innovative ones you can get at fire & stone in london. they have pizzas themed by continent such as australia and asia and the toppings are just crazy. i mean who would think to put rosmary, chicken and potatoes on a pizza? looks like u had a fun night out!

  5. Capers sounds like an excellent topping for pizza. The most innovative pizza I’ve had (that I cam remember at this moment) was this pesto like pizza with tomato slices. I think one time I even had sun dried tomatoes as a topping? Haha.

    If I’m with friends, I don’t mind waiting a while for a table since we can keep eachother entertained 🙂

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