I got my cocktail. Oh yes. A jalapeno-infused blackberry puree, shaken with lime juice and vodka. Green chile salt on the rim. Happy Belated Birthday to me.
My mom and I had a great time in Portland even though she had a horrible cold which she caught from watching my kids last weekend. Sorry Mom. She's a trooper, though, and it hardly slowed us down at all. We will go to great lengths for the love of food.
I'll give you the dining blow-by-blow, but I have to get philosophical on you for a minute. I've had a couple days where everything seems especially poignant, especially real-- homeless folks on Burnside, soft sheets in our hotel room, my Mom's beautiful coat, coming home to my (sweet) husband. Does that ever happen to you? Even cameras can't capture it. I've had the feeling that, indeed, everything is holy. Especially Portland street food.
Street food is BIG in Portland, cropping up everywhere in little Airstreams, shacks, and trailers. Even right downtown, where the property values can't be low, there's a central lot that's devoted to street food instead of parked cars. After dinner we stopped at the corner of 12th and Hawthorne and got a lingonberry and lemon curd crepe--hot, crackly around the edges, folded around itself in a piece of parchment paper. At 11 pm, the place was buzzing--people pulling in on bikes, friends meeting up, even families standing in line for BBQ, tacos, or fries and gravy. Since 9:00 is my normal bedtime, I was cross-eyed with fatigue, but didn't want to be anywhere else. It had a plaza-like feel--an outdoor meeting space where people don't have to buy anything, where the real point is being together. I find that Seattle (and most cities in the States I've been to) sorely lack those sorts of spaces, and it felt great--holy, even--to be there.
Okay. Here's some highlights from our Eat Fest. So much more to try. My Mom thinks we should make this a tradition. Twist my arm.
- Peruvian food for lunch at Andina. Ceviche, a jaw-dropping pisco sour, prawns with crunchy quinoa coating, empanadas.
- Our favorite, dinner at Pok Pok. Inventive, lively Thai street food. When the fish sauce-marinated chicken wings came, I didn't talk to my Mom for 10 minutes. She meekly handed over hers, and I ate the whole plate. My mom said I turned into a cave woman. I can't write about them anymore because I'm giving my keyboard a saliva bath. You think I'm kidding.
- Crepe outside with all the other food-worshippers.
- Flaky, sugar-studded morning roll at Ken's Artisan Bakery. Plus a perfect latte.
- Sandwiches for lunch at Bunks Sandwiches, where we stood in line for an hour to eat at a hot, cramped lunch counter. We groaned the whole time. Pork belly po' boy and slow-roasted pork shoulder with feta, good conversation with the sandwich artists who were totally zen even though the line outside the window was endless.
In short, Portland is a food-obsessed city, and my Mom and I fit right in. Thanks for bringing me into the world, Mom, and for being my biggest fan. I'll start marking the guide book up for next year.
P.S. We're leaving town tomorrow for our last outing of the summer. I thought about doing some phantom posts in the next four days, but then thought again. This blog has to go the way my life goes or it won't be sustainable. So I'll be here next Friday, having missed you, of course.