Portland: the reckoning ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

05 February 2013

Portland: the reckoning

Many people got all excited about sports this past weekend. John and I did not. In fact, we actively ran away from SF, caught a plane up to Portland, and thus nicely avoided nearly any mention of football. Okay, that wasn't the actual reason we went to Portland--it was more a combination of work and just wanting a nice weekend away--but it was a convenient side effect. Hooray!

Since Portland is essentially a mecca of amazing food, we had not only a delightful time but an equally delightful assortment of food and drinks.

On the very first night, right after checking into our hotel, we decided we couldn't wait to run up the street and have the most local of beers at Tugboat Brewery. This is the bar (and brewery) I most wish were up the street from our house. Who wouldn't want to hang out in a bar with this many bookshelves?

tugboat brewery portland oregon

The beer is strikingly delicious as well. Our favorite of their beers on tap was the Red Cloud, but there was also a truly amazing stout (the name of which I can't remember), Chernobyl, that was so strong it was only available by the half pint. WELL. Can't argue with that, especially if you like dark beers, which we do.

Taking pictures in the bar in the dark always works exceptionally well, doesn't it? That's why I have no pictures at all from our fabulous Saturday night dinner at Grüner with Michelle of The Hoot Eats. It was dark! But then the food was also completely delicious, and the company more than delightful, so I think that makes up for the darkness admirably.

Believe it or not, this was my first foodblogger meetup ever! It certainly won't be the last. It's always so nice to discover people are even more awesome than you suspect--especially if you, like me, lack social skills and are therefore a bit nervous about meeting new people. Obviously I don't actually need to be!

I hadn't had German food in ages, which is just sad, but Grüner certainly fixed that. So now I have a strong impulse to try to recreate their jägerschnitzel and mustard-seedy spätzle at home. There was also very tasty red cabbage, but I'm pretty sure I actually know now to make that already. Actually, maybe I will make some of that tonight...muahaha, etc. Because it's evil cabbage? Sure.

You might think that a German restaurant would not be the best place to take a vegetarian. Well, you would be wrong, because John was pretty happy with his dinner: kale salad with kohlrabi, asiago, and intense lemon dressing, and a plate of bright pink beet and ricotta dumplings with poppyseeds. We also threw several longing glances toward other diners' plates of amazing-looking beet-pickled deviled eggs. OM NOM NOM.

Afterward, we went next door and had fancy cocktails (always a plus) at Kask. We are generally not the type of people to go out to bars on a weekend night--we're way more likely to hit up Tuesday or Wednesday happy hour at our local beer garden, and get home by seven--so I wasn't quite expecting the massive amount of people there, but the drinks were obviously worth it. There was such a huge variety of cocktails that I literally can't remember what I had--although Michelle's negroni flip was pretty amazing, and John's pink gin (when's the last time you were in a bar that had a pink gin on its menu?) was classic and perfect.

A most delightful evening. And afterward?

Food carts.

portland food cart falafel sandwich and kebab sandwich

Hey, it was several hours after dinner by that point! And we couldn't leave the city without eating something from a food cart--we'd probably get fined. So we went to the corner of SW 5th and Stark, found an Egyptian cart that is evidently so new there is no mention of it anywhere on the internet--something Pharaoh. Small Pharaoh?--and got two gigantic sandwiches, one falafel and one lamb kebab. This was the perfect meal to tipsily eat in our hotel room late at night while watching videos on the internet. Yes.

Okay. What else did we eat? Let me sum up.

- Homey & comforting black beans and rice with sweet yellow carrots at Danny & Bethany's house.
- Chilaquiles and coffee at The Original Dinerant--terrible name, but good and very filling chilaquiles. What did John have? I don't remember. Coffee, anyway.
- Plenty of hotel lobby coffee, which was actually Stumptown. Drinking coffee while walking around Portland is one of the best things.
- Thai Peacock: summer rolls, pad kee mao, and evil noodle with peanut sauce and tofu. It was a super-peanut spectacular of a meal. I was so happy to have some Thai before we went back home, where there are several Thai places in walking distance, but they're all bad. Also, prettiest summer roll presentation ever!

peacock thai summer rolls

- Juice at Prasad with my friend YT. I had a concoction called the Honey Green, with coconut milk and matcha powder and honey and strawberry and cucumber: EPIC. John had more coffee, this time in americano form, because coffee. Coffee was kind of the theme of the weekend, really.
- A tableful of post-tiring-hike pizza with Danny and Bethany and their tiny dudes and many multiplication flashcards. This was the first time I've ever had the classic ham & pineapple pizza, and it was good. The crispy edges of each piece of ham were well worth it.
- Sunday night last chance drinks at Bailey's Taproom, as recommended by Michelle. John had a Upright Engelberg Pilsner--nice & grassy--and I had a Walking Man Black Cherry Stout, which was harsh on first sip but excellent as my palate adjusted. It was like having a cherry coke beer, which I realize sounds awful, but which was in fact not. Very interesting in any case.
- Monday morning fancy latte and work discussion at Barista.

And now, after a Monday afternoon plane delay that meant we COULD have in fact eaten one more lunch in actual Portland instead of the airport, we are back at home starting to catch up on all our work (not to mention the 400 blog posts in my reader) in a fairly exhausted yet happy fashion.

Hooray! Portland!


foodfeud said...

Well, the photos you did get along with yr descriptions are plenty enough to make me jealous. I've got to get out there someday soon.
The bar sounds great! There's one here like that called Library and there is some BIZARRE stuff on the shelves. Every bar is better with a book.

Monet said...

Ah! We want to visit Portland so badly. Thank you for transporting me with both your words and your pictures. Thank you for another delightful post. And thank you for your sweet words on my blog! I hope you have a wonderful end to your week.

Jes said...

Hooray for Portland! Everything you ate sounds awesome--as does skipping out of town the weekend your home's team is going to lose. Can't even imagine the depressed sports fans. :)

Caz said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous food filled trip! Love the bar full of books.

elizabeth (bubbleteafordinner) said...

John's vegetarian German food has me totally impressed! Um, and his taste in gin-pink-drinks. :P Sounds like a completely delicious trip! <3 food carts.

Stephanie said...

Oh Portland, how I love thee! It really is such a lovely city to visit: the hipsters are friendly, Powell's is humongous and the food is soooo good.

I'm so glad you had such a good time. And super-jealous you got to Grüner -- we ate dinner there almost two years ago on a visit and I'm still thinking about it . . .

Michelle said...

I am so glad you guys had a great time! That's great that you guys went out for some cart food after our drinks. I'm pretty sure I came home and snacked some more, too. Falafel and lamb are perfect for soaking up the booze!

Can't wait until we do it again!

kristina said...

So jealous of your trip to Portland. I imagine it as food trucks as far as the eye can see... From the sound of it, I am only slightly off, since there are so many great restaurants there too!

By the way, if you ever head out east to the Mid-Atlantic, I would love to have a blog meet-up :)

Joanne said...

Sounds like an amazing trip!! I have always wanted to go to Portland and you've fueled that desire even more!

Eileen said...

See, now I just want to trek around and have foodblogger meetups with all you lovely people. :) (And also to go back to Portland again...not that there's any danger we won't do that!)