We don’t get into Portland very often but when we are there, we eat. While our friends on the coast tend to head into Portland to shop, see specialty doctors, visit grandkids, hit the airport, as gastrophiles, my husband and I experience Portland entirely through our mouths. Our son and daughter in law, who are also very food oriented, enjoy indulging us in our habits.
We drove in to Portland the day after the much feared and anticipated white nationalists rally. All over the news we learned the city was braced for the event; thankfully nothing terrible happened. I was pretty annoyed by news coverage describing anyone who went to the rally as either “Far Right or Far Left.” Ordinary people peacefully protesting white nationalism were labeled as extremists. And, for the record, if you’re not anti-Fascist doesn’t that make you pro-Fascist? We discussed this on the patio of Wayfinder Beer as Mr. Sax and I split a Black Lodge sandwich. This sandwich is smoked prime rib, beer cheese, grilled peppers and onion on a French roll. My daughter-in-law had a beautiful salad Nicoise made of yellowfin tuna, green beans, egg, tomato, Yukon gold potatoes, olives, and anchovies over a bed of arugula. My son, always a hearty eater, had a chicken schnitzel sandwich on ciabatta bread. We all had beers. It was pretty great.
We wandered around the Southeast Second Avenue neighborhood for a short while before ducking in to Never Coffee on Southeast Belmont. First we made a pit stop to their home to let the old dog out to pee and to bring the young dog with us. We brought the min-pin to the coffee shop, which meant we sat outdoors. My daughter-in-law got a signature latte. I stuck to an Americano. The drinks menu at Never Coffee is very intriguing with offerings like the Holy Grail, a beverage infused with turmeric, ginger, and orange blossom water topped with local cherrywood smoked honey, tellicherry pepper, and Jacobsen sea salt. I was tempted to try the Rich Kid, which is a concoction of rose water, saffron and cardamom, as well as the Hug, a heady combination of spicy cacao, smoked chilis, and cinnamon. My son only drinks black, unsweetened ice coffee straight up.
After a visit to the Burnside Skate Park where we watched amazing stunts, a few hours later we waited outside for a table for close to an hour at Ken’s Artisan Pizza on Southeast 28th. The hour passed quickly as I couldn’t get enough people watching. The people in Portland are for the most part quite attractive. The pies are worth the wait (they take no reservations) as they are thin-crust, wood-fired, blister-crusted marvels. We started with an appetizer of four exquisite baby meatballs and then shared three different pies. There were no leftovers.
The next morning our son had some working conference calls to make, so our daughter in law escorted us to one of her favorite coffee shops in their Hawthorne neighborhood, Oui Presse. They make a dreamy coffeecake that has real coffee in it. The shop also has a great selection of newspapers and magazines and the French Presse coffee is excellent.
We took a breather from eating and drove to Mt. Tabor Park where in the company of the younger dog, we took a brief if challenging walk. Our house in Seaside is a one-level affair and it’s been awhile since I have climbed a lot of stairs. The idea of more food made me feel a little sick but we pushed on to meet up with our son who had finished his work call and was ready for his lunch break.
Our final dining destination was The Baker’s Mark on Southeast 12th and Division. If you haven’t been, this is an awesome place. Our son recommended the Godfather, a monster submarine-style sandwich made of Genoa salami, prosciutto, capicola, ham, mortadella and provolone which was dressed with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, Italian dressing, and pepper salad, i.e. “the works.” Mr. Sax and I split it and despite my complete lack of hunger, I ate every bite.
For the past week I’ve been doing double duty on my sit ups and trying to walk a lot. I still can’t close my snuggest pants. A trip to Portland is a treat but I’m glad I don’t eat like that very often. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to duplicate that salad nicoise if I can find arugula at the Seaside Farmer’s Market.