2.13.2011

Portland, I hate you

Portland, I hate you. Because of you, I can no longer see my belly button.

I hate you because after a blissful weekend eating my way around your city, I needed a wheelbarrow to get myself onto the plane.

There's been a lot written about Portland food culture, and rightfully so. For being such a small city, Portland's got big flavors, big ideas, and big love for food. So I'm sure what needs to be written has already been written, far more eloquently that I could ever hope to, so I'll just say one thing: if you consider yourself a foodie but haven't been to Portland -- you're not a foodie at all. 'Nuf said.

So here's a brief recap of all the eating my dear friends E., A., and I did during one weekend (our other food adventures are well-documented). Yes, one weekend. Forgive us, Father, for we were most gluttonous.

The first morning, we started off with Dutch tacos. That's a delicious, crispy waffle encasing some kind of meat (or a veggie patty, as in the one below), drizzled with a maple glaze.


This decadent breakfast was served up from this humble little shack, in the middle of an industrial area: 


They say good things come in small packages and boy was this an amazing little package. The one below is a meat bonanza -- Canadian bacon and regular bacon, all snug in a waffle.


I had a sausage patty in my waffle, and it was just the perfect combination of sweet and savory (the golden goodness you see oozing out is the maple glaze).


For lunch (yes, we were hungry shortly after that), we ate at an awesome taco joint. Now, we're blessed with amazing Mexican food in California, for sure. But this place did California proud with its authentic tacos (no shredded cheddar cheese or sour cream here). Below, you see a medley of different tacos that E. & A. shared. I believe they had a grilled veggie one, a fish one, and a carnitas taco.


I got the carnitas bowl. The succulent meat you see is laying on top of a mound of rice and beans, topped off with queso fresco, a tomatillo salsa and a crunch radish. Flour tortillas on the side. Delicioso!


The only misstep we had was probably dinner. We went to this Korean restaurant that was trying a little too hard to be trendy. I like my Korean food to be unpretentious and homey. This restaurant was not. So no pictures.

However, to compensate for a lackluster dinner, we stopped by a food truck (which is practically on every corner in Portland) to enjoy a sweet treat. And boy were we in for a treat.

Here is a fried pie. That's right -- fried pie. It's like an empanada, really. Crusty, flaky dough encases whatever filling you like (I had peach), and then it's fried to a golden perfection.


My friend A. had the boysenberry pie, while E. had a coconut and chocolate pie. Both were significantly more tasty than my peach pie, though I wasn't complainin'.


The next morning, still groggy from our food comas, we nevertheless ventured to a little hole in the wall known as Pine State Biscuits. There are 4 tiny tables and 3 stools. It's not a place you leisurely linger, but once you've tasted their biscuits, you want to move in. To the restaurant. I'm serious.


This unassuming place serves up some sick biscuits. And by sick, I mean insanely good. I thought I would be a little less indulgent by ordering a "biscuit topped with seasonal fruit." Sounded healthy enough, right? WRONG. This biscuit was enveloped in a warm concoction of stewed apples, then topped with fresh whipped cream. Oy vey.



Again, E. & A.'s orders were far more delicious than mine. Luckily, they don't mind sharing. A. got this honkin' breakfast biscuit, with egg, cheese and bacon. That is goodness right there, my friends. Goodness.





And what's the perfect side to such a masterpiece? Hashbrowns, of course. The picture makes it seem like this was just a cute little side dish of hash browns, but it lies: it was the biggest plate of hash browns I've ever seen.



But to be honest, E.'s biscuit sandwich had me in tears. It would inspire you to give up your firstborn. It really was *that* good. It was the most juicy piece of fried chicken I have ever tasted, in all my travels. You can also see the grainy mustard flowing out of it, as well as the sweet dill pickles. This biscuit sandwich...is beyond words. It's worth a trip to Portland -- I'm not kidding.



At the end of our trip, A. noted we had taken more pictures of the food than we did of each other. Ha! All in all, it was a really fun trip. It was great to catch up with E. & A. There's nothing like sharing a great meal (or two, or three) with good friends -- it just makes you grateful to be alive.

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