Instead of the obligatory city acronym PDX, I went the opposite route and elongated the name. Much nicer, no? Heh.
The 26 hours I spent in Portland were, as usual, a bit of a whirlwind. This was not a working vacation, rather a pleasure trip to celebrate the birthday of a close friend. Before I met up with her, I also connected with one of my favorite Pacific Northwest photographers, Ali Walker, for lunch at the Everett Street Bistro in downtown Portland. It was incredible to finally meet Ali. I felt like we could have, in all honesty, talked for another couple of hours without taking a breath.
We enjoyed some fancy water, which I don't normally splurge on, but was in the mood for fizzy. And honestly, how could I resist a bottle of "Antipodes"?
At the Everett Street Bistro, I enjoyed the most amazing caramelized onion tart with loads of pepper and blue cheese in it. Unbelievable. And accompanying it was delightful mixed wild greens that had a faint hint of something exotic in the dressing, which I later identified as cinnamon. Yes. Cinnamon. Very good.
And ya gotta love a place that not only has a cheese bar, but you can order charcuterie, as well. Heart be still. Lovely lunch, lovely date, lovely place.
I was off to see Maria after that. After catching up for a couple of hours, we went out and enjoyed a spa treatment, and then headed off to dinner.
I really enjoyed good food this weekend and tried my best to document the edible parts until a) my standard food-shooting lens broke much to my dismay, and b) I simply forgot my camera altogether on Sunday. But on Saturday, I was able to capture my lunch with Ali, and most of my dinner at the place Maria took me to dine -- Noble Rot.
The name gave me an enormous chuckle. "Noble Rot" conjures up images of some sort of barbaric ritual of a decapitated (and rotting) noble's head on a stake on display in the dining room, certainly not of a prestigious wine bar and restaurant. Something much more barbaric that wine.
Unfortunately, it means nothing nearly that gruesome. According to Wikipedia, "Noble rot" is a grey fungus that can potentially ruin wine grapes. Naming your restaurant something that esoteric reminds me of the delicious but bizarrely named "How to Cook a Wolf" in Seattle. (The title to one of MFK Fisher's books on food.) It seems like it's trying to hard.
Nevertheless, the food was actually quite noble. While it was voted Sunset's Best Wine Bar of 2009, I just simply wasn't in the mood for wine. (Strange, I know.) So, I opted for the Belgian beer standby: Chimay (blue). Since I was having beer, I figured I might as well go for a good salt carrier: French fries. Again, I realize this was nothing that one would usually order at such a locale, but let me assure you, these were fantastic frites. Crispy-fried shoestrings, perfect with the Chimay. After that, I enjoyed the grilled lamb and harissa carrots, with a generous side of cumin & yogurt bread pudding topped with tzaziki. Taste buds were all a'flitter.
For dessert, there was a decadent brownie with ice cream and caramel sauce, and a coconut panna cotta with deep-fried pineapple. Both were yum.
Somewhere between the beer and the fries, my lens decided to completely crap out on me, so the rest of that meal was shot with my 100mm macro lens, which makes everything look, well, rather large. I assure you the portions were generous but not super-sized.
The next day, there was a hike somewhere in the Portland area and a breakfast with really fun people at Marcos in Multnomah Village. I honestly haven't laughed quite that much since, oh, last week at least.
A beautiful day for a drive, I returned sated and full of early-summer fever. Which is really the way a good weekend SHOULD end.