December 5, 2011
Culinary Adventures in Portland, Oregon
Magically, after days of never-ending pouring rain in Seattle, the sky cleared up, the sun made its much appreciated appearance, and the traffic cooperated nicely.
On the way to Portland, we made a stop in Olympia, Washington to pay our respects to the Washington state capital and walk around. Not wanting to leave right away, we drove to the downtown area and missed it. That's right - the downtown is literally just a few blocks in length.
Looking for fuel in the form of caffeine, we stopped at Bonjour Cupcakes bakery. The bakery had an old charming feel and decor, with scattered cupcake-related merchandise.
We chose two mini cupcakes: red velvet and chocolate mocha, adorned with a chocolate covered coffee bean. While I can't vouch for the red velvet cupcake (someone is still learning how to share), the chocolate mocha cupcake was a perfect two-bite delight.
Our first meal in Portland was just a few blocks from the hotel (we stayed at the fancy Historic Governor Hotel - thank you www.priceline.com). Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen serves up pastrami sandwiches, lots of local beer, and plenty of pickles. Unfortunately, they were out of latkes for the night, and the gefilte fish has yet to make its appearance on the menu, but the place was bustling with happy customers and we were ready to order.
Pardon for the quality of the photo. The photos in this post were taken with my new phone and could use some work. Back to the food. The chicken liver sandwich with pastrami was my favorite. I honestly would've loved it without the pastrami, and will order it plain if I return to the deli. The pickles were crunchy, and as addicting as ever. I did like the potato salad and coleslaw, but my body was craving something hot and slightly more nurturing - perhaps a bowl of matzo ball soup would've done the trick.
Following the meal, we walked around the downtown area of Portland, taking in the holiday lights and the ever-present determined Black Friday shoppers. I won't lie - there was a mandatory stop to the Macy's shoe department, but somehow I ended up purchasing zilch and taking no advantage of tax-free shopping the entire weekend.
On the way back to the hotel we stumbled across Voodoo Doughnut shop. Along with the glaring neon sign and the long line of patrons that extended outside, the sweet smell of doughnuts beckoned us to come in. We settled on a Mango Tango (raised yeast doughnut, filled with mango jelly and topped with vanilla frosting and tang!) and Raspberry Romeo’s (raised yeast doughnut, filled with raspberry jelly and glazed on the outside).
I did enjoy the unusual flavors of Mango Tango and the tanginess that mango added to the doughnut. I dedicated the doughnut to my sister of MangoTomato and my good friend, and tango extraordinaire Lera. Unfortunately, Raspberry Romeo's didn't fare as well and ended up composed, hardly eaten.
The next day's adventure started at Fuller's Coffee Shop. This traditional, cash only, diner served up heaping plates of eggs, crispy potatoes, and bacon.
I went for a Mexican-style breakfast of potatoes, smothered with tomatoes, mushrooms (clearly canned, not fresh), spinach, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. My partner, once again, chose a more delicious option of spinach and sausage scramble with crisp potatoes on the side. We finished with country white toast smothered with homemade raspberry jam and headed for a 3-hour adventure at the Portland's Museum of Art - or was it the Portland Art Museum?
The day's culinary adventures ended at Hollywood Bowling with the mandatory White Russian and a plate of nachos.
The next morning, with the return of rain (I think the city was mourning our departure), we sipped on a cappuccino and a mocha at Portland's Pearl Bakery cafe.
I got into a heated debate over heating up my chocolate croissant, but the service was refused, and I missed out on warm chocolate, oozing between the thin layers of flaky puffed pastry.
Our adventures of eating ended at a nondescript, perfectly delicious, family-run pho shop with heaping bowls of steaming broth, rice noodles and a few meatballs. We bid farewell to Portland and headed back to Seattle.
And before I tell you all good bye, here is something we did not eat (found in Olympia, the Washington state capital).
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