We are no danger of starving in Portland.
When last we left our hero, he was waiting for his lovely bride so they could go get some dinner. We ended heading over to the Oregon Brewers Festival for a little while before finally heading to dinner at Veritable Quandry. Their wine list was impressive; we ended up enjoying a pair of rosés while we waited on the patio for our table, which were a perfect match for the summer evening. When we finally sat down, I had the good sense to order the roasted wild mushroom & baby spinach salad with buttermilk blue cheese & pancetta vinaigrette. We decided to share and devoured it as soon as it arrived. Gwen opted for the Wild Oregon King Salmon with orange vinaigrette served with bulgur, pistachios, mint, cucumber, radish, yogurt & cumin. I had the Oregon Black Cod wrapped in prosciutto with shaved fennel, Dungeness crab, fingerling potatoes & lemon aioli, the last of which was really the key to the dish. And despite the hour, we just couldn’t resist desert, so Gwen got the Warm Black Beauty Plum Tartlet, and I had the Peanut Brittle Banana Split, which was absolutely delicious with the glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry I ordered. Dinner ended up being both later and better than we usually eat, so by the time we stumbled back to our hotel around midnight, we were happy to get to bed.
Today Gwen was off to classes at Sock Summit, which left me on my own to find for myself. I had a very nice run along the riverfront before heading out in search of an early lunch. I ended up at Kenny and Zuke’s, a delicatessen recommended to us by at least three different people. It was transcendently good — the pickle platter taught me that I don’t dislike sweet pickles, I’ve just not had well-made ones. The Ken’s Special, a pastrami sandwich with chopped liver, coleslaw and Russian dressing, was amazing, especially when washed down with a Henry Weinhard’s Cream Soda, whose sweetness cut through the fat, salt, and vinegar of the rest of the meal. And I am now horribly tempted to find a way to incorporate the grumpy chef I watched for a good half-hour from my counter seat into a bit of fiction, because he was such a wonderful character. So overall, I survived my abandonment.
At noon I headed back to the Oregon Brewers Festival, which we had started sampling the night before. My new-found beer tasting knowledge was put to good use. I managed to taste at least a quarter of the 80+ beers on tap here, and I think I got through the ones I’m most interested in. It wasn’t as fun without a tasting companion — Gwen and I got stopped twice last night because “we looked like we knew what we were doing.” I ended up bailing before I got crazy busy, which was just about when Gwen got back from her classes.
We ended up going to Grüner, which was lovely. The weather was quite pleasant, so we decided to sit outside and ended up at a stylishly black-lacquered picnic bench. They had a flight of four German rieslings made in four different styles which we each decided to get and build the meal around. With the sparkling and the dry we split an appetizer and a salad — the charcuterie plate (speck, spicy coppa, soppressata, house-made mortadella, liverwurst canapés, country pâté, mustard, and pickles) and a salad of green beans, blackberries, goat cheese, hazelnuts, duck cracklings, black currant vinaigrette, and crispy shallots. With the Kabinett, I had the choucroute garnie — a plate of bratwurst, saucisson, cider braised pork belly, house-cured pork tenderloin, covered with sauerkraut and served with sweet mustard and yukon gold potatoes. It paired wonderfully with the wine. Gwen’s sweet & sour rabbit marinated in red wine and braised with spring onions, carrots, juniper, black pepper & rosemary, with chive-potato dumplings didn’t go as well, so we indulged our wine geekery and ordered a glass of Blaufränkish, which did go with it. For desert we split the cheese plate and the honey-walnut cake, accompanied by an Auslese riesling and something I’d never seen before: a Pinot Noir Trockenbeerenauslese. (This will either make sense to you or take too long to explain why it’s unusual.) It ended up being just as good as the dinner from last night, but both lighter and earlier. We took advantage of the not-yet-late hour to stroll along the riverfront before heading back to hotel.
So yes, I’d say were doing a pretty good job of eating and drinking our way across Portland.
UpdateFitness: Ran 3 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 262 words, 333 seven-day average, 266 average, 32180 total, 320 to go for the week; 16-day streak