Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Portland, Oregon

I'm heading out to get some coffee after a late start and some hotel hell (is it just me or is it weird to have a hotel that doesn't have thermostats with individually heated rooms?) Other than the noise of the Max mass transit and my new view of a wall (my old view was a "city view" of an off ramp and a parking lot) Hotel Fifty is stylish, has a great location and because of their limitations are cheap. If you do decide to stay here book a river view room on a high floor (heat rises) and they are the only ones around the corner from the constant clamor of mass transit. Of course those rooms are more expensive so you might want to just stay at the Hotel Monaco and save yourself the bother.

Portland is lushly green, laid back, eccentric, unique and a foodies paradise. Yesterday for lunch I explored the food cart culture around SW Stark street and ended up choosing Mexican. I had an amazing tortilla salad which was a large amount of greens with pinto beans, two kinds of cheese and generous portion of breaded fried fish (you could have had meat or chicken or just plain veggie) it was so good! I asked the guy what kind of fish it was and he told me Alaskan Cod! First off Cod from the Atlantic I won't eat as I believe it is over fished and endangered (I've written about this extensively) so I was very excited to be able to enjoy wild caught sustainable Alaskan cod in a very delicious salad for, are you ready for this: $5 plus tip.

After lunch I wended my way leisurely to yoga at The Yoga Space on the south east side of Stark st. After yoga I explored Belmont street a funky little strip of about 10 blocks where I had a grocery store orgasm at Zupans a local mini Portland chain of boutique groceries stores that make Whole Foods look ghetto. And most exciting of all it was reasonably priced and they SOLD WINE in the store how civilized is that? After my shopping and exploring I finished off my night sitting at the bar at Comune Accanto a casual Italian inspired local cafe that is the next store sister restaurant to the much more fancy and upscale Genoa. I had an amazing Williamette valley Pinot called Linda Vista the vineyard is also owned by the folks who own both these restaurants.

I had a seasonal salad with fava beans, parmeasan, radish and mixed greens with white balsamic it was good, but I believe they used lemon oil in the dressing and I think it needed more citrus acidity and would have benefited from lemon juice the white balsamic was totally lost in the flavor mix, a little more would have been great. With a salad like this, that has so many wonderful fresh local seasonal ingredients I tend to prefer a simpler dressing.

After the salad I had a charcuterie plate of my own making - they have two happy hours - 3-6 and 9 to closing and this includes a small menu of food. I ordered two kinds of meat (a salami -I forget now the name and a prosciutto) and dolce gorgonzola which was served with fantastic bread, house made pickles and a wonderful house made jam of onions and balsamic vinegar.
Each item of meat and cheese was only $1.50!!!!! It was of the highest quality and even though my wine was $12 a glass in the end the bill before tip was $21. The room is simple, light wood clad, spacious and comfortable the staff couldn't have been more helpful. I'm for sure going back and enjoying more happy hour joy!

I took a bunch of pictures yesterday only to realize I left the cord I need to download them at home! Grrrrrrrrrr so on my way to coffee I will also look for a camera store.

Must have coffee! More from Portland later!

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