When you think of Portland, Oregon, food-wise, perhaps the first thing that kicks into gear is that slightly sourdough scent of something like raspberry kombucha on tap at a southeastern teahouse.
You wouldn’t be wrong to dive head first into a mason jar of something so 60s-rustic, but I’d have to say for me it’s something quite different. In fact, after just about a week tucked away there, having flown in from the smelly old apple of New York, it’s many things. Inspired things.
There is, for example, the smell of burnt sugar venting in sweet-toothed billows to lines of sweet-toothed travellers eager for the mystifying taste of a deep-fried American totem at Voodoo Doughnut. Did you know that doughnuts lend themselves to bacon and breakfast cereal (Cap’n Crunch?) Or that caky fried dough alone can drive droves to stand and wait long pauses just outside their glass cases, rain or shine? It’s a special kind of admiration. The kind that culminates in moments (and maybe minutes) if we can galvanize our mouths into more rationed and patient bites.
There’s something else, too: when in Portland this past week, I found a deep-tunneled appetite for things like waffle-coned olive oil ice cream, $1 salty soft pretzels dipped in blueberry brown mustard at Melt Bar & Bistro on 21st Ave and thick slices of peach pie topped with crunchy streusel from a transplanted Australian-owned pie company.
I was there only five full days with old college friends, I’m not sure where it all went.
Our Saturday afternoon market walk was full of a sun as toasted with light as the crispy fish I dripped with a wedge of lemon and that was served up with hand-cut chips from the Chowderhounds foodcart stationed just infront of the Willamette river. There were faucets gushing with water where children play, and we wandered among stands, some full with elephant ears and others wafting with garlic sizzle…
And there were roses —
And when all of the eating and smelling was done, after this city girl had hiked the waterfalls, there was music: loud and twangy, that exploded rosebuds into full-blown flowers.
If only we could have driven back east in one of these: