In a Portland funk
by Heather Vandenengel
PORTLAND, OR — I have been in Portland for three days and have yet to figure out what this city is all about. It’s a surprise to me because it seems to have a well-established identity: hipster retirement home, beervana, street food paradise. I have drunk very good (and relatively cheap) beer in stellar beer bars and breweries, stuffed myself from a Korean food cart and at a French-inspired restaurant with a James Beard award winning chef, had a Voodoo doughnut and tried pear and blue cheese ice cream from Salt & Straw, run through Washington Park and the Rose Garden and wandered Powell’s Books. And yet, I feel nothing. It’s like meeting a guy who has all the qualities of a person you would and should like, but there’s no chemistry. Total bummer.
That’s not to say I’ve had a bad time. I’ve also only been here a few days and I’ve had a fair amount of other stresses on my mind–lack of sleep, work to get done, feeling frazzled. Tomorrow I will go for a hike in Forest Park and see Cheryl Strayed (!!) at Powell’s and soak in more of those Portland vibes. In the meantime, here are a few photos of neon lights, Korean BBQ, Burnside Brewing, Hair of the Dog and my amazing meal at Le Pigeon.
I splurged on that dinner, as I haven’t been spending much money between working on the farm and staying in a hostel and keeping food costs down. I was also planning on food carting it again, but I happened to be across the street at dinner time. The beef cheek bourguignon was indeed hearty and luscious, but the vermouth, Petal & Thorn from Oregon’s own Imbue, and the dessert–a split between a foie gras profiterole with caramel sauce and sea salt sauce and a cool chocolate lavender cannoli with almond cucumber mousse did me in. Tums were had and the walk home was a blessing.