Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Portland Day 5: Shopping, Germans, and Whiffies

After all the fun from the previous night, we slept in a little and didn't get out until close to noon.  But we had a mission: I needed some clothes, and although Gregory didn't, he somehow he managed to buy three times as many things as I did for less money.  This man can find a bargain!

I hesitate to mention this because I don't want to cast an overly serious pall on my self-award-winning entries here, but my Grandpa Doug Peterson died this last Sunday morning the 25th.  So our trip will diverge for a couple of days while I travel solo to Elko to attend the funeral services held on Friday.  Gregory will stay in Portland.  I look forward to being able to see my family, and to celebrating Grandpa's amazing 98 years.  He was born in 1913.  The man has seen it all.  This kind of retrospect really empowers me.  It's hard to feel sad when you reflect all that a powerhouse of a person like him has done for his family, a family that I am a part.  It can be sad and mournful if you let it, it can be beautiful and life affirming if you let it.  98 years!

But there is a dress code for such occasions, and being on vacation, my suitcase is full of shorts and t-shirts.  I brought one pair of jeans in case it gets a little chilly.  I needed a Macy's posthaste.

After a short spree we headed through the downtown area with its quaint shops, many parks, and surprisingly short city blocks.  We ended up near a German restaurant, and they happened to be between their lunch and dinner service, so their menu was limited.  I was hoping for a chicken schnitzel, but alas!  We ended up ordering almost one of everything since they were small appetizer-y, tapas-y, type bites, except for the gruyere cheese, spicy German mustard and prosciutto sandwich, which was full size on yummy bread with all kinds of seeds and grains.  There was salmon mousse canapés topped with fresh dill (aka light and refreshing), a cup of sweet corn soup with chives and creme fraiche (aka magma in a bowl), polenta croquettes stuffed with polenta (magma in crunchy shell), and the sandwich (magma with a mustard aftertaste).  To drink, we ordered Elderflower sodas which were proprietary.  They were good, but expensive and ultimately not worth it in my opinion, but they were still delicious.

We decided to order dessert there as well, and got a chocolate mousse that was quite lovely.  Whomever is the mousse chef, is truly a mousse master.

We headed back to the hotel to drop off our shopping bags and decided to drive around the city to get a better look at some stuff further out.  We drove up past the University to Washington Park, which features an enormous Rose Garden, the Portland Zoo and a Japanese Garden.  Unfortunately everything was closed except for the Rose Garden.  It was pretty amazing to see what 500+ varieties of roses looks like.  Though if you really want to impress me, I'm a 600+ variety sort of guy.  Sorry.

We did some more driving around and for dinner, we ended up at a Jim-suggested restaurant Whiffie's Pies, which have personal little pies that are deep fried, think of a big empanada, and varieties in both savory and sweet.  We ordered BBQ beef and mozzarella pies, and a peach pie for dessert.  It was almost enough for me, but not quite, so we looked around at what else was available.  Before I continue I should explain that Whiffie's Pies is a food truck and all around Portland there are empty parking lots that they have filled with--I'm guessing semi permanent--food trucks that circle around the edge and there are many tables in the middle, similar to makeshift food court.  Only good.  Some of the fancier ones, like this one, have lighting and covered seating--presumably to remain open even on rainy days.

The truck next door to Whiffie's was a crepe place.  Gregory said, just get something with meat, so I brought back a delicious crazy wonderful crepe:  prosciutto, fresh fig, chèvre (goat cheese), and honey.  It was like baby Jesus made it just for us!  (Really I think the guy's name was Dave, but it tasted like what I imagine heaven would taste like--maybe Dave was an angel, or perhaps my reincarnated dog!  Which only makes me think one thing: my dog growing up knew how to make crepes the whole time and we never knew it).  It was amazing.  We waited on Whiffie's peach pie for the end, and it was worth the wait.  The crusts were a perfect caramel color and were so light and flaky.  It made me happy.

The rest of the evening we spent bar hopping, checking out the other gay establishments in the area and eventually ended up back at Silverado, to see what a non-amateur night was like.  (One thing I have to give Portland credit is the cheap drinks.  I think I paid $1.50 for a cape cod.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it wasn't served in a barrel, but still).  The club was every bit as entertaining, but we didn't stay as long, due to our late previous night.  Tomorrow we will take a trip out of the city to see some nearby nature.

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