Monday, July 27, 2009
Portland: A Fiorello Excursion
My brother and I constantly complain to my parents that most of our family vacations took place when we were about three and four years old. Now that we're teenagers, our parents decided that we deserved a vacation, Heaven knows why. So a couple of weeks ago, we ventured out of the Bay Area—out of California, in fact—and onto a plane to Portland, Oregon.
Starting with the nonresponsive baggage claim at PDX, I already began to notice an Oregon trend: These people like to take their time. However, I don’t think I can entirely blame them—people are just more mellow and laid-back here.
The Portland Night Scene
We spent our first full night in the Hawthorne Neighborhood across the Willamette River. We cruised along S.E. Hawthorne Street and stopped around 33rd Avenue, a hip area that included boutiques, cafes, and trendy restaurants. However, after inspecting the restaurants’ menus, we saw that the food was a bit out of our budget. Perhaps we’ll try this indie neighborhood a different night.
Our next option lay at the corner of S.E. Hawthorne and 12th Avenue. Inconspicuously located in a vacant lot, several food carts were stationed while people mingled and ate on wooden picnic tables. That’s right. Parked there year-round, these were the gourmet food carts Portland is known for.
My dad stood in line at Q, the finger- licking good barbecue stand, while my mom ordered shrimp jambalaya from Bubba Bernie’s. Meanwhile, I headed over to the music-blaring trailer known as Potato Champion, which served Belgian fries and poutine. I was too shy to ask what poutine was, so I stuck to the fries with rosemary truffle ketchup instead.
Once our food was ordered, all that was left to do was wait. And I mean wait…for at least thirty-five minutes. I tried to keep in mind that each stand was run by two people tops, but it was hard to feel empathetic when I was hungry. The whole gist of the place was strictly Oregon, so go figure.
On a sweeter note, we ended our gastronomical night at Perierra Creperie. Fifteen minutes later, as I eagerly bit into my warm Nutella and banana crepe, all was forgiven. Even though dining at the food carts was the complete opposite of convenient, the food was tasty, hot off the grill (when it finally came), and relatively cheap. Plus, as my Dad pointed out, at least Portland respects the Slow Food Movement!