Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Picnics

I love Portland, OR. I cannot think of another city that has its combination of atmosphere, entertainment and love of food. We often visit for the Oregon Brewer's Festival, but last month we made the trek to watch the Vancouver Whitecaps take on the Portland Timbers in USL1 soccer action.

We lost the game 2-0.

Fortunately for us, the food more than made up for the loss. But rather than visit Portland's exceptional restaurant scene (which we did the first night) we made our way to the Portland Farmer's Market at PSU and gathered some tasty tidbits for a picnic, riverside in Tom McCall Park.

On the menu: pate from Chop, frommage frais from Monteillet, fresh strawberries and a loaf of bread from Delphina's. The wine you see was not procured from the market. Rather it was from Vino Paradiso, who have the brilliant offer of 1/2 price bottles for anything from their by-the-glass list. This Spanish white was bright and fresh and a perfect addition to the picnic.

I mention the wine for several reasons:
  1. It was excellent.
  2. The concept of off-sales for 1/2 price is brilliant!
  3. While enjoying the wine in a public park, we were not bothered by police or anyone for that matter. I understand the law is the law. But sometimes our liquor laws in BC are so puritan.

The second picnic? On our last day in Portland, we dropped by Kenny & Zukes Deli for some of their famous pastrami & corned beef. "Zuke" is Nick Zukin, a friend of mine from my eGullet days. I've shown him the best of Vancouver, he's shared his Portland favorites with me. These are the sorts of friends you want to keep around.

Now the plan was to have a big breakfast before the drive home ... but we were full from the day before, an affliction we often suffer in Portland. So the plan changed, and we took 1/2 a pound each of pastrami & corned beef to have later with some baguette on the drive home.

The scenery wasn't as pretty as Portland. But the Washington State DOT has several very serviceable rest stops. Concrete picnic tables, clean washrooms, and FREE coffee. You can even get some home made cookies for a buck from some friendly volunteers.

The meat was awesome. The pastrami was almost as good as mine (insert knowing wink here) but the corned beef was perfect. All we needed was some saurkraut and we'd be set.

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