“The Dream Of The 90’s is Alive In Portland!”
To start off our eating excursion in Portland, Oregon, we traveled to a well-known biscuit joint: Pine State Biscuits (www.PineStateBiscuits.com). Pine State dishes out a variety of sandwiches made with their soft, delicate, moist biscuits. They are most famous for their sandwich called the Reggie.
The Reggie is made up of tender, juicy, perfectly crusted fried chicken, with crisp bacon, oozing melted cheese, and a hefty helping of smooth, silky, tasty gravy. This biscuit can also be ordered with a golden-yolked egg (called the Reggie Deluxe).
In addition to those two sandwiches, we also ordered the McIsley, which is made up of succulent, perfectly crispy fried chicken, tangy, sour pickles, and a heavy slathering of spicy, grainy mustard and sweet, gooey honey.
Our last sandwich was the BBQ Biscuit. The delightful sandwich was made up of juice-filled, toothsome pulled pork, erupting with a vinegary Carolina BBQ Sauce, and a refreshing pile of the house slaw.
My Mom decided to go a different route, and ordered a surprisingly delicious portion of Shrimp and Grits.
The Grits were warm, soothing, and oozing with delectable mushroom juices, and bacon crispies. In addition, the Grits were overflowing with beyond-tender shrimp, rubbed with the most delectable spicy, flavors known to man.
After devouring our dishes, we got a chance to take a peek around the restaurant. Pine State is a relatively small restaurant, but the spacious, beautiful outdoor area allowed for the restaurant to seem larger. We sat directly in front of the open kitchen, and witnessed the chefs and waiter staff hard at work.
After breakfast, we traveled to Salt and Straw Ice Cream for lunch.
Salt and Straw (www.saltandstraw,com) is a small local chain that is known by many as the best ice cream in the greater Portland Area. Ice Cream for lunch may be a bit of a strange idea, but if you are a frequent reader of my blog, you shouldn’t be surprised by any stretch. As we stepped into the large snaking line that occupied S and S, we began contemplating our order. We obtained four delightful flavors: Vanilla Bean, Almond Brittle, Pear and Blue Cheese, and Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper.
Each and every of the four ice creams we ordered, were perfectly chilled, refreshing, and melded the most delightful flavors together in one bite.
The Vanilla Bean was cold, crisp, and the classic flavor of Vanilla Ice Cream was pumped up to a whole new level of deliciousness, with Salt and Straws rendition.
The Almond Brittle ordered by my Mom (which I did not sample), was a beautiful crafted scoop of ice cream ribboned with rich, creamy chocolate ganache, and speckled with almond brittle that reminded me of a starry night.
The Pear and Blue Cheese that was ordered by my older brother was a light, palate-cleansing development of flavors, which resonated on the tongue as a fruity, tangy explosion of flavors.
The Strawberry with Honey Balsamic and Cracked Black Pepper was quite possibly the best ice cream I have tasted in a long time. I am personally not that big of an ice cream eater, but the red, vibrant jam, the tart, chilling pink strawberry ice cream, the slightest hint of balsamic and black pepper, that even out the fruit flavor, was too delicious to pass up.
As we walked a bit after lunch we came across the Waffle Window (www.wafflewindow.com). My Dad found some room to give one a try. He decided on the Spicy Bacon Cheddar Waffle. Sadly, it was quite disappointing
After a few hour break, we traveled to Grüner (www.grunerpdx.com) to sample some traditional German Cuisine. As we entered the slightly rustic/modern atmosphere, we were seated at a large table with a gods-eye view of the waitstaff coming in and out of the kitchen. After being seated, we began ordering appetizers.
To start off our German feast, we obtained 5 things: Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs, Polenta Croquettes stuffed with Raclette cheese, fried smashed fingerling potatoes, a charcuterie plate, and their famous braided pretzel bread and butter.
The Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs were unfortunately devoured by my fellow diners before I could get a taste, but before they were eaten, I got a chance to observe their beauty. The pink-tinted edges of the delicately boiled egg, along with the creamy, velvety yolk with large salt chunks on top, made for an irresistible (looking) dish.
The Polenta Croquettes we fairly heavy, oily, and the gooey cheese filling did not made the crispy dish any lighter. Unfortunately, the unhealthiness of this particular dish brought it down in my book.
The Fried Smashed Fingerling Potatoes were another story; the crisp, crunchy, grainy potatoes were the perfect thick alternative to chips, and although there were only 8 of them, the potatoes were just the right amount of food.
The Charcuterie plate we ordered was made up of a variety of different meats, including Speck, spicy coppa, chop salami, a selection of visually unappealing pates and Mortadella, two sour, tangy pickles, and a fantastically thick whole grain mustard.
A treat from the kitchen was braided pretzel bread. The bread was perfectly crumbly, and flaky on the outside, soft, and pillow-like on the inside bread, covered in delectable flakes of salt, and cooked to a marvelous dark brown.
We obtained two entrees after our delicious appetizers: The Homemade Bratwurst Dish, and the Spatzle.
Each of the two Bratwurst that came on the dish were snappy and well-oiled on the outside, and succulent, tender, and erupting with warm, wonderful juices on the inside. The dish was served with a side of slightly tangy, urine-esque cabbage sauerkraut, golden Yukon Potatoes, and a hefty supply of mustard for dipping purposes.
The Spatzle that we obtained was fantastic. The dish reminded me of the German version of risotto. The combination of the warm summer herb Spatzle, smokey Black Forest Ham, fresh-from-the-farm leeks and chives, dark green and yellow zucchini, caramelized hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, crumbly Parmesan cheese, and crème fraiche made for a fabulous dish.
It may seem hard to imagine, but a few of us wanted a bit of dessert. We walked across the street to Ruby Jewel (www.rubyjewel.com) where they are known for their homemade ice cream and homemade cookie sandwiches. We ordered cookies and cream smushed between two chocolate chip cookies.
While it wasn’t as amazing as Salt and Straw, it was still very good.
Overall the first day in Portland was an absolute success. I would give it ZZZZX- 4 1/2 Z’s- Awesome.