Portlandia, Part 2by brandon / Apr 04, 2012
Our second day begins with another brewed beverage the region is famous for.
About a block from the hotel, Public Domain runs a clean and well-lit coffee house. Chalkboard menu with 6 or so items, and what I assume to be $20,000 worth of coffee making what-have-you. The only sunlit day we will see is peering in the window as I sip possibly the best cappuccino ever, complete with its own abstract art in milk foam and essential oils from Ethiopian coffee beans. Theme-wise, warm and cozy seems to run through town in a big way.
Wandering around downtown leads us to a paid parking lot were no cars seem to be allowed. Food trucks, friends, several of them! Korean BBQ, Pita-Town, Hawaiian Mahi, Falafel, "Southern" BBQ, Roast Beast, Vegetarian, Brunchville, Taste of Punjab, name it! Not to be cynical, but more diversity in a parking lot's worth of trailers than in some towns I've lived in...
Friday will be a drinking day, preparations will need to be made, the stomach must be given a pep talk and thoroughly fortified with the big three: Carbs, Protein, and Grease. Bro-Dogs is operated by a seemingly mild-mannered carnival barker spinning spatulas and pressing aromatics and fatty pork on a flat-top griddle. I give him carte blanche and a $5 bill. Within 5 minutes, my hands are full of browned frankfurter drowning in mushrooms, peppers, cheese, and what I hope was bacon, all nestled in a proprietary grilled flatbread to prevent the latter from becoming fashion.
Upon completion of what might be the original source of all heartburn, we amble into a cab after a 6-minute deliberation on whether the driver was alive or not. Over a bridge and through what seemed to be the intro to the show for which this blog steals its title, we amble out of the worst sounding suspension in all of Portland and pay cash, glad that we made it before the gas tank ignited. Amnesia has a rough-cut wooden bar and news clippings from the most recent Cannabis Cup. Their house-made porter (5.3% ABV, XX 91), is as remarkable as the reviews I had read. Perfumey with resiny PNW hops with firm bursts of cold coffee and cookie dough. Chalk drawings of Walt Whitman, Iggy Pop, and what must I assumed to be Storm Troopers of the Imperial persuasion signal the assemblage of a soon-to-be art show. The bourbon selection is incredible, and as most places in Portland, hip is hip.
According to the GPS we are only a short and pleasant walk from Widmer Brewing, the founding of Portland's beer scene. We are electronically instructed to cross a rather industrial part of town under the overpass, always good news! Widmer apparently owns a city block. Marionberry Gose is delivered in clean and beautiful Widmer chalices. The pour up to the rim suggests it might not be a best seller. Odd, this salted wheat, white-buffalo of beer styles is cleverly infused with Marionberries, known here not for the mayoral crack pipe but for local berry street cred. It fairs well with clams swimming in beer, garlic, and lardon. Excellent stop! Although, I did fantasize about stealing several of the antique German beer tins on the wall.
After a bout with an exceptionally racist homeless man, and yet another strange cab ride, we arrive. Roll up the garage doors and set out the picnic tables, the only nice slice of sunshine this trip was here today. Cascade is known far and wide as a producer of Northwest Sour Ale. Their selection is staggering. Thankfully, they offer 3 ounce samples of all flavors for a mere $2 each. Thankfully, they think it completely normal to order 5 at a time. Standouts: Sang Noir (9.5% ABV, 96, 99), aged in pinot noir and bourbon barrels with bing cherries added. L’agent Orange (10.78% ABV, XX), strong blonde beers blended with citrus rind and honey, soured and aged in Maker’s Mark barrels.
Excellent Bitter on the Hand-Pump. Cask Ale!
The evening finishes out at fairly swank restaurant that neither of us are dressed well enough for. Fried pig ears, and trotters with pistachio brittle. Nice to the see the South manifested in far away places! Stillwater Kopstootje (6.5% ABV, XX, 79), a beer created to pair with Dutch Genever to promote the tradition of a shot and beer. Delicious, probably not needed though...
Alka Seltzer is a hell of drug.