Also, Sometimes Food is Just Delicious

March 19, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we went to Portland with some friends. We stayed at the Ace Hotel, which almost outdid itself with all of its industrial chic decor and hipster mustaches and artisanal coffee bar adjacent to the lobby. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. Still, it was humorous.

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The plan going in was pretty much to eat (I am pregnant, after all). We doubled down on our intention when it started raining the first morning we were there and continued pretty much until we left. Fortunately for me and Scott, our friends have some food-minded friends of their own who gave us extensive lists on where to eat, more than we could ever consume in one brief weekend. A worthy challenge.

We started off at Voo Doo Doughnuts, strolled through the Saturday Market, made our way across the Willamette River and caught a bus up to North East Alberta. We poked in and out of the shops up there for a while, wove past people waiting for brunch at very cool looking spots, and eventually found ourselves in front of Pine State Biscuits. I guess we were coming down from our doughnut sugar highs, because trying out some biscuits while Scott was on a conference call outside seemed like the only reasonable thing to do. After walking around a bit more, we decided we were ready for lunch (we’ll just get some wings, we said), and went to Pok Pok Noi, nearby.

We were led past the bar, past the kitchen, through a back passage and to a lightly heated tent out back. With raindrops plunking on the plastic ceiling, wings (the ones I had been hearing about since I left New York) turned into papaya salad and khao soi and man, it was all so, so delicious. We managed to eat those wings again that night, as an appetizer before a late dinner at Ava Gene’s (delicious Italian), and I’m so glad we did. There was a little more food, notably ice cream at Salt & Straw (I had something called spicy monkey banana walnut), and some stops at places like Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., and some driving around the hills to look at fancy houses, and plenty of time walking around Pearl District and getting lost in the vast expanse of Powell’s Books. It was a great trip, and I look forward to going back and exploring some of the parks the rain kept us from. There will definitely be more wings. However, in the meantime, I tried to make them at home.

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They came out pretty well. They weren’t perfect, and deep frying at home is always a little messy and a little scary (at least I think so), but it was a pretty good approximation. Now there are so many other recipes in the book to tackle. Each has a lot of ingredients, and a lot of steps (I have to say that I’ve never mortared my own curry paste, but there’s always a time to start, right?). Maybe one day soon I’ll put together a Pok Pok-inspired Thai feast. Anyone want to come over?

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On a side note, I’m well aware that I’m late to the Pok Pok party. We left New York before they opened (actually, I think the wing outpost on the Lower East Side was open, but I never got there), and I really felt like I had missed out. Maybe I’m just overly excited that it lived up to my expectations. Also, their drinking vinegars mixed with seltzer are pretty delicious, too.


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