Do you know that expression “like shooting fish in a barrel“?
Sometimes eating and hanging out in Portland feels just like that — especially at the height of summer.
First there was breakfast with Lisa, catching up on her amazing European travels and enjoying a good nosh at a food cart that I had been wanting to try.
Bridgetown Bagels is located in the pod of food carts around 52nd and Sandy, and on two previous trips I had come up empty. Sold out by 9 a.m. one time, 10:30 the next?
They must be good.
And they were.
I probably should have tried one of their bagels straight-up or with a light smear of cream cheese so as to best judge the bagel itself, but gluttony cannot be denied sometimes. I went with one with the works — scrambled egg, cheese and a sublime sausage patty.
That sausage sent a good thing into flavor overdrive.
The only sad thing about my visit is that after eating this concoction at one of the picnic tables at this pod, I turned around to order some bagels to go only to learn that they had completely sold out again. What? Do they make so few bagels or do the few that get there early order so many?
Either way, go to Bridgetown Bagels early — and if you do get so lucky to nab a bag, grab one for me, will you please? (I’ll double what you paid for it.)
Friday night was my husband’s birthday, and there had been a request for lobster rolls. I had trouble finding lobster meat on such short notice so I substituted it with langostinos tossed with mayo, fresh garlic, tarragon and lemon zest. Garlic steak fries were served on the side. There was so much meat I served it open face on ciabatta rolls.
The flavors were good (the langostinos somewhat approximate the flavor and consistency of lobster tail) but I missed the real deal (and the use of ciabatta instead of the traditional buttered hot dog roll was not a great decision on my part).
Next time I will just spring for a true New England lobster roll at the Maine Street Lobster Company cart down on 82nd. I ate there last year and if possible, the lobster roll was as good as the ones I’ve enjoyed over the years on trips to Maine, Cape Cod and Nantucket.
I can’t wait to get back there and show you what I’m talking about.
The next morning brought me back to the Portland State University Saturday Farmer’s Market. Did you know that The Daily Meal ranked it as the second best farmer’s market in the country (edged out only barely by NYC’s Union Square Greenmarket)?
First up, I needed a big bouquet of flowers for Charlotte; she’d been taking a two week drama camp at Northwest Children’s Theater and the final performance was scheduled for late that morning. Now I may not know a lot, but I do know the importance of treating every actor to fragrant flowers after a big performance.
Imagine her reaction when I walked in with this.
Seriously? Those peonies, hydrangeas and little green furry pom-pom like flowers were so beautiful together. Can you believe that at the market this big bunch was just ten dollars?
And then there were all those berries. Good Lord they were all so gorgeous I wasn’t sure how I was going to pick which ones I’d take home with me.
After tasting several kinds, I settled on these three berries: raspberries, golden raspberries and blackberries.
The vibrancy of their colors and the intensity of their concentrated fruit flavor really blew me away.
Clearly I was not alone; most people who tried them seemed to walk away with a minimum of three pints with many shoppers buying six, nine pints– and some even purchased multiple flats.
Guess who’s having berry smoothies later this week?
More treasures made their way home with me.
Behold a trio of excellent cooking jams from Rose City Pepperheads: Cherry Bomb (made with local cherries, Cherry Bomb Peppers and Cherry Bourbon, I will save this for a pork roast glaze or sandwich filling), Apricot with Attitude (a milder one that is wonderful as a glaze for chicken or salmon) and Marionberry Blast (insanely good on a baguette with goat cheese and arugula).
They have a colorful booth at the market and the counter gal always patiently answers questions, plies you with recipes, and doesn’t make you feel like a piglet when you sample every one of the jellies on a cracker.
These are great for marinades, dressings, sandwiches, roasts — and so much more.
I also visited Pearl Bakery — they always have such intriguing offerings there. I bought one quarter of a giant Pugliese loaf, enjoyed both at breakfast today and to be used later in the day for croutons for a big Caesar Salad I am bringing to a picnic tonight.
Pearl Bakery rocks.
I also picked up one of the fantastic offerings from Chop Butchery and Charcuterie. I loved sampling everything they put out, but by then I only had enough cash for one salami.
Now that was a tough decision– but I ended up with the Fennel.
I’m such a sucker for anything with licorice undertones.
We rushed from the market just in time to find parking near the theater and catch Charlotte in her show.
It put a lump in my throat to see her so happy.
What a terrific non-profit organization this theater company is; everyone had a speaking part and was able to perform song and dance routines, too. The instructors are unflaggingly helpful and upbeat, and despite the many pre-performance jitters, the show was terrific.
And the whole thing came together in just ten days of class! Look at how proud the ensemble looked.
Afterwards, clearly a celebration was in order.
Flowers were a nice start, but can you guess what else played a supporting role in the festivities?
Gelato, sherbert and ice cream, of course.
New Seasons Markets has been hosting a half-off all ice cream sale all weekend and it just seemed criminal to let that go by without stocking up (we got Ruby Jewel, Haagen-Daz, and Talenti).
I picked up waffle cones at the same time so we were all set. We assembled some of the kids best friends for an impromptu celebration in the front yard.
You should have seen the kids’ eyes almost pop out when I filled the bottom of each cone with a teaspoon of fudge sauce — the perfect way to keep ice cream from dripping out the bottom.
What a happy blur of birthdays, food carts, parks, card games, farmer’s market, performances and– you guessed it!–joy.