Truly, an embarrassment of riches.
That’s the best way to sum up the food scene in Portland right now.
Everywhere you turn, someone is making something smack-me-silly delicious: BBQ-ed, braised, baked or brewed. Roasted or rotisserie-d. Fried or fermented.
(We’re so crazy lucky with our food scene that it almost seems unfair.)
And every week I find new things that thrill me to my core.
Take the The People’s Pig.
I just re-visited the spot; I’d been with my foodie friend Beth a while back and sampled the much-lauded smoked chicken sandwich, and I wanted to try some of the other stuff on the menu.
It’s a tiny place amidst the rampant growth of Williams — look for the cute sign on the western side of the street and you’ll find it.
It is a no-frills, put-all-the-effort-on-the-plate kind of place, which is fine by me (I read somewhere it was purchased from a longstanding fixture in the neighborhood with the promise that it would stay the same).
Okay, PP, let’s see what you’re offering up.
This time my gal pal Karmen got the smoked chicken plate with coleslaw and macaroni salad.
The chicken didn’t need the crispy seasoned batter and the meat flirted dangerously with the heaviness of the smoke, but was brought back to the fold by the astringency of the excellent coleslaw (it’s interesting how many places get this dish wrong).
It was interesting and satisfying, but my meal was even better.
Smoked pork shoulder with two sides.
It was unbelievably delectable– shamelessly tender, impossibly flavorful, and with just enough fatty end pieces to sate without stuffing.
Almost as good were the black-eyed peas alongside– smoky and luscious in a pork-bone enhanced stock.
I could have eaten a vat of those peas alone.
The cornbread was a nice crumbly counterpoint if a bit over-baked (fans of denser versions of this dish will particularly like this one).
Friends, unless you’re vegetarian, walk, run, rollerskate, unicycle, drag race or Uber over to People’s Pig.
Get that smoked pork plate (I’d pair it with the coleslaw and black eyed peas) and then don’t plan on doing anything more strenuous than taking a hammock nap for the rest of the day.
Okay, another new find awaited me at the Hollywood Farmers Market.
I’d heard from another friend that Tabor Bread was amazing but had yet to go to their storefront/cafe; therefore, I was delighted to see them selling their wares at my neighborhood market.
After hearing alluring descriptions of their various breads (rye bread, I will get you next), I opted for a loaf of their Red Wheat.
It looked very similar to the breads I remember from Paris and somewhat like the gorgeous loaf I bought at my birthday dinner at Trifecta Tavern last month.
Here’s the Trifecta loaf.
And here’s what it looked like inside.
Here’s the Red Wheat Loaf from Tabor Bread.
And here’s what it looked like before I dolled it up.
What a spectacular loaf.
It’s both very dense and chewy with a slightly tangy sourdough flavor. It’s earthy and amazingly moist, too. It has a fantastically craggy interior — perfect for holding pockets of butter or, say, the juices of a ripe sliced tomato.
The lady who sold me the bread said that they grind all their grains for the bread on the premises and then cook the loaves in a giant wood fired oven.
This particular loaf not only contained whole grain red wheat, but whole grain fife and sea salt, too.
And guess what?
It’s also the perfect bread for Avocado Toast (an enduring obsession of mine).
So People’s Pig and Tabor Breads — two big home-run discoveries this week.
Would it be wrong to introduce my new edible friends to one another?
The thrilling thought of some of that pork and a slice of this bread (perhaps with a smear of lusty tapenade and a tangle of arugula) is almost enough to make me faint.