Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Keepin' on Truckin'

Here we were, our first day in Portland, OR, and we wanted to go out for breakfast.

Having done almost no research on dining in Portland, I headed to my favorite web site, tripadvisor.com, to look for recommendations. To my dismay, there were 1,776 places to review. Way too many restaurants to go scrolling for breakfasts. My next approach was to look up “Best Breakfast in Portland, Oregon.” I was more successful this time and found a couple of magazine and newspaper articles about breakfast. One constant was the mention of Milo’s City Café, so Milo’s it was going to be.

Located near a residential part of the city, Milo’s was almost empty when we arrived at about 9:30 a.m. Everyone must either have been at the Blues Festival or the Oregon beaches. We were able to get a table by the front window which is as good as sidewalk dining without the exhaust fumes. The décor was sparse and modern but was still comfortable.

There were two breakfast specials that day. One, the BAT Benedict was a take on the more traditional Eggs Benedict, but substituting bacon, avocado, and tomato for the Canadian bacon and served with breakfast potatoes and fruit. The other was a concoction of ground beef, onions, spinach, and eggs folded in feta cheese and accompanied by potatoes and toast. We didn’t order either of these.

I was torn. On the one hand there was the salmon hash--alder smoked salmon with onion, bell pepper, and potatoes topped with sour cream. On the other hand was the Dungeness crab cakes eggs Benedict topped with sauce béarnaise with potatoes and mixed fruit. What to do? What to do? The crab cakes egg Benedict it would be. I am sure that the hash would have been delicious, but the eggs Benedict were divine.

Each English muffin half was topped by a small, but filler-free, crab cake. On top of the crab cakes were perfectly poached eggs. I say perfectly poached because there was no evidence of uncooked egg white. To a purist, the yolks may have been a little overcooked but to me they were perfect. I thought the sauce was more of a hollandaise with tarragon rather than a standard béarnaise sauce (the latter uses vinegar, the former lemon juice); but it was intensely rich and buttery, and the tartness was a good foil to the sweetness of the crab and the richness of the butter in the sauce.

With the eggs came wonderful potatoes. These were cut into large “cubes” with the skin still on and mixed with a small amount of onion and green and red bell pepper. And after the rich eggs Benedict, the cup of grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple was a perfect way to end a perfect breakfast.

Chuck surprised me. Usually he stays with the standards but this morning he decided to live dangerously. His choice was the Italian sausage and cheddar stuffed French toast which came with a side of the mixed fruit. No potatoes? Never fear – he added a side of the breakfast potatoes.

His was equally as good as mine. Good cheddar cheese and excellent Italian sausage were sandwiched between slices of egg-dipped sourdough bread. The combination of the salty (sausage and cheese) and the sweet (maple syrup) was wonderful. And the sausage was made without fennel, which to Chuck was a plus. And we have become great fans of sourdough toast. With just a little underlying sourness and the more dense texture, this is perfect French toast bread.

I hate to be casually throwing out 5.0 Addies, but we found nothing that would subtract from that score. So 5.0 Addies it will be.

Milo's was beginning to fill with the late breakfast crowd when we left to explore Portland.

What you should be seeing here are pictures of the "tranquil beauty of the Portland Japanese Garden, acclaimed as one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside Japan." However, all the spaces provided in three parking lots were too narrow or too short for the truck.

So, Plan B called for driving around downtown Portland and then having a quick lunch at Jake's Famous Crawfish, "considered one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the nation." If the nearby parking garages had been able to accommodate the truck, we would have had some pictures from this famous restaurant.

One last chance to make the adventure into Portland a success. Martinotti's Deli, "with one of Portland's largest selections of hard-to-find wines from around the world, imported cheeses, fresh coffees, sliced meats, and Italian grocery items," should have all the ingredients to make a mufuletta. And right across the street was a parking lot--and 90% of the parking spaces were empty.

After entering the lot, we told the attendant we would only be 20-30 minutes at the store across the street. The parking rate was $5 for the first hour. However . . . , since my truck was larger than the spaces, he would have to charge me double the rate. "Discussions" about the empty lot, the short time at the shop across the street, and the need to charge double were unsuccessful at changing "The Policies."

We went to Plan C. Kate walked across the street to the Deli, and I made three large circles around the downtown area of Martinotti's waiting for her to purchase cold cuts.

We're sure we missed some interesting sights and foods, but we felt some small sense of accomplishment as we headed to the RV with our Deli dinner.

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