For Ellie’s first weekend in Bridgetown, we dragged her teenage self out of bed early to head out to the PSU Farmers’ Market. Her zombie-like state ended upon arriving at the market. She and I lined up for breakfast burritos at Enchanted Sun, while Mao uncharacteristically opted for a crepe. i love this town, no one at Enchanted Sun blinked an eye when I requested my burrito sans eggs or bacon. Ever since visiting Albuquerque last February, I have been a bit obsessed with New Mexican food. This was the perfect combination of seasoned potatoes, cheddar cheese and the ubiquitous green chiles. Accompanied by a latte from Spunky Monkey Coffee, it was a delightful meal. After enjoying music from a local band, we entered the throngs to scope out the offerings.
This was our second Saturday market and already we have a few favorite farmers. I am partial to Baird Family Orchards for cherries, having stopped by their booth last Saturday, last Thursday at Ecotrust and yesterday. They offer delicious fruits and education, as I am becoming quickly aware of the different types of cherries available. Chelans last week, Brooks this week. Equally delicious, though I am swaying towards Brooks if I had to pick between the two. For miscellaneous vegetables, I like Groundwork Organics. They always have different things to choose from and as I learned yesterday, they are one of the few booths to offer currants. I bought a pint and greedily clutched it until we got home, where half of the berries were quickly devoured.
We continued our Saturday tradition by topping by Sol Pops on our way out of the market. Flavors offered included strawberry lemonade, strawberry grapefruit, a coconut concoction, cucumber lime jalapeno and others. We ventured to try the cherry lime. It did not disappoint. It was sweet and refreshing and the addition of the citrus kept it from being too sugary. I was also able to engage in a discussion regarding popsicles for breakfast. I gave my full endorsement for the addition of frozen fruit to any morning menu, suggesting one must first convert the youth then move on to other generations. Still hoping Sol Pops will venture over to Jamison Park as the summer progresses.
After the market, we lounged a bit at home before Ellie suggested we visit the Portland Art Museum. A temporary exhibit on tattoos and the culture of Portland had just opened, so it was the perfect day to stroll through the museum. While Ellie and Mao perused the M.C. Escher exhibit, I wandered the halls. I highly recommend the works of Beth Van Hoesen, on display until August and the exhibit on the recently acquired Ganesha. We embarked for Hot Pot City and anticipated food glory following the museum.
Located in an unassuming strip mall near SW 1st Ave and Harrison, Hot Pot City is my new food mecca. It is ridiculously easy to access as the streetcar drops one off a block from the restaurant. The restaurant was nearly empty, so our waiter gave us ample attention in educating us on all things hot pot. Sitting at a long bar, each diner is given an individual pot resting on essentially a hot plate. You chose a broth to your liking – from vegetarian to carnivorous – mild to spicy. While the broth reaches a boiling point, you choose your fixings at the nearby buffet line. Noodles, vegetables, herbs, tofu, meats, seafood were all available. There was also a sauce station full of the all important Asian condiments – minced ginger and garlic, sriracha, ponzu, scallions, fish sauce and the list continues. I foolishly piled on noodles upon noodles for my first run to the buffet. They were delicious, but too filling to fully enjoy the hot pot. I learned my second visit to the buffet, stocking up on fresh spinach, enoki mushrooms, Asian squash and sweet potatoes. In the art of hot pot, one places their food stuffs in the boiling, bubbling broth cooking it to desired doneness, then using the accompanying wire basket, one removes the now cooked items. A quick dip in a customized sauce, then consume the hot pot goodness. You can eat your meal with or without the broth. The key is in the condiments. My only, slight compliment was my own fault. The standard vegetarian broth was just that – standard. During my next visit I will venture out and try something with more flavor. And that next visit may just have to be in a few days.
To continue Ellie’s epicurean tour of all things Asian, we took her to Fat Straw for an introduction to bubble tea. Now if I can only convince her that going to university in Tokyo or Singapore would be to her advantage (and mine), then my brainwashing of her will be complete.