June 11 started offensively early…
This little cinnamon bite distracted me for a mere moment.
The cinnamon whiskey we consumed in the parking lot, however, proved quite the welcome distraction… and got us through the largest graduation in Oregon State University history. GO BEAVS!
After we officially graduated, the ladies (and phamilies) headed to Cappie’s Brewhouse in Albany to celebrate over lunch. Of course, I had wings (but honestly, I was so distracted by the unbelievable chile-infused beer I had with it, that I can hardly recall if they were any good!)
I stole some phried green beans… and I DO remember those being delicious (with a superb wasabi dipping sauce…)
I indulged in a tasty Reuben sando with a side of tots for my main course. Dee-phreaking-licious!
Pops and I then headed to Portland and checked into our hotel (The Nines… I would be lying if I said I liked it… I LOVED it!)
We then met some of his clients for drinks and nibbles at Clyde Common.
I started out with some “Heavy Petting” (shouldn’t all good evenings?) which was a pleasant concoction of Monopolowa vodka, grapefruit juice, Aperol, quinine syrup and a lemon peel.
That went nicely with a marinated olive and almond snack.
Next, I moved on to a “B.M.O.C.” (bourbon, raw ginger syrup, Angostura bitters and soda water). Hello, phriend!!!
Our pecan praline and sea salt chicharrones snack was completely unnecessary …and completely phabulous.
Phoodfotos tested out its new “calling card” stamp before departing for dinner…
It was then on to Gruner for an alpine-inspired celebration dinner with Pops.
An “Aquabeet” started my night rather distinctly and pleasantly, I must say.
Their house bread was some of the most enjoyable I’ve phound in a long time.
Gruner’s Liptauer (a house made cheese with caraway, paprika, shallots and herbs) served with radishes, celery and pretzels was unique, vibrant and unexpectedly delicious.
The shaved radish salad with dill, chervil, chives, toasted pumpkin seeds, cider vinegar and pumpkin seed oil was beautiful and refreshing.
I snagged a spoonful of Pops’ pea soup. Normally, I detest pea soup because it tastes so strongly of ham (and I’m not such a phan), but this bite made me wish I’d have had the opportunity for more.
Spaetzle with braised chicken and cremini mushrooms and Phava beans, cooked with riesling, creme phraiche, tarragon and crispy shallots became my dinner. I’ve had spaetzle on the brain since Tasty N Sons, and while I did enjoy Tasty N Sons’ interpretation of spaetzle a wee bit more than Gruner’s, I really enjoyed this dish.
Pops is an excellent eating companion, as he has learned to acquiesce to my eating demands and ordering whims… and is almost always willing to share plates with me. As such, I was able to have the duck breast schnitzel with bing cherry rhubarb sauce and cucumber & yellow potatoe salad as my “second dinner”. Simply said- excellent.
And who could resist jelly donuts for dessert? Not us!
(Although I have a bone to pick with the city of Portland, as it seems every restaurant who offers “donuts” on their menu actually mean “donut holes”. Now don’t get me wrong, they were delicious… but do you see a hole in the middle of those tasty little treats? Neither do I. Maybe I need to alter MY definition of “donut”. Ok, who am I kidding?… Back to reality.)
Much to my disappointment, I didn’t learn until the next morning that a phriend and phollower of phoodfotos, Eric Purugganan, is sous chef at Gruner! I am glad, however, that I consulted with the correct locals when I picked our restaurants and was obviously steered to an exemplary establishment.
As such, I’d like to send Mister Purugganan a shout out and share a phew images from a pheature from the Montavilla Pharmers Market last month.
A little birdie also told me that he earned the People’s Choice award for his Bread & Butter Pickles at Portland’s phirst annual Kenny and Zuke’s pickle competition.
Keep up the phabulous phood work, phriend!