When I asked my In-Laws where they wanted to visit on this trip to the Mainland, they said Seattle. They also said they wanted to go by train....... Which was no problem really, I've taken Amtrak's Coast Starlight several times, though my trips have always been from Seattle to LA. So what we did was send off the In-Laws on Amtrak, and leave on a flight the next morning since the Coast Starlight takes about 36 hours to reach Portland. We arrived a bit early, and got to our hotel at about 1pm. Since the standard check-in time is 3pm, I thought we'd check our luggage, get a bite to eat, and stretch our legs a bit. When we arrived I went to the Bellman and asked to check my bags. In the typical Portland manner, he told me, "that would be fine, but why don't you just check at the front desk, your room might be ready." And to my surprise our 2 bedroom suite was ready. Seems like my lucky day. After freshening up a bit, we were starved, and just wanted something quick to eat...and I knew just the place!
Yep, we headed to the food carts that line SW 5th Avenue. Now I had told the Missus about these food carts, and she saw my photos and my previous post, but there's nothing quite like being there yourself. The only problem was deciding what to get.....
The Missus settled on some Indian Food, not from the New Taste of India...
But from the "Real" Taste of India a few carts down. Talk about competition!
Now this food cart had a 9th anniversary special going on....some chicken-something or other, but the Missus was in the mood for lamb, and ordered the Lamb Saagwala, cubes of lamb cooked in a spinach, garlic, and ginger sauce/stew($7.00).
The portion size was quite large, and we weren't able to finish it. There was an abundance of well prepared and moist lamb. Didn't quite know what to expect, and this was better than what I had anticipated. I thought that the pieces of ginger were too large and disrupted my tastebuds at inopportune times, but the Missus loved it! In fact, She told me it was Her best meal in Portland....She was kidding....I think.......
In the midst of ordering paralysis, I decided to grab something from this Food Cart, called Thai Sky(????):
Since we had plans for a nice dinner, I decided on the Daily Special, Pad Kee Mao(Drunken Noodles) with Tofu($5.00):
I ordered this at medium heat, and it was a bit hotter than what I consider medium. The noodles were done well, they where a nice al dente. The flavor was interesting, I'm used to Pad Kee Mao that's had a bit of a sweet flavor, this version just had a mild soy(not fish sauce) flavor. Still, it did the job, which was to hold me over until dinner.
There's a ton of construction on 5th and 6th avenues for a new Max rail line called Green Line which will connect Portland State University to Union Station. So signs like the one on the right are on Evey corner listing the businesses. Did I mention that I love the public transportation system in Portland?
At about this time the Missus got a call from Her Mom telling Her that their train had been delayed about 2 hours. so we decided to take a walk around Portland. And after doing a bit of window shopping, the Missus told me that She needed "something sweet". Which was no problem since we were just up the street from Mio Gelato.
This coffeeshopish looking Gelato joint had always been full everytime I passed it on my last trip to Portland, so I figured it must be worth a try. The Missus did the ordering, so we don't remember the prices. But She got one scoop of Grapefruit, and one scoop of Mango.
Not being much of a "sweets" person, I found the Grapefruit to be very much to my liking ( all credit to the Missus here). Refreshing and palate cleansing, it was very nice. Both the Missus (who has a sweet tooth) and I found the mango gelato to be overly sweet and rich, which overpowered any mango flavor.
Still, I can see why this place is very popular.
25 NW 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
As we made our way back to the hotel, the Missus received another call from Her Mom saying that the train is further delayed...bummer! And though the Missus's Parents were not as late as we thought, by the time we got them settled, and something to eat (they have an aversion to eating in restaurants), we were very tired. So with some reluctance we crossed Biwa off our list, and walked on over to Kell's 2 blocks away.
Having been to Kell's in Seattle, I knew more or less what to expect, and really won't go into details here. Though as always, the Missus asked if they had some rice for Her Irish Stew(maybe one of these days they will) which was pretty good. And She enjoyed the soda bread.
Everyone was ordering sandwiches and burgers, but I ordered the Fish and Chips which were pretty bad. The fish dry and flavorless, and the chips are basic "industrial" fries.
Still, that draft Boddington's was nice, not overly chilled, but a perfect "cool", nice and mildly creamy, with a sweet finish. After a sip, the Missus decided that She wanted the Boddington's, so I ordered a Harp, which I thought would be too bitter for Her, but after a sip She decided that "this" was Her beer. So I finished with a draft Guinness, which I know the Missus won't touch. Strangely, it tasted over carbonated and very dull in flavor. Oh well, we were still in Portland, and had another whole day ahead of us!
Kell's Irish Restaurant & Pub
112 Sw 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204
Postscript: The Kindness of Portland Part 1
You know, I've written about the sincere kindness of the people of Portland before. But still, I'm always surprised.......
We were taking a break at Pioneer Courthouse Square, just having a seat to rest our feet a bit. And we noticed amongst all the construction, there seemed to be a major "to do" being set-up.
We were wondering what this event was. Just about that time, a Police Officer happened to walk past, and the Missus decided to ask him. Now usually we'd get a gruff "I don't know", or some distracted answer.... But this Gentleman replied; "I'm just on duty, so let me find out, I'll be right back..." Which made me feel really bad, I didn't want to be taking up His time. A few minutes later, He's walking back to us, and is talking on a cellphone. As he walks up to us, we can overhear that he's asking someone our question! Now, I'm really feeling guilty, since I'm sure he has more important things to do..... By the time he reached us, I could tell that he'd made a few calls, and he explained to us, what this was. Funny thing is, neither the Missus nor I can remember what event this was. But we sure remember that police officer! As I tried to mutter an apology for taking up his precious time, he smiled and told me, "well, you may be the first person who asks me what is going on here, but you probably won't be the last. So I better know what's happening." As he left, he introduced Himself and shook our hands..... So here's to you Officer Thompson! You're a great ambassador for the City of Portland!