November 16, 2008

Vol. 15 – Portland, OR (arriving)


The best thing about my first day in Portland was the shower.

That’s not a backhanded way of saying Portland was underwhelming… I just really needed to take a shower. I kept myself pretty clean on the train… brought soap and a washcloth and plenty of clothes so I could change daily, but sleeping at all kinds of angles, on not always forgiving surfaces, takes a toll. I needed to soak as much to loosen up my joints and muscles as anything else, and I took full advantage of the fairly luxurious Hotel Lucia.

Note for future train trips (and all you fellow travelers): have a place to sleep comfortably and shower at least every couple of days.

Hotel Lucia
Someplace like this is pretty ideal, if budget permits.

Suitably revived, I put on the one nice outfit I brought and went out to explore. Again, after four days of being relatively austere, eating things I packed, not splurging too much, I decided it was time to burn one of the semi-bling meals I budgeted.

I settled on an Italian place called Pazzo and had a really surprising and delicious meal. The main course was hand made linguini in a beef short rib & sage ragu, which was very distinctive with very noticeable sage flavor from (my server told me) locally grown organic sage. The beef, well seared and braised in red wine before shredding, was tender and excellently flavorful throughout. My only complaint was (surprisingly for me) maybe too much butter had been used. The sauce was extremely rich, and though that didn’t stop me from sopping up every last bit of it, it would’ve been improved by lightening up a little.

Oh, and there was a freebie taster item I really want to try for myself… it was kind of a little ball of deep fried risotto with porcini mushrooms. It was tasty, but I couldn’t identify the porcini, likely because the frying was a little heavy handed… I felt like the the flavor of the rice was somewhat obscured as well. Conceptually, however, it’s intriguing and definitely want to see what I can do along the same lines.

After dinner, I enjoyed a cappuccino at Portland Coffee and got to work. a and I had a good, productive conversation and got some planning done. Once I get to Dallas, I think we’ll have a really solid foundation to get started implementing a bit.