We shared space and enjoyed alone-time. It was an opportunity to renew our friendship and rekindle the flames of romance. And without-a-doubt it was time well spent. It was a time to rediscover who we were, as we shared food and drink, savoring unique eats.
Saturday 07/30/11: We slept until late morning (a rare treat), and woke up starving. So we brunched at the “Byways Café,” another of Guy Fieri’s recommended eats, as seen on “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.” The café was a small and quaint little place, the walls were covered with an eclectic collection of antique memorabilia, and the service was friendly and informal. And even though the short, tight counter stools we sat at were not the most comfortable—when I stood I felt I was unfolding my legs like an old pose-able Gumby toy—the food, the Mt. Rushmore Hash and Amaretto French Toast, was simply delicious.
After having lunched, we went back to our modest but very comfortable hotel room. We played cards, talked, laughed, and romanced, and then took a long needed restful nap. Afternoon naps, yet another rare moment for us; for no-one knocked on our door, calling, “Dad… Mammá, Grandpa… Bella…” and no-one called on the phone to disturb our quiet moment. Ahh…euphoria! It felt like we had not slept and rested since our children all came along. LOL!
Once again we woke from sleep starving, ready for the next sampling of food. And we were excited to finally dine at the “Black Rabbit,” at “McMenamin’s Edgefield Manor.”
Originally, when we’d first arrived on Friday evening, before we’d planned on eating at “The Kennedy School,” we had hoped on eating at the Black Rabbit. But it was jam-packed with no way to get in. Cars were parked on every available space of nearby streets and grass, and even blocking our path. Police were there directing traffic. Apparently Willy Nelson, who was giving a concert at the Edgefield Manor, had commanded a full house that evening. So, disappointed and starving, we slowly made our way through the barely-moving traffic and continued on our way…!
The Black Rabbit restaurant was situated somewhere deep in Edgefield Manor. And as we walked along the long hallways to find our restaurant we passed many rooms—a gift shop, a pool hall, espresso bar, a tasting room, a theater—all of which were filled with visitors and staff. We were quickly seated at a comfortable booth and greeted by a pleasant and most eager-to-please waitress. We studied the menu and placed our order. We began with:
Lemon drop martinis (yums…obviously done with freshly squeezed lemons)—the most ultimate and superlicious ever!
Muscles steamed in white wine and heavy garlic—oh-so sweet, tender and tasty.
Smoked Rib Eye Steak with chipotle spiced butter (absolutely fabulous)—lightly smoked, and melted in your mouth, well, like butter!
Panko Crusted Halibut on garlicky mashed potatoes and savory spinach (a special entre of the day—it was light and easy to enjoy.
A bottle of “Black Rabbit’s” Red (a blend of cabernet and syrah) accompanied our main meals.
“Black Rabbit’s Brandy Sampler”—instead of dessert, since we were so utterly stuffed!
Sated with food and drink, we went back to our hotel room and promptly went to bed. Sunday, our last full day in Portland, Oregon, was scheduled for yet more unique food samplings, and sightseeing through the Columbia River Gorge, part of the “Oregon Trail.”
Off to bed to catch a few zzz’s!
Sunday 07/31/11: First thing on the day’s agenda was brunch at “Arleta Library Café (yet another triple D’s recommendation),” known for their Sicilian Hash, Buttermilk Semolina Griddlecakes, and “Portland’s Best Biscuits-n-Gravy” (sweet potato biscuits and rosemary sausage gravy). The hash was outstanding. The pancake was tender and delicious. The biscuit, sadly, was very dry and crumbly (could have been a bad bake day, it happens to the best of us), but the sausage gravy was delectably delicious. In spite of the dry biscuit, everything, including a very well made Champagne Mimosa, was scrumptious and unforgettable. So much so that we left our plates clean-enough to put back in the cupboard!
Filled and satisfied with coffee and good food we proceeded with our plan to see the Columbia River Gorge. The drive up the mountain to the Vista House was beauty that will be embedded in my mind for the rest of my life. I’ve never felt this close to nature…or God’s heart. I was able to see a mere piece of God’s great masterpiece. From the top, standing at the highest point of the Vista House, I could easily imagine those brave spirits, the first Oregonians settlers, trekking their way in search of a new life. Nothing but brave men and women could have dared such a move.
On our way down the gorge we stopped at designated places to see beautiful and very tall waterfalls—Multnomah Falls, most impressive, being the third tallest in the United States. After seeing all that beauty, and breathing in all that fresh air, I did not want to ever go back home.
We finished our day with a fine dinner at the “Rock Bottom,” restaurant/brewery, and it was a really fun place to eat, a pleasant way to end our day. We ordered from the menu and sampled from each other’s meals (a custom of many years).
Starter: Lemon drop martinis were enjoyed alongside appetizers, the house crab cakes and seared ahi tuna.
Main Dishes: Red Ale and Belgian White were paired with our entrées, at the recommendation of our waitress; of Lobster & Shrimp Tacos (very tasty), and Creole Jambalaya (though delicious, technically it should have been called an Etouffee!).
Dessert: Snifters of Grand Marnier, and warm, crispy-squishy, sugary donut holes with a caramel dipping sauce. Yum and double yum!
Monday 08/01/11: We were packed and on the road by 8:30 A.M., but made a quick stop at another triple D’s recommended eats, “Bunk Sandwiches.” And because we were anxious to get an early start on the road, since we had a 10½ hours drive still ahead of us—home to San Jose—we ordered breakfast sandwiches to go: sausage & egg on a freshly baked poppy seed bun, and a Pork Belly & Egg with Kim-Chee on a warm, soft roll (extraordinarily phenomenal!).
But we had one more stop to make along the way, our most coveted meal yet, “Bartels Giant Burger,” (and a real dive joint, to be sure) in Corning, CA. And they are only the most delicious, loaded cheese burgers we’ve ever had; and grease running down your chin, hands and elbows is guaranteed. But the burger and fries are so worth the calories and breaking your diet for. This burger joint was a stop we did not want to miss from our road trip. And we saved it for last.
We set out on a food quest and did conquer our heart’s desire!