Portland, OR – Thursday 25th August
3217 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227, United States
TRIP TIME 00:07:28
FARE BREAKDOWN Base Fare $1.25
Booking Fee $1.35
City of Portland Surcharge $0.50
Driver – Scott
The People’s Pig bright sky blue building is only a block or so from our AirBnb loft lodgings in Portland’s North-Eastern district. Wide, tree-lined streets of two storey homes in lush well-tended gardens. Plenty of shade to stop us over-heating on the way to second breakfast. Steve is wearing his light white linen shirt and beige shorts, a panama atop for added protection. Our brunch, late breakfast or early lunch is worth the smoke tainted clothing we are now left with for the day’s remainder.
Smoked chicken pieces which were then battered and deep fried.
Moist pork shoulder smoked dark and sticky. Coleslaw comprising of equal parts mayonnaise and cabbage. Macaroni salad – I’m still yet to determine the parameters for salad in the United States. It seems that anything is up for nomination: dried fruit, pasta, cheese, small goods, cooked meat. In fact, raw or cooked vegetables appear to be the most flexible ingredient.
Sweet vinegary barbecue sauce, spicy aioli and jalapeño jelly.
A local beer for Steve and a sweet iced tea with bourbon for me.
As suspected, neither Steve nor I, are in any shape to walk downtown so we order an Uber. Thanks Uber Scott for saving us from excessive exertion during this unanticipated heatwave. San Francisco, inland Northern California and Oregon had been cooler than we were expecting but Portland weather certainly made us catch our breath again. It is a short but welcomed ride from brunch at People’s Pig to downtown Portland. Time to join the line of tourists, domestic and international at Blue Star Donuts. VooDoo Donuts also has a strong reputation for the fried pastry in all crazy flavour combinations, but this one is easier to get to and surrounded by a range of craft beer places we want to visit.
Over this and my previous trips to America, I’ve revelled in the differences and the similarities between my own and American culture. As a food-focussed person, one element has always confused and intrigued me. The combination of sweet and savoury within a dish and often within one item. PB&J donut with blackberry habanero jelly and peanut butter powder was an elevated example of this. A butter-rich brioche dough made freshly daily with a rotating selection of flavours, it is easy to see why the business was nicknamed ‘donuts for grownups’ – Blueberry bourbon glaze, buttermilk old-fashioned, raspberry rosemary, maple bacon, Cointreau crème brûlée.
In order to scratch somewhat beneath the surface of Portland, we book a Brewcycle tour. A dozen people together power an over-sized bike around a tour of some of Portland breweries. Possibly due to the expected heat (35 degrees Celsius plus) half the group have cancelled last minute and while the tour could go ahead, we take the opportunity to bail with a compensatory beer from Back Pedal and a full refund.
One beer in, we decide to gently wander the streets of Portland’s downtown and sample more breweries on our own. Fatheads, Deschutes and Rogue are on the hit list before heading in the direction of our new home. Labrewatory is hidden underneath a freeway overpass in a light industrial area. This is something we encounter time and again on our brewery pilgrimages. I’m enchanted by the business concept of Labrewatory. They don’t brew beer. What they do is hire out brewing equipment and space. A percentage of the beer produced is then sold in their bar. It is an intelligent way to be involved in the brewing and beer industry. A canny business plan, I’m half-tempted to try and launch something similar on return home. The sheer population size of States and its more compact distribution means that the depth and breadth of their craft beer industry is beyond the scope of what many Australians can imagine.
Our last stop before turning in is Ex Novo brewery. A not-for-profit enterprise and only couple of blocks from out Portland loft, in the four days we spend in Portland, we visit it three times.