A Menu of Memories

It’s almost 7pm, and I’m sitting at a two-top at the Horse Brass. I’m trying to think of what to write again, nursing a locally-made Baltic Porter and staring at the empty broiler boat that- until very recently- was holding about 8 pickle spears for $3.50. No sales tax.

Where else would I be now? I’m a beer nerd with a cloak on a rainy day in Portland near Mount Tabor. I’ve got the back half of a short week at the bakery to start tomorrow morning, the blessing of my boss, and ideas for how my weekend will go. Where else would I be but here?

I might be back in Jersey. That beer might be a more expensive local brew, but those pickles might have been the Pickle Plates at Downbeach Deli that still live in my memory- their selection of greyed full-sours and perky green half-sour pickles supporting recurring guest stars of Pickled Onion, a Cherry Pepper, and a few wedges of Green Tomato atop a pool of commingled brine. That is, if they were ever separated at all.

Maybe it’s the beer and time of year, but I can feel the rose-colored Nostalgia Glasses settling into place. I’m gonna tell you about some fond food memories.

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In Praise of Diners

When you come from New Jersey, you know exactly what it means to go to diner. Not just the food or the atmosphere to expect, but what it means– especially a 24-Hour Diner.

This morning, I was walking around Southeast Portland and found myself craving diner food. More than that, I was craving the diner vibe that I thought I’d left behind on the East Coast. Food doesn’t have to be the best or fanciest or prettiest plate in existence for it to be the best food for that moment.

A breakfast on a diner table. An omelette with feta cheese is on top in the foreground. Behind it is a plate with two fluffy pancakes and cups of butter and syrup. Behind that a cup of tea, and a copy of “The Art of Eating” by M.F.K. Fisher.
Late Friday morning after a brisk walk, this was perfection.
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