Of Star Trek and Goat-Cheese Lamb Burgers
Thursday 10 March 2016 — Category: Dining Out
On March 7, 2016 someone hacked Google Maps to rename Portland’s new Tilikum Crossing bridge to Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing — which undoubtedly rejoiced the hearts of the city’s Trekkies, including yours truly. This image is a screenshot (click to enlarge) from the Google Maps app on my iPad Mini. May this wonderful crossing, no matter what it is called, live long and prosper!
The very next day found me at Free Geek — a great name for a science-fiction fan — only half a mile from the eastern end of the Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing. I am starting to volunteer there, donating a bit of my time and talents to help them accomplish their mission of refurbishing old computers for schools and nonprofits, and of responsibly recycling computers to keep that toxic waste out of landfills. Once I have some months of volunteering under my belt, I plan to share about my experiences at Free Geek in a future article.
Today’s article is about my experience after my few hours at Free Geek, which included a foodless lunch hour. Ever since I got married to my Swiss wife 26 years ago, we have always eaten our main meal of the day at noon — both in Switzerland for 8 years, and in the U.S. for 18 years. By the time I was finished at Free Geek around 1:45, I was ready for a good meal.
Portland has more than 6,000 wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) restaurants. One that has been on my radar since last year — but I never got a round tuit — is The Observatory near the corner of SE Stark and SE 82nd Avenue.
For some strange reason, I have been longing to try their lamb burger with goat cheese, even though I have tasted neither in my whole half-century life. Well, last year I wrote about my growing desire to eat adventurously, so I guess this is part of that new taste-bud journey.
By the time I drove to the restaurant and ordered, it wasn’t until 2:15 that I was sipping an award-winning, refreshing Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic Lager Northwest Pilsner. A bit later, the pièce de résistance was finally set before me. But before I could delight my taste buds, I needed to pause and admire its visual splendor!
The nicely-grilled lamb burger patty was set on a crunchy but tender bun, and topped with plenty of creamy goat cheese and sautéed sweet red chili peppers. On top of a huge leaf of lettuce were some rings of raw onion — which appeared to have been tinted purple with beet juice — and a pickled green chili pepper. The burger came with golden fries served with two sauces: ketchup, and a marvelous red chili pepper (the same as on the burger?) aioli. All of the vivid, complementary colors were a feast for the eyes (and camera!), not to mention the actual eating of it.
I am very pleased to report that the taste of this food was on par with its visual appeal. The lamb meat and goat cheese were delicious, and the red pepper aioli was almost angelic! I’m going to have to try to make that sauce at home. Actually, it would be possible to make this entire meal at home — especially with the aid of my new meat grinder.
Priced at $13, this lamb burger is on the spendy side. By the time you add my beer and the tip, my lunch came to $20. Unfortunately, this is not unusual for Portland. Nevertheless, the meal was so scrumptious that I would definitely go back to enjoy it again later in the year.
The images on this page have occasioned the inauguration of three new photo albums: Portland Miscellaneous 2016, Oregon Pub Crawl 2016 and Food & Cooking 2016. None of them has much in it at this point, but by the end of the year I expect them to contain many images.