Brian's Photo Blog — Article 533
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A Three-Sausage Portland St. Patrick’s Day
Monday 21 March 2016   —   Category: Dining Out
Ten days after my first time volunteering at Free Geek, it was time to head back to Portland on St. Patrick’s Day for a sec­ond volunteer session. Like last time, I wouldn’t be able to have lunch until 2:00 or so. Because I have been eating Swiss-​style for the past quarter century by hav­ing my main meal of the day at noon rather than in the evening, changing that schedule is a bit bigger deal than for most Americans.

In order to help me make it that long, I once again indulged in oven eggs with olive oil and roasted garlic for break­fast. This time I also added sautéed mush­rooms, as well as a couple of links of breakfast sausage on the side. With that rich and filling meal under my belt, I left home about 8:10 for the 75-mile drive up the I-5.

Once my three-and-a-half-hour stint at Free Geek was complete I drove to Roscoe’s, on the corner of SE Stark Street and SE 81st Avenue in Portland’s eastern Montavilla neighborhood. By a strange coincidence, it is right next door to The Observatory where I had an awesome goat-cheese lamb burger after my previous session at Free Geek the week before.

I almost regretted sitting at a sidewalk table, because the hot spring sun soon caused rivulets of sweat to trickle down my back! To obtain some relief, I had a glass of Portland-made Royale Pilsner from Roy­ale Brewing. The beer was tasty, and not watery like some pilsners. I really enjoyed it, and would definitely have it again. According to the brewer:

“Royale Pilsner is a Bohemian inspired beer. It brings Weyermann Pilsner malted spring barley from Germany, with subtle additions of Tettnanger and Galena hops together in the soft water of the Pacific Northwest. It is truly cold-conditioned, allowing for a beautifully balanced floral hop flavor and aroma, with a crisp, clean and re­fresh­ing bitterness up front, and still a refreshing malty sweetness that car­ries all the way through the finish, but doesn’t outlast its welcome.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.0% ABV • 28 IBU.

For lunch I decided to continue my trend of eating adventurously by trying jambalaya for the first time in my half-century life. It was de­cent but nothing special, not very spicy, and kind of felt like it was mostly from a package rather than made from scratch — as a couple of Yelp reviewers also noted. However, other reviewers raved about it. For some reason I was expecting it to be much spicier. Since it was my first time having jambalaya I probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but I have a hard time believing this is the authentic stuff they serve in Louisiana.

It was a very generous portion and very reasonably priced at $8.75, with plenty of chicken and andouille sausage — my second sausage of the day. The corn­bread was pretty sweet, but good. I was able to eat only half of it — I had to save room for a third sausage later in the afternoon — and declined the offer of a box for the leftovers. In the end, I think it is worth paying $13 for the awesome goat-cheese lamb burger next door at The Observatory, but as usual, YMMV.

After my late lunch I went Asian food shopping at the nearby Hong Phat Market, lamp shopping at IKEA, and beer shopping at the Hollywood Fred Meyer. Then I drove to the Gateway Transit Center so I could take a MAX train back to the city center.

When I arrived at the Convention Center Station my original plan had been to take the Portland Streetcar trolley about 18 blocks (nearly a mile) south. On second thought that sounded kind of wimpy and lazy. Seeing that I had already had two meals with sausages that day, and that I was on my way to a third sausage meal, I figured I had better hoof it.

It didn’t take long to walk through the East Portland Grand Avenue Historic District to the historic Odd Fellows building on the corner of SE 6th Avenue and SE Alder Street, where the Loyal Legion Oregon Beer Hall opened in the summer of 2015. I had been wanting to stop by there since then, but it took me all the way until St. Patrick’s Day 2016 to finally get a round tuit.

The Loyal Legion has an amazing 99 taps of beer and hard cider, made in Or­e­gon only. The photo to the right shows a mere 48 of them. Perusing my choice of nearly 100 possibilities, I finally settled on one called “Hefe” from Portland’s Laurelwood Brewery. According to the brewer:

“This is not American-​style Hefeweizen, which Widmer or Pyramid produces. What you have here is the original style, full of flavor and character in the Ger­man tradition. The haze (which comes from the wheat protein in suspension), and the banana, clove and bubble gum aromas and flavors all come from the signature German Wheat yeast we used. This is one of the best all time food beers, pairing well with just about anything from spicy dishes to desserts to ... just about anything you want to throw at it. Even more perfect by itself on a hot day, totally refreshing!” Meas­ure­ments: 4.9% ABV.

If you have read enough beer and wine descriptions, you might start to feel as I do, that they are full of a lot of meaningless blah, blah, blah. So when I read that this beer had the flavors of banana, cloves and bubble gum, I thought, yeah, sure, right! I was quite shocked, and somewhat disappointed, to find out that it was really true — this beer actually did taste like bananas, with a hint of bubble gum and cloves. Yikes!

I guess I’m not beer-connoisseur enough to appreciate it. I want my beer to taste like beer, not bananas! I MUCH prefer the Widmer Hefeweizen, which is one of my favorite beers. After a few sips of bubbly bananas, the setting sun shone right across my table, creating dramatic lighting for the photo to the right.

To accompany my drink I ordered an Olympia Provisions bratwurst on a Philippe’s Bread pretzel bun with whole-grain mustard. I have to say this might have been the best bratwurst I have ever had ... a whole nother level above the Johnsonville bratwursts I usually buy!

Last June my wife and I had a good lunch at the nearby Olympia Provisions Southeast Restaurant. Fortunately they also sell their sausages at numerous locations throughout Portland and the rest of the U.S. — I’m looking forward to enjoying this bratwurst at home.

Walking back the same route to the MAX station seemed kind of boring, so I took a longer route. When crossing Morrison Bridge I had a great view of Mount Hood, about 50 miles away. The air was so clear, and the mountain was completely covered in brilliant snow. Mount St. Helens was equally impressive from the freeway that morning.

On the west side of the Willamette River I walked north through the Tom McCall Waterfront Park until I came to the one-of-a-kind Steel Bridge. Crossing the river on the lower-level pedestrian / bike trail, I eventually arrived back where I had started at the Convention Center Station — a loop of nearly three miles. Just the thing to help work off my three sausages on St. Patrick’s Day!

You can find the seven food, drink and pub photos I took on this outing in the Oregon Pub Crawl 2016 album. The fourteen pictures I snapped during my three-mile urban ramble can be found in the Portland Miscellaneous 2016 album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 533
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