The "Raised Heart Rate" will slowly be reintroduced to the blog as I've started to ignore, rather than coddle my plantar fasciitis. No half-marathons will be raced in the near future (probably because it's getting too cold for many more races) but I see a return to the gym and a terrifying "Sugar Control Diet" as what I hope to be the complete opposite of getting as fat as possible for the inevitable winter.
But that isn't to say that I haven't been stuffing my face with some of the most delicious food Portland has to offer. Starting with the best; pulled pork enchiladas at Sonny's. Holy hell, all the senses are aroused when this dish is placed in front of you. First, you see it in all it's colorful glory. Then the aroma hits you and you take a big sniff. And then force your dining companion to smell it too. Ok, maybe you won't hear anything going on in this dish except the satisfying fork-scraping on the plate noise but there's no way you can eat it all in one siting. I was in heaven as I ate the leftovers between teaching classes today. The feeling sense comes in as the textures hit your tongue. The pork, tortilla, cheese, beans, rice, tomatoes, some sort of pickled cabbage-y goodness (crunchy and arguably the best part) and smoked poblano salsa verde. Don't even get me started on the tastes. You won't believe me. Just go eat it and bring me some too. My partner in food ordered the grilled hangar steak, medium rare. This dish started with quality beef, was served with not one but two local potato samosas (fried to perfection) and served on top of tamarind and mint chutneys with a crazy piece of curly endive "salad" atop it all. The meat was very tender and beautiful to look at but put anything fried on my plate and I swoon every time. Luckily, I had my own taste explosion in front of me...(too cheesy?)
After my Sonny's trip last night, another drink was wanted. MAPS was the next destination as it has a great vibe, minus the older, slightly drunk crowd who tried to get the jute box to play music. Sorry kids. If you haven't been here and you happen to like grilled cheese, you are doing something wrong. Visit MAPS, look at the maps on the wall, listen to Huey Lewis and the News on record, drink some beer and, if you haven't just eaten the most perfect meal ever (see enchilada description above), get an English grilled cheese and a local beer. Or a Blue or a Classic. Whatever your poison.
On a separate trip to Sonny's with a girlfriend, we happened to also order the fried avocado with pico de gallo and lime and the squash risotto. The avocado was good but needed salt and the squash risotto, though very flavorful, didn't hold a candle to Blue Spoon's risotto dish. The risotto contained beautiful smoked beets, wild mushrooms, house-made ricotta cheese and brown butter sage bread crumbs. It was made with barley instead of rice so the overall feeling was full and healthy, not creamy heaviness. No Sonny's meal is complete without a signature cocktail. I chose their spicy strawberry hot pepper margarita with its fresh fruity taste and spicy bite at the back of your throat. It's just enough to make you believe that winter is really far off...
I am unable to recall the last time I visited a large grocery store like Hannaford's or Trader Joe's. I've been visiting the smaller, locally-owned places. The farmer's market has been the bulk of my food I've consumed at home, assisted by quinoa and Watcharee's Thai green curry sauce from the Portland Food Co-op and hot Italian sausage from Rosemont. See below for recipe.
And speaking of curry, I ventured down to Saco's Thai ME for the first time in years. I might owe my current hometown status to Thai ME, as that's where I met the person who somewhat convinced me to move to Portland. Their yellow curry was just as tasty as I remembered and worth the trip if you are already in the area. Pom Thai's is pretty much the same so an extra trip might be too much. But if you find yourself in Saco at night, swing by Run of the Mill Pub right on the historic Saco River for a Scrumpy's Organic Hard Cider, now served in a Tallboy-esque can.
Which brings me to the nature portion of this piece. See the Autumn photos below. While on a walk, I came across a wonderfully colored Dogwood leaf. It looks very much like someone painted these fallen food-makers with a fine paint brush. The other multi-colored photo is behind the Architecture Salvage building on Preble Street. Go see it on your way to Planet Fitness, to work off all the food that I've just told you to go eat...
The most glorious home-made Green Curry dish to get you through the snowy winter
One jar Watcharee's Green Curry sauce
Any vegetables you know and love, sauteed your favorite way
Any protein you want, whether it's Rosemont sausage, boiled chicken, seared tofu, etc
Quinoa, rice or rice noodles, cooked to completion.
Once you have everything cooked, add whole jar of Watcharee's sauce to the sautee pan and cook a little longer (I can only make it about five minutes before I salivate heavily)
Eat it. Specifically, put base (quinoa, rice or rice noodles) in a bowl and smother with green curry mixture.