Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the road again: Seattle, day 3 / Portland, day 1

Another day in a work trip, another day of which I can say little.

We spent the morning and lunch in the Seattle area, and then we drove to Portland.  The three-or-so-hour trip is lovely, though the traffic is almost always what would pass for rush hour back home.

Knowing that dinner would be quite late, and indulging me, we dropped by Salt & Straw, a Portland ice cream shop that has been making a lot of noise.

Boy, am I glad we did.

Salt & Straw may be my new favorite ice cream shop.  It is certainly among my top five anywhere.  Set in a corner of a corner building in a funky Portland residential-and-commercial area, it greeted us with open walls along most of one side and most of the front.  One of the breed of locally sourced ice cream makers, it proclaimed its mission loudly.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

Intentions are all well and good, of course, but for any type of food, the proof is in the taste.  The range of ice creams available certainly suggested both a familiarity with modern classics and a quirky eye for new flavors.

If you blow up this image and look carefully at the admittedly blurry (sorry second line after the flavor list, you'll see that the shop offers a tasting flight of four ice creams.

Yes, I did it for you, dear readers:  I ordered a flight so that I could report with some authority on the ice creams here.

In my defense, I didn't eat it all--but I must confess to having eaten most of it.  From left to right, we have here sea salt with caramel ribbons, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, pear with blue cheese, and chocolate with gooey brownies.  All the flavors were delicious.  The weakest, somewhat to my surprise, was the chocolate.  The sea salt with caramel flavor blended those tastes perfectly, as did the strawberry, in which the balsamic and the pepper and the citrus all merged into a whole that was vastly better than any of its parts.  The best of the bunch, though, was the pear with blue cheese.  I was skeptical, but it was amazing, managing to somehow remove all of the rough edge of the cheese and merge it perfectly with the pear.

Fortunately for me, because we were visiting Little Bird, a Portland favorite, dinner was many hours later.

That meal was as delicious as every other dinner I've eaten there.  Though my Portland favorite restaurant remains Gabriel Rucker's original place, Le Pigeon (where I will be Thursday night), Little Bird is a fine sibling and stands well on its own right.  Tonight's tasty treats included a creamy potato soup with a clam and bacon relish, and my first experience with the Le Pigeon burger.  Damn, that was a fine hamburger.

Now, work summons once again, so I will return to it.


Deb Franklin said...

Those are taste combos I wouldn't have thought go together. Especially blue cheese! But no sharp tang. Interesting.

Deb Franklin said...

Those aren't taste combinations I would think are complementary. Especially blue cheese in any form of dessert!

Mark said...

Yet they really did blend amazingly well. I, too, was quite surprised.


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