The Accidental Palate

After nearly ten wonderful years of editing Northwest Palate magazine in Portland OR, I've handed over the reins and am now enjoying the leisurely (not!), ever-changing (and then some) life of a freelance bon vivant. Hope you enjoy these posts, and if you want to reach me, contact ajabine (at) yahoo (dot) com. Cheers! Angie Jabine

Monday, January 14, 2008

Discoveries Rocking My World

Here are a few things I’ve discovered in the mere two months since my last posting. And when I say “discovered,” I don’t mean I’m the first to make any of these discoveries. Al Gore never claimed he invented the World Wide Web, either. I just mean, I didn’t realize this stuff until now.

I discovered that one of the advantages of a wood-fired pizza oven is that it can go on baking pizza during a power outage. My little group was one of several that retreated into Southeast Portland’s Nostrana restaurant during last December's windstorm to enjoy an oven-blistered margharita pizza by candlelight.

I discovered what galub jamon ought to taste like, thanks to the one served at the East India Co., a handsome new Indian restaurant just behind the Central Library in downtown Portland. A little ball of fried sweet dough drizzled in a light, fragrant, cardamom-laced syrup, it reminded me of French toast when it’s made with challah. I’m jonesing for it this very minute.

I discovered that I really like pastrami—as long as it’s the pastrami served at Portland’s Kenny & Zuke’s deli. I like it best on rye, but an added slice of pastrami also brings a cheeseburger to new heights of indulgence.

I discovered – and probably the entire industrialized world knows this already – that you can bake a potato in a microwave oven in 15-20 minutes, and as long as you don’t over-zap it there is no discernable difference from an oven-baked potato.

I discovered that I really enjoy staying at the Skamania Lodge in the Columbia Gorge. Just outside of Stevenson, WA, the lodge sits in a gorgeous mist-laden setting, the halls and rooms are filled with quintessential Northwest art collected by sharp-eyed developer John Gray, and the great room is anchored by a three-story fireplace I could loll in front of all day long. I also really enjoy the cheese blintzes the lodge serves at its all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch.

I discovered that the quaint little toll booth at the Oregon end of the Bridge of the Gods (Cascade Locks exit off I84 East, one dollar, please) is decorated with Christmas lights all through December. This two-lane bridge, by the way, delivers an awe-inspiring view of the Columbia River Gorge.

I discovered that the U.S. Olympic Committee wants OLYMPIC Cellars on the OLYMPIC Peninsula to stop marketing its wine outside of the Pacific Northwest. The USOC, in its OLYMPIAN wisdom, has been pestering all sorts of businesses in the Pacific Northwest with all sorts of utterly unreasonable demands. Perhaps also we need to rename the OLYMPIC National Forest as well as OLYMPIA, Washington's state capital? Read all about it in the OLYMPIC Peninsula Daily.

I discovered on Christmas Day that I CAN fit 10 people around my dining table, as long as at least four of them are madly in love. My husband and I vowed never again to serve a dinner that requires the complete attention of two cooks for the full hour prior to eating (not to mention two days of prep). We will probably forget said vow some time in the next 350 days.


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