Deschutes Brewery Public House – Portland

To say that I like beer is an understatement, beer is the ultimate social lubricant bringing people together since 6000 BC. When I was a young man I thought that beer was something you bought in 12 packs, drank tons of, wasn’t that expensive and gave you a wicked hangover. 3 out of 4 of those statements are still true except nowadays I cough up the extra couple of dollars for good craft beer. My favorite craft beer is Deschutes Black Butte Porter from an awesome little brewery in Bend, Oregon. Thankfully they have a brew pub in Portland which I was more than happy to try out on a recent trip there.

Deschutes brew pub in Portland is quite large and extremely popular with long waits  pretty much every day of the week. The inside is a mix of carved rich wood and typical brew pub old school touches. During my visit they were serving a cask conditioned Black Butte Porter (naturally carbonated) which made me quite sad, they’ve made my favorite beer even better but I can’t get it here. I had the beer flight, which consists of 6 beers of your choice from their large beer menu, you can’t go wrong with any Deschutes beer, except the gluten free option which was quite bad…

The menu at Deschutes is quite progressive as is most of Portland’s restaurant scene. I had a fantastic root beer glassed pork belly with a soft poached egg yolk as an appetizer, I could have ordered 3 or 4 of these and been quite happy with not trying anything else, it was great! My main course was a take on an east coast lobster roll using west coast crab. It was good, a little bland perhaps but the crab meat was fresh as was the roll. The soup that came with it was so bizarre that I couldn’t wrap my head around how it tasted so good. It was a tomato based soup with a few different kinds of shellfish and Elk Chorizo?? I know it sounds crazy but it was so good, rich, a little spicy and very fresh. I would have written down all the ingredients but the waiter wasn’t 100% sure what they were and the guy who makes the soup had gone home for the night (typical laid back Portland). Check out the rest of the pictures!!

Scott.

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Roaming Dragon, Pan Asian Street Food.

The Vancouver street food scene has been a sad, repetitive song played over and over for years. The Lyrics were all about hot dogs in the summer and chestnuts in the winter, boring (even if the hot dogs have Japanese fixins’ ). Thankfully those days appear to be over with the City of Vancouver’s new policy on food trucks. Food trucks have been a big part of other cities culinary scene for years with colorful trucks rolling all over town with everything from taco’s in LA to fine French food in NYC.

Vancouver’s first Food truck is the Roaming Dragon, serving pan asian delights out of a state of the art truck in various locations throughout the city. On Saturdays you can find them at the Trout Lake Farmers Market at John Hendry Park in East Van from 9-2 (check out their website for other locations and times http://www.roamingdragon.com/ ). The family and I headed down to East Van on the first rainy day in a month to see what the Roaming Dragon had to offer, and I am happy to say that we were not disappointed.

We met Jason and the rest of the crew in their slick looking truck and placed our order, which was done on an Iphone that was synced with their POS (point of sale) system, very cool. We ordered the duck confit salad, the pork belly sliders, Korean short rib tacos, chicken karaage, rice balls and some lychee and basil lemonade. While the food was being prepared I was given a quick tour of the truck and it really is a gourmet kitchen on wheels. The food was all amazing, the duck confit salad was perfect with orange and watermelon pieces that balanced well against the salt of the duck, The pork belly sliders were on steamed Asian buns with cucumber (it might have been pickled?) and green onion and were unique (in a good way) and very tasty. The tacos were great with shredded carrots and nori which was the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of as it took a little away from the taste of the short ribs, a very minor problem though. The chicken karaage was as good as I’ve had anywhere in the city and the rice balls were fantastic, nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with a hint of cumin or something south Asian that really gave great flavor. The lemonade was the single best lemonade I have ever had, with the basil and lychee adding a grown up character to this popular street side beverage.

Not only is the food amazing, it’s really affordable with most menu items priced at $4 – $6 and any 2 items for $10. All of the packaging is biodegradable, even the ones that look like Styrofoam are rice paper based. The forks are plastic though so maybe opt for the chopsticks if you’re worried about your carbon footprint, I wonder if they know about aspenware?  http://aspenware.ca/ Just a suggestion.

Vancouver needs more trucks like this and if the guys that run this one have their way there will be more soon as the parent company, Gourmet Syndicate (  http://gourmetsyndicate.com/ ), is set to light the Vancouver street food scene on fire. I can’t wait.

For all of you “new media” lovers here’s some more places you can find them.

http://twitter.com/DragonTruck

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragontruck/

http://www.facebook.com/DragonTruck

Scott.