So the house is full of cocktails and enormous…this is where we left off, yes?
(BTW, want to rent this house yourself? I highly recommend it for a big group trip. Cozy beds, creature comforts and historic charm. Check out the VRBO listing if you’ll be in the area.)
Ok. Let’s carry on.
We enjoyed a few drinks and then headed down to the Opening Ceremonies of the SCAA Conference.
It was held at the Oregon Convention Center which was about a mile away from our house. Over the next couple of days Garrett and I walked to and from the conference, and I have to say it was so nice to be in an area so walkable and also full of public transportation. Sacramento Suburbs — you could use a lesson or two!
That night we decided we needed to hit up some food trucks. Unfortunately between 8 people with 7 smart phones, we couldn’t seem to find our way there, so we ended up back at home ordering a pizza. WOMP WOMP! We woke up with high hopes for the food adventures the following day, and we were not disappointed.
Garrett and I squeezed in a workout the next morning while the rest of our crew took some classes.
We had hoped to squeeze in a WOD at a local CrossFit box, but in the end a rainy run had to suffice. The neighborhood where we stayed is full of huge tree lined streets and beautiful historic houses, so it was awesome scenery and a fun run.
We wandered down to a little coffee shop and enjoyed some pretty cappuccinos and then made our way back home to get ready for the day!
We made it down to the Convention Center in time to check out some of the finalists in the United States Barista Championship. Did you know this was a thing? These people take their coffee very seriously — it’s a full contact sport.
On a funny note though, the whole conference was a bit of a Hipsters Paradise. So many pairs of skinny jeans! Vests! Mustachioed men slurping espresso — it was a comedy sketch waiting to happen. Next year we decided we should all collaborate on a booth selling mustache wax. Obviously we would become overnight millionaires.
After watching the Barista Champions’ concoctions for a bit, we sampled all the Roaster’s Guild Coffees of the Year.
There were some delicious options, all brewed using the pour over method — which we saw EVERYWHERE this weekend — and we drank them with abandon! But we learned quickly that Coffee Conventions are serious business and you have to pay attention to your body. It’s like wine tasting but with MORE CAFFEINE! By lunch, I *needed* to get some food in my system! We met up with our group, and all hopped on the train to head Food Truck Mecca, and you all — it was life changing. And I say that without an ounce of hyperbole.
It was an entire city block filled with gourmet food trucks. So many that we had to take a lap first to size up the situation. It seems they were all ready for high volumes of people as well, with plenty of food stored in what we were told was a 5 Gallon Food Safe Plastic Pail with Tear Tab Lid. Interesting seeing food stored this way, but as they would explain to us, it is how restaurants often manage large supplies of ingredients, and is perfectly clean and safe. I found it quite intriguing as I have never worked in any aspect of the food industry at any point.
Garrett and I decided our strategy would be to get one of every thing we wanted, and then just split it. Our eyes…well…they were much much bigger than our stomachs, to say the least. What can I say, we enjoy the Go Big or Go Home attitude when it comes to culinary pursuits.
Then we ran in to the rest of my cousins who were enjoying some Lamb Gyros — WHICH ARE MY FAVORITE — and they were gushing about how amazing they were in such a convincing manner that Garrett and I couldn’t pass those up, right?
Nope, says Garrett. It’s a must.
They did not disappoint.
Delicious crispy pork belly on a ciabatta roll that was soft on the inside but with the perfect crustiness outside. Add some fennel pollen and arugula that was tossed with THE MOST DELICIOUS lemon vinaigrette, and you have one sandwich worth writing home about. I will recreate that vinaigrette all summer long, I’m sure of it. Get me to some arugula!
A week later, I am still thinking about this sandwich.
You are sick right now for us, aren’t you? As a group, at that point, we were mostly just blissed out!
But a few hours later when we had to go out to a business-y dinner, we were NOT so blissed out thinking about food. But that story will have to come next, because I’m too full from looking at these photos to tell it.
I wasn’t joking when I said we went big on this vacay. A week later and we are still recovering. 🙂 I hit up a workout this morning for the first time in a week and it was brutal! It’s so crazy how quickly you can get out of good habits, and how difficult it can be to get back on the horse.
While I definitely think it will be a while before we go crazy trying ALL THE FOOD like this again, I did enjoy the opportunity to taste so many diverse things over this weekend. I discovered Curtido, which I plan to make at home some time soon, I can’t wait to make some Gyro Salads in the future, and I may even try my hand at cooking my own Pork Belly.
Good food inspires me! I just have to figure out how to balance inspiration and…well, good health. This weekend was overwhelming in the inspiration department, not so much in the health department. Portland has a great coffee culture and a great food culture. I think if you love either of those things (AND WE DO!) it’s a town that can’t be missed.