My apologies for having been away for such a long time. I’ve spent the last month in a largely internet-free zone and am only just back home in Bangkok. Before getting back to the Asian stuff, I’d like to post a few more things from my visit home.
Allegedly Portland, Oregon has the most breweries per capita of almost any city in the world — nearly 50 at last count. The beer situation, much like the amount of hops being used, is pretty much out of control, but it was heaps of fun. For a crash-course in local beers, I’d recommend APEX (pictured above), which has an almost overwhelming selection of local and imported beers, not to mention some friendly and knowledgeable bartenders. It’s here where I enjoyed Astoria Brewing’s Poop Deck Porter, Wandering Aengus Cider and a unique ‘sour’ beer aged in Chardonnay casks. I also had several fun nights at Victory Bar, which in addition to some great beers and mixed drinks, has excellent food — don’t miss the spaeztle. Other Oregon brews that stood out include the beers from Double Mountain in Hood River, Oregon, particularly their Killer Green (using fresh hops from Salem, Oregon) and IRA (India Red Ale); just about anything from the Deschutes Brewery, particularly their Mirror Pond Pale Ale; and from Eugene, Oregon, the Ninkasi Brewing Company’s Total Domination IPA. I consumed some nice beers from Rogue, enjoyed Captured by Porches’ Invasive Species IPA and was also reminded of how pleasant a beer Widmer’s Hefeweizen is.
After a month of this, it’s pretty hard to come back to Singha.
While home I was able to wrangle a side trip to Vancouver, Canada. Besides being one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever been to, and the place where I got to visit a dear old friend and a former student, Vancouver was also, more importantly, where I got the chance to sample poutine for the first time.
This is a dish normally associated with Quebec and is allegedly a bit hard to find on the west coast, but a bit of internet sleuthing led us to Vancouver’s own La Belle Patate. As illustrated above, there was also a smoked meat sandwich and a steamie — apparently also Quebec dishes — but the main event was fries, fresh cheese curds and gravy. Beer was also involved, specifically Quebec’s Fin du Monde:
The verdict? We all quite enjoyed it. The cheese curds had the requisite squeak, the fries were well-fried and crispy and the gravy well-seasoned and tasty. And perhaps most amazingly, and despite Att’s expression above, we didn’t even feel grossed out afterward.
La Belle Patate
1215 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada