A Taste of Portland
Greetings from Portland, Ore.
As I type, I can see the sun rising from the window of my hotel. I am staying at the recently overhauled Hotel Deluxe, formerly known as Hotel Mallory. The theme here is the Hollywood of yesteryear. Black and white photos of famous movie scenes dot the walls throughout the hotel (Bette Davis in "The Letter" is hanging just above the bed) and the lobby is a glam mix of Art Deco, marble and high ceilings. Its meeting rooms have names like "The Green Room" and "The Screening Room."
Twenty-first-century touches include an alarm clock with a built-in IPod docking station and a flat-screen television with HDTV -- two firsts for this traveler. And at last, a hotel with a deep tub and room-service coffee that tastes good! Before bed last night, I had a nightcap in The Driftwood Room, the hotel bar that is a dark hideaway evocative of the 1960s. I think Sammy Davis Jr. would have liked this place.
A big shout-out to "Andrew in PDX" who, in Tuesday's blog, offered recommendations for Portland restaurants. Thanks, pal.
Dinner last night at the Nuevo-Peruvian Andina was a blast. At its essence, Peruvian food is fusion food in the purest sense, a mélange of African, Incan, Chinese and Spanish cuisines, to name a few. The folks at Andina further stretch the fusion by melding traditional Incan and Andean ingredients -- potatoes, chili peppers, quinoa, corn -- with a modern sensibility and sleek presentation, in a style the restaurant defines as "Novoandina."
The flavors were popping off my tongue. I haven't been this excited in a restaurant in a long time. I may have to go back for more of that grilled octopus kebab with a potato-olive salad and caper chimichurri that continues to dance in my head.
A visit to Portland would be incomplete without a visit to the behemoth Powell's City of Books, one of this country's great independently owned book stores, but I am probably going to make a beeline instead for its cookbook paradise, housed in another part of town.
Before taking off for a weekend of wine-sipping in the Willamette Valley, I plan to check out the funky shops of the Pearl District, with a full report on Monday.
Got a Portland tidbit to share? Do so in the comments area below.
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