Touring really can be as great or as crummy as you allow it to be. For me, to make touring something truly special and amazing - it’s all about food and drink. I am one who completely cuts himself off from the standard “it’s the same old shit here as it is everywhere else” vibe that you see in so many people when traveling. Some of the greatest experiences in food, art, and drink I’ve experienced when just allowing myself to be swept away by what a city can offer. Get lost; allow yourself to be immersed wherever you may be… Hell, the best Mexican food I’ve had in the USA was in Ozona, TX (a place that’s population hits merely a few thousand); Paolo and I stumbled across a Guggenheim Museum in Basque country in Bilbao - and randomly found a restaurant that gives a bottle of wine to you for ordering lunch: Basquelunch at that! So my point is - you can research great things to have no matter where you are: try Yelp, Google, ask a friend, as a local - you can find something great almost anywhere.
So we pull up on a day off in Portland on the Mayhem tour - we already know what’s in store here (last time we had a day in Portland, a show day, Paolo’s good friend from school - Megan - took us around to some great spots, then we randomly hit a Peruvian place that Ashley found online at home for us).
After check in, Ashley, Paolo and myself piled into Megan’s car and headed to Taqueria Los Gorditos - a slamming taco truck we had the time previous.
For me: Lengua (that’s tongue) taco, Cabeza (head) taco, and a Chorizo taco. For Ashley, the Carne Asada Burrito. Los Gorditos does it right - traditional - simply 2 tortillas, cilantro, onion, lime. That’s it. That’s all that is really needed in a traditional taco - no yellow American cheese, lettuce, or tomato - no gringo toppings for me, amigo. A lot shy away from tongue and head meat… but let me tell you - if it’s a textural thing that’s scaring you off - those meats are even more tender than the standard cut. Great, simple, tacos - traditional.
We hit Stumptown (a local coffee brewer) for some coffees - great stuff (it was pretty hot that day, so I went iced).
We wandered about a little bit by car and foot, checked out Meg’s new pad (in a neighborhood that looked just like Ash and I’s 1920’s neighborhood back home) and headed to Clyde Common for some drinks.
Clyde has that same vibe that I am so drawn to in an American joint. Modern, simple, clean - hints of rustic-ness found in chalkboards and exposed brick/wood, but also stainless modernity. My elixir of choice was the East Of Eden: Broker’s dry gin, lemon, egg whites, Gewurtztraminer reduction, and elderflower liqueur. I’m starting to recognize that gin and elderflower really go well fantastically. This cocktail was something special. The egg whites created a layer that reminded me of lemon meringue, the lemon and gin had a good bite - paired with the sweetness of the St. Germain. Good stuff.
Dinner was the same spot we hit up last time in Portland (that was followed by a rather disastrous show… but we can save that for the “Where the Hell are they now?” or “Behind the Blow” special on VH1 in the future) and we would be met by Justin Arcangel, our mgmt.
Andina is a modern Peruvian restaurant that has traditional dishes and contemporary dishes alike. It was just as busy as the first time I went there - with an open kitchen adjacent to the entrance. We started up with the Ben Marco ‘09 Malbec that sounded like a perfect mix with Peruvian.
I prefer to share food with the people I eat with - so some of us decided to go the sharing-route. We started up with the De Pescado “5 Elementos,” a traditional Ceviche of fresh fish - simple flavors, great citrus on the fish. We had the Ensalada Verde Peruana - fresh greens topped with hearts of palm, cotija cheese and seasonal vegetables; then to the mains: Lomo Saltado (split in half in the photo) which was Cascade natural beef tenders, wok-fried with onions, tomatoes, oyster sauce, garlic and aji, with Yukon gold papas fritas and garlic rice; the Qunoto De Hongos De Las Montana (Chisaya mama (quinoa), golden beet and local mushroom quinoa “risotto” laced with truffle oil with grilled market fresh vegetables) - one of the best quinoa dishes I’ve had, the sharp-flavored cheese with the quinoa went really well.
For desert: the Flan special and the Canutos De Quinoa Y Maracuya: crisp-quinoa studded cannoli’s stuffed with passionfruit mousse, served with mango-lemongrass sorbet and mango sauce. The Canutos were insanely good - I’m really into sorbets that mix all sorts of different flavors, and the use of quinoa as the cannoli was certainly a crunchy-alternative to the normal cannoli.
All in a all, real decent place.
Post dinner cocktails. We hit up Teardrop, a slightly posher-looking place than the previous cocktail bar. I asked the stylish-waiter for “the best drink at the bar.” He assured me that their Pina Colada would be the best Pina I’ve ever had - and normally not a super-sweet-cocktail-drinker, I decided I’d indulge. Their Pina certainly was something special- Don Q silver rum, pineapple juice, pineapple gomme (checking notes here… it could have been a drunk note there/iphone autoword), house cream of coconut, lime, nutmeg. It was the best Pina… but intensely sweet. If you dig Pina’s, you’d love it. It was great, but not exactly my drink style I think (still learning my preferences here…)
Next we stopped by the Rogue Distillery (beer that is brewed in Portland) for a finale. I had the Brutal IPA - finished it up, and was maxed out on food and booze for the day.
Portland. Well done.