Wanderings in Portland

Wanderings in Portland

peach juice

It’s been a few weeks since I went to Portland. Since then, I have known that I must write about it. There is an imprint on my mind from the trip, stories and songs and words and pictures. It’s taken me this long to process it, but here are some bits and pieces from Portland. Mom and I drove the long road enjoying the scenery and listening to the wonderful accents of people from the island of Guernsey. I highly recommend the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. For us, the audiobook was needed, but I’d suggest it if only so that you can feel the accents. Whenever I drive toward Oregon, I’m sure that I will think of Juliet and all the other characters as they write letters back and forth using silver tongues.

We arrived mid-day at our bed and breakfast and chatted with our hostess a bit before making inquiries about a restaurant for dinner. While she went down the list of normal tourist places and local color, her granddaughter came in and asked us if we were adventurous. This piqued my curiosity and we soon found ourselves driving toward a Lebanese restaurant on the other side of downtown. We parked in a sketchy sort of area and walked back to the restaurant. The air conditioner dripped over the doorway. Really, at that point, it could have gone either way.

We opened the door and found a sun-soaked room filled with busy tables, laden with food. Literally, walking in the door, you are in the middle of the room. It was disorienting for me. Still, a waiter came up to us immediately, seating us at a table I hadn’t even seen upon entering. The granddaughter had said that the place was always busy, but there was never a wait. She was correct. Several moments later, we found yet another thing she was right about. She had mentioned a giant pita which was carried, piping hot to the table and placed on what appeared to be a candle holder. It took over the table and the only thing to do was eat it, dipping the jagged pieces into a basily-garlic-oil sauce which came at the same time. I was in heaven.

I think we really ended up ordering by looking around at the tables near us. It was close quarters, but that was just part of the experience. We were on vacation after all, in Portland, eating at a Lebanese restaurant.

We sipped peach juice (complete with rosewater) and settled on platters to suit our interests. When they came, they were possibly the largest quantities I have ever seen. It looked as though someone had cooked an entire pot of fragrant, saffron rice and dumped it onto my plate before placing several kabobs and a grilled tomato on top.

Mom was in awe over the tiny lamb pie which looked like a large tart and had cinnamon and other heady spices mixed with the lamb. It was amazing. We kept saying so, to each other, the waiters, anyone who would listen.

The waiter had been flirting steadily with both Mom and I throughout the evening. We chalked it up to his wanting a good tip, and I had this very blog entry in the back of my mind when I asked if I could take a picture of him. He said yes under 3 conditions (remember these, they’ll be important later): 1. I had to be in the picture. 2. He wanted a copy. 3. It must never go on Facebook. This seemed all right to me so we posed for my iphone in the middle of a crowded Lebanese restaurant the size of my living room. I must have looked the commensurate tourist having my picture taken with my waiter on my first night in town. Oh well.

Without our asking (or paying) for it, he brought us some of the most flaky and delicious baklava I have ever tasted. At that point, we had eaten so much that we boxed up all but a bite apiece.

He slipped me a sales check with his contact info on it and we left with boxes filled with the food we couldn’t finish.

Those leftovers ended up feeding us for the rest of the trip.

I emailed the waiter the picture and thanked him for a great evening. That, I thought was the end of it.

I received an email back asking if I wanted to have a drink. I was “very interesting” he said and he couldn’t help wanting to know me. Apparently, this works for him. He had given me his phone number on the check as well and he suggested that I text him.

I unleashed the power of the internet on him and through skillful searching found him on Facebook. No wonder he didn’t ever want that picture on Facebook.

He is married.