Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fellowship of Foodies

Well lemme tell ya ... I think I love Portland. I say think because I've only been twice and the first time, which was just a couple of weeks ago, was really in the outskirts not the city. This time around we flew in for a one-night stay before a day of shooting in Portland, so we stayed right in the city. Ok, how do I tell this story .... ummmmm where to start ... ok, well I'll say that I love street food.

About a year ago I began researching street food vendors in various cities across the states. I called city councils to get the amount of street vending permits, the where's the who's. I went on websites to find foodies talking up local street food and I got lucky here and there and actually found pictures of food and truck-fronts, not store fronts :-). Ok, I have to admit I have a horrible memory and last year seems like 20 years ago, so imagine the deja vu I had while riding to the hotel in Portland ... we passed a row of street vendors and things began looking familiar ... I'd stumbled on the very street vendors whose pics were still in my hard drive from last year's research!!! Ok, so we get to the hotel and I needed to run some errands (read- shop in a tax-free state), but the whole time all I really wanted to do was eat some street food. I just knew if I ate first, I'd rush it to get in some shopping time. In my world, I'll starve to enjoy a meal. Hope that makes sense to you lol. So, here I am in this great city of Portland, the weather is beautiful, no tax :-), and I'm armed with a hotel-style map. I'm super tourist! lol! On the street corner with the big map all opened up looking lost. What a mess, but a good one, reminded me of when I first moved to NYC.
So, right when I begin to wrap up the errands and walk in the direction I believe the street vendors are in, my internal compass gets messed up and I'm sure I'm walking in the wrong direction. Just at that moment ... I mean riiiiight at that moment ... I see a dude walking towards me with a purpose and I dunno, something told me to ask him which way to go. Here's kinda how it went ...

Me: Excuse me, are you from here?
Dude: Yeah
Me: Ok, well uhhhh I was just driving in today along I think this road or a parallel road and then we turned left I think somewhere over there (motioning), then right before we turned I saw these street food vendors in a parking lot and I think it was that way (pointing the direction I was walking, and a few other directions as well). There was Thai food and another thing. Anyway, do you know what I'm talking about?
Dude: Actually that's where I'm going right now and it's that way. (pointing over my shoulder, I was walking the wrong way)

So, he was like you can walk with me if you want. I was like heck yeah!! Lemme tell ya, I was really far off with my mental compass. Turns out the guy's name was Zachary. He was not only really cool, but on the 15-20 minute walk I learned he was an avid foodie, eating all over the place and he has friends that live thisclose to me in Brooklyn! Small world. We got to the corner of the street vendors and I was in heaven ... here are some pics ...





Crazy scene ... we decided to get some yakisoba topped with an egg and I got the chicken, Z got the pork. Well, our walk to the street vendors was slower than I'm sure he planned (remember, he was walking with a purpose when I stopped him on the street), so that being said he had to get to work, but I didn't. So we ate, but he left to get that check and I still had a few noodles to tend to when he left. I sat there eating and just thinking about how cool life is - food wise. I am beginning to think I have food esp, like how do I research a street vendor scene last year and dream about going, then I get there? This same thing just happened to me in South Carolina recently. I don't wanna understand it, I just hope I can get some more meals out of it! So, should I begin to dream or talk about German food and then I'll get back there soon? Hasn't worked yet, been wanting to go back for years.

Alright ... I know this is getting long, but I called the post Fellowship of Foodies, and that means two.
Anthony. What a pleasure to meet you if you ever catch this blog.
I met Anthony right after I left the row of street vendors. I took a few minutes to snap the flicks above, then I crossed the street to make the trek back to my hotel room. I walked about 200 feet and I saw a row of 20somethings in chef whites just chillin' leaning up against a building. I love foodies, so I wasn't gonna just walk by, I stopped and said "hey, what are you guys doin'?" ... a split second after I said that, I see the logo on the lapel ... they were standing in front of Portland's branch of Le Cordon Bleu! Ha! I didn't even know there was one here and right after meeting a nice foodie that walked me to lunch, I bump into a whole row of them. I chatted with them all, but Anthony and I began to wax philosophical about GARLIC. I still smelled like it from the flight from Gilroy that morning and I was still a bit excited I'd seen so much garlic up close. Some 5 million pounds of garlic! So, we talked and he told me of his garlic stories, how he loved food and cooking for others and his plans for externships and how he wanted to fit in the culinary world. If he cooks like his words are passionate about it, I know he will flourish. I began to see myself in him, just some of the things I say about food and how sometimes people said things about my drive in the beginning of my radio career. I just really felt his dreams and goals and hope he achieves them. He's a dreamer, a skilled one. I told him my stories and then talked about my very own love of garlic and then it hit me, I should show him my garlic pics from Gilroy. I whipped out my phone to show him and I could see he was kinda pleased to see I wasn't just talking about it to talk about it. I mean, I am zoomin' in on roasted garlic in a cell phone for goodness sakes teeheehee ... just then as I completed my show and tell ... Anthony reaches in to his bag and brings out his show and tell - a bright yellow plate with ridges in the center ... I've never seen one in real life, but I'd heard of them. They were used back in the day to mince garlic ... his grandmother gave it to him and then, this cool foodie told me he could get another from her and gave me the one right out of his bag. I was like you sure???? He was like yeah!! We took this pic below ... and then he asked me if I wanted him to autograph it, Darn Skippy!!! He pulled out a Sharpie and hit me with the sig ... I smiled all the way to my room. I'd just met 2 cool foodies in the land of port.

Anthony, you've dared to dream it, now dare to live it!

A special thanks to Dave at Portland's city hall visitor's desk. I just walked in and asked him for some suggestions and he ended up being a mini foodie himself! Just in case you are wondering ... he had no notion I was from FN. I just specialize in talking to strangers lol. He found a swanky place for the crew to eat so I could head out and do my street food thing!

I'm in Pasco, WA tonight and return from the road Sunday ... Then I'm moving into a new place, so if the blog goes silent for a few days, it's just me getting my life in order. Have a great weekend!!

13 comments:

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

Hey Sunny!
Your adventure in Portland sounds like it was totally awesome. Who would've imagined, a young man having a garlic mincer in his bag and giving it you to boot! It's like something from an urban legends log: "I've heard of them, but never seen one in real life..."
I've never been to Portland, but I've been told I need to go. A fellow blogger of mine, Heather (http://voodoolily.blogspot.com) lives there and she makes it sound uber-cool. She's never lived any other place and I see why from her blog and this entry of yours.

I went to a Le Cordon Bleu school in Miami and I didn't know there was one in Portland either! LCB is allll over the place!

So take care and happy moving. I hope everything gets to your new spot in ne piece and you don't have to cuss out any moviers.

Roobee said...

I lived in Philly when I was in college, and that's a city that does food trucks right---Indian just like my dad's cooking, sushi, crepes, you name it and there's a truck for it! Coming from DC where street vendors are suspect at best, it took a little while to get used to the idea. But I'm about to go to Belize and I hear that the street food is not to be missed!

jacob said...

great story!

Sunny Anderson said...

nikki, i'm gonna check her blog, because truly ... no joke, i'd go to portland for a weekend vaca ... or even a week. great scene as far as i can see. lcb is everywhere huh?? and i've moved more times than i can even count on all my toes n fingers, so a zen falls upon me, but i dare anyone to scratch my dining table! lol

roobee, i did research on philly too, so much so that i drove down and took in the scene like i'd say 10 times last year. lot's to eat and really close to nyc. and have fun in belize, i've been looking all over for places to do the next long vaca and belize came up, argentina as well ... still looking.

jacob, thanks. crazy huh? lot's of activity your way huh?? :-) what a "get" ...

Alex ~ The Food Diva said...

Great Blog...again that law of attraction..this time street food and garlic...I have not been to Portland, but heard it was a great food town. Tony Bourdain did a show there and he loves it! I am all about the street food.. Fine dining is great, but you would more likely find me having a bahn mi in Little Saigon or tacos on
14th and Harrison, in San Francisco. NFNS 5 is on!! I'm going for it!! Thanks for the inspiration Sunny!!
PS.. Le Cordon Bleu...memories, I had on my little chef hat and check pants...what a look! Not Diva at all..function, not fashion..he he he.

Heather said...

Hi, Sunny! It's me, Heather from Gild the Voodoolily. I'm so glad you went to Samurai Bento (I can tell from your description and the location) - it's one of my favorites! And the 10th/Alder Cart Row is so much better than the one on 5th.

Next time you're in Portland shoot me an email - I'll show you the really good (secret) places. :)

Sunny Anderson said...

heather!!! wow, well, you don't wanna do that--tell me to reach out for more of portland, cuz i willllll. i dunno if it was samurai bento, ummmm like 3 carts from the german cart? very yummmmmy, egg was a teeny bit fried too fast (rubbery), but very good nonetheless...so, u and me and a plate of food my next portland trip. keep in touch!!! how is lucier? dave at city hall gave me that one for the crew.

Heather said...

I haven't eaten there, but they sure seem to have spent a lot on their website!

Frankly, my money is on Simpatica or Le Pigeon (east-side joints). I don't like too much toity with my hoity. (*^_-*)

Sunny Anderson said...

heather, you pass the test and i wasn't even giving one ... teeheehee, ok i will surely hit ya up when i hit portland next. i don't like any frills with my meals! (looks at us both rhymin' ...

kcps6277 said...

Hey Sunny,
I was just reading your comment about the next long vacation...thinking about Belize or maybe Argentina. Wellll, may I suggest Uruguay (which is near Argentina)? Or Colombia? That's where my parents are from and I actually lived in Colombia for a few years as a kid, but I've never been to Uruguay. I still have lots of family in Colombia and I have to say that it is a GREAT country, as far as the food and the people go. And Uruguay, like I said, I've never actually been there, but my Dad tells us great things about it, so I hope to one day be able to go on a long vacation there as well!!!

Sunny Anderson said...

kcps6277, yeah ... the plans aren't solid and i'm exploring plenty of options ... it's all about what i can eat and where i can lay out lol ....

(Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl said...

Sunny! You were RIGHT down the street from my office in Portland and right up the street from my sister's when you were in Gilroy! We both watch your show every Sunday and LOVE it! I'm definitely with Heather on the 10th Ave carts being better than the 5th Ave carts, but Loco Locas on 5th does have THE BEST breakfast burritos. The East side of Portland has AMAZING food, but the West side is just starting to get some incredible ethnic food--Persian, Lebanese and Japanese to name a few. Cheap and still under the radar! I'm glad Portland treated you well!

Sunny Anderson said...

(s!)sg, portland did treat me right, as i'm guessing it treats everyone!! everyone was so helpful and kind!! and the street and people had a faint feel of nyc, so i was very comfy, and as you see ... well fed!!! best meal i had in gilroy was the chef's chicken at our hotel! the crew went hunting and ended up in an irish pub ....