First of all, thank you so much for your kind words on my SF Marathon Recap! It’s been a week since the race and I felt great just a day or two after, and am ready to tackle my next goal. I’ve also been a bit behind on blogging, twitter, commenting etc, so forgive me—in the process of catching up slowly.
In addition to the marathon, one of the reasons I’ve been behind is that I’m on a whirlwind tour of America right now. My blog is about health, life, fitness, food, and travel—everything I love—so I want to feature some of my destinations here.
My first stop for the trip was Portland, Oregon. I’ve been to Portland a couple of times and I really like the city. I didn’t get to spend much time there this trip, but Mount Hood looming over the landscape reminded me how much I’d love to do Hood to Coast someday! Add it to the “dream” list.
Airport breakfasts can be pretty decent.
I didn’t get to do a beautiful run along the river due to an Airport hotel and a 5AM wakeup, but I got to hit the treadmill for a couple of QUICK (ie, “I should be showered and dressed by now!”) miles, in a hotel gym smaller than my hotel ROOM.
But the highlight of the quick trip was dinner (when is it not?).
A few of my coworkers are from Portland and I asked for a restaurant recommendation that was “quintessentially Portland” and ended up at Montage, a hipster-goes-Cajun type of establishment under a freeway. My dining partner for the evening was a coworker who wanted to be introduced on the blog but not by his real name, so we’ll call him Alligator (I’ll let you guess if that moniker was my idea or his).
Alligator wandered in at the tail end of the early-bird special crowd (I thought 6:30 was a normal time for dinner… apparently I’m 80) and grabbed seats at the bar. This is one of those places where the little quirks and traditions make it famous… like ordering an oyster shooter results in some sort of wild yelp slash scream across the restaurant to those behind the counter.
Alligator tried to order gator bites they were out, so settled for frog legs instead and hush puppies to share.
I ordered the jumpin’ jack salad with black-eyed peas (it came with cornbread) and the red beans and rice with vegetables. As you can see this food above and below is not the most visually appealing, but it IS delicious.
And maybe a cocktail.
After eating a piece of bread and several balls of friend delicious dough dipped into some sort of frightening sauce, I could only eat a few bites of my entrée. But it was really fun to get brought back to Africa (I swear I’m going somewhere with this). My roommate had been living in New Orleans and introduced me to red beans and rice, which quickly became our staple and one of our favorite meals to cook and eat together. It’s far from gourmet, but it’s a staple and I wanted to share it here.
Courtney and Sarah’s Red Beans and Rice Recipe
· One cup rice
· Tomatoes (a few smallish ones)
· One green pepper
· Tomato paste
· One can red kidney beans or the equivalent amount, dried and soaked
· Cajun seasoning
· Salt and pepper
· Red pepper flakes
1. Cook the rice on one burner. Once water is boiling and rice is in, begin preparing red beans.
2. Mince garlic and cop onions into small pieces. Sauté in a small amount of oil in the pot. Once translucent, add green pepper.
3. After pepper softens, add tomatoes, diced. Cook down slightly.
4. Add beans including bean juice, if they are canned. If fresh, add a small amount of water and continue adding small amounts of water as beans begin to cook down slightly and thicken. Stir repeatedly to prevent burning.
5. Add tomato paste to mixture to achieve desired thickness of sauce. Usually about ¼ cup will do. You want a thick sauce but not too thick—almost like a chili consistency.
6. Add copious amounts of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Cajun seasoning to pot.
7. Serve over rice and enjoy. Serves about 3 as written.
Best thing about this “recipe”? You can change it up all you want and not really go wrong; it’s just up to preference. Brown rise, white rice, different veggies, thicker or thinner sauce, etc. It’s all basically delicious.
Another cool thing about Montage? Your leftovers come back to you wrapped up in an aluminum-foil sculpture. I got a hammer. Alligator got an NFL headset. I saw cat and mice on the tables as well.
(Only bad thing was that when I tried to get into my cornbread for breakfast I realized it was literally smushed in a pile of red beans. What are you going to do?)
Regardless of squishy leftovers, I would DEFINITELY come back to this place. It was really unique and the food was goooood.
Portland = success. Coming up: New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, Lexington, and Raleigh, before eventually arriving back to SF at the end of the week. Fortunately or not, I’m serious.
Have a great day everyone! I’m off to NYC and to find the best black and white cookie…
Have you ever had southern/cajun food? what are your favorite dishes?