Mayonnaise is not Hip

Restaurant Notes From Vantucky--Vancouver, Washington


Having recently arrived as a resident of the greater Pacific Northwest, from Ohio (of all places) my Bride and I had a sidewalk burger in the company of my step-daughter and her boyfriend.

They live in Portland, Oregon.  We live in Vancouver, Washington.  Separated by only the Columbia river and a short bridge on Interstate 5, one would think that the cities and people would be similar.  One would be wrong.  The denizens of Portland refer to Vancouver as Vantucky.

The Portland people are so fargin’ hip it’s painful.

We met at Dick’s Kitchen.  That’s in the Alphabet District of Portland.  No, I don’t know why it’s called that, but the street signs include that little bit of information.  You can find Dick’s on the web at http://www.dkportland.com.  The web site will be happy to explain just how hip a place Dick’s really is.

I had the Buffalo Bob Burger.  That’s water buffalo.  I had it with Cheddar.  That’s cheese.  The bun was a sort of sourdough.  OK then.  That’s meat, cheese, and bun. But an incredibly hip bunch of meat, cheese and bun. It came with a slice of tomato, a leaf of iceberg, three slices of a pickle, and a couple of rings of purplish onion.  I slapped that bad boy together and then looked for the mayonnaise.  It’s the sort of thing that I like with mayo, thank you very much.  There was some sort of sauce on the bun and there was a bottle of Organic Ketchup on the table, but no mayo to be found.  And that’s how I discovered that mayonnaise is not hip.  They did have plenty of aioli, whatever that is.

They serve “non-fries”.  What’s a non-fry?  Thought you’d never ask.   Baked carbs.  Air-baked, in fact.  No, I don’t know exactly what air-baked actually means.

A pretty big deal was made out of the fact that the beef on the menu is “ Non CAFO”.  That’s OK.....I had to look it up too.  That’s “Non Confined Animal Feeding Operation”.  They’re talking feed lots.  No Harris Ranch beef here, brother.  Nothing but grass fed happy beef.  Or, in my case, water buffalo.

I’m curious about just how the water buffalo was, um, “harvested”.  I’m thinking that maybe the correct-thinking Oregonian who was saddled with actually doing the deed started talking liberal politics and bored the animal to death.  And it was still happy as the end drew near.

If you’re interested, water buffalo tastes like beef.

All in all, it was fun being hip in Portland, sitting at a a table on the sidewalk eating and chatting with family.

There was no parking.  And by “no parking”, I mean that there is no parking lot to be found.  No place, other than the jam-packed curbs, to park your car.  I drive an El Dorado.  That’s a Cadillac. A large car.  A few blocks from Dick’s Kitchen, I found a hole that looked big enough to accommodate the Caddy.  Squeezing a car that big into a space that small was nearly sexual.  What with all the sweating, foul language, twisting, pleading,  and contorting.

Next time, I think I’ll go to Red Robin.  It’s not as hip, but they have a parking lot and mayonnaise.


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