You Ate What?: Death by Food and Wine in Portland

Yes, one can eat too much. Yes. I have eaten too much. Yes, I am about to die from too much great food and wine, but, no, I do not regret a single moment of it. Food is one of those things that shape who we are, literally. I know that puritans insist that calories are murder, that fat is a sin, that flavour is not as important as fibre, and that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels…but they obviously are not foodies with an appreciation for the fact that the great food is worth the ups and downs on the scale. I would rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints. There will always be time to repair the damage with exercise and detox.

The past two weeks on the road have not shown me one single mediocre meal. Not a single misplaced bit of food, and nothing that was not perfectly prepared and sustainable; farm to table and artisanal. Still, I feel like an orca whale about to birth a fleet of Moby Dicks with one slip of step. Why? Certainly not from junk food, because I have not had a single junk meal in two weeks. I put it down to a lack of sleep, water retention from travel, and the fact that I am eating deeply from the menu when I do have a chance to eat.

Yes, I fully understand that if I were to eat lettuce instead of pork belly, then I might live a little longer, fit into the most sought after clothing, and fit in at “that” club, but frankly the food I have eaten has made me appreciate the beauty in the world that could provide such a wide variety of foodstuffs. Tonight had me at SouthPark Seafood Grill in Portland, and it was another meal to remember from the Portland visit. While others opted for the fish, I went with a crab cake followed by the butcher’s choice of pork belly and shoulder on a bed of kale and corn polenta. The flavours were rich, clean and live with intensity. Against the bottle of white Pinot Noir, the whole meal moved along nicely and took the edge off the fact that I have not slept well for three nights.

Before hitting the restaurant, I had the good luck to make it up to Portland’s Tanner Goods shop just a few blocks from The Heathman. I appreciate the quality of leather that will last and wear well into my lifetime, and Tanner’s selection of products immediately resonated with me. In fact, I was able to acquire the exact type of fob I had been looking for to attach my Ducati key to so that it would not mar the carbon fibre around the ignition.

The Leica M3 also has been begging for a richly appointed strap, and Tanner made a beautiful version that should would nicely without causing any damage to the lugs over time. I cannot wait to attach the body to the strap when I return to Toronto in a few days.

Lastly, I was able to procure a gift for V. that hopefully will meet with her expectations. When we were in San Francisco she was in love with a wrist strap from Tory Birch, but the leather quality left me cold. Tanner Goods produces a similar, but higher quality piece that I hope V. will like. One never knows…

Sooo…one more day and night in Portland. Tomorrow I move hotels to head to the Jupiter Hotel on the other side of the river. If all goes well, then I will sleep, do some work for the workshop and make my way over the bridge to see how the “hipper” side lives. I will probably prefer The Heathman, but this last night is on my own coin so that I do not need to take the red-eye out with my colleagues, and a change of scene before I get home should be nice. The question is whether I can possibly ingest any more of what Portland has to offer? I have been attempting to capture a few of the bridges and scenes with my Hasselblad SWC camera while using my iPhone and the PocketMeter app to save space in my carry-on; we will have to see if it is accurate enough to be trusted.

With two bottles of Pinot  Noir for my “cellar”, I am at the end of my wine tether, my food possibilities and my rope. One can only hope that sleep will find me and deliver me from the evil of those Voodoo Donuts that were so damn yummy – oh, I guess they were the one junk food that passed my lips – fair enough, and worth every bite. The juicing will begin again upon arrival to my studio…beets, ginger and celery should start the detox!


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