Lunch: Colossal burger, portobello wedges, Northwest cherry chocolate shake
Burgerville is Portland's hometown burger chain. Originally known as Burgerville USA featuring a patriotic theme with menu items like Colonel Burgers, the chain has gone uber-hippie with the slogan "Fresh, Local, Sustainable" with a focus on local premium ingredients and seasonal flavors, plus environmentally friendly business practices. None of which matters to anyone (except hippies) unless the food is good. Yes. It is.
The Portobello Wedges are a limited time offering that really need to stick around. Portobello caps are cut long, panko breaded, and fried. Served with ranch or garlic mayo. Yum.
I'm home for my birthday. I have a fab hotel suite and the biggest rental car you've ever seen...a FREAKING CHEVY TAHOE. I didn't plan it that way, that's just what they gave me. It has leather and nearly auto everything. Auto lights, auto seats, auto climate control, auto beep warning thingie telling you you're about to back into something (a feature which I now want on my next car). The one auto thing it doesn't have? Auto wipers. In PORTLAND.
It's surprisingly easy to park...even parallel if you happen to venture downtown. WAY easier than the previous generation Equinox and its horrible electronic power steering. (I can't compare it to the current one, as I haven't driven one of those yet.)
On the road, it's pretty much like piloting a barge. Not so great on hilly winding narrow two-lane blacktop like Cornell Road.
The trip has been great so far. I flew out on Frontier, the airline with the animal images on their tails. The first leg was on a Midwest Airlines (their fleet is being merged into Frontier's) Embraer 190. This is one of the larger regional aircraft with a 2+2 single-aisle seating configuration. Midwest apparently had a business class...the first four rows had a 2+1 configuration with wider nicer seats. That was a pleasant surprise.
The second leg was on an Airbus A320 featuring Ozzy the Orca on the tail. Regular seats, but nobody sat between me and the woman in the aisle seat, which we appreciated. Frontier's Airbus jets have DirecTV monitors on the seat backs. There I am sitting in the dark watching Craig Ferguson while snacking on cheese curds and Pepsi. Best. Flight. Ever.
Oh...and they serve complementary warm chocolate chip cookies. Very good chocolate chip cookies.
I hung out with the family yesterday. My aunt barbecued some fab hamburgers for lunch and whipped up Grandma's homemade fried chicken for dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, and biscuits with raspberry jam. Even the raspberry jam is homemade...the most awesome jam you'll ever have. (Well...I'LL ever have. Find your own relatives with a vast knowledge of cooking.) Brought memories of my youth right back.
This morning, I ventured out with the intention of having breakfast. The perfect breakfast to compliment a fabulous home-cooked meal, of course, is Jack in the Box. Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich and two tacos. Breakfast of champions. But the Jack in the Box wasn't open. It LOOKED open...the OPEN sign was on and the order screen at the drive-thru was working...but nobody was there. A Prius was circling the drive-thru, angrily honking its horn by the order window.
I wasn't that motivated.
So I went over to Gresham and found a Jack in the Box with actual people working. Then I went to Safeway for limeade and the morning paper. Then I went back to the hotel and lazily read the Sunday paper, a practice I haven't done in years. Like many of you, I just rely on the web. You know what I realized? Physical newspapers are really cumbersome to read.
Then I got a good swim in before every kid staying in the hotel invaded the pool. Apparently, the magic hour to get under is 9:00am.
The remainder of the day will be with the family again. Dinner is at McCormick & Schmick's.