February 6, 2012

Portland Pancakes

We left Portland and our new friends Becky and Russ a week ago. Although we were no more than friends of friends seeking accommodation, after our brief time together their exceptional welcome along with some uniquely American experiences quickly made us feel like we were part of the family.

Becky and Russ are true Oregonians, which after these few days in their lovely company could be put as: an incredible sense of fun, a poignant devotion to inter-college sport competitions (or Ducks vs. Beavers for the ones in the know!), a singular pride of the "man cave" (well hidden behind large garage doors...) and a particularly enthusiastic approach to the concept of "joie de vivre".

After a whole day wandering around the city - including its famous food carts offering choices from absolutely everywhere around the world (Tom was particularly taken with the Korean tacos!) - we met Becky and Russ for Happy Hour at Departure, a modern Pan-Asian restaurant located atop the luxury Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. Happy Hours featuring drinks and small plates at reduced price seem to be an institution in the Oregon capital, and this one turned out to be an excellent way to get us in high spirits before heading to the stadium for the Trailblazers vs. Suns NBA game taking place that night.

A great amount of laughter and another few Blue Moon wheat ales at the stadium, and we naturally finished the evening in the "man cave" for a last one before bed. What an awesome night, but also what a formidable headache the next morning… Thankfully, Russ' pancakes "with the secret ingredient" (which we all suspect to be vanilla by the way) acted as the perfect breakfast to fight and eventually triumph over the hangover. Hair of the dog not necessary, but there were Mimosas for those who fancied some!

Happy to return the favour and be at work in the kitchen for a little while, I prepared Nigella Lawson's Lemon Meringue Cake for our hosts the next day, an unconditional winner at previous dinner parties. To my great pleasure, it was the case again this time, as the whole family highly enjoyed the gorgeous multi-layered cake.

A small tribute to our wonderful hosts… But hey Russ, it's official now: your pancakes went international!

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