I hate when you order something that looks delicious, only to take a bite and find that the chef under seasoned it.
Case in point: I went to the farmer’s market earlier today. Part of the fun is in stocking up on fresh produce, and I definitely came away with my share. Apples, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and fresh dill. But it’s also an excuse to grab lunch on the go, and the Portland Farmer’s Market has no shortage of vendors serving great food there. Salvador Molly’s, Pine State Biscuits, and C’est Si Bon all serve wonderful meals. I like to try new things though, and today a Mexican place called Verde Cocina caught my eye. They were selling Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, and Gringas. Their menu describes these as:
Gringas are soft, rolled tacos made from our handmade corn tortillas, spread with garbanzo-white bean mash, filled with either fresh local pork or fresh local veggies. They are covered with our signature housemade molé sauce, and served with whole beans and a mountain of veggies.
Sounded too good to pass up, so I opted for the pork version, which cost me $9 (ouch – that’s more than any of the other aforementioned vendors charges for lunch, but I was in a generous mood and the aroma from the freshly grilled sweet onions beckoned to me). They handed me my plate, and it was piled high with a colorful, appealing mound of fresh vegetables smothered in a thick, brick-red sauce. Yum, right?!
Not so much.
I found a spot to sit, eagerly dug in with my fork, and was dismayed to find the food bland and largely flavorless. This sucked because A) It wasn’t cheap, and B) There were plenty of other options available with proven track records. But what could I do at that point? Maybe if I’d been in a restaurant I’d have sent the meal back, but I had already wandered away from the booth and there was a long line of patrons waiting to order there anyway. It’s not that the food was bad…but it positively screamed out for salt and pepper. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who are afraid to season their food. A little salt and pepper goes a long way toward bringing out the flavors in a dish! I know I’m not alone in this way of thinking. I watch a lot of cooking shows, and the judges always gives chefs a hard time for under seasoning their dishes. It’s a cardinal sin! My meal would have been so much better with a sprinkling of both. You know how some people carry around flasks filled with the booze of their alcoholic choice? I’m tempted to start packing a flask full of salt, and another filled with pepper. And if that insults the sensibilities of the cook who prepared the dish, they can bite me since they have no business serving me something that lacks flavor in the first place!
I should’ve known better. This place was all hey, we have vegan dishes and our meals are all gluten-free!! Then again, that describes the majority of Portland restaurants, so it probably wouldn’t have done me any good. I ate most of it, and it filled me up. That’s about the best I can say, other than lesson learned. Next time I’m going for the biscuit topped with fried chicken, cheese and gravy. Gluten-free? Nope. Healthy? Not a chance. But you can bet your ass it tastes good!
Afterwards, I wandered around downtown Portland for an hour, just walking and enjoying what may be the last warm weekend day of the year. OK, “enjoying” is too strong a word because it was too hot for my blood and also humid, but the weatherman is calling for rain the next few days so I won’t complain too bitterly. Besides, today is only the 2nd day of autumn. I had no destination in mind; I just wanted to wander the streets, taking in the sights and sounds. That’s the great thing about P-Town; you’re guaranteed to spot something out of the ordinary, every time. Today it was a homeless man asleep in a doorway who demonstrated terrible fashion sense by wearing mismatched shoes: one was black and the other, white. Tsk-tsk. A little coordination next time please, buddy! I also spied a man in a white mariachi suit blowing a horn on a spare corner for change, another man yelling at everybody to Repent Now because The End Is Near but don’t worry, Jesus Loves You. This was topped off with a bunch of new solar-powered trash compactors lining the streets. I’m telling you, this was all a veritable smorgasbord of Portlandia.
Properly seasoned, of course.
- Season To Taste (foodservicewarehouse.com)