Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MJ&K Explore PDX 2014: June & July.

Since last updating da blog back in June, I was really hoping to write more posts other than JUST documenting the food that Manda, Kathy, and I have eaten. BUT THEN, this summer went and blew up in my face. IT BLEW RIGHT UP, I TELL YOU, making focusing on non-essential real-life things very hard. In fact, I should very much not even be writing this, because I have so much other adulting I should be doing like, right now. But whatever. Sometimes you just have to write about the food you ate.

June: The Grilled Cheese Grill Double-Decker Bus!; SE 28th

Holy crap, was this one of the most Portland-y experiences I've had in a while. (Which is not a negative statement, by the way!) The Grilled Cheese Grill is a thing I've wanted to visit forevah, because hello, who wouldn't want to eat grilled cheese on a school bus-turned-restaurant? While the original is on Alberta, we opted to visit a closer-to-us location off of Burnside and 28th, where there is a DOUBLE DECKER GRILLED CHEESE BUS. To be clear, they actually make the grilled cheeses in a separate, actual-food-cart type space, and you just have the option of eating it on the bus. BUT WHY WOULDN'T YOU EAT IT ON THE BUS.

The front of said double decker grilled cheese bus.
There are so many reasons to like this place before you even eat there, starting with their website, where they list these reasons as why you should, in fact, eat there:
  1. With a full menu of cheeses, breads, and other good stuff, we make sandwiches that range from Saturday morning cartoon worthy, all the way up to Jeopardy-level sophisticated. We're just that versatile.
  2. It's an anecdotally-proven fact that food always tastes better when somebody else makes it, and usually even better if Mom made it.  Well if you can't get your mom to make you a grilled cheese right now, we'll be your mom.  A couple of bearded dudes in a food cart will be your mom.  
 3. You know you don't feel like cooking anyway.
UGH, I really don't! Thank you, beard dude moms!

The double decker is very much a legit old bus that shakes when people move around in it, and while you can eat on the first or second floor, if you want to eat on the second floor, there are some pluses and minuses. Plus: You can stare at people down below you from UP HIGH, which is always SUPER FUN.

So here, you just see bikes, but you get the idea.
As you can see in this picture, the tables are also covered in hee-larious childhood photos of what I'm pretty sure are the owners, possibly plus some other poor souls they immortalized underneath heavy plastic. Big plus! Also, to keep track of orders, you get assigned some random celebrity face on a stick. We got Mr. T. Meaning that when our grilled cheeses were ready, they called "Mr. T!" out through a loudspeaker into the bus and across the whole food cart pod. Pretty special.

Minuses of sitting on the top of the double decker bus: If you want a space where you can stand up fully, this is NOT THE SPACE FOR YOU. Here is a photo of Manda and Kathy, sitting, with the roof directly over their heads, looking happy and sexy:

Now here is a photo of me, standing closer to the stairs where you can actually stand straight up, but still suddenly having an anxiety attack over the small space, saying, we have to go, we have to go, we have to go right now. I become increasingly claustrophobic as time goes by these days, because oh god getting older is so weird:

Anyway, it's amazing I've talked this long without actually mentioning the food, isn't it? THE FOOD WAS GOOD! How could it not be! It's grilled cheese!

I got The Kelsey with ham, which includes Tillamook cheddar and basil pesto. Pesto + ham + cheese = YEP.

Kathy got the BLT GC, and Manda got The Gabby, which is a grilled cheese with ALL THE CHEESES, plus bacon! In addition to these fancy-ish grilled cheeses, you can get "The Cheesus," which is a cheeseburger squeezed between two grilled cheese sandwiches in lieu of a regular bun. Haha. Hahahahaha. God bless America.

I also really want to return if just to try their dessert grilled cheese concoctions. Dessert grilled cheese!

July: Gold Dust Meridian; Hawthorne

Okay, so this one wasn't completely, completely new to all three of us, because I had been there before, a long long time ago, when my cousin Meg lived here (*wipes away tear about recent return to the Coast of the East*) and had a genius tradition called Cocktail Club. I went to a Cocktail Club meeting once here, and arrived very late, and maybe, if anything, had a single beer. So let's be honest, it doesn't really count.

However, Manda and Kathy had never been, and when, on the fly, we decided to get celebratory drinks last night, I recalled that this bar had good looking drinks and a long lasting happy hour, so we went. We also got food--I had deviled eggs and a barbecue chicken flatbread pizza thing--and they were both really good. But I didn't take any photos of the food, I think because I was too busy being mesmerized by how pretty the drinks were.

We were celebrating because I got a job, a job I've wanted for a long time, and one that might sort of change our lives a lot for the better, and one that I am simultaneously thrilled and scared as hell about. I have a month before I actually start to let the reality of it sink in, and maybe eventually I'll be writing about it.

Anyway, in less vague and dramatic terms, the job is at a public school, which means I will probably have to start being slightly more careful about what I publish online. Which bums me out on the one hand but I know it will probably make my life easier on the other. Dear parents or administrators who may Google me and find lots of profanity in things I've published on the Interwebs and that I can't take back: I'm a very nice person, I swear, and I care about your students very deeply.

I WILL, however, never stop writing about food. Just with less cursing...I guess. (Or maybe I could just make up words to take the place of Bad Words I Want to Use When I Am Really Really Excited or Alternately Really Really Angry About Something. Like a-bing-bang-boom! Or gosh-golly-gossamer! Or coswallop-ahoy! I don't know. I'll work on it.)