Monday, February 12, 2007

Semi-sunny Saturday morning: I woke up with explorative energy, and decided to catch the bus to one of my favorite little Portland neighborhoods—Mississippi Street. I began with a perfect latte from Albina Press (you know, the kind they always used to make at all the decent coffee shops in Seattle), with the fern pattern on top. I want to learn how to make those, to master that technique of delicately swirling the espresso foam and the milk. (The guy who made this one apparently won second at the U.S. barista championships.) I stayed at Albina Press for a little while, people watching and then scanning the scraps of New York Times left behind by charitable subscribers.

After that, I strolled down Mississippi as it woke up, passing couples with dogs, running kids, moms pushing strollers, and hipsters freshly rolled out of bed. Moxie Rx was open, and I could not resist the temptations sitting in this kitsch little food trailer’s window: homemade muffins, pastries, rolls with brie and apple. It was all laid on vintage plates with 50s linen and doilies—picture perfect and delectable. The woman who runs the place also has a couple of made-to-order specials listed on cute little plaques, and drinks like berry smoothies and steamers (spiced apple cider, orange-chili-Mexican cocoa, spiced maple milk).

Although I had already resolved not to eat a heavy brunch this weekend, I could not resist her Cheddar Biscuit—a handmade buttermilk biscuit baked with a cheddar cheese top, sandwiching applewood smoked bacon (or smoked salmon), fluffy herbed and scrambled eggs, folded over a little slice of provolone. It was a bundle of heaven, wrapped perfectly in a piece of waxed paper. All buttery and savory, wrapped up like that, the breakfast was reminiscent of a McDonalds breakfast biscuit. Truly, I mean this only in the most complementary of ways, because, growing up, the “bacon egg and cheese biscuit” was one of my most favorite things. I eagerly anticipated the days (about once a week or so) when we woke up early enough for my Mom to take us through the “drive-thru.” And, with my whip-thin frame and insatiable adolescent appetite, I always ordered two breakfast sandwiches (an Egg McMuffin to accompany the biscuit). I played a lot of soccer then.

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