And by Georgia roots I really only mean the four years I lived there. But before I get into writing about the Russel Street Bar-B-Que on Martin Luther King Dr., I have a secret to tell you.
I am 25 years old and I’ve never eaten meat. That’s how I was raised. Until about a month ago. I’m not going to make this into a long and drawn out monologue, but my diet and body had gotten to such a place that serious issues were occurring in my day to day life. I remembered an article about Hilary Swank that I had read a few years back about how she had stopped eating meat and all of the physical changes she felt her body go through, and how she was pretty much forced to go back to eating a meat diet, which took away all of her symptoms. I thought to myself, maybe my body was screaming at me, crying on the inside for some kind of amino acid, protein salvation. Maybe I would have a miracle just like Hilary Swank. Well guys, I did.
My birth into the meat eating world was not solely physical. As a food writer, I commonly get the question asked…but you don’t eat meat how does that work? GREAT QUESTION. How does it work exactly? Right, not that well. Who wants to read about veggies and different types of pasta dishes ad nauseum. And yes my boozy diatribes are worth the read, but again, a difficult repeat performance.
It’s been crazy realizing i’m ALLOWED to eat all of this food. And really, my reaction is more of a “Where have I BEEN?” to everything right now. I just graduated from chicken today into the pork arena. Still too scared to try beef. And no, chicken did not change my life. But making the decision to fling wide my horizons to a FULL MENU for the first time in my life is pretty revolutionary. I’ve kept it a secret for a while because I wasn’t sure if this was a probationary period and I would scuttle back into the safety of the pescetarian life; but based on how much me and my body have enjoyed chicken, I don’t think that’ll be happening.
So let’s get back to me having my FIRST PORK CHOP ever. Oh wait, booze first.
Honestly, whenever I see a sangria on the menu, I ALWAYS order it, partly because Sangrias are rare, and I have to drink all of them out there from May-August. And then second part, I am looking for the best sangria in Portland so that on horrible days I can just plop down at that establishment and tell them to keep them coming until I begin talking about embarrassing things like dream weddings and the Olsen twins.
(Man, look how fried I look after work, clinging onto that Sangria. My Sangria face is a little scary, I admit…And that woman in the background is DREAMING of her Sangria.)
This time it was a white Sangria and I’m guessing he made it fresh on the spot. Not my preference since the best Sangrias are the ones that have time to saturate all of the fruit with the wine, but after an hour it had gotten a good balance. Was it the best Sangria ever? No way! Was it refreshing? Yes. And stiff. Score.
Hah! I always love how I rush to talk about the booze. So let’s back up and mention a little bit about the restaurant. Very quaint and homey. Still had an air of classiness to it which I always appreciate. Beyond that, not much to say. Nothing I would take home off the table. Not that I do that. But it’s a good metric when judging a restaurant. Table, bathroom, wall art.
Now, to the PORK CHOPS.
(So many plates, I know!)
The dish comes with two sides and some cornbread. The cornbread was meh; Bernie’s Bistro’s cornbread on NE Alberta is about a hundred times better with their own churned butter. This cornbread didn’t have enough flavor. I hope they didn’t buy it from Safeway and heat it up.
The two sides I chose was the mac n cheese and coleslaw. The mac n cheese was SPOT ON! Score! Beautiful bold flavor of four cheeses made me sad that I only had that little tiny bowl of it. The Mac n Cheese is worth getting a whole plate of.
In my opinion, coleslaw is hard to nail. Either it’s too runny, or there is one ingredient that overpowers the rest. The best coleslaw I’ve ever had was made by my roommate’s boyfriend, and it had a delicate sweetness to it balanced by a subtle vinegar flavor to it. Unfortunately, this coleslaw fell into the camp of “overpowered by an ingredient”. A shame really, since I was looking forward to that perfect combination between pork chop, mac n cheese and coleslaw. That was not to be had, and the coleslaw was left half eaten.
Okay, okay, no more suspense. My first pork chop was…interesting! I guess usually you are asked how you want it cooked? Or is that for a steak. Anyway, the texture was chewier than chicken and denser. My boyfriend had prepped me that they might feel heavy in my tummy. And they did. The pork chops came with a side of peach chutney, and I am usually not a fan of sweet sauces. This one? Not a fan either. It was too sweet, almost a jam consistency to it. A little bit of spice or tartness would’ve balanced it better.
Regardless, I had an awesome time being out with one of my favorite people…and clinging to my Sangria the whole evening. In all honesty? Chicken is still King. But I’ve just stepped into the pork arena, so i’ll be moving my way through it until I’m ready for a steak. Can I have a round of applause for eating my first BBQ?