Sometimes even an extrovert needs alone time.
(Stop laughing, Andrew).
An extrovert’s alone time consists of being alone, but around people. This past Thursday was the perfect night for me to do this. I got all gussied up and took an interesting and funny lady on a date – yes, I mean me.
For my date I took myself to Ox, a restaurant in Portland I have been meaning to go to. Ox does not accept reservations so I figured I could sneak in at an early 5:00 dinner hour. I headed there after work and thought I might not make it due to some major backups. But, I parked at 5:15 at the nearest cross street.
The main window of the restaurant faces out to MLK. As I approached I peeked in to make sure that there was seating available. The restaurant was mostly empty. I spied a door next to the street facing windows and tried the handle before realizing it was locked. It was the door leading into the lofts upstairs. I turned the corner around the building and ran into a dick.
A real dick.
It was attached to a man.
He was peeing on the corner of the building.
He was angry at me – like anyone would be if you accidentally walked in on them while they were in the bathroom. So, that would be understandable, but for him peeing on the building. At the corner of a busy street. In public. Street-side.
I found the restaurant door and entered.
“How can I help you?”
“Um. You have a gentleman peeing on the corner of your building. Also, I would like to be seated for dinner.”
“There is a gentleman, well actually, he’s probably not a real gentleman as he is peeing on the corner of your building. Also, can I get a table for one.”
“Oh, um, sure. OK. I can seat you and I will take care of the other thing in a moment.”
“OK. Though, he’s probably done by now.”
“Do you mind the bar? I can seat you right by the window.”
“Sure. As long as it’s not a view to the corner of your building.”
She seated me at the bar and I ordered a bourbon. My meal came out slowly but never at a pace where I was trying to figure out where it was. The bartender was pleasantly chatty without being a part of my date. The food was good.
It started with a light cauliflower bisque with smoked peppercorns “sent by the kitchen”. I always like this in a restaurant. I feel like it probably means they like me more than the other patrons.
Then came my appetizer which was octopus and tripe (stop gagging, Andrew) with mint aioli. I had not been expecting a stew, probably because I had not read the menu properly, but that is what came out. The octopus and tripe were each cooked beautifully without being rubbery. But in the tomato based spicy stew the flavor of each got lost. Also can we please stop calling it aioli and just call it mayo? That’s what it is. And in a heavy stew, the mayo just added a slightly greasy extra-heaviness. This was not my favorite dish.
Next came my main course, lamb shoulder chop. This was my favorite dish. When I ordered, I had been having trouble deciding between it and a steak when the bartender explained to me the lamb was pretty fatty. That sold it. It was cooked perfectly and had some charred rosemary on it.
I also ordered the kale and radicchio salad. It had toasted chick peas and blue cheese. It was supposed to come with a dressing, but I don’t really like dressing.
This salad needed dressing.
The kale was not rubbed so it was dry and chewy. The whole salad was dry. And chewy. It was not good. The chick peas were tasty though.
Then came dessert. There are very few gluten free options for dessert at many of the good restaurants of Portland. Ox is no exception. I ended up with a scoop each of peach bourbon ice cream and honey chamomile ice cream. The peach bourbon tasted more like “peach, hold the bourbon.” But, that was likely due to the overwhelming flavor of bourbon the bourbon I was drinking had. The honey chamomile was divine and felt like a nice cup of tea after a tasty meal.
All in all the food at Ox was pretty good. The staff was excellent. The atmosphere was mostly blue-hairs because it was so early in the evening. One particular table near me, who apparently had never been to a restaurant before, was superb people watching fodder. They would ask the waiter daunting questions about how they could reduce the price of their meal, “What if we just want a half portion, would that be OK?” “Well, how many shrimp are actually in the dish, because we probably don’t want all of them.”
But the company was the best of all.
Sometimes, a girl just has to date herself.