How did I not know about The Deck? Not that thing outside my backdoor, but that place on Portland's backdoor, a hideaway on the Columbia River off Marine Drive that is a throwback to all that is outdoors and thirst inducing. A place where the cocktails are strong, the food is, well, okay, and the beers are cold. It is a place where the hangout factor is huge, and the mellow vibe will instantly take hold. It's like a mini-vacation in the city. If it is sunny out and you're not here watching the sailboats slide by on the Columbia, then you are clearly in the wrong place in your life.
w and I picked the gloriousness that was last Sunday to ride our bikes out (an effort I use as rationalization for any consumption), rolling out NE 33rd Avenue and crossing at McCuddy's Marina, where floating among the various pleasure craft is the real pleasure to be had at The Deck. Cold beer in hand, easing the leg burning pain of the ride, I ordered their special of a fried halibut sandwich (right), and w had the tuna melt. I won't go too much into the food, because that is not the point here. The food is merely filler to soak up whatever alcoholic indulgence you might be getting into. Suffice to say they were both good, and the fries were a bit above average. Sitting on the deck, just chilling (in the metaphorical sense) and basking in the late
summer sun I was LOVING it. However, the love is short lived, because here's the rub: The Deck is only open from April through the end of September (this year through Oct. 3rd). Meaning you have exactly the next ten days to experience this piece of PDX heaven before, Brigadoon-like, it slips away for the next six months!
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TABOR FOOD CART
You more than likely have heard tales about the glory that is the Tabor Food Cart Schnitzelwich, the breaded and fried über-sandwich that cart owners Karel and Monika Vitek have been using to deliciously clog PDX arteries for the past few years. If you haven't yet been so informed, click here for my first experience. I found myself downtown last Monday in need of sustenance and was a block away from Tabor, so I walked over with every intention of getting my schnitzelwich on. That is until I saw the Szekely (pron. "seh-kee") Goulash (pictured above) on special. Pork, paprika, cream, kraut, dumpling, and of course the most important ingredient "more". How could I not. And once again Karel and Monika did not disappoint. Right on par with their rarely seen chicken paprikash this was rich, intensely flavored, the bread-like dumplings perfect for sopping up the sauce. At $6.50 this was filling in the way I would imagine all eastern Euro food should be, giving strength for the afternoon of tractor driving that would usually follow a hearty lunch in the Czech countryside. That is what follows lunch in the Czech countryside, isn't it??
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I also had the opportunity to sniff out Bro Dogs down in the same cart utopia where Tabor is located. Bro Dogs is keeping Portland "Brolicious" with their array of offerings powered by Sabrett kosher dogs. When I was there I went straight for the unvarnished Classic Bro Dog, which was actually quite good, a plain Sabrette dog wrapped up in a flat bread roll that snugly keeps the hot dog tucked inside and the condiments off of your clothes. At $4 I wouldn't call it a screaming deal, maybe even a little overpriced, but the quality is all there. Worth a try, but at that price I'll head over to Sheridan Fruit where I still feel their grilled dog reigns supreme.