Posts Tagged ‘tamale’

Crater LakeWhile the logical route from San Francisco to South Carolina involves heading east on a highway straight through the center of the United States, I didn’t want to leave the west coast before exploring the oft-praised foodie-haven of Portland. So from Post Creek we drove further north, with a quick stop at Crater Lake (the stop would have been longer but the trails surrounding the lake were still under 8+ feet of snow!).

Portland Farmer\'s MarketWe arrived in Portland with lists of food suggestions but only a short time to explore. We ate excellent comfort food at Mother’s that evening and then began the next morning with a trip to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market at Shemanski Park in anticipation of our drive through Utah deserts and the accompanying dearth of fresh, organic produce. There were tables stacked high with the first tomatoes of the season, which were juicy and sweet but retained the tartness of the vines they’d just been picked off, along with stalls of petite, sweet strawberries and Salmon at the Portland Farmer\'s Marketlusciously rich cherries. I bought fresh bread and raw goat’s milk cheese, and exotic pestos—chipolte and cilantro-pistachio. We bought garlic stalks and were instructed to roast as we would asparagus. I also discovered that while the west coast salmon stocks had collapsed and were closed to commercial fishing, Native Americans were exempt from the ban. I was torn…I love salmon and had avoided buying it as I detest the slimy vapid taste of farmed salmon and I didn’t want to further encourage fishing of these depleted stock of fresh fish. And, quite frankly, I can’t afford the wild Alaskan salmon as demand has driven up the price. Taras Grescoe wrote a brilliant op-ed article in the New York Times about this issue. But here is was, beckoning to me. While I understand and appreciate the exemption of the Native Americans to this fishing ban, I still couldn’t quite bring myself to buy the salmon as, thinking back to my economics major, increases in demand with a limited supply will further increase prices, or people will find a way to increase supply potentially involving illegal fishing.

Tamale Stand at Portland Farmer\'s MarketMy friend Jen, whom we were visiting and who was a fellow teacher with me in China, raved about the street food scene in Portland–cheap, plentiful and varied. With only one morning, I had a limited time to eat and contented myself with a tamale from the farmer’s market. I ordered the Yucatan Chicken ($5) and can safely say it was the best tamale I’d ever eaten. The steamed cornmeal dough was hearty and moist without the dense, glue-iness I’ve often encountered. The shredded chicken filling was red and smoky and the spicy salsa had a wicked kick. These tamales have already been discovered by the people of Portland, so arrive before 11:30 to avoid a line but I’d have to say, the tamales are well worth any length of line.

Yukatan Chicken Tamale

Read Full Post »