We never mind shuttling folks to and from the airport because then we get to try new restaurants in Portland. And when you live in a town where going out to eat means drive through Taco Bell, well... putting on clean underwear and remembering your table manners is kind of a big deal.
Second Edition has her fingers on the pulse of all things food and the whisper and buzz about Toro Bravo was finally just too much to bear so we strapped on our "run like hell" Nikes and hit the hood for tapas. Toro Bravo is on Russell and MLK, which means if you're still jonesing after supper, you can always score some crack on the way to your car.
We were happily surprised to see a line of hungry locals with expensive haircuts weaving their way down the sidewalk at 5:00 p.m. waiting for the doors to open. Now, I used to make fun of people who ate dinner so early, but now that I'm old and my colon doesn't work so good...I get it. By 5:30, the place was packed, every table filled, and the hum of lively conversation and enthusiastic plate passing was downright dizzying.
We started with house-made chorizo (I love all sausages...no smart remarks, please), and manchego plus a tortilla espanola, in honor of my home town of same name. The tortilla suffered from too much mayo-like sauce, but the pig meat was excellent. Picking a wine was easy. The sweet-faced waitress described the 2006 Petalos Bierzo as something akin to "licking a rock" so of course we had to splurge on the heavyweight price. Friends of 2nd Ed. know the girl likes dirty wine. Moldy. Cave-like. Stinky. Stalagmite. Mineral crust. The dirtier the better. We would buy this bottle again and again. Or better yet...have someone else buy it for us.
Next course: sauteed beet greens with a sunny side egg. Good despite the grit between our molars. Roasted eggplant with sweet pepper, lamb ragu and mahon cheese. A wee-bit too cheesy and the eggplant gets lost under the powerful lamb, but still quite comforting.
Wish we could have eaten more, but we made the mistake of entering the gas station snack bar on the way to Portland and low-and-behold, the Cheetos 99 cent rack beckoned us. Washed down with a Dr. Pepper and a Kit-Kat, we were a bit full by the time Toro Bravo filled the horizon. Yup, nothing like junk food on the side of Interstate-5 while on the way to the most talked about restaurant in Portland. Never said I was smart.
Dessert! Oh, how could I forget. The best part! Fresh made churros dipped in warm, dark chocolate. So sexy. And almond ice cream with a shot of hot espresso poured over it. Yum.
Next time, we'll be more adventurous. Moroccan Tuna, Oxtail Croquettes, Red Cabbage and Smoked Pork Shank Soup. And Salt Cod Fritters.
Next time, we'll skip the Cheetos.