|Olympic Provisions SE on SE Washington St. in Portland|
Portland is a food town, local food is akin to a religious phenomena there. A few years ago, when the the travelling pig extravaganza Cochon 555 visited Portland, a local chef got into a fist-fight with the organizer of the cook-off because some of the pigs used in the cook-off were not locally sourced. There was a broken leg, a concussion and the police had to use pepper spray and a taser to break up the fight. Portland people are very serious about local food.
For a city of its size there are uncommonly many cutting edge restaurants. In addition to the restaurants, there are excellent specialty food shops, high end grocery stores and innovative food carts everywhere. Safeway in Laramie is only a poor second cousin to those same stores in Portland. Whenever we travel there we try to find the time and money to eat a meal cooked by someone else, someone who is hopefully more skilled at the stove than we. This time we went to Olympic Provisions SE on SE Washington Street in Portland. The chef at OPSE is Alex Yoder. According to their web-page, they were Portland's first salumeria - specializing in charcuterie and cured meats with a menu inspired by rustic Spanish and Mediterranean cooking. In Portland, if you want excellent European style charcuterie you don't import it (you might get beat up) you make your own, and that's just what they do at OPSE. You can see the meats hanging in a cure room behind the main counter.
|Note window into the meat curing room.|
The restaurant itself is a modern loft space in a old renovated building. Having spent part of my youth in NYC renovating lofts in SoHo when it was still the art district, I am a sucker for these industrial spaces. With the high ceilings the space initially feels large, but it's not really. The dining area is narrow giving it an intimacy that feels just about right for sharing a meal.
|Olympic Provisions menu - 22 December 2012|
|Domaine Tempier 2008|
All-in-all we had a very good meal with exceptional wines. With so many interesting places to eat in Portland I'm not thinking I'll be heading right back - though on our next visit we might just buy a selection of Olympic Provisions charcuterie as a prelude to a home cooked meal. Mainly, when I go out to a restaurant like this I hope to eat something astounding, something I'd never though of or that I can not easily reproduce at home. Though the food was very good - I did not really find that at Olympic Provisions. I enjoyed a very good meal with family in nearly perfect space served by a competent wait staff.