Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Saturday Nootime in Portland: Lunch at the Cup and Saucer

Right around when the noon whistle went off, Dolly-girl and me perambulated over to one of her spots, a not-a-greasy spoon half-diner over on Killingsworth at 30th, what people in the heights of Stumptown call Gourmet Gulch, but what people on our side of the river call home. It doesn't make it as a greasy spoon 'cause they spend a little too much time cooking for the grazers and wax snappers, and it's not a diner, 'cause it's only open when trouble's asleep--know what I mean--8 in the morning 'til an hour before cocktails.

We weren't the only ones who had a taste for the breakfast scrambles and blue plates; I could see that by the line out the door when we walked up. I backed up against the wall under the sign and scanned the scene while Dolly-girl went in to talk to her Missy friend and see how long we'd be looking at the walls. Not long it turned out as a bunch of the egg and bacon crowd were on the south end of java and heading out to wherever Saturday was going to take them. Ten minutes under the sign did it and we slid into a table in the upper room.

The place was filled with mostly 20 and 30-somethings. What is it with knit caps with ears? Dolly-girl spied some strange ones, commented on the size and number of piercings, and joked about maybe she'd ought to have one of those hats. But I knew she was pulling my leg, 'cause she likes that wave in the eye look too much, know what I mean? Being that I like to use a Kodak, I noticed that there were some "interesting" pictures on the walls, snaps of far away places, but mostly the Brownie sort of shots, including some snapshots taped to the wall. Just scenery so I figured the clicker to be some sort of play-boy rather than a gum-shoe on a case. A few were in cheap frames, for sale. $20. Note to self, if the trouble business goes south, there may be some options, you with me...

Missy brought the whadda-ya-wants and a couple Bull Runs. "Java?" I shook my head, but Dolly-girl ordered a blonde. It came in a mug with a spoon--nice touch--but I noticed, and looked around to be sure, that there wasn't a saucer in sight. "What's with the name?" I asked Dolly-girl, "Why not Mug and Spoon?" She eyed me over the blonde and through the wave and shook her head. She tells me I need to suspend reality, but hey, reality is what I do.

"What'll it be, Dolly-girl?" So it is on her trapline. "Give me the garden on the sheaves and toast it. Make sure there's a slice of California green on there. Sweet potato fries in the alley" "Yours?" "Melt a Charlie on whiskey with wax, and throw some cowfeed and a love apple on it. And I'll take the potage sur la côté." "You got it, Frenchie." Missy headed for the kitchen.

Things were hoppin' back there and the hash slingers were extra busy keeping the granola orders separate from the real food. Have to say that tofu never seemed like real breakfast eats to me--I mean it doesn't come in shells, you don't peel it, and after you cook it, it's less slippery than when you started. Yeah, I eat the stuff when Dolly-girl gets on one of her far eastern healthy kicks, but really? For breakfast?

Missy brought the plates, asked if there'd be anything else, and before we answered, dropped the check and walked away. She knew Dolly-girl and so she knew there was never anything else--we had what we'd come for. The Charlie was tasty, much better than a run-of-the-mill radio, with some chopped stalk, breath, and just enough of the Dijon spicy. The wax was sharp and the rye was toasted crisp, just right. The cowfeed was added by Missy I'm guessing as it was fresh and cool while everything else was piping. The potage poulet à la bébé was great in the alley--full of clucker and rabbit food in a thick cream. Dolly-girl was looking at a regular trip through the farmer's market on wheat over on her side of the table. I knew from her look that it was hitting the spot, with those sweet potato fries punching extra hard.

Dolly-girl stirred her blonde, drank it down, and tossed her napkin on the plate. "Told you it was A-list" she purred. I can't disagree with that. A Jackson got us outta there with a smile on Missy's face. Outside a few flakes were coming down. I pulled Dolly-girl close, tugged the brim of my fedora, and pushed the door open. The bell on the door tinkled twice as we crossed the street and headed home. It won't be the last time I hear that bell.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Oh I love these stories!