Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Beautiful Saturday Morning in Portland: Breakfast at Fats

Saturday. Dolly-girl had a list. "Jack, me and Lavaya got our baby-blues on a place over in Gourmet Gulch for birdseed, and I want to stop and look for some new art-work while we're over there. Remember, they pass out Mimosas on Saturday and Sunday mornings and we're in the mood." I could always be in the mood to perambulate, gesticulate, masticate, and appreciate, so I was game.

Lavaya Switch is a pal-o-mine of Dolly-girl's from the Mile High that she corresponds with and every once in a whenever, they get together and talk about whatever it is chiquita bananas talk about when they get together to talk about whatever it is that needs talking about. Follow? Lavaya came to Stumptown and then over to the Coast to talk to a person she needed to talk to, and then she parked her valise at our place for a coupla days before she caught the Viscount service uphill from Stumptown Field.

"We ran into Kitty and she told us they were having a big sale on hang-em-ups and she said you and her and Fin had seen that new hashhouse looking like it was open." Dolly-girl and Kitty talk. "Alright, it's Saturday, it's July [a quiet time in Stumptown, if you get where I'm headed], and you got a list. I'm on it." We harnessed shank's mare and headed for the part of our part of town where you can get four things: a sailor's arm, a steaming cuppa joe, a mirror so you can see the Holy Mother of God when you're looking at yourself, and good food. We were after the the first of the daily 3-squares.

Me and Dolly-girl had been waiting for this place. The owner had a way about him that would generally cause me to fire a Lucky, pat my heater, and say "take it down a notch, Mac." "No one knows how to cook an egg in this town" aint' making friends when you open the shutters and start slinging hash across the street from the best egg joint in Stumptown, a place me and Dolly-girl have been to more than a handful of times. We slid in. The joint had its doors ajar, but other than Missy, it was going to be just us warming the seats.

We walked in. I looked around. Bare bulbs hung from the ceiling. A row of blowers on the wall. So far the joint reminded me of a place on the other side of the river where you could lay off bets on the daily double at Stumptown Meadows. The floor told me why I hadn't seen Smurfette lately--I guess she got on the wrong side of Tinky Winky and some of his pals.

It was the sort of place that maybe time forgot, but judging from the clock, it may have been a place that forgot time. The clock on the wall said just past ten-thirty, but a look at my Dueber-Hampden told me it was short of ten--too early for the hair of the dog, even though there were plenty of dogs waiting to be clipped.
I made a note: this is a place that will see our shadow again.

Missy ran his hand around the room and Dolly-girl and Lavaya picked a table near the windows, backed up against the wall. Fine with me. I could keep an eye on a part of Stumptown that had a reputation for needing an eye kept on, while at the same time lining up the best feedbags in town. Go figure.

We settled our bones and right away Dolly-girl and Lavaya were cooing over the "day-coeur", as they were calling it. Looked like a joint to me. Tables, glasses, wipe-your-yaps, Mike and Ikes, the only thing different was the sand was in blocks. But whatever. Lotsa joints have blocks of sand.

Missy ambled over. It was clear this joint had an attitude, but hey, so do I and if what I've read in the broadsheets about the hashslinger is half of half of the skinny, it'll be good. "Bull run?". "Three. Two joes, make one a blond...You? No. Bull run does it...Got it." He was all business for the end of the week. We might be first through the door, but you could tell he knew we wouldn't be the last.

Missy brought the joe and it was jake. "Don't get no better in Stumptown than Stumptown..." "Yeah, we drink it all the time." Dolly-girl wasn't gonna let Missy treat us like we were from the other side of the river coming east for the first time 'cause of some broadsheet rap. "We set our brake around here. Maybe you could learn a thing or two from the joe joint next to the ink well." "Can't call your bluff on that one, green-eyes, they drip a first class cuppa over there." He set down the whadda-ya-wants, winked at Dolly-girl, and said, "I'll check back." I started up, but Dolly-girl put her hand on my arm and said, 'Relax, Jack, he didn't mean no nevermind. I didn't see no sparkles." I got a thing about those greenies.

The whadda-ya-want was full of bring-it-to-me-nows. Lavaya and Dolly-girl settled on the cackleberries, bubble & squeak, and a raft. I went for a couple wrecked with diced Noah's boy, some cockney wax, the breath of life, and frog sticks on the side. The Canadian started to say, Eh?", but whoever heard of poutine without curds? Chevre? Wait just a Manitoba Minute!

Missy was talking to the slinger, and moving every which way which was a good way to move seeing that a crowd was just about to arrive. He was working the joint alone, but then another missy showed up and the two of them were jiffy-quick getting more joe java and Bull Run where it needed to be. This wasn't Missys' first what-can-I-get-ya job.

Missy brought three feed bags and we tied them on. The girls got quiet--just some murmurs let me know that cackleberries on a raft were floating down the Columbia, headed for sea. My wreck'em right was wrecked just right. I asked for a squeeze out of the yellow bottle, but the joint is new--Missy looked around but they didn't have it. "Put it on your list--I know you got one." "On it."

Forty-five minutes and three Hamiltons after we walked into the joint, we were on the street, saying this won't be the last time Fats finds us looking at the whadda-ya-want. Our part of Stumptown, the place where Dolly-girl and me set the brake, and where the people on the other side of the river don't like to say they like, but they like better than their side of the river where they call a front porch home, has got another great trough.

The three of us walked on down the street and picked up that art that me and Dolly-girl are sure is going to finish off that spot above our fireplace that's just been waiting for the right piece of the Louvre. It reminds us of that Europe trip we took.

1 comment:

Newsman said...

Bein, chalick, t'es rendu bilingue!
That is Hawkesburgerspeak for, hey you are bilingual, eh?
As for the poutine and chevre, I believe you refer to goat cheese, a very appropriate addition to any decent boat of that wonderful, cholesterol-filled mess of gravy and fries.
Here, we often dump on curds (the same term in French and English).
Have you sampled curds? Best enjoyed at room temperature (the squeak is crucial), these lumps of cheese are celebrated every year at the Festival de la Curd in St-Albert.
Love the use of day coeur, but what or who are greenies?
As usual, the photos and narrative are formidable, Jean!