Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Morning on Mississippi in Portland: Breakfast at Gravy

Blower. I'm in the kitchen; I hear Dolly-girl in the front room. I know it's some pal-o-hers 'cause I hear her answer. Dolly-girl screens, but she doesn't let on..."Yallow, Fiora here." I'm the only one that calls her Dolly-girl, and it usually gets me a shot over my bow from under her wave. "No kidding? OK, then. We'll look forward to it. See you then. Ciao." I love it when she talks old country. She popped into the kitchen where I was working at the Tappan. "Lavaya Switch is coming to town. She's bringing her amore, Dardanelle Deniz. Turns out Dar's parents were from the old country--not our old country, but another one--and that the old man was a geography nut. Four kids became Bosporus, Marmara, Dardanelle, and Aegean, which makes some sense since the last name roughly translates to ocean. They became Bos, Mara, Dar, and Augie once they went to school. Anyhoo, why would you care about that and what does it have to do with Gravy? Nothin'.

Lavaya and Dar went off and did this and that here and there, you know, enjoying what there is to enjoy of the Beaver State--and that's a lot--and then ended up back in Stumptown for a couple days before their clipper took to the sky them back to the Mile High where they set their brake. Saturday morning seemed like a good time to head out for a feedbag full of birdseed and a coupla cuppas. Dolly-girl'd been to this joint over on Mississippi a couple of times--Gravy. What's not to like about a hash house that puts its best foot forward right in its name? The place was full and then some, but the hash slingers and soup jockies were cutting through the crowd like, well, a hot knife through gravy. We didn't have to wait long before the HMFIC called "D'Mestiere" and Dolly-girl waved her hand in the air. The joint's old, but it's had more work than a Grammy from Miami, follow? The original stuff is all there, but it looks like new. Maybe a little taut and tight, and here and there a little rough, but all-in-all, an improvement.

We parked it where Missy waved his hand. He was on it from the start, "Cuppa?" and looked around at two up-and-downs--me and Dolly-girl--and two side-to-sides--Dar and Lavaya. "Got it. Can I squeeze you?" I started to go for Messrs Smith&Wesson, but Dolly-girl put her hand on my arm. "Juice, Jack. Juice. For chrissakes, don't be so jumpy." I settled. Two more up-and-downs, with the gals getting squeezed and the guys sticking with Bull Run. He tossed the whadda-ya-wants down on the table and told us he'd be back. We were a regular factorial experiment: Bull Run, Bull Run and joe, Bull Run and juice, and one of each.

He kept his promise. Lavaya was being good. "Bring me a bowl of Trigger's favorite with some Eden's curse." Dar doubled it. Dolly-girl was eying up the flats. "Give me the Mason-Dixon blowout patches." My turn. damn, they'd all been good. Well, three out of four ain't bad. "Chicken-fried chicken in a sea of gravy for me, and throw Adam & Eve on that raft." "Float the coop. You got it." Dar picked up the card and looked again. "Better give me a heart attack on a rack too, this bein' a place called Gravy." "That a boy."

Missy made a couple passes by with the jug-o-joe and a pitcher of Bull Run while we waited. Crowds were piling up outside--seemed like this was the place to be and we were there. Ed Murrow would be lighting up. Missy slid the feedbags onto the table, checked four faces for teeth and nods, refrained from commanding "Enjoy!" which got him points with me, and took off. Four heads did the once-around and then we dug in. Murmurs took the place of yapping. Wasn't long 'til Dolly-girl was after a piece of the chicken and gravy action. I politely declined her offer to trade, but gave her enough to let her know that she should've ordered gravy in a place called Gravy.

I slipped Adam & Eve onto an Irish reef and dug in. The chicken was fried up like someone in a kitchen on Mississippi Avenue knew how to whistle Dixie. The only thing I'd tell that slinger is when you got fried clucker at the plate with Murphies on deck, and Adam & Eve in the hole, skip the veggie gravy and bring on the real thing! And the real thing was right across the table--Dar's aorta clogger was sitting over there, staring me in the face. "Have a dip..." "Don't mind if I do," and I'm glad I did! The gravy had zeppelin chunks and lots of spice--just the right amount of zing. It would have made that clucker into a barnyard and there wouldn't have been a thing wrong that an extra Lipator or two couldn't have taken care of. And, it would be the lifeblood of an excellent poutine, if they ever decide to start singing O Canada!

When we'd eaten all we could and packed up what we couldn't, we waddled on out of Gravy, without having left a lot of gravy to pay for the gravy. Verdict on Gravy? Groovy. Get some, you'll be glad.

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

As I am reading this, I am eating twigs and sour milk, dusted off with fruit that could use a drink.
Does pale in comparison to your meal.

I just love week-end Breakfasts where you find a great Diner or a place called Gravy, and indulge!
That...and a bottomless cuppa!