As I have experienced a little depression over the last 6 months or so I have neglected that which makes me happy, partly due to a lack of inspiration (I attribute this to feelings of depression) mostly due to a lack of will power to write. Recently some of you found the blog and commented and this made me want to get back to writing because the cathartic nature of this blog helps in many ways cleanse my mind of the craziness of the everyday world. So thinking about my experiences of the last 6 months (or so) I have settled on writing about a gem I found in Portland, Oregon thanks to my brother.
Now many different diets encourage some crazy carb counting or avoidance of meat (crazy I know, but why judge when you can eat great food…even vegan food) or the total reliance on juice. Now I have never really dieted…I have cut back on things and tried new meals, I always keep myself open to new food experiences whether or not there is weirdness involved. For this kind of omnivorous diet, Portland is a great town. From food trucks to dive restaurants to upscale eats every type of food is represented here. It is one of these small places in the north Portland neighborhood of Kenton.
Kenton is deceptively enticing, you see the normal trappings of Portland…the Max, a Fred Myers, and other Portlandy sights…my favorite being a sign waver who was dancing his heart out. He was truly captivating as I waited at the red light to move again. But once you get to the “historic” portion of Kenton that changes, a lumberjack statue welcomes you to the area and you are partially transported to a small town. There are many shops lining this road, some pretty damn good restaurants, but my focus is on the Cultured Caveman.
My brother introduced me to this place, he knows I like to explore different foods and so he takes delight in introducing me to places around Portland. However, the Cultured Caveman has some of my current favorite foods. This first trip though introduced me to my favorite…bacon wrapped dates. I had no idea what I was in for when I ordered…after all this is a paleo restaurant, I have known some paleo eaters, but a restaurant? How do you set up the meal without free bread or bottomless fries? It is possible, and to do that you must begin with an offering of something so scrumptious that no one can deny its deliciousness…except non meat eaters of course. Back to the food. The dates were, in a word, amazing. Inside the dates are an almond and the entire thing is sheltered in a covering of bacon…now I am a bacon guy and this dish was amazing. Salty…sweet without a big sugar taste…and the almond at the center added a nougat taste, the entire experience eating this made me want more…my mouth was salivating and my brain cried out to eat them all, so I did. I followed the appetizer with a shepherd’s pie which included sweet potatoes and satisfied me. Now the Cultured Caveman is not your normal sit and be served restaurant, but the experience of it is distinctly Portland. There are many things on the menu from squash based pastas to Vietnamese inspired dishes, and not all are equal, but bacon wrapped dates and shepherd’s pie are worth the trip.