Friday, June 14, 2013

Portland trip

My Portland trip was fun.  I always enjoy staying with my brother and his family.  And this was probably only the second time I've ever been and not seen a drop of rain - it was gorgeous the whole time.  Sweetness.

Since I travel so infrequently, I don't lose my mind trying to stay Paleo while away from home.  I think I had a little bit of gluten almost every day.  Not a lot mind you, but it popped up here and there and I didn't pay it a second thought.  While I don't order obvious gluten items on menus while dining out, I also don't question servers about ingredients (not because I find it rude - if a paying customer wants to know what's in their food, then that is their right).  I'm sure I also had foods cooked in veggie oils and ate more sugar than usual, but it wasn't like the wheels of the bus were falling off while engulfed in flames and flying over a cliff or anything.  I still prepared a lot of my standard meals and didn't indulge in carbomania with my niece and nephew (sorry, small pot-shot there).

When I occasionally eat off plan like this, a few things go through my mind:
  1. I look at it like a hormetic stressor.  A small dose of poison to keep my system on its toes.
  2. I'm one of the lucky ones.  Gluten does not churn my gut like a washing machine nor does it affect my sleep.  I don't notice it at all to be honest.  Now, this is in what I'd call small doses ... if I slammed a whole pizza pie, the story might be different.
  3. There is gluten almost everywhere in the average Americans diet (if my brother's pantry is any indication) and in most restaurant menu items.   
  4. I'm glad I don't have to travel a lot.
As you know, I'm not a picture taker so I don't have any of the food I ate.  So without those, I'll keep brief a few of my dining highlights.
  1. Visited the newest Cultured Caveman food truck.  They now have three, so something is jiving up there in Portland.  I had a bowl of chili and some bacon almond dates.  No need to get into the latter as you can't go wrong with that combination, eh?  The chili meat was fab, very tender and, I don't know, is it me or does stuff just seem better when you know the animal was raised right?  As for the chili flavor itself, it was a little weak.  I want to strongly point out here though, that this is due to me having an unusual experience lately.  A guy that works in the hardware store below where I work 'lunches' with me outside sometimes.  He happens to make chili.  He also happens to have been in the chili world championships last year.  Thusly, I now know what a real deal chili tastes like (and a whole lot more from talking about the competition side of things ... very interesting).  Anyway, you're probably saying then why did I order the chili, right?  Bugger off
  2. Frozen Custard!  Yeah.  I love frozen custard.  I love frozen custard.  Did I just say that twice?  We have to drive quite out of the way to get it, but that smoothaliciousness is worth it.  My nephew had bubble gum, I had chocolate peanut butter and my sister in law had lemon.  Oddly, when I ordered peanut butter custard they offered it to me in either vanilla or chocolate.  Vanilla and peanut butter?
  3. My brother and I went to a mom and pop Indian place.  Tons of them out there.  That's because there are lots of Indians there (think Intel).  I had me some spicy goat curry.  You know how much I love goat so when I saw it on the menu, there really was no other choice.  It was tender and tasty.  And spicy.  Those Indians do like their food spicy. 
  4. We made Japanese food for 'International night'.  My bro and his family do this once a month or so.  They roll some kind of letter dice to get the first letter of a country, then roll again to get the second letter to narrow it down.  Once they pick the country they go online to find recipes that look good.  That part was up to me this time and I decided on Yakitori and Soba noodles.  The sauces for each involved mirin, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.  I served the soba cold and it was quite good.  I could take or leave noodles, but these were more dense than typical wheat ones (soba is actually gluten free) and the sauce turned out nice.  For the Yakitori I bought some pasture raised chicken breast and hearts at the farmers market and used some beef we got at the mega Asian market there (Uwajimaya).  We skewered the meats, slapped on some sauce and then put them on the grill.  Easy peasy.  The chicken was amazing, especially considering I'm not much of a chicken guy, but the hearts were what did it for me.  They were like little meat poppers.  My brother even like them ... enough said!
  5. Liquid nitrogen ice cream.  There was a small stand across from Voodoo doughnuts (where the line was halfway down the block to get in) that froze a cream and candy mixture of your choice with liquid nitrogen - right in front of you for your viewing pleasure (neat one for the kids).  The deal here is that by freezing the cream/sugar at such a low temperature, the ice crystals that form are much smaller than usual ... resulting in a creamier texture.  And sure enough it was nice and creamy.  The only downside was that it melted quite quickly.  Kinda gimmicky, but a yummy one nonetheless.
    Monkey weight calf raises
While I strayed from my usual menu options, I was right on track with the exercise.  I revived the Portland Sprint Club with my niece and nephew, and my nephew liked to 'throw in' sprints everywhere when we went for walks (I might have instigated one or two myself).  Lifting was easy, even with only the few light dumbbells that they have.  It's not about the weight, but about being creative to attain, or get close to, momentary muscle failure.  And it's so quick and safe.  I love the way I lift (pat self on back).  The pic is me getting creative with my weights to do calf raises.  Long gone are the days of going for one hour runs there, beating myself down and being too tired to enjoy the kids for a spell afterwards. 

I also went to the UNFI tabletop show one day and ordered a bunch of new products for the store.  Nothing earth shattering, probably one of my favorite things was the ice cream sandwiches by Coolhaus (warning, contains gluten).  All in all a good trip.  By the way, I sleep like a rock when I'm there.  I'm trying to decide exactly why that is and will talk about it more in a future post where I intend to discuss sleep cycles.