Sunday, September 23, 2007

On my Friday night in Portland Jen and Katie and I went out in search of some later-evening eats. We had spent a bit longer at Jen's house than we had intended, due to some unexpected "shopping" we did there. Katie spied a box full of clothing that Jen had, and immediately was all over it, saying, "Hey Jen, what're you doing with this stuff?" Before she could finish saying, "I think I'm just gonna give it away," Katie and I had clothing and shoes flying. We all wear about the same size, with some subtle differences. I scored a gorgeous leather coat, because it was too tight in the chest for Jen (lucky me). Katie has the smallest rear end you've ever seen, and has to find pants to fit that. I have a bigger butt, but a smaller waist, and I have to find clothing that will accommodate both. Have you ever seen "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants?" Katie and I cracked up over a pair of second-hand pants we got that, instead of magically fitting all of us and accentuating our best features as the pants in the story do, they seemed to highlight all of our worst characteristics.

Anyway, I got a lot of really nice clothing from Jen, and luckily she also was giving away a backpack that I could put it all in, and check before my flight out later on. I had already done so much shopping that I couldn't fit any more into my suitcase! As a thank-you, and also because they both had birthdays coming up, I wanted to take them out to eat. They picked Widmer Brewery, a place they like to go, and knew what they liked to eat there.

I'm always up for a brewpub, so I was excited. I've fallen down on my reviewing responsibilities, however, in that I think the beer I ordered was a seasonal or specialty brew, and I don't find it on the website. Should have written it down. But you can bet it was amber or stout, and I do know that it was very smooth and mild, I liked it very much. I also tried everyone else's, and liked those as well. Good start. (Because if you don't like the beer at a brewpub, would you really want to stick around?)

Katie and Jen said the fondue was good, so we got that as a starter. Yep. They were right.

Widmer Brewery Fondue

It came with chunks of pumpernickel bread, and was a whiter fondue. It has a swiss cheese base, which I thought was fairly unique, and coordinated perfectly with beer and German-American-style food. I think I ate more of it than anyone. We kept the dip, and later I dipped parts of my meal in it. (Why is my rear end so big? Can't think.)

Katie was in the mood for pasta, and she got the Garlic Shrimp Fettuccine.

Widmer Brewery Shrimp Pasta

She said it was okay. As Dom DeLuise once said in a favorite movie of mine. "It's nice. Not thrilling... But nice." I sort of figured this would be the case. I mean, what great things can you do to shrimp fettuccine, really? Just personal taste, but to me even the great ones are "meh." Katie asked us if we wanted the leftovers, and when we didn't, she ate most of the shrimp off the top.

Jen got what she apparently always gets, because she loves it: the Cajun Chicken Pasta.

Widmer Brewery Southwest Pasta

She let me have a bite, and it was very good. It reminded me just a little bit of my beloved (and extinct) Sonora Chicken Pasta from Ruby Tuesday's, a once-favorite restaurant of mine that I no longer endorse since the company was purchased. It had a bit more seasoning (cumin and coriander, I think), and a little less heat. She said the only downside was that it never reheated quite so well the next day.

While Jen ordered "the most popular pasta," I ordered "the number-one-selling entrée" (information on the menu which I found to be very helpful), the Chicken Schnitzel. Here's where it gets really good, folks.

Widmer Brewery Chicken Schnitzel

I don't want to be one of those people that likes what she ordered the best (though that's better than the person that likes what you ordered the best), but I liked what I ordered the best. And I know you've had enough superlatives by now, but this was hands-down the best schnitzel I've ever had. The meat was so incredibly tender and juicy that I'm tempted to use one of those words that makes me just a little ill, like "succulent." The chicken had a delicate lemon and wine sauce that enhanced, rather than smothered it, and the lightest crunch in the breading (not like the heavier breading you sometimes get). There were two subtle potato latkes on the side, and steamed veggies. And the leftovers even reheated pretty well in Katie's oven the next day.

Should you, or anyone you know go to Portland? I would highly recommend two friends to shuttle you around, give you new-to-you clothing, and most of all, that fantastic schnitzel at the Widmer Brothers Brewery.

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