Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mini Golf, Jet Boats, Madison's Grill

I joined a mini-golf league in Tualatin with some friends from work. It's Wednesday nights and it's called "Drinks on the Links". This is part of the Underdog Sports leagues, and they make it a relatively entertaining evening, usually.

We had a game tonight, and it was fun. We had pre-game drinks and food at Azteca Mexican restaurant in Lake Oswego. Or maybe actually Tualatin, but who the fuck knows what city is what down there. Like, when does Portland become Gresham when you drive down Stark? Azteca="Careful, hot plate!", but they have the obligatory fried ice cream and tequila. Also they have lots of tequila, but it's mainly Sauza and Jose. I was forwarded an email from my friend Anson about tequila, and I think I'd like to eventually taste some of said beverages. I certainly don't want to buy a whole bottle, but maybe a $10 or $15 snifter of one of them could be sampled once in a while. A long while, actually.

Now, also, I have a different take on tequila. I think it's similar to whiskey, in as far as aging either beverages also changes the age of the person drinking it. You generally have young men and women who drink mass-produced/inexpensive/young (all the same thing, really) whiskey or tequila and go crazy, fighting or fucking or whatnot. Middle aged people move into the smaller-batch/expensive/aged whiskeys, with a corresponding greater appreciation for the beverage consumed. I figure they drink it slower, taste it more, drink less of it, and get less drunk off it. Once you reach this age, you can acquire a medium buzz off it, and nurse it along for hours with no loss of function or intellect. After you reach a huge level of income or material comfort, you can begin to sample the rarer nectar, much the same as the masses sample the beer at the waterfront festivals. Really, really expensive tequilas start at $100 per the bottle, looks like they'd get pretty close to $500 with a little tax or overhead at Portland liquor stores. No way do I want to drop that kind of money on something I probably won't store correctly anyway. Give me a taste, so I can decide if it's really worth that kind of bank. I actually secretly hope that it isn't, because even if it was there are still more interesting things to do with that money.

Probably better to go to California and get some, it would probably pay for the plane ticket just with the difference in price. I ramble on: So, I figured I'm pretty close to the lateral limits of both my digestive limits and bravery with unusual items - "You can food anything" - so the only direction to go is up or down. I've already plumbed the depths of food as deep as I dare, so there's nowhere to go but up! If I already know that something is decent, somebody has the same thing that's good, and someone else has the same thing that's absolutely mind-boggling fantastic elsewhere.

Something else I've noticed: I have to start blogging immediately after an experience. I've had several fantastic food and trail experiences that have since faded in my memory. They are no longer the bright and exciting things they were at the time. By writing these meals and trips down, I staple large memory pictures of them to the walls of my brain. It allows me so much more freedom to try new things, because I have these recordings of my experience to compare them to. Maybe I should take a notebook (hiking) and camera (dining), to record what I think and see for the respective activities? I photograph almost everything on the trail, but it's difficult to describe the hike afterwords in terms that others would appreciate. When I'm cruising up a trail, though, words come to mind that I always think I'll remember but never do.

Since it's still fresh, here's my Jet Boat experience yesterday - although it's already fading from my brain. I have some recollections: Bald Eagle + nest, Osprey + nest, bridges, houses, floating houses, expensive houses, condos, water all over me, going 50 mph while soaking wet, rain stinging my face, waterfalls, rowers, chafing blue jeans, cold, gray.

We went to Madison's grill after. I had a portobello burger with a wine reduction sauce, and since I was pretty hungry I also had them add a Gardenburger patty to it. There were some appetizers at our table - chicken skewers over brown rice, spicy wings with blue cheese, and a hummus plate. Turns out, they were the perfect size, because everyone at our table got a piece of each. You basically got one wing, a tiny build-your-own Mediterranean pizza slice, and a piece of chicken if you wanted it. These were all decent. The wings were the best, and I could have eaten a plateful of them for dinner. I also liked the sauce they used with the skewers and rice. It was rather spicy and delicious. The hummus plate needed more bread, although the large tomato slices were nice and the hummus itself had a good kick and flavor. The included crumbly cheese didn't have much character but topped the extra tomato slices nicely. The burger was delicious and fairly hefty as well, despite not containing any meat. Nothing compared to Mick's $17.00 and 4,000 calorie whopper, for sure. I nommed my way through this veggie burger in short order. It also had a melted chevre on it which added a tangy depth to the wine sauce. I would have liked a thicker mushroom, but that's not my call. It went down the hatch, as well as all of the fries. Yes, all of them, because they were good - a rare treat! So many fries are just starch and fat, but these were a lot better. Crisp, delicious potato. I tried a fry with the potato chowder, and they made a fairly good combo. I also tried a bite of some potato chowder, which was at the time unexciting but probably would be welcome on a cold day. Dessert was a blueberry parfait, and was edible but not delectable. I tried a Spanish coffee, which was good and warming. I always forget to buy the whipped cream at the grocery store. There are times when I could just grab a bottle of that and just nurse for hours! Or however long a bottle lasts. Am I the only one who feels this way about whipped cream? I've felt that way about honey before, to the point of nursing a honey bear, but that was a brief fixation with the flavor that has since passed. Hmmm. Maybe I'll get that whipped cream on a day that I don't work the next day, in case the combined sugar/fat give me a heart attack. Then I'll have a day to recover, right?

Overall, despite the huge size of our group, Madison's kicked out some delicious food and I'd totally go there again. Hopefully not on my dime.