All posts by denis

More Portland Grub

Medical issues necessitated that my wife and I spend 5 weeks recently in Portland. While most of that time was spent in two area hospitals, we did have the opportunity to visit some new eateries, as well as revisit some others. 

Reel M Inn

A classic dive bar, this was not only a must-stop for the fried chicken, but because our adventure daughter, Claudia (IG: @claudiafabbrini) tends bar there. Cheap beer, unbelievable fried chicken and jojos, and a lively atmosphere fueled by neighborhood patrons are a hallmark of this pub in Portland’s SE side. It’s takes about 55 minutes on average to get your chicken, as the bar has only one small fryer, but it is worth the wait. Incidentally, Bon Appétit magazine just featured Reel M Inn in a web post this past week.

Reel M Inn is at 2430 SE Division Street.

Fried chicken & jojos at Reel M Inn

Palio Dessert & Espresso House

Just located 5 minutes from the Reel M Inn in the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood, Palio is a cozy and unassuming coffee house offering an assortment of salads, paninis, and most importantly, desserts. Open until 11 pm nightly, this is a great place worth the drive from anywhere in the metro area to share a dessert and conversation with a friend or partner.

You can find Palio at 1996 SE Ladd Avenue.

From top to bottom: vanilla buttercream icing, cheesecake, chocolate cake, & chocolate shavings on the backside 

Tamale Boy

Unbelievable Mexican food. Period. Having lived in Tucson for 12 years, and traveled in Mexico, what I sampled here I’ll put up against anything I’ve eaten in the Southwest or Mexico. Tamale Boy features textures and tastes from southern Mexico, so it will surprise you if you are used to a more Baja or Sonoran style. The location on Dekum (one of two shops)  where we ate has a food truck ambiance, which derives from Tamale Boy’s food truck catering business. 

Dekum location: 1764 NE Dekum Street

Tacos on the left, burrito on the right, here I am, stuck in the middle of a choice. 

Petite Provence

We went here for dessert (a reoccurring theme in my life). Located in the Alberta Street District of Portland, one could order a wonderful French bistro-inspired breakfast or lunch, but why? when so many wonderful pastries and cakes are waiting  to be consumed. 

1824 NE Alberta Street. Arrange a great day of gallery and boutique shopping on Alberta Street around your meal stop at Petite Provence.

Resistance is futile. 

Papa Haydn

Dessert. Again. Our first experience with Papa Haydn was several years ago at their 23rd Avenue location in Portland’s Nob Hill neighborhood. This trip, we stopped at the original location on the SE side. With a more neighborhood vibe than it’s uptown sister location, it’s the perfect spot on a rainy PDX day to enjoy a hot beverage and a piece of cake. And then another piece.

Find Papa Haydn East at 5829 SE Milwaukie Avenue.

Triple chocolate cake at Papa Haydn.

Salt & Straw

There’s a bunch of locations in Portland and on the West Coast. The one I frequented is on NE 23rd Avenue, a couple of blocks down from Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, where my wife spent two weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon (an absolutely phenomenal facility). Salt & Straw creates wildly imaginative ice cream flavor combinations, with corresponding wildly imaginative names (Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge, Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese). I fell for the middle-of-the-road Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, a superb creamy vanilla ice cream with a satisfying amount of caramel and sea salt. Note: the lines get long for a cone or cup. Fortunately, pints are conveniently located at the register. Yes, I justified eating a pint, since it wasn’t much more than a double scoop in a waffle cone, and I didn’t have to wait 20 minutes.

We visited Salt & Straw at 828 NW 23rd Avenue, but there are several more in PDX, including one on the Alberta Street District.

Sea salt with caramel ribbons.

Original Hotcake House

Breakfast. 24 hours. Steak and eggs. Pancakes the size of tectonic plates. Need I say more? Just go. Indulge your breakfast desires at 1002 SE Powell Boulevard.

Tectonic plates disguised as pancakes.


Original Hotcake House.

NOTE: see an earlier post “Portland Notes” for more food experiences

Portland Notes

There is no shortage of good desserts in Portland

My wife and I had to go to Portland, Oregon, earlier this week for two days to address some medical issues. Here are a few notes from that trip.

Hotel: we stayed at the Park Lane Suites & Inn, located in the Goose Hollow neighborhood at the west side of the downtown area. It’s a hotel with outside entrances to the rooms; however, you can only access the rooms by first going through a lobby entrance. The room was clean and bright – we had a suite with a kitchen area and dining table. WiFi is provided. Numerous restaurants, as well as a Starbucks, Walgreens, and Fred Meyers are within 5 minutes walking distance. We booked our room on Priceline for $90 per night – a deal considering most hotels in the downtown area are double that.

Good Eats: dinner our first night was at Tapalaya, a Creole/Cajun tapas eatery with a Vietnamese twist in the east side Laurelhurst neighborhood. My wife and I split popcorn shrimp ($12), followed by seafood gumbo ($14) for her, and a crab cake for me ($14). But I really went for the beignets ($6). Served with a bourbon dipping sauce, they are guaranteed to induce a culinary orgasm.  They are as good or even better than Cafe Du Monde’s.

Beignets

The second night we ate at Oven and Shaker in the Pearl District. After a long day spent at Oregon Health Sciences Center, a simple pizza dinner was all we were looking for. Disappointed we were not, as we had a wonderful Neopolitan style Margherita (tomato, basil, mozzarella) pizza ($13), preceded by lamb sugo served over a crispy polenta, and followed by layered budino, a parfait of  chocolate ganache, whipped cream, cajeta caramel, and cookie crumble ($7). I could have easily oredered a second of everything.

Layered budino

And one must not forget donuts. One of Coco Donuts’ three locations is a five minute walk from the Park Lane, at 709 SW 17th. Classic donuts and great coffee.

Pure joy at Coco Donuts

Historic Highways: Old US 99, Weed, CA

I spent an hour or so this afternoon exploring a small section of Edgewood Road going north out of Weed. This used to be US Route 99, before Interstate 5 was built and replaced Highway 99.  I concentrated my efforts on one curved section of the road, examining old wooden guard rails, and looking for “C-blocks”, which are old California Division of Highways survey monuments. I did not find any, but I’ll return and spend a little more time in the brush looking for any that might exist.

The general location of my efforts was 41.43049, -122.39933

1954 USGS 15 minute topographic map showing the US 99 alignment.

2010 USGS 7.5 minute topographic map showing the US 99 alignment next to Interstate 5.

Heading north into the curve. Broken wood guard rail is on the right.

Reflector bracket.

Railroad property line markers delineate the old highway right of way on east side. These should assist in locating any “C-blocks”.

The rail is actually comprised of three pieces of layered lumber.

Bolt head.

Retaining nut.

Guard rail at the north end of the curve (looking south).

Dog Creek Bridge

An accessible, historic, and photogenic bridge worth exploring

Trip dates: November 24 & 25, 2017

The Harlan D Miller Memorial Bridge, known also as the Dog Creek Bridge, is an abandoned concrete arch bridge completed in 1927 as part of US Route 99 just north of Lakehead, Shasta County, California. After Route 99 was replaced by Interstate 5, it carried traffic as part of Interstate 5 until a bridge to the northwest was expanded to accommodate both directions of traffic in 1974. It was abandoned and slated for demolition, until saved due to efforts of concerned citizens, and is now managed by the US Forest Service.

According to Bridgehunter.com,

Harlan D Miller (1880-1926) was the State Bridge Engineer for the California Highway Department from 1923 until his untimely death in 1926. During his short tenure as State Bridge Engineer he made radical changes to the way California designed bridges. These changes included requiring all highway bridges in the state be designed by the state and designing bridges that matched the geometry of the roadway. The latter often complicated design fork but the final result (skewed or curved bridges) justified the efforts in drivability.

Miller’s most visible effect on California bridges was the consideration given to design aesthetics. His designs were recognized in their own periods as possessing beauty and boldness. Many fine details can be seen on Miller designed bridges including rail and end post details, as well as clean lines and details of the superstructure design.

When my family relocated to the Bar Area in 1963, I remember driving across this bridge as we traveled to the Mount Shasta region to visit relatives several times per year. After the bridge was decommissioned, it had always been my desire to explore the now abandoned structure. I finally had a chance to do so this past week.

Looking west at the span. Photo taken from bridge that crosses the Sacramento River. A short railroad bridge is visible to the left which also spans Dog Creek.

Looking south down the bridge deck.

Looking south along the west side of the bridge. Notice the blue tiles in the deck wall pillars.

Curb details.

The view south looking down the Sacramento River.

Looking north up the Sacramento River.

At several places benched areas were provided for travelers to stop, enjoy the views, and rest a bit.

Stone retaining on the northern approach to the span.

Dog Creek.

Looking north. The Interstate 5 span can be seen near the center.

DIRECTIONS & ACCESS

Off Interstate 5, take the Vollmers/Delta exit. Proceed west about a quarter mile and turning left onto Fenders Ferry Road. Drive down along the Dog Creek watershed for about a mile, crossing the creek twice and underneath the I5 span until reaching the historic bridge. Park just before the railroad tracks, and climb up the east side of northern end of the bridge.

According to a couple of other websites, there is supposedly access at the northern end of the bridge from the top, at end of a private road where a Forest Service begins. I checked it out and I’m not comfortable at this time on recommending its use. The adjoining property owners have posted a lot of onerous signage, and have tried to unsuccessfully block the easement. I would be nervous parking my vehicle here. Check this post for updates, as I will attempt to get clarification from the Forest Service regarding use of this easement.

FURTHER READING

redding.com (Redding Searchlight newspaper website) article Travelin’ in Time: Dog Creek Bridge, a work of art, was almost demolished,  posted June 26, 2008

CalTrans Digital Collections, Historic Bridges and Tunnels: Dog Creek

 

Deadfall Lakes, Siskiyou County, CA

A string of lakes located in the Trinity Mountains
Trip date: August 11, 2017

The trailhead is 19 miles west of Weed on Forest Service Road 17/42N17.

One of several meadows that the trail passes through.

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Deadfall Lakes Trail just east of the lowermost lake.

Lake 7259 (it’s noted elevation on topo maps) is the largest lake of the 5 lakes.

The uppermost of the Deadfalls lake. Mount Eddy is the peak in the background.

Looking north across the uppermost Deadfall Lakes.

Wildflowers were abundant along the trail.

Yellow Butte, Siskiyou County, CA

Looking south to Mount Shasta from the Yellow Butte high point. The middle and south peaks of the ridge line can be seen in the center.

Trip date: May 4, 2017

Yellow Butte is a hill on the north side of US Highway 97 about 12 miles northeast of Weed. Unlike other nearby peaks which are some kind of volcanic feature (dome, cinder cone or shield volcano), Yellow Butte is an uplifted complex of intrusive igneous and metamorphic rocks. This makes for some interesting quartzite outcrops on the top of the hill, and the unexpected diorite pluton along the first third of this route I hiked today.

Yellow Butte is actually more of a ridge, with three distinct peaks, the northernmost being the highest.  The route I’ve seen described elsewhere is a 3 mile round trip starting inside a Forest Service gate alongside Highway 97 that traverses the west side of the hill. Because my available time was short, I chose a shorter route on the east side of the hill on Yellow Butte Road, a narrow, dusty two-track off of 97.  This route proceeds up to saddle area between the middle and north peaks. Truth be told, both routes to the peak are old two tracks themselves – in fact, one could drive to the summit in a 4WD high clearance vehicle. But, as I got near the top, I encountered a guy camping in a beat-up, 30 year old, 2WD, low clearance Chevy van at the top – so don’t I guess I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Summit area of Yellow Butte high point.

Quartzite outcrop atop Yellow Butte.

Looking west at Haystack (left) and cinder cone 3924 (right).

Thistle along the trail.

 

I could not locate a survey triangulation mark indicated on some older topo maps. Neither could I find a summit log, so I left a new one behind.

NOTES:

Trip time is about 25 to 30 minutes each way.

For an excellent discussion of the geology of the lower Shasta Valley, see a masters thesis by Joseph Holliday, “The bedrock geology of the southeastern Shasta Valley, Siskiyou County, California”

 

Haystack

No needles involved, just a great little hike
Trip date: April 21, 2017

Haystack is a volcanic feature rising above US Route 97 11 miles northeast of Weed. The peak offers wonderful views of Mount Shasta to the south,  the Trinity Mountains to the east, and the Mount Shasta Valley to the north. The trail is an overgrown 4WD trail to the top. Good parking is just off the highway inside a Forest Service gate. One walks about .4 mile before reaching the actual trail that starts the climb up the east flank of Haystack. The short climb takes a moderate effort to reach the top. The trail circles the rather flat, open top. Vegetation is typical high desert scrub with the scattered juniper tree. There is a high point marked with a cairn with a survey mark underneath and a summit log. The summit log revealed that Haystack is visited every few days by hikers. The distance from the parking area to the high point is about one mile.

Haystack as seen from US Route 97.

My hiking partner & daughter, Claudia, on the trail as it climbs the east flank of Haystack.

Old growth juniper dots Haystack.

Summit cairn with benchmark and summit log.

Panorama from east to west, with Mount Shasta to the south. The Whaleback is to the left of Mount Shasta, and Mount Eddy is to the right. Click on the photo for a larger view.

Mount Shasta as seen from Haystack.