Winning the lunch lottery
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
I've been traveling lately and found myself a cute little hostel to get some work done and just relax a little. Thanks to Covid restrictions, the spa and bath house are closed, so I've been forced to walk around this cute little town. It's a very small town. You can walk the full length of the business district in about 5 minutes or so. There is maybe a total of two stop signs on the main street tucked up along a giant industrial rail yard that borders the Columbia River.
The sun came out this morning for a short appearance, so I decided to take a stroll through the town. As I noticed the road starting to narrow and the sidewalks disappeared, I decided to turn around and head for food. I hadn't eaten anything yet and was certainly hungry and sure enough just across the street I saw a food truck and what looked a little like a tiny brewery, so I made my way over to check it out.
They both had delightful products. The food truck was what I would describe as American Mediterranean fusion. They had falafel, tacos, salads, polenta plates and even fresh baked cookies. I chose to have the polenta plate and went good and overboard with all three protein options; falafel, wild mushrooms, and a scrumptious shredded pork. They said I was the first, but I'm assuming I may not be the last to choose all three.
The falafel was delightfully seasoned and obviously fresh. The salad was a bright and unique blend and I really enjoyed the chickpeas, but the greens were slightly bruised, although not enough to deter from eating it. The flavor was delightful. The polenta wasn't seasoned, so it made for a good filler to add to the other flavors much like bread to a sandwich. I've been falling deeply in love with wild mushrooms lately and I must say there was a little too much citrus in the mushrooms, but once that tang subsided the flavor was savory and delicious.
I'd say the pork was the star of the show for me. It was a juicy shredded pork that was thrown on the grill for the perfect amount of time adding a crunchy almost crusty effect to the meat. Much like the delight of the part of the cheese that oozed out and hardened on the bottom of the pan when cooking a grilled cheese. I would love to go back and try the pork tacos I'll bet they are amazing.
All in all the polenta plate I had was a perfectly rounded lunch. It had healthy aspects, fatty aspects, and all the texture and flavor you expect from a balanced meal. I also got the chocolate chip cookie. It tasted a lot like the ones grandma used to make. Fresh, soft and layered with chocolate.
While I waited I decided to check into what the Blue Bus was. It was right next to the food cart and mostly just said cultured food, so at first I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was open, so I walked in to find out. It was a tiny little shop. It felt a little like retail was an afterthought for the space, but that made me happy to support it.
The shop was a self-proclaimed frementorium. They made kombucha and offered it on tap. They had jars available of kimchi, sauerkraut, and other goodies for your belly. I've done a lot of traveling and worked in a lot of progressive food establishments, but I had literally never heard of this before. It was beautifully unique and so smart. I got the peach hops flavor and it was bold and not overly sweet which is what I expect from a kombucha, many of them are becoming too sweet. I also loved that they are using glass jars for their to-go cups. So happy to not waste plastic!
The point of this post is to promote not a planning meal every now and then. It can be fun to just see what you can find. Maybe just walking down the street and seeing what you stumble upon is more worth the while than going back to the same places you tend to always go to. Also, when you are traveling, take a meal to trust your instincts instead of Google. It's a lottery and it may suck, but when it's a pleasant and flavorful surprise it's incredibly satisfying.
Explore the food that's out there. You never know what you may end up finding.