Earlier this month, we bundled Lucie in her little beige sweatshirt and bright yellow leggings and set out for Saturday brunch with friends at Portland’s newly opened Oso Market + Bar.
After all the meals around the world, there’s still nothing like breaking bread (or splitting charcuterie plates, as it were) with people we’ve known since childhood.
“The Six of Us” are three couples who have palled around for decades (since grade school in several cases), and considering we’re only hovering at three-decade mark in median age, that’s saying a lot. Darian, Rebekah and their daughter Ashlynn were home visiting Oregon from transplant life in Nebraska, and Ryan, Sara and their daughters Genevieve and Madeleine made the hour drive up from Molalla. As part of our Portland reunion, “The Six of Us + Offspring” planned to start our day together at Oso Market + Bar, where Ryan’s brother Jason is executive chef.
Ryan, Ted, and Lucie with Oso owner Holly Johnson
“Spanish Brunch!” boasted the clever little shop sandwiched among the trendy taverns and tasty restaurants of the Central Eastside Industrial District. The bright orange chairs popped against sidewalks of Portland cement, and blustering fallen leaves chased us in the front door. Lucie slept contentedly, bundled in her blanket, oblivious to the cold and the commotion.
Oso, “Where the beer flows like wine and the wine goes with everything,” was all too perfect a place for Ted and his homebrew pals Darian and Ryan to happily indulge in breakfast-worthy steins. Ted took a detour from the Spanish part of brunch to sample a dark, sweet Doppelbock:
Doppelbock—A Heart Warmer
Literally, Doppelbock means double Bock(bier). It is one of Germany’s “biggest” beers, typically with an alcohol content by volume of around 7%, but some Doppelbocks go up to 13% in strength. Doppelbock emerged in the late eighteenth century as a powerful lager variant of the old monastic strong beer, the monks’ “liquid bread,” which they traditionally brewed for the Lenten season.
-German Beer Institute
And if beer for brunch wasn’t enough, we ordered a morning charcuterie platter appetizer as well…because, well, honestly, why not indulge in samples of locally cured meats, quince jellies, and venison pâtés before dining on tortilla espanola, chilaquiles, patatas bravas, and bacon and eggs?
In spirit of honesty, I will say the patatas bravas (“fierce” or “brave” potatoes – or, as one translation puts it, “potatoes with a temper”) didn’t quite live up to their name. The tapas dish, as ubiquitous as tourists in its native Spain, seemed a little timid compared to flavorful memories of dining in Barcelona, Peñíscola, Tarragona, Granada, Calahonda, and Cadiz…
But – the cured meats and artisan cheeses and crispy polenta, kale, and kabocha squash in fall cider sauce (um, hello?! only $6!) more than carried the show. (Please take my word, the bright flavors in person completely make up for the dark iPhone shadows.)
Sippy cups, mimosas, and the best of friends, all around the table again at long last…
Sara and her girls, Genevieve and Madeliene. (If you couldn’t tell by the grin, Little Miss M is becoming the biggest foodie of the bunch!)
(See what I mean about the biggest foodie? Her dad had to hold her back…)
After brunch, and after toying with the idea of visiting the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at OMSI, our group spent the afternoon in a few other favorite corners of the city (The Bipartisan Cafe and Mt. Tabor Park) and then ended the day outside of town, drinking apple cider and eating homemade chicken noodle soup at Darian’s family’s place.
Us and our daughters…
There’s really nothing in the world like true friends. The people who know you well and laugh at the same ridiculous memories. The ones who go through the tough stuff and the fun stuff. The ones who share the tasty meals and the giant flops (anyone remember that dinner party the year Ted and I got married – those horrible chicken breasts roasted to death and an hour late to the table?). The ones who share the, “Yes, hang in there, I remember that…” stories of parenthood.
True friends keep you going.
Lucie lasted through the day like a champ. By the time her little brunch outfit was replaced by her little bedtime swaddler, we were all three tired out…but oh so thankful for best friends and the reminder that swell food is so good when shared with people we love.
Oso Market + Bar in the Portland Foodie News:
Oregonian’s Fall Dining Guide: The 10 Portland Restaurants You Should Know About Right Now
Portland Food and Drink: Oso Market + Bar Opening
PDX Eater Dining Confidential: Inside Oso Market + Bar
Oso Market + Bar
726 SE Grand Avenue