02.28.2011 by Andrea
I am spoiled – plain & simple. Growing up I was smushed between two boys. Personally I like to say that my parents decided to adopt from overseas, before it was considered to trendy to mix and match families. Both my oldest brother and I, though not biologically related, were born in Seoul, South Korea. Then a little surprise bundle came along in the form of my little brother. Due to proximity in age, and our love for technology [we heart FaceTime] my lil’ bro and I have an extra special bond. He looks out for the well being of his gypsy sister and I in turn like to keep tabs on ALL the goings on of his life.
Early this month I got a 2 for 1 special, a chance to go home [Portland, OR – okay Vancouver, WA but it is part of the PDX metropolitan sprawl] via a work trip, and roll in a visit with my Grandma [my dad’s mother] and get to have dinner with my bro and his gal pal. Being that I was car-less I offered a chance to swing through Burgerville to thank my brother for chauffeuring me around. He seemed gung-ho about that and I was equally pleased. I recently found out that Burgerville added a loyalty rewards program, and minus the fact that I don’t enjoy looking at the caloric intake of my order when I receive my receipt I was pumped. If I haven’t already extolled the virtues of Burgerville enough, let me tell you nothing beats BV for me on a visit home. Our visit with our Grandma went well, minus the fact that somehow in the act of trying to call an aid for help for another resident, I managed to break a telephone. Oops! I did apologize and try to rectify my butterfingers with the staff. With Burgerville on my mind, my brother inquired if I wanted to meet his new lady!
Umm, YES!!! I love meeting new people. Especially anyone that my brother holds near and dear. I had friended her via Facebook, talked with her through video chat, and was dying to give her a big hug, and hopefully not cross examine her like Marcia Clark in the OJ Simpson trial. What can I say? I am an exuberant questioner/conversationalist. Then my brother gave me the biggest nod he could to make all of us happy. He inquired as to where I wanted to dine. All thoughts of squishy hugs and giggles over dinner went out the window as I selfishly thought of where I wanted to nosh. If it’s not BV then my number one sweet spot in all of Vancouver, WA is Beaches. It is dish delish! It’s the only restaurant that I will intentionally leave room in my stomach for a dessert that takes me to my happy place! I will have crazy nocturnal cravings for Beaches food. It all goes with the growing up process I suppose, because I use to stick with just the safe entrees that sound good, and now everything on the menu sounds good. I get overwhelmed trying to decide what I want to order. My best friend AB knows that going to Beaches makes me joyous and almost always accommodates my request to swing through and grab a Beach House salad. Maybe it’s the fact that it remains familiar. A lot has changed since I left the ‘couv. I was passionate when I moved to LA and Seattle that the whole Portland area was more forward thinking, politically active and minded, had better public transportation [which didn’t occur overnight and yes, the WA/Clark County voters turned down the opportunity to extend MAX to our fair state], and overall we have an intimacy and familiarity with our cities that makes them cozy and homey. Before it was hip Portland embraced SOLE [sustainable, organic, local, and ethically farmed] food. Case & Point: Burgerville – they have always supported great regional items such as: Tillamook Cheese, Walla Walla Sweet Onions, local fruit for delicious milkshakes. Some things have evolved, I still do love Portland, but I have found things about Seattle endearing. I love the professional sports teams, the proximity of great watering holes, i.e. Lake Washington & Lake Union [no, Portlanders don’t swim in the Willamette, eew], and great places to eat as well. Beaches, however remains consistent. They have rotating specials, but the main crux of the menu remains the same. I have seen former classmates work there, and even now after 6 years of being away I see some of the cocktail waitstaff [who at this point have been there for a decade plus] laughing, enjoying their regulars and introducing a whole new generation to the Beaches lifestyle.
As it happened, my bro and Miss A had also had their first date at Beaches. So they were equally excited to indulge my frenzied salivation. It was a fairly simple meal, I had the open faced pulled pork sandwich [new to me, quite flavorful] and the small beach house salad, with their tasty bread [which I dipped in Bleu Cheese dressing, yummo], my brother had a veggie & rice bowl, and Miss A had a caesar salad. Unbelievably due to the fact that I had to retire early, and am trying to get cruise body ready I passed on my favorite dessert! I know! I still regret it as I am penning this right now. This dessert is Almond Roca on crack. The outer shell is toffee like and the inside is a sundae that just melts in your mouth. What I wouldn’t do for one right now … [thinking cruise & bathing suit time]. Nope, not enough …. visions are still dancing through my head.
You know you have arrived when your younger brother treats you to dinner. He is a gem. I have always thought that, he has tolerated more than his fair share of indulging sisterly whims, but that was a moment. If I didn’t already heart my brother tons, this sealed the deal. Dinner was great, but the conversation and community we developed with the three of us made it a great evening.
Beaches is a beacon for me, whenever I fly into Portland and we come in where I get a view of Vancouver, I frenetically scan the landscape to see the restaurant property. A lot of good memories have come from the Vancouver boardwalk, it’s the location of my first long run, many rollerblading escapades, happy hours at Who Song & Larrys, dancing to the beats of Joe’s Crab Shack, and always feeling that when I step into Beaches it’s like coming home. I breathe in the aroma, look around, see the twinkling of the Portland lights and lapping of the waves against the shore, soak it all in and everything else just settles in to place.
If you haven’t already, swing through. Should you happen to be in the Portland airport they recently added an outstation for those passing through to savor the flavor. And Portlanders, do yourself a favor and cross the river. Vancouver-ites do it plenty and it’s worth a gander.