Veneration at Veritable Quandary.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend and a little bit of homesickness has been seeping into my bones. I miss my city and I miss my family. But thankfully there are some fond memories that I pinpoint in my mind–most of which involve my family and I enjoying a meal together.

So I’m  throwbacking to a summer meal that truly warmed me down to my toes. The destination was a venerable old bar called Veritable Quandary, a place that’s renowned for its brunch and its beautiful outdoor patio that clings to its charming brick building. It’s even mentioned in a book called Dream Team, by Jack McCallum. But this book isn’t about food–it’s about basketball. So there you have it. Veritable Quandary gets buckets outside of the culinary world.

I ordered this magnificent dish that had a hint of the tropics, a luxurious presentation of grilled wild prawns on skewers resting over a neat mound of fried coconut sticky rice. Vibrant mango and cucumber slices sprawled on the top of the prawns while warm, thick coconut milk lagooned over the prawns and rice.

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I particularly savored the sweet coconut sticky rice–its crispiness reminded me of the remnants of rice in bibimbap bowls, but it was also wonderfully gelatinous and fragrant with coconut aromas. The prawns, tender and slightly smoky, peeled off the skewers with ease. If I had to compile a list of top restaurants in Portland, no doubt Veritable Quandary would be on there. Its reputation has endured for years, and it’s an iconic destination for this bustling, hip city–a combination of old school class and vibrancy.

The photo at the top is the stone fruit cobbler we gobbled down for dessert. It wasn’t as extravagant or impressive as the prawns, but it evoked a cozy warmth with the plump plum and peach slices jostling together among soft crumbled cake. The honey lavender ice cream added floral notes to the sweetness, and the whole effect was like an orchard and a garden coming together in this confection.

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