Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sweden in Oregon

I am working on a couple of more detailed posts about more current things, but I don't feel like doing that right now. Nor do I feel like assembling my red Nostalgik paper-storing box, and I certainly don't feel like filing and sorting papers to put in that red box. So, in honor of my first visit to IKEA in my life, I'm going to write about another Swedish thing in Portland. My favorite restaurant (or at least in my top three), Broder.

Visits to Broder framed my recent trip to Colorado. On the morning of our departure, my boyfriend and I had brunch with two friends. When we got back to Portland a week later, we were too exhausted to go shopping and cook, so we went to Broder for dinner.

There are no pictures of our Broder dinner because we ate it all too quickly. But I can tell you what we had.

Back to that brunch. I took a bunch of pictures of it, because it was so attractive.

This is the lefse of the day and eggs that I had to eat. So pretty! And delicious.

Pictured at the top of this post and below is their house bloody Mary, called Danish Mary. It is made with aquavit. Until that morning, I had never had aquavit. It was a good bloody Mary, but I was more interested in the garnish. I took more pictures of them than appear here. In the background is Kepler's Third Law (or something) on a T-shirt. That stern little man is one of the cards Broder has all over the place advertising their weekend dinner hours. Yellow letters state, at the bottom of the card, "It's dinner time."

Back to the drink. Those are pickled beets! Red and golden!

While it's picture time, I want these shelves from IKEA.


They do not have to be red. They come in other colors. I just really like red. This could mean I have bad taste.

Anyway, our Broder dinner was somewhat magical. It was a Friday night, and I was concerned that there would be a dinner crowd. I fretted about waiting for a table.

The restaurant was practically empty. I was shocked. Shocked!

I still am shocked!

At the counter, one man sat with his laptop. No one else was in the restaurant aside from the staff. We were able to sit at the best table, right by the window. A small candle glowed on our table. An early Yeah Yeah Yeahs album was playing. A friendly waitress came over right away with handwritten menus. She apologized, "We're redoing our menu and we don't have real menus yet." As you can imagine, this just added to Broder's charm.

MBF ordered some Flemish beer (I think) that I've never heard of and is not all that common, or something. My aquavit was buried in my bloody Mary, so I wanted to try it again. We got a flight. I say "we" because it was too much for me to drink on my own.

The waitress chose three for me, Aalborg, which tasted like rye bread; Krogstad, which comes from Portland and tasted like licorice; and Linie, which travels around the world twice in sherry barrels in a ship. MBF thought Linie tasted like rubbing alcohol; I kind of agreed, but still liked it. The other two were clear as water, but Linie was beer-bottle amber.

For dinner, we had a lamb burger with all kinds of toppings (such as chevre) and meatballs with a sherry cream sauce, lingonberry jam, and walnut toasts. We both had the special side, "Scandinavian scalloped potatoes," which seemed to have anchovy or sardine or something like that on it. They didn't taste fishy, but there were occasional tiny bones in our potatoes, so it was subtle. Then we had Stumptown coffee (not Swedish) and split a piece of spice cake with lemon icing.

A few other people came into the restaurant sometime during our dinner, but it was still quiet. It was a perfect date night place; charming setting, great food and drinks, friendly service, and privacy.

However, I'd still go there if it was busy; if there's a crowd and a Screen-Door-sized wait for dinner next time I go, I'll be happy for their success. I'm kind of shocked that more people weren't there on a Friday night, but I'm selfishly a little pleased, like my friends and I have our own secret place.

After leaving Broder, we went for a short walk around the neighborhood as the sun sank behind the West Hills and darkness gently settled down on Southeast Portland, floating onto the streets and sidewalks and nestling into the Clinton neighborhood's crowded flower gardens. When we returned to where we'd parked Stella, my silver car, we were greeted with a flat tire.

We weren't able to change it ourselves because of something with the things that came with my car (blah blah blah stuff I don't understand) and had to call AAA. While we waited, we both went back to Broder to use their restroom. It was slightly more crowded by now, and the staff was exceedingly friendly and helpful, offering us their phone and glasses of water.

If you're not in the Portland area, I guess all you can do is drool over my pictures and be envious. If you are, this is a great place for dinner! And while they are somewhat undiscovered (or something), empty enough for a quiet, nice date. For all of our extravagance with booze and dessert, the bill was not at all high, especially for a nice Friday night. They have brunch and lunch every day from 9-3 (yes, even Monday) and dinner Thursday through Saturday, 6-10. I found them through a Yelp search for something really boring, like "places with coffee and wi-fi" or "brunch open Monday." My only complaint is that dinner is only three nights a week.

As we left Broder, I, perhaps tipsy from the Linie, told the waitress how much I loved the mean-looking man on their dinnertime cards. So she gave me one to take home. He sits on my desk frowning at me even now as I write this. But I like to think that something has softened about his expression, now that he's been in my home a little while. There seems to be a kindly light in his eye.

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