DH and I escaped yesterday evening, leaving the rabid Pineapple trapped in her crib withsome crumbs to munch on and a hamster water feeder filled withformula attached to the side(I am, of course, kidding – she was happily waving from the kitchen window with her GrandmaP when we left *note at bottom of post*) to venture out into downtown PDX and enjoy some much needed ALONE adult time.
We decided to visit a restaurant neither of us had tried before, called Ping (@pingpdx). Located in Old Town PDX (specifically, at the corner of 4th and Couch), Ping (http://www.pingpdx.com/) is an Asian restaurant featuring dishes reminiscent of those you would find sold on the streets throughout south Asia. And boy howdy, is it good.
The way we ate our meal is called a “drinking” meal – no, not because I had 3 mini bottles of sparkling sake, which I did (Hou Hou Sho – I’m buying a case today). A drinking meal means that you enjoy small portions of food spread out over the course of your meal, rather than one big old plate full of food that you eat all at once.
We started with Hou Hou Sho sake for me (OMG – did I mentionI’m buying a case of this manna from Heaven TODAY?! It’s only 6% alcohol – around that of a good micro-brew – and the bottles are adorable) and Taiwan Beer for Tim (apparently it is the “Pabst of Taiwan” – and he liked it).
We then ordered the baby octopus skewers…there were 4 weensy octopi on each skewer and they were grilled and coated in a light cilantro, lime, chile, sweet/spicy sauce that definitely tended more toward spicy (nota bad thing). They were super de-lish so we decided to try something else.
We had the house-made fish balls (*giggle* – oh yeah, I’m 5). The fish balls *giggle* were little round formed balls skewered and grilled, making them just slightly chewy, and served with another delightful sweet sauce that also had a bit of a spicy zing to it. I highly recommend the fish balls *giggle* (OK, I just put in that last sentence so I could say fish balls *giggle* again…clearly, I need to get out more often.)
The next item we tried was a “munchy” kind of item – ala edemame – but rather it was teeny tiny fried and salted fish…whole…little bitty baby ones…kinda like marithes (http://tinyurl.com/lksuo2) only much, much smaller. The fish chips came in a bitty bowl – which fit nicely in my palm – and they were crunchy, fishy and salty – exactly as promised. An added benefit, DH and I had fun singing “fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads” when we got to the bottom of the bowl and saw nothing but eyes staring up at us.
At this point in the meal, I allowed DH to select an item that would have meat (I’m a “fish-etarian”) understanding that I would have issues and need to take a bunch of Tums but he is definitely a meat eater and I never make it at home. DH selected something from the “odds” section of the menu: quail eggs wrapped in bacon with a spicy mayonnaise on top. They. Were. So. Good. Maybe it was the bacon? Because I haven’t had bacon in sooooo long….and undeniably, bacon is loved by many….but wow. So good.
Finally, we had plaa meuk ping which is dried, grilled kuttlefish (seriously, if kuttlefish were spelled “cuddle-fish” I wouldn’t be able to eat them) with sweet chili dipping sauce. This was interesting. Much like beef jerky, it’s dried meat but heated on the grill. You have to tear the meat in strips and after a quick dip in the yummy sauce, chew, chew, chew away at it. I loved it! It was so good – and I haven’t had jerky in a very long time so it was nice to have that texture again (so shoot me, I always did like jerky – the fact that I like the texture hasn’t changed even though I don’t eat it anymore). It was very fishy/squiddy tasting and it was really fun to eat.
For dessert (if anyone even MENTIONS my diet in the comments, they’re gonna get it – be forewarned) we had this whipped cream thing topped with kakow (which I believe is super fancy cocoa) and crumbles of white cookie. It kind of reminded me of those little cookies you can get at Asian markets that look like teddy bears and are filled with chocolate, vanilla or strawberry cream. I love those little bears. And DH had some Thai “sock” coffee (and being DH he had to ask whom we could thank for the use of their sock – wahwahwaaaaaa) with condensed milk that was awesome and somewhat similar to Turkish coffee….not surprisingly, I stuck to the sparkling sake.
All in all, it was a wonderful meal, the atmosphere was great, the waitress we had (I feel terrible, I can’t remember her name) was knowledgeable, quick and attentive (without hovering) and we plan to go again, taking a group of friends. If you live in PDX, try out Ping. I liked it – what more endorsement could you ask for?!
Oh – and FYI – Ping is also owned by the fella that created Pok Pok – another fine PDX establishment. I do not know him and was not asked to write this post – this post simply represents my reflection on the meal.
*I was almost unable to leave when we looked up as we were backing out of the driveway and saw the precious Pineapple waving and grinning…if I didn’t love DH so much and value my marriage, I would have run right back into the house.*