Rachel's Guide to Portland: Oso Market

19 March 2014

Hello! This week I'm back with another installment in my Guide to Portland. I'm always trying new places, and when I get good pictures of what I've eaten, I like to share with you. I'm all for supporting local businesses, and with Portland's vibrant dining scene, you really can't go wrong!

Last Tuesday evening, I tried out Oso Market's happy hour with my dad. The menu is varied and generous on the portions, as you will see in the pictures. The happy hour drink specials include $2 off wine pours, so my dad had a lovely red while I enjoyed the Oso Rojo, a mixed sparkling wine beverage. All I have to say about my drink, pictured above, is that I will return for that drink alone. It was perfect for sipping in the sun (which made a cameo appearance that particular day.

Our first stops on the food portion of the happy hour menu included mixed olives and the pickle plate, both pictured above. They bring plenty of olives, and while they're not the most spectacular olives I've had in town (I prefer when a place created their own mix with seasonings, and when the olives are warmed, which these were not), they still hit the spot (I love olives, what can I say?). As for the pickle plate, the servings were generous, and the variety was different from anywhere else I've tried, and that's saying something since Portland seems to love its pickles. Here we had pickled peppers (my fave), pickled radishes, pickled fennel, and kimchi. These ones all packed a punch, so if you're sensitive to heat, you might be better off without the pickles.

Also on the happy hour menu, we tried the radishes cooked with butter and salt. These were just okay to me, but definitely unlike any other radishes I've ever had. I actually found myself missing the usual radish bite, and would have been better off with raw radishes, French butter, and fleur de sel.

As much as I love my olives, I love my cheese even more, so whenever a restaurant has a cheese plate, I have to give it a try. Although there is a cheese plate on the happy hour menu, it is more of a meet and cheese plate, and since I'm a vegetarian, we ordered the cheese plate off the regular menu. I'm so glad we did. It's one of my favorite cheese plates. All 3 cheese were delicious, and sadly, I couldn't tell you what they were (though I do know the middle one is a wine-soaked goat cheese). The cheese came with a fruit spread (fig?) and grain mustard (this is what won me over- I am a mustard fanatic), and some more pickles, this time bread & butter. The plate was also served with some sliced baguette, the better to enjoy the cheese and spreads with.

My dad was still hungry, so while I saved room for dessert, he ordered the chickpea sandwich off the happy hour menu. What you see above is only half of the sandwich, making this the biggest bargain on the happy hour menu. The sandwich is made with curried chickpea spread, kale, provolone, and green apples. It was nothing short of delicious, and I felt like a kid in a candy store when my dad told me I could take the leftovers home with me.

And now the dessert portion, because I cannot go anywhere and not order dessert. I tried the panna cotta with wine sauce, and it was the perfect ending for my meal. The wine sauce tasted like a rich cherry lollipop, and the panna cotta tasted fresh and creamy. The perfect sunny day dessert- and cute to boot.

Finally, since Oso is a market as well as a place to eat, one wall is lined with displays of candy, condiments, cheeses, tea, beers, liquors, and wine. Its a lot of fun just to browse around (I wanted all of the chocolate, but it's a bit on the spendy side), and my dad came away with two boxes of my mom's favorite tea- Smith Tea's Lord Bergamot, which is a delicious Earl Grey tea.

My verdict: I can't wait to go back. I'd love to enjoy my drink and that sandwich again, and poke around the shop a bit more.

Portlanders- have you been? How do you feel about Portland's pickle obsession? I'd lve to hear form you in the comments below!

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