Saturday, September 30, 2006

slurping mulluscus @ the Oyster Bar

For the past few years, I have been hanging out at the Shanghai Tunnel. It's a good starting point for a night out in Portland. Two dollar PBRs in a 16 ounce can don't hurt either. We get to sit outside, watch the freaks stroll by to destination perverse and possibly illegal, and wonder why I'm not one of them.

We found the place after the first Asia trip I took with the MIM program. After spending 2 weeks in China, and partying it up in Shanghai, my friends and I find the Portland city scene mundane, and, most of all, expensive. Wandering aimlessly through the streets of downtown, bored at the usual Kell's Irish Pub, Barcode, Bar 71, and Ash Street Saloon I asked Mark and Brian where they wanted to go next.

"I want to go back to Shanghai!" Exclaimed Brian in a rediculously loud voice that is so full of passion and heavy with Taiwanese-English accent, almost unintelligible. Good thing I have been ingnoring him for some months and rely only on keyword recognition. "Shanghai", I gathered, is the destination.

Figuring that spending 12 hours on a 747 isn't rightly feasible at the moment, we kept trekking. No less than half a block did I turn, and to my astonishment, a smallish red sign that reads - "Shanghai Tunnel". Although the decor reminds nothing of China - the mural is in a distinct Japanese style depicting a Japanese ronin - it became one of our favored starting, and sometimes, ending points for a night out.

Next to Shanghai Tunnel, across a one lane alley, is a big green sign that read "Oyster Bar". I have, for the past two years, wondered what they served. By their namesake, I'd guess they specialize in the slimy goodness that is God's natual cure to Hugh Hefner's blue pill problems. But is my assumption correct? I turned and asked Lucious, the bouncer/doorman to Shanghai Tunnel, and inquired as to the true nature of the Oyster Bar.

"You know, I worked here for three years but I've never eaten there. I'm guessing they sell oysters."

Yeah. Thanks. You're a lot of help there pal. Keep up not checking my ID at the door and never offer me advice on the truly obvious. I turn and ask the bartender. I asked five or seven random people sitting around the outside patio. No one has been there. the intrigue kills.

There is only one way to find out. Google. Citysearch. Willamette Week. Result? Inconclusive. The only real way? Go eat there. Fine.

The notion of eating at the Osyter Bar has been rining for weeks in my brain. I talked issenssently to Toni about it. Then last night, told Mark and Oscar about the place. Then, on the way to pick up the Portland Marathon runners bib, I sprung it. "Mark, we are going to the Oyster Bar to eat whatever they serve. I'm guessing Oysters."

Toni and I show up at the place, and after a few minutes, greeted by a hippish looking young woman who just got done shucking two dozen oysters. "Table for four?" "Yes." "It'll be 5 minutes or so." "Okay. We'll be in the bar."

We situate ourselves in the bar. The bartender, a somewhat disheveled blonde lady in her 50's who seemed perfectly nice, was busy running around the smallish but busy bar. Perhaps it is because of the state of the bar, and the fact that the group with the old woman in the wheelchair making demands in a perfect non-English language, we got more than 10 minutes to catch up on all the decor nuances.

A Mirror Pond Pale Ale never tasted so good after a 10 minute anticipation. It ranks up there with waiting 14 years to touching the first boob that wasn't attached to my mother.

Mark and Laura show up when I'm half done with my beer. I muse momentarily on the epitaph they would attach to they eventual drink. But it wasn't forthcoming. I got up and asked the first server that I found about my 5 minute wait thats extended for more than 25 minutes. It happens to be the manager. We were seated before Mark and Laura were able to offer their poposal for a drink.

Man am I tired of writing this shit. The clam chowder was subpar. It's like mash potato soup with chopped clams yearning for a ladle of the Dead Sea.

The oysters, however, was fantastic. The Yaquina Bay oysters were particularly succulent. At $17 a dozen, its three times the price of what I had in New Orleans. But the meat is sweat and tender, with a slight crunchiness and the fragrant aroma of the sea. We had two dozen between mark and I. Viagra Cialis steak tar tar never tasted so good.

Toni said my upper lip smells like pussy.

Yes. When I got up to use the bathroom, I enlisted the help of the hippie oyster shucker girl who forgot that we needed a table and gave her a proper rundown.

It was full night. I decided to turn in and go home. It was 9:05PM.

Tomorrow, authentic Mexican meal at Oscar's. Cooked by his mother, who is from Mexico City. I'm expecting no Taco Bell.

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