Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sausages + Fondue + Beer = 5 Six ft women at a table: Widmer Gasthaus Pub, Portland

Widmer Brothers Gasthaus Pub, directly across the street from the actual brewery, was my collegiate grown-up restaurant, and designated establishment for premeditated free beer weaseling (i.e. "take the tour" and get free pitchers of freshly brewed beer). When we were feeling too high society for dive bars in North Portland, i.e. Twilight Room, we'd dress to the nines in our finest North Face polar fleece and mosey on down to Widmer. So it made sense to meet up with some old college friends, all volleyball teammates, at one of our old stomping grounds.

Both the Widmer Gasthaus Pub and actually brewery are located in a quasi industrial section of town, which makes parking a sinch. Widmer, started by two Oregonian brothers in the 1970s, is responsible for brewing America's original hefeweizen, and I'd like to now claim bragging rights that this was my first and only non PBR/Keystone Light beer back when I was barely legal. They offer free tours and an awesome happy hour.

Well, duh.

We weren't sure what beers to start off with so our waiter kindly brought out some samples since Widmer has a rotating list of seasonal beers.

The first round of beers included the OKTO, a sweet, maltier beer with a little bitterness and the Broken Halo IPA, a  "devilishly bold" Indian Pale Ale.

The OKTO and Broken Halo force

Widmer serves largely German food, so we started off with the Fondue Sausage Sampler ($8.95): an ensemble of bratwurst, double-smoked kielbasa and weisswurt drenched in a fondue made of swiss cheese, beer, wine and spices. Although the green onions look like some afterthought of the line cook, they are an essential part of accentuating the creamy cheese and the hearty sausage. What happens when you have a table of five six foot women? Order another one.

The sauteed mushrooms ($4.95) proved to be another solid and satisfying start to our meal. Widmer takes a half pound of button mushrooms, sautes them in intense garlic butter, and brings them out on a sizzle platter. The amount of garlic used was beyond generous. 

My new favorite Widmer beer is the Deadlift IPA, with a robust hop flavor yet orange blossom nectar nose.  It's 8.6% ABV, so drinker beware.

Some of my friends, original Portland inhabitants, never lose their hefe loyalty. Just in case you're wondering how the original is served, here you go:

America's original Hefeweizen

After the appetizer sausage fest I was feeling carnaged out so I got the Vegetarian Reuben ($7.95), which basically substitutes tomatoes for the meat and carries on with the classic components of sauerkraut: melted swiss cheese and 1000 island dressing all on a grilled marbled rye bread. I loved this version more than the meaty one.

Vegetarian Reuben = a tricked out grilled cheese

The Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($8.95) with alder wood smoked pork and tillamook cheddar was applauded.

The one side Widmer is wildly famous for is their "Widmer Sisters" potato salad with dense and waxy red skin potatoes, red onions, relish, dill and whole grain mustard. This is the potato salads of potato salads, German style of course.

As much as I love my friends, after all they are my old teammates and all their names are written on my right kidney if it should ever come to that, but they ordered boring items offered on the menu. No schnitzel, or epic beer cheese soup to report on. Maybe later.

Zzzzzzz......Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
(Insert snore) Turkey Deluxe

Biggest offender: Soup and Salad combo. Come on, guys!
995 N. Russell
Portland, OR 97227


weezermonkey said...

I need to visit you in Portland!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'd love to go to Portland and to visit Oregon! Lovely food.



Nathan Hazard said...

Mmm want Reuben + potato salad + Deadlift RIGHT NOW. Ugh, okay time to eat lunch, can't read any more or I'll die.

Banana Wonder said...

Weezermonkey - Yes, please!

Rosa - I'm waiting for you.

Chocomeat - Hah, you know what I'm talking about with the tater salad, huh?

YourpalPitty said...

I will try and order something less boring next time. Maybe something lit on fire? Perhaps beer cheese soup? (and salad :) - extra beer please).

Helen said...

Interesting food selections! The potato salad got my attention. Hey what can I say, I'm Greek I like the patata :)

Banana Wonder said...

Pity - Next time, beer cheese soup for sure (and more beer).

Helen - Now you made me think of making a greek style potato salad (you know with lemony potatoes). what do you think??

stuffycheaks said...

ooh sounds like a fun place. The Deadlift w/ orange blossom sounds amazing. the mushrooms look simple but i bet were killer

Helen said...

Yes, I know the Greek potato salad you speak of...give it a try, then I will copy your recipe! Been craving more potatoes lately since the weather turned cooler.

Banana Wonder said...

Stuffycheaks - Yeah, good old beer and shrooms - you can't go wrong.

Helen - I do not have an actual recipe but I've had some cold lemony potatoes with red onions and maybe some oregano? Is that the one? PS. I have a trigona recipe.

SouthBayGuy said...

OMG, That all looks so good. And that is an awesome amount of garlic on the mushrooms.

Banana Wonder said...

Southbayguy - Hah, yes! It was pushing the envelope amount of garlic. pure awesomeness.