For beachcomberlc, because she forgives me. For Julietoo, because she is snowbound.
For the rest of you, to hopefully make you smile.
This was not edited by any sort of professional.
Gastrnomical Magazine April 2014 – Jacob Black, contributing editor.
When you think of great American cooking what is the first city you think of? And I don't mean American food but all cuisines and cultures. Which city is the new pioneer for all things edible? New York? Los Angeles? New Orleans? Or how about Las Vegas, Miami, or Seattle? Which American city can claim the hippest and most diverse culinary food spectrum we here at Gastronomical magazine have ever seen. Surprise...it's Portland, Oregon.
Like the often forgotten middle child, Oregon lies between Washington and California on the US west coast. Ask anyone one about West Coast cuisine and they'll spout off about almost every other city than Portland. Perhaps it is this neglect that has led to Portland becoming a new world food leader. Most surprisingly it is not the hotels, restaurants, or bistros that are really leading the charge but, of all things, food trucks That's right. Street food in Portland is stratospherically raising everyone's expectations in gastronomy.
For this assignment I was given the arduous task of sampling the offering of as many food trucks as I could in a two week period. Then I had to choose my two tops trucks to feature. During my foray into gluttony and satisfaction, the University of Portland was conducting it's own similar study to name the best street fare available. The Best of the Best is an annual competition and the food truck race means a great deal to both the winners and the students that frequent those trucks. The owner/head chef of the six time winning Jerked Meat truck retired last year leaving the competition open to new blood this year. With his focus on Jamaican and West Indian cuisine, Charlie Swan took Portland by storm with his truck. He gleefully told me, over the phone, that being able to retire with his long-time girlfriend to a condo in Montego Bay was always a pipe dream.
"Back when I was on the police force I knew that my pension and retirement fund would only let me have a comfortable but boring retirement there in the Pacific Northwest. My daughter gave me the idea of doing something with my cooking hobby so I pooled everything I had into the truck. In under ten years I have replaced the money I spent and tripled my investments. I had a blast doing it but it was time for me to stop. I can't wait to see who wins this year but it is obvious who my money's on."
Obvious indeed. Charlie Swan's money and half the city seem to have placed their bets on the very popular truck, Bella's Bonny Scottish Fare. Only partly due to the owner Bella Swan. That's right, Charlie's daughter is now one of Portland's reigning food truck monarchs serving astoundingly good Scottish food. Better yet, vegetarian Scottish food. Even more remarkably, local, organic, vegetarian Scottish food. Let the revolution begin.
Bella Swan was born and raised in the region. She is a self taught cook and business woman who is earning a name for herself outside of her father's reputation. At the tender age of twenty-five she is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. She is quickly becoming a leader in the local food movement partnering with several farmers and appearing at the market to peddle her wares. Her vegetarian offerings have both surprised and pleased many discerning palates. Who knew Scottish food could be so yummy? Certainly not me but the idea of a Haggis that never walked on it's own is something that has me thinking. For lunch Bella offers a variety of Edinburgh inspired meals. Her proprietary blend of legumes, grains and mushrooms can be sampled as a beautifully steamed Haggis, a burger and wrapped around a Scotch egg. She plays with other recipes on a weekly basis.
But her crowning glory, the pièce de résistance is her shortbread. Rumour has it that she milks her own Highland cow to get the cream to make the butter. That is the secret to a shortbread that can make grown men weep. Of course she refuses to tell anyone the recipe including her two best friends and co-workers Alice Brandon and Emmett McCarty. Bella Swan could make millions just on the cookies alone. The golden brown wedges melt upon the merest suggestion of placing them in your mouth. They are not sweet but they are, they are not salty but they are and when she sells out of them you can here the disgruntled cry of customers for miles around.
I expect great things of Miss Bella Swan and her crew. Next month's issue we'll sit down for small chat and I'll reveal my second pick for best food truck.
Edward Cullen flung the magazine out of his hand and stood up to pace.
Of course they would pick her to feature in their article. Isabella. She, who haunts his dreams and plagues his waking hours. The one woman he wanted and, due to his own stupidity, can't have. At least he was fairly sure he couldn't have her. He had never actually tried to ask her out or even really talk to her. But he felt confident that she though him to be worse than pond scum after the looks she shot him at the city council meeting.
That was where he first saw her. And...oh, my, fucking, god, she was fine. He had no idea who she was or why she was there but he set out to impress her with his knowledge of all things food truck.
See, Edward Cullen, owner and purveyor of Cullen's Irish Jig, was new to the Portland food scene. However, due to his stellar culinary education he did feel that he knew more than the locals and felt that it was his duty, nay responsibility, to help them in any way he could. He was from a much larger, and therefore better city. He had been educated at the Cordon Bleu, Chicago, (weekend classes in high school). He graduated from the CIA, that's the Culinary Institute of America not the spy agency. The CIA in New York, I'll have you know, not the crappy one in Texas. He used only the finest ingredients, searching the world over if he had to. He had a lot to offer the fledgling food world of Portland Oregon.
However, Portland Oregon did not agree. Or rather the city council and other food truck owners did not agree. They did not take too kindly to the arrogance of the young gentleman from Chicago. The looks of pure malice he received just before Jasper and Rose hauled him out of the council room cut him to the quick. After a quick schooling, the word dumbass prevalent, he saw the error of his ways.
But he never forgot the gorgeous brunette. She had been sitting near the front of the room wearing the most delectable red vee-neck sweater. It fit her so well it looked as though it was made of fondant and she was the yummy cake part. He longed for a bite or a nibble, he'd settle for a lick if it were all that was offered.
Edward stood up and began pacing the room, his eye catching on the magazine on every pass. Since he had made a fool out of himself he had learned all about Miss Isabella Swan. She was food truck royalty. Not only was she a goddess but she was princess and heir to her father's food truck dynasty. The Swan's had help start Portland's street food scene and she learned everything at her father's knee.
Bella was a natural cook, she hadn't attended a grand cooking school like Edward had done. She hadn't attended a renowned business school like Edward's business partner Rosalie. Rosalie had graduated from The Wharton School of Business. Edward's other partner, Jasper, had also graduated from the CIA, but the crappy one in Texas so that really didn't count. That was just an inside joke between them, the CIA in Texas is actually a very good school and turns out amazing food talent.
She seemed to know just what Portland wanted in a food truck and she gave it to them. Her truck was popular, artistic, quirky and fun. She served good, vegetarian food and she wore the hottest tartan apron Edward had ever seen. Remarkably that apron featured in many of his dreams and quite a few of his showers since he first laid eyes on it. He had been to her truck a few times to sample her fares. She paid no attention to him except to treat him as a customer. From the way she had reacted to him when they first met he was certain that she would introduce her foot to his ass as soon as she could. But she never said anything. In fact she acted as if she had no idea who he was. Surely his reputation and good looks had proceeded him, she had to have known who he was, but she gave no indication. That hurt almost as much as the death glare she gave him at the city council meeting.
His speech that night had been well thought out, well typed, double-spaced and everything. Rosalie worked hard on the proposal to counter-act the licensing amendment the council was pushing forward. And it wasn't really Rosalie's fault that proposal fell short, Edward did tinker with it a great deal. Council wanted to raise the rates for licensing food trucks and the community was, naturally, against it. Rose had proposed a much smaller fee with a stationing rotation so that more trucks could access the busy places and therefore earn more to help offset the extra fee. The bit about a discount for classically trained chefs was all Edward's contribution and he probably shouldn't have lead with that and just stuck to Rose's script. They had heard later that Bella's business partner Alice had tabled a proposal similar to Rose's and council had, grudgingly, agreed.
So now they were all knee deep in the best of the best contest, working their asses off to gain notoriety and this stupid magazine comes out with her truck and her picture with her looking like he could just spread her on a cracker and call her lunch. She was never going to notice him without divine intervention.
AN: This will be very short. Maybe three chapters. Next chapter tomorrow. My apologies to Scotland, Ireland and Texas, I mean no harm.