Swing and a Whiffie

You know the whole theory of how you can't go home again? That's a metaphor for life, and can be applied so many different ways.

It can be simplistic, as in your old neighborhood won't be the same. This happened to come up in Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour - he and his brother would spend summers in France with their grandparents. As part of his first TV show he got his brother to sign on for a trip back to their old stomping grounds to relive all the smells and tastes and experiences of their youth. It wasn't horrible, but it sure wasn't the same.

It can also apply to the state of mind. It's almost impossible to truly reproduce any experience because no matter what it won't be the same. After all, how can it be, since you already know what it's like? You can't recreate the wonder of the first time of any kind of circumstances, because it will ultimately never measure up to the memory you have in your head.

Okay, that was 100% not intended, but those of you whose minds went straight to sex with the above paragraph are excused for your wanderings...sheez, some people. I won't name names but I know you are. John. Just kidding. Kind of.

And this why I don't know if I will ever in my life have pork belly as good as what I ate last night at Biwa. Does that mean I won't try? Hell no - I'll keep trying, and I'll love every minute of it...

For me, I keep finding all these things I loved as a child - foods in this case - aren't as good anymore, or simply are disgusting.

One of my favorite treats as a kid was the apple pies that were made by Franz or by Hostess. We'd get them at the Franz outlet at 4/$1 or something and I loved the things.

My senior year in college the house we rented was near another Franz outlet and I kept the whole house stocked in the things. At that time they were still good, but I swear they had started to skimp on the filling - they seemed more hollow than I remember.

Still, when I heard about this food cart in SE Portland called Whiffies specialized in this deep fried fruit pies, I had to check it out. Since we were in the area after dinner at Biwa, Wifey and I figured this might be a good dessert.

We were hoping for apple, but the only fruit ones they had were raspberry and lemon last night (along with some savory ones and a peanut butter something). Lemon it was.

As we were waiting for our pie to get finished, the two guys in front of us got their's. Now, honestly, these guys looked stoned out of their minds, but they seemed genuinely excited when they got their pies. At the time it was encouraging, but in retrospect they were probably just guys who were stoned out of their minds would have been just as excited to receive the gift of a parking ticket.

Our pie came up and we got it all nice and hot - apparently they make the entire thing to order, which is nice (and only $3 for the fruity ones). We decided to eat in the car on the way home, so that meant Wifey got first crack at it after it cooled.

Her first reaction - and mine as well after I tried it - was a shrug. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that great either.

Of course, following up on our amazing dinner at Biwa, that's a tough act to follow. I'm absolutely sure it simply wasn't up to Biwa's standards, so it was a letdown just because of that. That's not fair to Whiffie's probably, but at the same time that's my perception of it given the circumstances I was eating it - everyone will have different circumstances that will force a review to never be 100% free of any thing like that. Perhaps a different preceding meal would illicit a different reaction. Maybe.

I'd be willing to try Whiffie's again, but I'm not going to go out of my way to do so. Where it sits on 12th and Hawthorne there are about six other food carts, some of them we want to go back and try, so perhaps then we'll give Whiffie's another chance. Until then, though, I can't say I recommend it.

It's funny, some of the reviews on Yelp mention how it's a great place to get food after a night of drinking. Those people give it top reviews. Another review, which gave it less stars, mentioned something along the lines of "maybe I wasn't drunk enough." Or stoned, like the guys in front of us.

Either way, if one really has to be more drunk or stoned to claim they love a food place, that's not really grounds for optimism in my eyes. I should have known better - and Whiffies never had a chance of matching the enjoyment I remember from eating similar things as a kid.

Sorry guys.

Listen to the cliche - you really can't go home again.

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