My cousin Andy has always been known in the family as a world traveler. We never knew whether he would show up for Thanksgiving or Christmas, often he would be in Thailand or Vietnam or China instead. The times he did make an appearance, the food he brought with him would be stunningly good, and would speedily vanish (leaving you disappointed if you didn’t move fast enough). One year he brought a large roasting pan filled with cookies and just last year he came with a spicy Thai sausage that he had made himself.
A couple of years ago, I started hearing rumors throughout the family that he was opening a restaurant in Portland. He bought a house in SE and started renovations. Last summer when I was out there, the take-out window was open for business and I remember sitting outside with my mom, devouring a section of roasted game hen and wishing for more. When I was in town last December, Andy gifted us with a remarkably amazing meal. The fish sauce glazed chicken wings made such an impression on my tastebuds that I can conjure the flavor simply by thinking about them.
Portland diners have embraced Pok Pok and the Whiskey Soda Lounge, the accompanying indoor dining room, and last week the Oregonian named it the best restaurant of the year. Andy’s success is just one more confirmation that if you do what you love and follow your passion, you will find ever-increasing joy (and hopefully an investor or two).
*My parents occupy positions one and two.