David Barber started pickling as a child, after he accidentally snapped a prize watermelon off the vine before its time. His dad offered a quick lesson in brining the green fruit’s rind. Now, the 54-year-old Barber owns Southwest Portland’s popular Three Square Grill and runs Picklopolis, a “kingdom of the brine” that supplies restaurants including SE Division’s Woodsman Tavern and downtown’s Morningstar Cafe.
Here are a few plunges into his chosen craft’s salty depths.
Sugar snap peas and ginger
Inspiration Barber admits he really just wanted a product called “ginger snaps.” Taste sensation The peas become a mere delivery system for a massive ginger hit.
A rare, pale cucumber
Inspiration Barber says he knows just two farmers who grow this unusual albino cuke—and he snaps up as many as he can get. Taste sensation Sliced thin, these phantoms spirit hints of dill and spice into burgers and sandwiches.
Chelan and Rainier cherries and Jim Beam (usually) bourbon
Inspiration Barber wants to expand his repertoire into fruit. Taste sensation Whiskey’s sweet sting mingles with explosive cherry juice.
Inspiration Barber loves heat, and wanted to amplify radishes’ fire. Taste sensation The jalapeños accentuate both the spiciness and watery bitterness of the roots.
Hard-boiled eggs soaked in Barber’s own red or green chile sauces
Inspiration People asked for pickled eggs like those found in bars—except good. Taste sensation The best hard-boiled egg ever in the best hot sauce ever.