Tag Archives: restaurants

Fantastic few weekends.

Still talking to one another.

Last weekend, Brian and I celebrated our anniversary at the Salishan. The Salishan is starting to become a tradition, I think. When we walked into our room, Brian had a dozen red roses and a bottle of our favorite wine of all time waiting for me. I changed into my new dress and we sat by the fire, drank the wine and talked. I finally was able to give him the Midleton whiskey I carried all over Europe. I think he was more impressed by all Gretchen and I had to go through to get it to him than by the whiskey itself (well, no, he tried it this week and I think he’s more impressed by the whiskey now).

We ate dinner at the Salishan steakhouse (what a beautiful view) and then went to the lounge to see a band – Beth Willis, who turns out to be from Portland. Funny, I’ve seen her there three times now and didn’t realize that. On our way back to the room, she complimented me on my dress! Fun. I was pretty tipsy then though. Something about following a good amount of wine with whiskey. Hm, who would have thought?

New dress

This weekend is Brian’s birthday, so we started it off by going to Sweet Hereafter with Laurie. Sweet Hereafter is the new place opened by one of the guys from Bye and Bye. We got there just in time to be able to sit for dinner, it was completely packed. Good!

Last night we went to Mississippi Studios to see Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter (seems to be a themed weekend). We had been playing 2 player Ms PacMan across the street and left so we wouldn’t miss the opening band – man, what a mistake. I am still trying to think of a band I thought was worse in all the years I’ve been going to shows, there has to be one, right? Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter were awesome though – I would go to any show they do (but skip the opening band after last night).

Tonight is Brian’s birthday proper so we will do some more celebrating.

Next weekend is the Portland Marathon and my cousin Nicole is running it. Looking forward to cheering her on!

More Neighborhood Goodness

Filing this under Things-That-Really-Don’t-Need-To-Be-Walking-Distance-Thank-You:

Grain & Gristle is opening in the space left by the mercado next to Podnah’s. It’s a collaboration between the chef from Ned Ludd, a restaurant I’ve only heard great things about, and the owner of Upright Brewing, which producing very interesting and unusual beers. I’ve wanted to visit Upright at Left Bank, but their hours are extremely limited.

It looks like it’s going to be a great pub, and I’ve gone from being super worried about that corner (when the mercado went under and then Podnah’s announced it was leaving as well) to being really excited about it – Pok Pok is opening a restaurant in the Podnah’s space, and now this pub is going in here, and Tiga is a pretty nice place too.

Love my neighborhood.

Not so neighborly, a new restaurant and learning to ride.

The neighbor I don’t like (and boy do I have a lot of reasons) is having a rummage sale today in his front yard. I’m having ethical debates with myself about it. I really want to run out and warn the poor people that are buying his crap that the velvet furniture has sat outside in the rain for the last few months (they use the velvet furniture to sit outside and smoke and drink). I’m going to be good and not do it, but I do feel really sorry for whomever buys the furniture, can you imagine what creepy crawlies are in it?

In other news, I ended up walking up to Alberta St twice yesterday. Once for a good wander and once to go get some drinks and dinner with Brian.

We decided to try out Branch Whisky Bar. It is in the location that Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill was originally, and I believe the man who owns Branch was the former chef for ASOBG. Really like the feel in the place altogether, and our waitress rocked. The have (unsurprisingly) a lot of whisky, including tasting trays (yowza!). I didn’t want to drink whisky with my meal, so I tried a Rye beer by Upright Brewing (the brewers in Left Bank).

I’ve tried two of their beers now and really have like both of them. This one was unusual – Brian said that it reminded him of Duchess – and I don’t know if I’d want to drink it all night but I really liked it. Brian got a whisky (can’t remember now which one) which was an Irish single malt.

We had burgers for dinner which were very tall, featuring house-made bacon and what appeared to be house-made pickles – both pickles for the burger and a pickle spear on the side. The side dish was potato salad, which was very good – not a mayo potato salad, which I can’t stand, but a homemade German potato salad. It was all very good, and too much food for me (even though I kinda finished the plate). After dinner, I tried their whisky sour. Super awesomeness – both Brian and I liked it even better than my whiskey sours. Definitely will wander back here again – the food menu is very limited (I think the burger was the only thing on it that appealed to me) but I’ll be back for drinks for sure.

Today, we get to go to Polish fest, I’m super excited. We are going to take the bus there so we don’t have to worry about driving back. It will be my first time aboard Max! Wish me luck. I haven’t been able to pick up my bus pass from PSU as it goes onto your PSU ID and mine doesn’t have my picture yet. Will try to write about all this tomorrow, if I’m not distracted.

Alright, better go study. Am sure you are all going to tire of hearing me say that!

Damned if you do

We were waiting for some friends outside of Toro Bravo and I decided to go look at the list of shows coming to Wonder Ballroom. There had been a very well-dressed man in a suit who had been waiting outside just as long as we had. I started reading the shows the shows to Brian that I thought he might be interested in seeing, and just as I was about to say it, the gentleman in the suit said to me “Oh, you guys should go see the Damned!” heh. Made me laugh – and if I wasn’t a student again (and hence cash poor) that would have been the one show I’d want to see (well, I’d think about Skinny Puppy too). I still have vinyl of the Damned, how funny I could walk now to go see them.

Still haven’t figured out who the dapper man in the suit was, but it’s those sorts of random things that make me really happy! Oh, and Toro Bravo, yum! Can’t wait to go back for more tapas, what a great restaurant with amazing service!

Random updates

Just because I forgot to post this last Wednesday, I’m going to post it now. It’s been nice to use this website to look back at the bands I’ve been seeing.

Laurelthirst has some great bands who play there, and Brian hadn’t been to Laurelthirst yet, so we had to go. We went to see Dolorean for their last Wednesday night Laurelthirst show. I knew the place fills up as the show starts, so we went early to get dinner (early being 5 p.m.). Laurelthirst’s food is really good – they currently win for my favorite Portland veggie burger (Portland veggie burgers tend to be either soft [blech] or sweet [not so much my style]). They also have good beer :)

Dolorean is great live. Brian had told me that I’d hate them, so I didn’t listen to them for a long time. I really like them though (take that, Brian! I’m contrary!), and the show was really cool. The place was completely packed too – people sharing booths and everyone looked like they were having a good time. Al James, the singer, said they were taking a break from live shows to work on a new album, so I’m really glad we went out that night.

There’s something really awesome about being out at a great bar on a summer night listening to a band and drinking beer that just can’t be beat.

Last night, we were supposed to go to Clay’s for dinner, but when we go there, we found out they are only open Wed-Fri. At that point, we were both hungry and kinda feeling like eating out, so we wandered over to East Burn (why’d they change their logo?). I got to try a beer from Upright Brewing, which is a new brewery in the Left Bank building. Farmhouse Ale was quite good – it tasted like a Belgium, and was fruity. Looking forward to trying some more of their stuff. Didn’t hurt that apparently all beers are $2 on Tuesdays at East Burn. Fun. We want to walk there some night and try some of their infused gins.

This was followed up by heading to Laurelhurst theater to see Pixar’s Up. Up was good, although it made me cry thinking about Brian’s dad. Also managed to swing by Beulahland, which I had been missing. It’s probably a good thing that Beulahland isn’t walking distance for me because I’d be there waaaay too much.

Alright. Sorry about the randomness – had a bout of insomnia after a bad dream at 2 a.m., so I’m scattered today. Which is why I’m not working on fixing the layout here.

Surprise out-of-town guests for lunch

Whew, lots to write about and little time. Just a quick note to say that if you are a GL alum, I just had a surprise email from Dan Clarke to say he was in Portland. After a quick phone call, I was outside on the sidewalk at Jake’s eating lunch with him and his awesome wife Marianne. Their son lives in Seattle, and he has an aunt and uncle in Medford, OR, so they were heading back from visiting them.

A nice surprise, although I’m feeling slight lethargic after a caesar salad topped with freshly blackened salmon (mmmm) and a Ponzi pinot gris. Feeling a little spoiled today and great to see them!

Monday, Monday. Ahhhh ahhhh ahhhhh ah ah ah.

On Monday nights, we’ve been heading to Old Town Pizza on MLK to watch movies. The first night we went, it was old (1940s and 1950s) beer commercials. They were completely awesome. One of them completely startled me – I had no idea that in-your-face foreplay was on TV back then. I’ve looked all over the internet and can’t find the one that scandalized me, which is disappointing, it was really cool. I wonder why beer companies don’t use their old commercials? It’d definitely make me pay more attention to them.

In any event, it was pretty cool to watch them listening to the thwap thwap thwap of the film project (16mm, Brian said). Not to mention having a beer or two while doing that.

Last night’s was crash test dummy films from the Ford Motor company. Also good, but even better was the 1950s PSA-like movie for teenagers on not drinking and driving. Old Town doesn’t particularly turn the music off in the restaurant while we watch these, so it was a bit surreal to watch it to electronica music, watching it storm outside and drinking a beer.

The guy who does this didn’t remember what he had planned for next week – he says he just grabs them out of his basement. He’s quite a character too as he sets up the film. I think we are starting to make friends with the bartender too, who is from Edinbourough. He’s fond of Brian’s full name, which makes me giggle. And I was amused this week because he was less one beard and Brian was less one head of hair. Almost timed, that.

Pretty cool night, except for the fact that when we went out to get in my car, we noticed that my car was spraypainted sometime between Sunday night and Monday evening. Brian had moved my car to the street while we were gardening because he wanted to pull some weeds in our driveway and I left it there knowing we were going somewhere Monday night. The morons didn’t get Brian’s car thankfully, but they clearly thought about it because they spraypainted a penis on the street in front of his car. Reported to the police, of course, and my car has already had it removed. I’m working with the city to get the sidewalk and street penises removed, so hopefully that’s that. I’ve got enough of my family in me to think that if they’d like to do that again, there will be BAD. CONSEQUENCES. But all in all, part of living in a city, I get that.

South Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

South Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

We got in a great hike yesterday even though we got a late start.

We drove down to Silver Falls State Park, and bought an annual pass for the state parks. We hate to waste money so that means we will go hiking in state parks at least seven more times this year. Should be easy, assuming neither of us decides to break a leg or something.

Anyhow, I distinctly remember doing this hike when I was a kid with my mom and sister. I remember that Gretchen and I were not really down with it, hiking just seemed like too much walking to us, and all of Oregon is pretty, we get it. Funny how perspective changes everything.

I had super grand expectations about getting in a number of the waterfalls (there’s a hike of ten waterfalls that we are talking about doing perhaps later in the summer), but after we got going, we realized that a) it was too late in the day to do much and the park would close before we did a lot of the waterfalls and b) going up is hard work when you are as out of shape as I am.

I can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t walk as much as I do, and didn’t work out five days a week. I am planning on adding more to my workout plan because clearly what I am doing is not quite cutting it.

We managed three waterfalls – South Falls, Lower South Falls and another one that we didn’t catch the name of (might have been just a springtime waterfall) but over which we got to walk on wooden planks.

Brian was impressed that the day lodge was super nice – there’s a cafe there (with FOUR vegetarian options. FOUR!) and a gift shop, and info about the park. It’s somewhat like a miniture toned-down version of the Timberline.

Behind South Falls.

Behind South Falls.

The best part about South Falls is that after a hike down, you get to walk behind the waterfall. There’s a cave that is behind it, and you can stand there as long as you like and watch the water wall move in front of you. The mist feels phenomenal on your face. It’s my new plan to hike near waterfalls once per week in interest of skincare.

We hiked for about three hours – it was 73 degrees, and it felt like heaven to be out in the woods watching water and lichen and chipmunks.

After we got back to the parking lot, we decided to go to Salem for dinner. We couldn’t seem to find anything that appealed to us, and we weren’t in the mood for Mexican or Thai, so we ended up at McGrath’s, a restaurant that I’ve been going to since I was a little kid.

We had the worst meal I remember in a very, very long time, which surprised me as I ate there last year and had a completely fine meal. This time I was actually worried that Brian or I would end up with food poisoning. The salad was mushy – clearly the pears were old, and from the bottom of the can rather than fresh. It was drenched in dressing to the point of being sort of a lettuce soup rather than a salad, and the candied walnuts, instead of being cooked slightly in sugar, were encased in rocks of sugar (more sugar than nut, if you know what I mean).

The fish I had was old, and not good, and bland. I had decided to get a fish sandwich since we grilled fish the night before, and had asked for cheddar instead of tartar sauce. The cheddar was fried on the fish to the point of being hard.

It is the first time I’ve ever seen Brian order a prawn dish and not eat most of the prawns. The wait staff seemed great, but it took forever for the food to come out, with no apologies. The meal took almost two hours from the moment we were seated. Not what I had intended when I innocently suggested we grab a bite before heading back to Portland.

All in all, I think that’s going to have to be the last time I eat at McGrath’s. It was that bad last night.

However, we did have a nice walk around downtown Salem, and I got to see a building I didn’t remember but really love:

Capitol National Bank Tower in Salem, Oregon.

Capitol National Bank Tower in Salem, Oregon.

Today is gorgeous – 75 degrees, so I’m going to weed the backyard and take a long walk this afternoon. Gotta practice for another waterfall!

Organ Grinder

This won’t mean anything to someone who didn’t live in the Portland area in the 70s and 80s, but today when I was driving down 82nd, I realized that the Asian restaurant Super King is in the old Organ Grinder building. They took down the awesome front entrance I remember but it’s the same building, and still stands out as interesting. I will need to go get pictures. I probably have pictures from when it was the Organ Grinder.

Here’s a good page with pictures of it back in the day. They had great pizza, and I remember being there with my mom and my sister. I have no idea why we’d go there, but I remember loving the huge pipe organ. It’s one of those memories that are so strong that I could have drawn a picture of the inside without seeing those pictures.

I’m curious to go to Super King and just check out the inside of it.

An essay on appliances and grocery stores

I still need to write about all the awesomeness of last weekend (paid for on Sunday, oops) when we went to Mortified and to some friends’ party, but I’m just going to write for a few minutes about today.

We have to replace our oven / stove as I mentioned earlier, so we went to several appliance stores to begin research. I think we are going to upgrade to a gas stove, which I’m very excited about doing. The only real question is whether to get a dual one or not (i.e., electric convection oven with a gas range).

Arguments for a dual one are that I have a minor tenancy (which is a major one in Brian’s mind) of occasionally lighting things on fire when I bake in a gas oven. Well, really, it was just the garlic bread incident. I guess Brian thinks once is enough, heh. And Brian’s mom was very badly burned once when she was baking and there was a gas leak problem with the oven that exploded when she opened the oven door, permanently burning her legs and knocking her out of commission for quite a while. We’ll see.

I didn’t realize how much you have to consider with these things. I thought it boiled down to electric vs. gas. Huh.

The fun part of the day is when we went to Fubonn, which has been on my list for a while. I’m not sure why Brian agreed to it – his theory with grocery shopping is in-and-out as quickly as possible, while mine is more exploratory. I get cooking ideas that way. However, even he was won over by the happiness that is shopping at Fubonn! Fubonn is an asian market that has really lovely vegetables, sauces, fish, meat, snacks, and cooking equipment.

We explored every aisle, talking about every dish we could make when we have a stove again. We bought a good number of things, some of which we don’t actually entirely know what they are (but they look good)! I can’t wait to go back again, and I am going to definitely give things from here to our nieces and nephew for Christmas. I told Brian if we ever get Amanda here, she will never, ever leave Portland (which would be very fine by me). Fubonn is one of the reasons I need to live in a city and not a small town. Without a doubt.

After all that, we went to Wong King’s Seafood for lunch. I had been there for dim sum a few weeks ago with friends, and want to take Brian to try it. This time we were too late for dim sum (3 p.m. is such a weird time to go out for food, but we had a late breakfast and no lunch). We were the only ones there in the stillness between dim sum and dinner. Great food all together, this is definitely our favorite Chinese restaurant in Portland.

82nd is such a great cluster of Asian restaurants and stores.

We still have to find our favorite Chinese-American (yeah, I know, but I crave it sometimes) in Portland so if you have any suggestions, they’d be gratefully received. I’m kinda going restaurant by restaurant, but there are some pretty lousy ones here, and I seem to be finding them. I think the next one we are planning on trying is Chin’s Kitchen on the basis of its great sign and its location near us.

Alright, I was also going to type up the horror (and I mean the Horror) that happened when we were putting the groceries in my trunk, but I’ve already typed for way too long. How exciting is all this? Appliance comparisons! Grocery store reviews! Heh.