November 14, 2007

The Press Club (2621 SE Clinton St.)

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Saturday morning, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, tried to depuff them and headed to Wordstock, despite a very late night dancing at Lola's Room and eating a mid-night snack at Kenny and Zuke's. Okay, it wasn't a snack. It was a real meal. Who cares if it was 1 in the morning. It was totally worth it. Geesh leave me alone.

Anyway. Back to Wordstock. My first order of business was to listen to the authors of Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant read their essays. Jenni Ferrari-Adler went first, then Steve Almond (hilarious), then Erin Ergenbreit (who later told the very intriguing story of the fall of Portland restaurant clarklewis).

One thing that I took away from this panel of authors and also the food writing panel later on, was that food is so important - it's more than nourishment to sustain our bodies. We bond over food. That is why we - and by we I mean ME - cook. That is why we share great food. One author confessed to planning imaginary dinner parties in her head at night, cookbooks by her bed. I have to admit that I do the same thing! Food is universal. Everyone loves it. Everyone needs it to live. That is a deep connection.

Needless to say, when I was ready to leave Wordstock after having listened to a couple of hours of food talk, I was hungry. My sis and I went over to SE Clinton St. to see what we could find. We wandered into The Press Club. It was totally the perfect place to retreat to after a day of books. It smelled wonderful, like hot bread, and the hipster guy at the bar said he would be right with us.

It took him a while to get to us. But I was kind of distracted because I had picked up the latest Believer magazine from the rack on the wall (which holds lots of smarty and design mags) and was reading this article about midgets in the circus. Fascinating and very distracting. Also the first section of the article was titled Veritable Human Dumplings. And like I said, I was hungry and that really caught my eye.

We finally ordered drinks and food. And it was a long time before we got it. But not as long as the people who ordered before us, whose food the waiter accidentally gave to us. Oops. The bread was warm and crusty, and the house-cured olives were sweet little bites of tangy flesh soaked in olive oil and herbs.

Chels ordered a mushroom crepe, which was crispy outside and chunky and saucy inside with lots of meaty mushroom flavor. I had a mozzarella, tomato and basil pannini. Oh it was so delicious. I was just thinking about it today like my old friend that I needed to visit. Crispy, chewy, mozzarella-y, perfect bites of heaven. With some good reading material and heavenly food, I was content for quite a while.

I could say the service was slow, but I think they only had one cook and one waiter and they did a pretty good job, since the place was packed. It was packed with solitary people with laptops, though, so it totally was not noisy. This is going to be on my list of places that are okay to go out to eat alone. I think they have live music sometimes too, which I really want to check out.

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