December 21, 2007

At Least....

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The BEST New Year's Eve Guide. Ever.

December 18, 2007

Blossoming Lotus (925 NW Davis)

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The problem: Had crappy day. Cannot eat when sad. The thoughts that occupy my head are these: Sadness and chocolate. Sadness and cheese. Sadness and avocados.

The avoidance strategy: Shoe shopping. Clothes shopping. Pedicure. Manicure. Haircut.

Then what: I have to eat. It is absolutely necessary.

Solution: Eat healthy. No chocolate. No cheese. But some seriously beautiful avocados. Blossoming Lotus. I get the Southwest Bowl with hearty brown rice, hot vegetarian chili with something that tasted like meat but wasn't actually made of animal, steamed greens (kale, I think) creamy avocados and sour cream. Kristin gets curry with rice. We watch yoga types hugging and bonding while we eat and discuss (quietly, at the request of the sign on the table) why we love eating healthy.

Happy Ending: I am full. I am now educated on living (raw) foods. (Thank you, waiter with blonde beard.) I am motivated to take yoga and bond with fellow yoga types. I am confident having eaten a hearty, healthy and delicious meal and having spent lots of money on myself that things will cheer up brilliantly.

Why this is good for you: December happy hour with things like Live Nachos, Cashew Hummus from 8pm - 10pm. How often do you eat things like nachos and not feel guilty? This is your chance, my friend!

Blossoming Lotus on Urbanspoon

December 17, 2007

Juno (Fox Tower Cinemas)

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I loved this movie.

Lolo (2940 NE Alberta)

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Seared chicken breast with moorish spices and warm potato salad. That's what I ordered at Lolo last Thursday. I was so hungry - hadn't eaten since 11 am and it was now 9pm. It smelled so good in there and the chairs were super comfortable. The Christmas lights were lovely and I loved that they have the menu on a giant chalkboard, in case you want to order something else after the waiter takes away the menus.

Even though Lolo is a tapas restaurant, they also have entrees, which is great in the case that you are in an entree mood. Which I was. We smelled everyone else's food for 35 minutes before we got our food. That was unfortunate. It wasn't crowded at all, so I'm not sure what took them so long. I almost started gnawing on the table.
It was a good payoff - the food was pretty much perfect. At least mine was. The chicken breast still had its skin on. And the skin was spicy and salty and crispy. The meat was juicy and flavorful. This is how I like my chicken breasts.

I also tasted the bacon-wrapped trout, the ham and manchego cheese croquetees and the pumpkin bread pudding. The portions were small, or maybe they just seemed small because I was so hungry, so I finished my entree and was still hungry, so I ordered bread.

I'll go back to Lolo to try out more of the tapas. They all sounded good. But I'll make sure to go when I'm not ravenously hungry, lest I eat one of the table legs.

Lolo on Urbanspoon

December 12, 2007

Sapphire Hotel (5008 SE Hawthorne)

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Eat. Drink. Kiss. That's what the sandwich board in front of the Sapphire Hotel says. Which makes me say, all right then. Let's have at it.

It's not an actual hotel. It's the former lobby of a lively hotel that used to be rented by the ladies of the night and the sailors, who "rented rooms by the week, night or by the hour and spent long days and evenings in the lobby drinking, laughing, eating, talking and kissing." (

Now, it's a fine place to enjoy a late night meal and a whole bunch of atmosphere. It's dark and there's nice big comfortable chairs in front of a woodstove. I sit and order a mango lemonade. My friends join me. We order artichoke and kale dip and a cheese and fruit plate.

The artichoke dip is some of the best that I have ever tasted. Honestly, I like it better than my own. It is creamy and salty and has just a bite of spice in it and the kale is brilliantly green and tasty. The goat cheese is a creamy complement to the basalmic vinegar-spritzed bread and grapes. The gorgonzola is bright and strong. The brie, warm and relaxed with the apple slices.

The mango in my lemonade is fresh and the service is just as fresh. We run out of bread and my friend turns and catches the waitress's eye. "You need more bread, huh? I'll bring some right out." Just then, the Decemberists start playing overhead.

My name is Leslie Anne Levine
My mother birthed me down a dry revine
My mother birthed me far too soon
Born at nine and dead at noon
Fifteen years gone now
I still wander this parapet
And shake my rattle bone
Fifteen years gone now
I still cling to the petticoats
Of the girl who died with me
- from Leslie Anne Levine by the Decemberists
As I sat and sipped my lemonade in the Sapphire Hotel, I couldn't help but think of the maybe stories that existed behind the walls. The people that ate here, drank here, loved here. And because I'm such a fatalist, I thought of the people who were maybe born here, the people who maybe died here.

Eat. Drink. Kiss. What will you imagine?

Sapphire Hotel on Urbanspoon

Pinocchio (1005 SW Park Ave)

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We went to Pinocchio the other night, after seeing the Oregon Symphony Gospel Christmas (which was excellent!). I ordered the antipasto vegetable platter and some garlic bread. Kristin ordered the chicken special. The waitress was very nice and seemed to know a lot about the food. The vegetables were okay. Not great. The broccoli raab was way overcooked. The garlic bread was just too much. It was dripping with a ton of butter and garlic and parmesan cheese. So much that a tiny little crumb fell on my shirt and now my shirt is stained. Sometimes it's best to just leave a good thing alone, instead of trying to make it better. The bread was crispy and chewy - perfect probably on its own. But weighed down with so much effort, it was just mediocre.

I was interested to try this place after reading this. I'm glad I tried it. Wasn't really impressed. Might go back to give it a second try. Might not.

Pinocchio on Urbanspoon

December 5, 2007

Noble Rot (2724 SE Ankeny St.)

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I was not feeling super festive last night. My dinner plans canceled on me and I decided to venture out and try a new place. I had read that Noble Rot had won Restaurant of the Year in 2003 and that they had an addictive onion tart. That was enough for me.

Even though I wasn't feeling super festive, I was glad that Noble Rot was, because it made for a nice atmosphere, sitting right by the Christmas tree and all. I think by the end of the night, it made me just a little more festive than I was when I got there.

My dining companion and I were waiting for another friend that was maybe going to come, but we didn't have a firm commitment. The waiter came over and asked us if we were going to order something while we waited for our friend. I said that I didn't think he was coming, so let's just go ahead and order. "Geesh, what's his story?" the waiter said nodding at the empty seat. "Yeah," I said, "I know!" He was on my side and that made me smile.

I ordered marinated olives, the onion tart, the noble salad and a diet coke. The coke came in a can, not my favorite, but as long as it has the caffeine, I'm okay. The marinated olives were a selection of quality olives, marinated in herbs and with a little orange rind on the side. Lovely.

All the things that I read about the onion tart were true. It was addictive and I wanted it to never end. I wanted to take some home with me and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was a basalmic reduction with it that made the finish sweet and tangy. The crunchy salt on top of the tart complemented... everything. Loved it.

The Noble Salad was probably the best salad I have ever had in recent memory. It was seasoned and dressed to taste like an entree, with blue cheese dressing and lots of pepper. It was hearty, but not heavy.

I want to go back and taste the panini with butternut squash, carmelized onions and goat cheese. And I'm not sure how long I can wait to have more onion tart. I will have to feed my addiction SOON.

Noble Rot on Urbanspoon

December 4, 2007

Write Around Portland Anthology Release (1838 SW Jefferson)

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On December 13th, Write Around Portland will be releasing their 25th anthology. This is exciting for a few reasons. First, hello! It is their 25th anthology! Second. I wrote the introduction. (I know. Kinda crazy.) Third. This will be their first reading in a larger space, at the First United Methodist Church, since they have outgrown their long-time reading space at the First Congregational Church downtown.

That's three reasons you will want to attend the reading from 6:30 - 8:30 on Thursday, December 13th at the First United Methodist Church. And. You should totally buy an anthology and support this wonderful program. You will not regret it. I promise.

**I forgot to mention that if you cannot attend the reading, you can still purchase the anthology at Powells. Just do a search for Write Around Portland. You can also purchase them directly from Write Around Portland by calling them at 503-796-9224.