I read somewhere that Rialto had the best bar food in town. I decided to check it out for myself on Saturday.
My first impression of Rialto went like this: the waitress came up to my table. "Hi." [Fake smile] "Are you going to start a tab or pay with cash as you go along? Because we've had a lot of walk outs lately and she makes us pay for them out of our paychecks and I just can't afford it. I'm not taking any chances." Okay then. I gave her my card.
The HR person inside me wanted to say, "you know, you can report that to the Bureau of Labor and Industries. It's illegal for employers to make deductions from employees' paychecks without their authorization." But then I thought, nah. I don't feel like talking HR on Saturday.
I ordered the Salad Nicoise, which had house-poached tuna along with everything but the kitchen sink, including potatoes, lettuce, onions, boiled eggs, tomatoes and I really can't possibly remember everything that was in it, but it was a lot. Dressed in garlic vinaigrette. Sounded good and mildly healthy. Oh and I also ordered onion rings, just so I could check out the bar food part of the menu.
I got my big fat salad and here's the thing: I like garlic. If a menu item says it has garlic, you should be able to taste it. I don't think it was actually garlic vinaigrette. I think it was vegetable oil poured over the salad. And it wasn't good. There was no taste. I added salt and pepper just to get through it. It was a boring salad, despite the promises of exciting ingredients, and I kind of resented that.
The onion rings were good, but then they went and poured excessive amounts of table salt on them. That made them not so good. But they were better than the salad. (Of course that's a ridiculous statement because when are onion rings fried in beer batter NOT better than any type of salad?)
I did enjoy watching people play pool while I ate and enjoyed the almost disasterous encounter with another pool hall patron who nearly fell on my table as he stumbled out the door to call it a night. That was fun.
I would go back to play pool and eat on the side, but probably wouldn't go back just to eat. They do have pool lessons, which might be fun (and necessary for me!)
May 30, 2007
I read somewhere that Rialto had the best bar food in town. I decided to check it out for myself on Saturday.
Congratulations to Distilled Publishing for winning the random drawing for the concert ticket giveaway!
Stay tuned for more giveaways and fun prizes celebrating our lovely city of Portland in the near future...
May 29, 2007
If there is one part of me that I could change, it would be my feet. My feet are really wide and any cute shoes that I find shut out my wide paddles as soon as my big toe hits the sole. If I did what was good for my feet, I would be doomed to a life of matronly, orthopedic shoes.
Instead, I usually go to a cheap shoe store and buy a size bigger than what I need in wide, which usually works, since one of my feet is wider than the other. But those shoes don't last long, or fit right, so it doesn't pay off in the long run. I have not been able to find good, attractive shoes that fit me in a really long time. On Saturday, I decided to see if Nordstrom downtown had any possibilities.
Travis, my 20-ish, hip salesperson, listened to me complain about my feet. "So, are you looking for sexy, hot sandals, or casual sandals?" Of course I want sexy, hot sandals. Who doesn't! But, I told him, I am willing to take any shoe that fits my foot - I am not picky. "Awesome - then I'm going to bring you whatever I want. You just have a seat right here and I'll be right back."
Shoe after shoe after shoe went on my foot. Travis made several trips to the back, coming back with stack of shoe boxes 5 or 6 high each time. "No, those don't look right." He was honest about some shoes that made my feet look bigger than what they were. Then, 20 minutes later ... [Hallelujah chorus in the background.] BOTH of my feet fit into cute sandals that made my feet look normal.
$79.95 = a summer feeling awesome in sexy, hot sandals. Nordstrom is great, but Travis rocks.
May 28, 2007
I am a sucker for tragedy. It magnetically pulls me in as I read the headlines, looking for any new developments and I become addicted. To CNN, KOIN, KATU, KGW, wherever I can find information. I click and click and click on their websites until I get something new.
Last year, I briefly was addicted to the story of Adrienne Shelly. She was a writer and director of films, working on her most recent work, Waitress, at the time of her death. Her husband found her, after she apparently committed suicide. Police later charged a construction worker with her murder. She was young - only 40 and had a 2-year-old daughter.
I saw interviews with Keri Russell and Cheryl Hines, who co-starred in Waitress with Adrienne Shelly. They said what an incredible movie it was and that Adrienne was amazing and a great filmmaker and that they would miss her terribly. I had never heard of Adrienne Shelly before she was murdered. Which makes me sad. And also makes me feel a little bit shallow that this tragedy is really the reason that I wanted to see Waitress.
I saw Waitress this weekend. I cried because the movie was touching, sad and inspiring. I laughed because the movie was hilarious, touching, sad and inspiring. I wanted to clap when it was over. I wanted to clap for Keri Russell, who did a great job and I wanted to clap for her character, who was so strong, and I wanted to clap for Andy Griffith because in this movie, he made me want to be a waitress who waits on gumpy old rich men and I wanted to clap for Adrienne Shelly because she wrote such a good story and in the movie she portrays an endearing, nerdy, lovely person and it just seems like that's the kind of person she was in real life. A lovely person, who wrote a lovely movie that made me laugh. And cry.
Tragedy or no tragedy, Waitress is a good film. It ties sadness and joy with baking pies. Which I can totally relate to.
May 25, 2007
Only a few days left to enter the giveaway for concert tickets!
Posted by Elizabeth at Friday, May 25, 2007
May 24, 2007
I have reviewed Mississippi Station before, but that was back when they first opened. They had a much better sounding menu then, with words like "creme fraiche" and "herbed berries". Now their menu has words like "onion rings", "triple-decker" and "hoagie". All respectable words, depending on what you are looking for.
Kristin and I were seeking the strawberry shortcake that we had smelled earlier in the evening when we walked through the restaurant on our way to see a show at Mississippi Studios. We found a seat near the door and a waiter that looked like the guy from that really dumb show Men in Trees (you know, the guy that Anne Heche left her husband for), except our waiter was much cuter and probably much younger.
Not only was he adorable, but he brought his enthusiasm for the strawberry shortcake to our table. After we finished our appetizers, he said hopefully, "Did you leave room for dessert?" his eyebrows raised. We nodded and asked for the strawberry shortcake. He did that teenage "Yes!" move, with the elbow (you know what I'm talking about) and then turned his head slightly, "two plates, two forks?" We nodded. He smiled and off he ran.
The musicians from the show we saw sat at the table next to us, loudly talking and hugging and eating. Our waiter suggested they move to another table, which I was quite grateful for. Also, was grateful because the Killers (who I will always have a soft spot for since their first album was Hot Fuss and since Fuss is my last name, I really like to think that they are singing about the Hot Fuss that writes this blog) were playing on the sound system and two bus boys came over to clear the table whilst playing the air guitar and singing backup, which was quite entertaining.
The strawberry shortcake was enormous and fresh and the shortcake was still warm and not too sweet. You can't get any better than that. You just can't.
May 23, 2007
Chelsea and I tried a new restaurant the other night. Kind of. Habibi (from what I can tell from my amateur research online) is owned by the same people that own Nicholas' Restaurant and Arabian Breeze, both of which have really yummy food. Except that the first and last time I ate at Arabian Breeze I got violently ill for two days. I'm not sure if it was the food (which was great) or the flu, but from my mental association with the place, I'm still not able to go back.
Chelsea had the Falafel Mezza Plate. They served it on a fancy gold leaf plate. Pretty!
Overall, Habibi was pretty good. I think I have to go back and have a really GREAT experience to really get over my Arabian Breeze association and the dead mint leaf in my glass. It's a completely reasonable expectation I think. Fresh herbs aren't that hard to come by this time of year.
May 21, 2007
A while ago, my friends and I were in search of some good appetizers while wandering Alberta St. Bernie's Southern Bistro struck us as a good kind of appetizer place.
We had (each ordered our own): hushpuppies, fried dill pickles, spinach cakes, crawfish cakes and fried green tomatoes. Everything was fried. EVERYTHING.
It tasted really good (did I mention that everything was fried?) and I did not get sick afterwards (logically I should have).
Therefore I must give Bernie's a thumbs up. Oh and they also had a questionable picture of Tom Potter hanging right by the bathrooms. That was odd.
May 18, 2007
I love giveaways. Not that I have ever won a giveaway. But I think it's a nice idea to promote. And it's fun, too. And so to promote the great Portland that I love... I am giving away two tickets to the Crystal Ballroom on June 18th to hear Colbie Caillat, with an acoustic set by Dirty Martini (one of my fav Portland bands). Local radio station 94.7 KNRK is sponsoring this concert. For more information, click here.
All you have to do is make a comment on this post between now and May 29th. Then I will do a random drawing for the winner. The winner will be posted on May 30th. One comment per person, please.
You should tell your friends because if your friend wins, then maybe they will take you to the concert with them. That doubles your chances. Without making more than one comment. So do it. Tell your friends. This will be fun!
May 17, 2007
I ate at Hall Street Grill back in March and kept forgetting to write about it. I can't believe I kept forgetting to write about it, because it certainly was not easy to forget the luscious meal I ate that night.
The service was superb - the waitress knew the menu pretty much by heart and made recommendations that we wouldn't have even known about. For example, when I ordered the Butternut Squash Ravioli, she recommended ordering grilled prawns with it (this was not on the menu). I wouldn't have thought of that and let me tell you, I am indebted to her for my new courageousness for eating seafood.
They looked like prawns when I got my dinner, but they tasted like little steaks. Amazing doesn't even cut it. It was SO good. We also shared a dessert, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I just know that I loved it.
I must say one more word about the waitress - she was so enthusiastic about the food - like she was in love with it and wanted to marry it. And that made me want to order everything on the menu. She was good.
Let's keep this simple: GO.
May 16, 2007
Dirty Mittens and The Finches were at the Towne Lounge last Friday and my sister and I decided to check them out. We almost didn't find it - it looked like a regular house, with just a sandwich board out front that says "Towne Lounge" written in a font that reminded me of a haunted house (don't ask me why, it just did).
It was a $5 cover. Not bad. I automatically offered up my ID, but I don't think the guy would have checked if I didn't. He seemed to be really enthralled in his own conversation and was bothered by us interrupting him.
The seats were all full, but there was a lot of standing room. Sort of. In between bands, one of the servers went up to the microphone and said if people didn't quit standing right in front of the bar he was going to get really mad. Or something to that effect. He said it more eloquently than that and more powerfully and it was humorous at the same time.
We eventually snagged a booth, which was much better than standing. They have a pretty good ventilation system, which was really nice. Lots of people were smoking, but it didn't bother me too much and I was recovering from a cold.
The music: The Dirty Mittens = Bjork-like, non-decipherable songs. The Finches = potheads telling stories and singing soft folk-lore-y songs. I liked them both. I liked Dirty Mittens way better than Bjork. The Finches are bedtime music good, though, not smoky bar good. (You know how I feel about slow soft music on a Friday night!)
I might go back sometime. I don't recognize any of the bands on their calendar, but that doesn't mean they aren't good.
May 15, 2007
My friend Ansley was in town this past weekend and I met up with her and some friends at Everett St. Bistro on Friday night for dinner. It's a cute little place, with a decadent dessert case right out in front to lure you into the trap of full fat sweetness.
There was a table of four right next to us with two identical women (orange tan, bleach blonde layered hair, dark sleeveless shirts and jeans) and their two identical male companions (salt-and-pepper hair, plaid button-up shirts, khaki shorts). The women both ordered salad (cliché) and I couldn't see what the men ordered. I'm sure it was something salad-y.
Our table was a bit more gluttonous. Mac and cheese, clam risotto, a couple of big fat burgers, and me - I ordered grilled hanger steak topped with a veal demiglace, served with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Every bite was pure heaven. The mashed potatoes weren't quite as creamy as I like them, but they were good, even so. The veal demiglace was so buttery and salty and a perfect match to the rare steak.
The waitress was really nice and accomodating for our group of nine people, even offering at the beginning to split the check up for us. She kept our Diet Cokes refilled and checked on us often.
The steak was well worth the $18 price. The sad thing: I only ate half of it and got the rest to go. Then I left the box on the table.
May 14, 2007
Every day on my way to and from work, I drive past this farm and plan imaginary recipes in my head as I see the signs for asparagus, rhubarb and other local produce.
May 10, 2007
May 9, 2007
My friend Roni introduced me to this place on NW Davis after happy hour at Jimmy Mak's. It was pretty much empty, but the display cases were filled with seemingly millions of chocolates. When we finally salivated our way over to the dessert case, we settled on the white chocolate carrot cake.
May 8, 2007
Write Around Portland provides free creative writing workshops, in a safe environment, to low-income, socially isolated individuals and others who would not ordinarily have the resources to participate in a writing workshop. At the end of the 10-week workshops, an anthology is published that includes writing from each one of the participants. It is sold in local bookstores around the city. When an anthology is published, Write Around Portland holds a public reading, where the participants read from their work.
I started volunteering back in 2003, tabling events, providing childcare at the workshops and then moving on to facilitate workshops for incarcerated women and survivors of domestic violence. I love this organization. It has changed my life in so many ways. The people I have met, the stories I have heard - all essential in creating the person that I want to become.
I am starting another workshop in a few weeks and am very excited to have another character-defining experience. If there is one organization in Portland that deserves your time and money, this is it. If you want to find out what Write Around Portland is all about, you should attend the upcoming reading:
Mark your calendar now for the release of our newest anthology, Called to Speak Stories, featuring spring workshop participants reading their works. Thursday, May 24th from 6:30 - 8:30 at the First Congregational Church at SW Park & Madison in downtown Portland.
The reading is free, ADA-accessible and everyone is welcome. Light snacks will be provided. We will be collecting donations of new journals for writers in our summer workshops, and anthologies will be available for purchase.
Write Around Portland's motto is: Respect. Writing. Community. Three things that everyone can do and participate in, no matter who you are. You are invited!
May 7, 2007
A couple of weeks ago I went to Bread and Ink Cafe for breakfast. I had two giant whole wheat blueberry pancakes. They tasted like the whole wheat pancakes my mom used to make, with all whole wheat flour, not very sweet- but tangy, with buttermilk.
May 4, 2007
Happy hour with friends. Stephanie Schneiderman performing. At the same time. I know - stop! I am getting overwhelmed. It's not often cheap food, good company and good entertainment come together to make beautiful music. Wow that was cheesy.
Here's the thing: I was going to wait and post this later, but I am so excited about what I ate tonight that I simply cannot withhold my enthusiasm any longer. I am not a seafood person. I have just recently begun to eat prawns, crab, and tonight - mussels. I am so proud. I am 34 and yet my palette is not fully formed. I can still add appetite likes and dislikes to my brain. So cool.
North 45 Pub is a tiny place on NW 21st that has a casual feel. Maps line the walls - a perfect complement to the marble-ish tables and comfy booths. It's busy, but not overwhelmingly so. They specialize in mussels. Which I had never eaten before tonight. But they sounded so damn good that I could not hold back. This is what I ordered: Mussels with Chorizo sausage, tomatoes, toasted cumin, and garlic with chili-lime frites. I know. Delicious, huh?
It was surprisingly filling and the broth that the mussels were steamed in was especially tasty, with chunks of tomatoes and garlic. And the chili-lime frites were delicious as well. For every type of mussel they have, they have a matching type of frite. Here are some of the other choices of mussels:
COCONUT LEMONGRASS – Coconut milk, garlic, smashed lemongrass, ginger, and lime juice with curry frites
LEMON PARSLEY CAPER – Fresh lemon juice, Italian parsley, toasted garlic, and crispy capers with old bay frites
May 3, 2007
This year for my company's goals, we set a theme of The Amazing Race. For each goal that we accomplish each quarter, we get a certain number of miles to get to our quarterly destination. (I know what you are thinking and we thought of it before The Office did.) Our first destination was Rio de Janiero. Since we accomplished our first quarter goals, we planned a Brazilian party for our employees with music and Brazilian-ish food. This was my first encounter with Brazil Grill.