December 21, 2008

I want to wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow

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This weather is crazy! It has been one week since my post about being snowed in, and it has been one hell of a week. I actually made it to work every day, though going in late and coming home early most days to avoid dangerous roads. By the time Friday came along, I was exhausted from treading cautiously across parking lots and driving slowly down snowy/icy roads, and the thought of spending one more night at home seemed unbearable. Since the roads were mostly clear on Friday, with an impending snow storm coming Saturday, it seemed necessary to find some new scenery and new people to look at.

I knew that I wanted to see a movie, so I parked in the SmartPark at 10th and Yamhill by the Fox Tower and started looking for a place to eat. All I knew was that I wanted to try something new. As I walked down Taylor, I was overwhelmed by the scent of garlic. I half slid/half walked down the street until I saw Porto Terra Tuscan Grill. Italian. Perfect!

I warmed up in the lobby and was seated almost immediately. I sat at a little table, facing a wine cabinet. It wasn't crowded at all - not surprising since it was snowing outside. Lucky me, they had a special Symphony Inspired Dining menu from 5-6:30. An appetizer, entree and dessert for $25. Excellent! I chose the Pappa al Pomodoro Soup to start off. I asked the waitress if she could make me an interesting non-alcoholic drink and she said, "Sure, how about a Virgin Mary?" Well that sounded seasonally appropriate and I had never had one, so I said I would try it.

The Virgin Mary arrived with a toothpick full of olives and a wedge of lime on the salted rim. Mmm. Spice is what I needed to keep me warm in the snow, so I sipped it slowly while I waited for my soup. They brought me some soft, chewy, warm bread with olive oil, salt and olive tapenade. Tangy, salty and delicious.

The soup was almost as thick as a marinara sauce, with crispy grilled croutons and fresh basil on top. It warmed me through from my eyelashes to my toenails. It was rich and I was grateful that it was a small bowl. Between the soup and the Virgin Mary, I was glad I had not ordered something with tomatoes for dinner.

So my chicken arrived next. Crispy chicken, filled with asparagus, kale and boursin cheese with a creamy toasted fennel sauce over caramelized onion whipped potatoes. The chicken was surprisingly crispy and incredibly juicy on the inside. The kale, aparagus and cheese was all melted together in a cheesy, green mixture and added a nice fresh bite to the dish. And the sauce, though slightly lacking in salt, was so creamy and fennel-y. The potatoes, well, they were average, I'm afraid. The red onions were not quite cooked enough for my taste (still crunchy) and the potatoes needed a little loosening with cream, I think. But all in all, it was a good dinner, and quite filling!

I was so so so full. But being the Syphony Inspired Dinner menu, I already had dessert coming. Chocolate bread pudding with caramelized bananas and vanilla gelato. I loved the bananas, crispy with sugar and sitting on the sidelines of the bread pudding, lathered in caramel sauce. The vanilla gelato was a good pallette cleanser to finish the meal.

So so so so full now, I headed out the door to the movies. I saw Slumdog Millionaire, which was equally as soulfully rich and filling as the meal I had just had. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie with so much color, vibrant music, a multi-layered storyline that ripped at my heart. It was so beautiful - and unexpectedly so. I am still thinking about it. As soon as the weather clears up, I will be up for seeing it again. It fed my soul, so deeply. And it's good to feel soulfully full.

Porto Terra Tuscan Grill on Urbanspoon


Sarah said...

You are the second person who referenced that movie today (title not the movie you saw)! love it :)

Sara said...

I love that movie!!!! I saw it last week. Oh, some scenes are so poignant. I truly laughed out loud in many scenes and cried in just as many. I also have the soundtrack and boy does the music contribute to the depth of that film. LOVE IT!

Ellen said...

sounds like a lovely evening. i can't wait to see that movie!

Hey, It's Ansley said...

That dinner sounds so good! Can't wait for the snow to melt so I can go see the movie.