May 27, 2009
Because even if it's bad, Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. will be pretty.
May 25, 2009
My dad's an accountant. January through April, he is not normal. In fact, he's downright cantankerous. And at the end of every tax season, when his personality starts coming back, he takes the family out to dinner, where we can order anything on the menu.
This year, my dad wanted to take us to Goldendale, Washington, where he and my mom have property, to their favorite restaurant, The Glass Onion. My parents have been talking about The Glass Onion for months. I keep telling them that there are awesome restaurants in Portland that they should try, but coming into the city is not really their idea of fun. So a couple of weeks ago, my sister and I piled in the car with my parents and headed up to Goldendale.
Situated in an old house, The Glass Onion, is simply decorated. The tables and chairs almost cafeteria style on the wooden floors. The walls are covered in the beautiful photography of Maren McGowan, one of the owners. The room we sat in had a large stained glass window, the light coming through the bright colors.
The menu sounded delicious. We decided to be adventurous and try a few starters. We had: crab cakes, pork belly on white bean cakes with olives, and spring pea soup. The crab cakes held together well and were subtly packed with flavor. The pork belly was less popular among the family, but I personally liked it. I'd never had pork belly before and I was a bit surprised by its texture: it was crispy on top and a little gelatinous in the middle. It was seasoned well, though and a bit salty, which was mellowed out by the white bean cakes and the olives added a little tang. The spring pea soup tasted just as it should, like pureed fresh peas, with creme fraiche. Simple and tasty.
My parents had never been to a restaurant with me before when I've whipped out my new camera and they, alternately being proud of me and embarrassed by my meal-time photography, laughed nervously, as I clicked. We got some fantastic pictures of the food, especially the soup.
Then our sandwiches came. I had ordered the steak sandwich, my dad ordered the club and my mom ordered the ahi tuna sandwich. My steak was perfectly cooked and the baguette really stood up to the steak juice and the blue cheese melted in my mouth. Of course, after eating all those starters, I was pretty full and couldn't quite finish it. I had a bite of each of the sandwiches and all were equally delicious, though my favorite was my own steak sandwich - it was the most hearty. I got great pics of the sandwiches, too.
Stuffed beyond comfort, we declined dessert and headed out to look at the barn that my amazing brother built by hand.
Out in the sun, I needed to adjust my camera settings. And. Suddenly. "NO IMAGES AVAILABLE." Yep, that's right. Ms. Brilliant, aka ME, accidentally deleted all the wonderful pictures we had just taken of our amazing lunch.
After a good 10 minutes of me splurting out words that caused my mother to say "Elizabeth! Please! I didn't raise you to talk like that!", I finally moved on and decided that I would beg the owner for pics of food. She very graciously sent pictures of some of the food on the menu. And even though I didn't eat THIS food in particular, I'm certain it's at least as wonderful as the things I did eat.
If you go to Goldendale, please stop by The Glass Onion. It's seriously the best restaurant in the area. Okay, well, I've only eaten at one other restaurant nearby, but that's just what my gut says. I'm happy to say that when my parents retire, I now feel comfortable going to see them, knowing that there is at least one option for my kind of food within 20 miles of their property. In the meantime, I'm going to try to drag them to some Portland restaurants, so they can know that good food is within their reach here and now!
The Glass Onion
604 S. Columbus Ave.
Goldendale, WA 98620
Photography by Maren McGowan (Except the barn pic. That was me.)
May 21, 2009
It's like this: John Connor (Christian Bale) is mad. He is angry that the robots are going to kill his father who is younger than he is. (Stop interrupting me - it's true.) And there are a lot a lot of robots - big robots, kind of like the transformers from that one movie with the kid from Holes.
In fact, one of the robots has motorcycles that run down his legs, like pee running down the leg of a malicious toddler who is determined to not use the bathroom. (Whoa. Don't know where that analogy came from!) These motorcycles don't stink, but they do cause quite a mess, shooting things, chasing people and even making cars crash.
The melancholy John Connor has a wife or a girlfriend in Bryce Dallas Howard, who is preggers. He has about as much affection for her as he does for the radio he holds in his hand to communicate with The Resistance. I was sorry to not see more kissing and hugging and patting of the big belly in anticipation of their kid being born. But you know, when you're saving the world, there's just not enough time and I guess her being preggers is evidence enough that there was some affection at some time in recent months.
So anyway, love and marriage aside, there's another guy, called Marcus, who is incredibly built, and not just from working out, either. I won't tell you everything, but let's just say that Helena Bonham Carter has something to do with it and that's never good. I think I liked Marcus' character the best, because he's a little bad and a little good and then he.... oh. I'll stop there. Don't want to ruin it for you.
I haven't seen the other Terminator movies, so I can't compare and I don't know the whole storyline. All I knew going into this was that Arnold Schwarznegger said that he would be back. McG (who directed We Are Marshall, and two Charlie's Angels movies) directed it, so it was entertaining and definitely held my attention, but it wasn't rocket science, or even science 101, for that matter. (Incidentally, I failed all my science classes in college, so that's actually a plus for me.)
You should see it on the big screen if you are into special effects as they were good and loud and I always get a kick out of fighting flying objects with things like cars and rope (I'm sure you do too, yes?)
Verdict: Sure, why not. It won't change your life, but it will possibly remind you that even though people are losing their jobs all over the place and being evicted from their homes, at least we aren't being killed by giant bad-ass robots trying to take over the world.
Terminator Salvation opens Friday everywhere. Rated PG-13 for some violence.
May 17, 2009
The sun was the color of the pickled carrots on my plate at Francis today. The shade on the patio was a relief and kept me cool. Cute, bearded hipster-man waiter told me that the Reuben was his favorite for lunch, and the Salmon Benedict for breakfast. I chose lunch, a Reuben with a salad and a diet coke.
The diet coke came in a giant Mason Jar, which I was so happy about. I didn't need a refill the whole meal.
The sandwich came in less than ten minutes. The minute it arrived, a lady at a table around the corner from me poked her head out "Is that a Reuben? My God it looks good." I smiled, "Yep, it's a Reuben." I couldn't wait to eat it.
It was cheesy, and meaty. And a little sweet - sweet pickle relish mixed in there somewhere. The sauerkraut was crunchy and tart. The salad was a few lettuce leaves, not much to speak of there.
But the pickled carrots. The pickled carrots were crunchy, tart with vinegar and sweet. They were my favorite thing of the whole meal. I wish I had piles and piles of them to keep in my fridge so that I could snack on them all summer.
I like this place. I do believe next time I'll get the Salmon Benedict. Thanks, bearded hipster man.
I never read The DaVinci Code. I tried to watch the movie several times and I kept falling asleep. I generally hate everything that has that much hype to it, but I was kind of surprised that the storyline didn't keep my attention. At all.
I had to get out of the heat this afternoon and since it was Sunday, I decided that Angels and Demons was the most like going to church. Clearly that counts for something!
It started off strong, with Tom Hanks in the Harvard swimming pool. I was struck by his physique and thought maybe they had a body double - or is Tom Hanks really that fit?
The chases and murders were all exciting and appropriately bloody and violent. Tom Hanks was - eh. He supposedly had all the knowledge to solve the crime, but he didn't really do much else, besides run a lot. Ewan McGregor had a twisty kind of a character, and he took me by surprise.
I fell asleep for a good 20 minutes and when I woke up, I knew exactly what was happening, because the same thing had been happening for the previous hour. Run, find the church, remember tiny detail, find other church, find a dying/dead cardinal, run to the next church, and on and on.
It's entertaining enough, more so than The DaVinci Code. Fairly predictable. And, if you go on a Sunday, it has enough talk about God, the Church and good and evil to totally count as... something.
Verdict: It's a strong renter.
May 14, 2009
In the culinary wasteland of Clackamas, Oregon, I have a job. There are three adult video/toy/dancing shops within walking distance of my office. There's a pizza place, a deli, Taco Bell and Wendy's. Awful, awful stuff. Especially when you think that the gross old men eating lunch at any of the places are the same gross old men that came from the adult video store next door. (I try not to think of this, but it is difficult.)
Anyway, in a fit of despair the other day, I started driving a little down 82nd Ave. I was desperate for something that tasted good. I noticed a different pizza place off to the side of the road, right across the street from Cash and Carry. Some kind of NY Pizza type place. Possibility.
Unfortunately, as I got out of my car, smoke flew in my face from the pizza place - something was definitely burning. My hopes dashed, I walked back to my car and turned slightly to get in. Suddenly I saw something that I swear wasn't there before (even though they say they have been there for eight years.)
A dinky trailer, looking beat up and old. A sign on the front said The People's Grill and underneath it said "We serve the best people in town." It creeped me out at first because it had all these people heads underneath that, in flames. It made me think that maybe they were serving human flesh. But even that is a little much for Clackamas, so I figured they meant that they served meals to humans. And, you order and eat outside! No creepy old men. At least that you can see.
Their menu said that they get their beef locally, so I decided to try the cheeseburger. It was raining, so the lady at the window told me that she'd let me know when it was ready. So I sat in my car and listened to the radio. It took about 10 minutes before I noticed her yelling my name from the window in the trailer.
Anyhow. The cheeseburger was actually really good. It wasn't dry, it was juicy and beefy and the pickles were so numerous that every bite of burger had a pickle in it. The sauciness was just right with the mayo, mustard and ketchup. I was shocked. It was delicious! Something good to eat! It's a miracle. A May Miracle!
A couple of days later, I tried the meatball grinder. I was sort of feeling a little nostalgic for my East coast days, when as a kid in New Hampshire, we would go down to this great pizza place and order meatball grinders. Oh I loved them so much. This was maybe not up to the quality of my memories, but it was pretty good, none the less.
The bread was sturdy and toasted and the meatballs - they were juicy, flavorful, even on their own. The marinara sauce was a little tangy and seasoned well. The whole thing was covered in provolone cheese, grilled onions and olives.
Clearly I can't eat at this place every day, but just the fact that I can eat lunch at a good place every once in a while improves my hopeful outlook by so much. I can't even tell you.
Funny thing, though. On their menu, it has a note: "Please note that we are not professionals. If you experience a problem with your order, let us know." Really? You are telling your customers that you are not professionals? That is strange. Professional doesn't necessarily refer to a degree, but to a level of service and product.
Oh, and they opened a new sports bar on NE 79th and Glisan - called The People's Grill and Sports Bar.
I would tell you where the Clackamas location is, but I can't find the address or a website or a phone number anywhere. Which scares me a little - because if you've been around for 8 years, why isn't anyone talking about you? Anywhere on the internet? Weird.
But anyway, so what I'm going to do is give you the address of the Cash and Carry across the street. So, if you decide to go there, go to the Cash and Carry and look across the street. And there you are!
15700 SE 82nd Dr
Clackamas, OR 97015
***Found their address! 9123 SE St. Helens, on the East end of the Clackamas Professional Plaza. Phone number: 503-655-6695.
May 13, 2009
You'll have to forgive me. I'm buzzing a little. I've just been seduced by chocolate pudding with rum cream. And I'm a little giddy. But let's start at the beginning - I don't want you to miss a bite.
There's a little big place on NW 21st and Everett, called Indish. Formerly an adult store, an antique shop and a garage (at different times of course) , #305 NW 21st is at once intimate and spacious. Leather love seats and small tables make up the entire front half of the restaurant on a stained cement floor. Tables and chairs take up the space in the back. And in the corner on the left is an open kitchen.
Raj was amiable and smiley right when I walked in, shaggy and splashed with rain. I should have felt intimidated by leather and glass around me, but I didn't. The music put me at ease immediately - it was a shout out to my kid-hood, where I only listened to Sinatra, Dean Martin and musicals. Shortly after I got there, Ansley and Sara arrived. Raj, the owner and husband of the chef, asked if we had been to Indish before. None of us had. "Oh good," he said with a smile and began his speech on what Indish was.
If Indian people ate the "curry house" food that is served in American Indian restaurants, they would fall over dead, he said. They simply don't eat like that. Raj and his wife decided to start a restaurant that showcased the REAL Indian food - the food made with very little fat - with spice that is in the spotlight but not overwhelming or tear-inducing. Raj excitedly explained the concept of the restaurant, using his hands in a lively talk that made me excited to eat. "My wife cooks everything," he said proudly in his dead sexy British accent.
The menu is written in a laid-back and approachable manner, using names like Fresh Flame Puffed Chapati Rolled-up Thingies, and stating that the food is "accidentally healthy." The menu unapologetically says "no naans" (secretly the soft chewy bread is the reason any sane person orders Indian food!) It's Ind-ish food. Indian-ish. And de-lish. (Shout out to Rachel Ray. Sorry. Can't help that bit.)
So. We started out with the peanut salad ($3.50), stir-fried peanuts with a lemon, chili, cilantro dressing, and the onion rings ($6) dipped in chick pea batter and deep fried. The peanut salad I could have eaten as a main dish. It was less peanut-y and more bean-y, but crunchy. And spicy enough that when I licked my lips, they burned happily until I put them out with water. The onion rings were not greasy and not completely crispy. A little chewy and lightly salted, with a subtle spice underneath, dipped in the tomato chutney, these were divine.
For my main meal, I ordered the Lamb Saag Tikki ($15), ground lamb with onions, garlic, ginger, fresh herbs and spices, served with Punjabi Saag (mustard greens, spinach, ginger, spices), and Bombay Potatoes, smashed with green herbs and spices. What a rich, flavorful, delightful meal. The lamb was a good texture, not too tough, not too loose - moist and soaking up the flavors of the sauces atop it, it was a perfect bite with the potatoes. And also encased in the chapati bread. Either way, it is delicious.
Now for the matter of the lentils. On the menu there are light lentils and dark lentils. When we asked Raj what the difference was, he could not tell us. He just said that the dark lentils were more complex than the light ones, but that he could not give us concrete language to distinguish their flavors - they are different, he said, but both delicious. When we got the lentils (Ansley, Sara and Rich all ordered them), we discovered that Raj was right. The light lentils had a surprising, spicy taste, but I couldn't put my finger on the flavor. The dark ones were spicier, almost like a Mexican flavor. Definitely more complex. But both delicious. And this is coming from me, who generally speaking does not like lentils.
Most everyone ordered from the Roti menu, where you pick one thing from each of the three columns listed. The combination of the 3 things is $12. Tasted: Chicken and Mushroom Korma, Pork Balchoa, Paneer Dopiaza (stir fried Indian cheese), Pan Fried Cabbage, spiced cauliflower and both the lentil dishes. Everything was so individually strong enough to stand on its own. Pretty amazing.
Raj popped in and out, chatting us up about the food, how he started the restaurant, why they came to America. I won't spoil it for you - I'll let you talk to him yourself. He was quite nice and his talking, which could have been annoying in any other place, was just an asset to our dinner. One can always use good conversation with a meal.
I really couldn't pass up dessert. Take the richness and the depth of my dinner and roll it up with chocolate and rum cream? I've already tasted the possibilities - and once you've experienced that, it's difficult to say no to more. If you know what I mean. Dark chocolate pudding, light rum cream combined together made my tongue tingle with pleasure.
Others: Cardamom Creme Brulee, Mango and Coconut cheesecake. A. Maz. Ing. That's all. I'm coming off my buzz now, from the rum cream. I think I will sleep well. Hopefully I will not have a headache tomorrow.
May 12, 2009
So you've probably noticed. I'm changing things around a bit. I'm also going through and organizing the labels so you can more easily search for food and also updating listings if the places have closed. I'm hoping to have everything done by this weekend.
Additionally, I'd rather have local businesses advertise on my blog instead of ads from the big companies, so the ads are actually useful for readers. If you'd like to advertise your business on my site, let me know and I'll send you the info.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh one more thing. You can now find this blog at www.lizzydishes.com. We're still at the blogspot address, but doesn't it seem cooler to have a www.com address?
May 11, 2009
Parents and sister from out of town wanted to go to dinner. Mexican it was decided. Por Que No! was my suggestion. There was a wait. No patience to wait. Headed across the street to Dingo's.
Bean dip was interesting - coleslaw type salad on top of the cheesy bean dip. I didn't mind that so much, though it did make it much messier.
Wait for entrees was excessive - more than 25 minutes, forcing us to converse about something other than food. DANGER. DANGER. Controversy alert! Food came just in time to divert any altercations.
My taco salad was empty - mostly lettuce, chips, a few pieces of tough, slightly over cooked steak, the coleslaw stuff and cheese. It was lots of watery lettuce, not much substance or flavor. The dressing, chipotle lime, was good. Without the dressing the salad would have been a bag of pre-washed lettuce, indecent and flavorless.
My mom had a grilled shrimp salad and the shrimp were, well, shrimpy. I guess when I see on a menu that the shrimp are grilled, I expect them to be big enough to actually sit on a grill without falling through the grates. They probably have one of those stovetop grills where nothing can fall through, so it's easy to toss a bunch of tiny shrimp on there. I just had a different idea of what it would be.
Everyone else seemed to like their meals. Maybe I was just having an off night. The entire bill for all of us was $33.00. Cheap for a 4 person dinner. Have you been there? Tell me what you think!
I think I'm sad we missed Por Que No!
From our lovely PSU Farmers Market and the new King Farmers Market, I bought almost all the ingredients for this meal:
Above: Crostini (from my mom's homemade French bread) with marinated goat cheese, roasted asparagus and crispy pancetta.
Above: Nonna's Noodles sage linguine, with lamb sausage, shallots, roasted tomatoes, green olives, arugula, olive oil and parmesan cheese and fresh sage from my mom's herb garden.
Shop your local markets!
May 9, 2009
May 8, 2009
I lost my Star Trek virginity on Thursday. I don't regret a thing. It was time. And. Actually. (Hold on to your hats.) I liked it. I liked it *a lot*.
Zachary Quinto was a solid, quiet, calm Spock. I had a little crush on him by the time the movie was over. So much better than him playing Sylar. I hope he takes more good guy roles in the future because he's not difficult to like, which makes it awkward when his character is lopping off people's heads (as in Heroes.)
Chris Pine. Well, what can I say. He is beautiful. And he reminded me a bit of Harrison Ford in the Star Wars movies (do I get beat up in sci-fi land for comparing Star Trek to Star Wars?). Witty dialogue, charming smile, always getting hit by someone. But Super Smart and saves the day all the time! And. Did you know his dad was the captain on CHiPs?
One of my main beefs with Star Trek the tv show, which I never watched, except in passing turning the channel, was that the love scenes I happened to briefly see were always between a human and some semi-human thing with growths on their heads, or blue skin and antennas coming out of their ears or something like that. There is one scene in the new Star Trek movie where Capt. Kirk is playing get to know you games with a green girl, but she's normal, other than having green skin, so that didn't bother me. For all I know, she could have been the Wicked Witch of the East. There were a lot of pointy ears in this one, but no antennas out of ears or anything.
The plot was easy to follow. I was a little worried that I'd be like, "What? Are you with Darth Vader or against him? And is it bad to blow up that planet, or is it good?" But thank heavens, no such questions entered my mind. It was exciting with car chases, monster chases, time travel and spaceships blowing up and some of it even took place on Earth - that's always a plus for sci-fi movies. I can totally relate to living on Earth.
I did have an uneasy moment when I imagined William Shatner as Capt. Kirk and started getting a little crush on the Priceline guy. But that was only in passing.
OMG. I almost forgot. Simon Pegg as Scotty. I would pretty much go see Simon Pegg stand in a corner and do nothing. He's so funny and I love his little face. Everything he says is hilarious (even when it's serious) and I laugh out loud every time he talks. My movie neighbors might not have appreciated that. As Scotty, he did not disappoint. BTW, if you haven't seen Shaun of the Dead, you simply must.
Great acting. Great plot. Special effects were awesome.
Verdict: Thumbs up.
Currently playing: Freaking everywhere.
On my way home from work, I was super hungry. I spotted Michael's Italian Beef and Sausage.
It was a solid sandwich. Sausage, a little gravy, peppers and onions. Hearty bread. Messy on the hands. I added mustard to the second half to see what I thought, but it really didn't need mustard. The sausage itself was spicy enough that it pretty much stood on its own. The fries - meh. Average. The star here is the sandwich. Fries not needed.
This is a no frills place - the inside is nice enough, but nothing fancy. There are signs on the counter that say "Don't reach over the counter!" The letters are made with cut off arms. They are serious!
The kids working the counter seemed bored - and I wondered if they were the owner's children. I remember when my parents made me work at their gift shop. It was terribly boring. Actually, I think I was bored my entire teenagehood - didn't matter where I was working!
Michael himself was sitting in the dining room, chatting with some patrons about good ole Chicago. I found myself staring and blatantly listening to their conversation. He moved to Portland to go to college and decided this was the place. No comparison, he said. He was done with Chicago.
I have to say, I agree. But thanks for bringing part of Chicago with you.
May 6, 2009
Food, Inc., a movie about the big business in the food industry, is not just an exposé about farm conditions and industrialization, it's an exposé of the manipulation and abuse that a few large conglomerates pile on independent farmers and producers trying to make a living.
I like my food and frankly, have never been interested in the demonstrations of what's in my food - demonstrations that are designed to make you sick and never eat hot dogs again, etc. I never saw Super Size Me (though just to be clear, I don't eat at McDonalds!) or read The Omnivore's Dillemma. I live a pretty pure life and food is my one vice - I don't want to hear things that disturb the one pleasure I have.
But. When I start hearing about how a small farmer is being put out of business because they won't comply with the unreasonable demands of Tyson Chicken, that gets my attention.
Featuring interviews with Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dillemma, Food, Inc. succinctly tells the tale of food from farm to table and how three or four companies control the entire food industry.
From engineering vegetables to be better and brighter - "It's not really a tomato, it's the idea of a tomato," to engineering genetics to make bigger chickens, better pork chops, better beef, these companies control everything as if the food industry was a manufacturing plant. As told by Michael Pollan in particular, whose steady, calm and confident voice lends explanation and quiet outrage to the viewer. Hysteria is absent.
There are several stories in this movie that are disturbing - in particular, the story of a seed cleaner, who makes his living cleaning soy beans. Montesano, a soybean company, sued him for patent infringement, based on a stretch of the truth and effectively put him out of business because he cannot afford the legal bills.
A story of a woman whose son died of E-coli several years ago and who is now a food safety advocate is just as outrageous. The story of her son's death and her subsequent fight against the beef industry and the USDA is unbelievably difficult and heart-wrenching, as she retells her son's story over and over again to fight for her cause.
How did we get to this point? How are businesses able to control so much of the farmers' lives and our health? How in the world is this happening? This movie is, in effect, a celluloid Erin Brockovich - doing the investigation of companies and the farmers. Questioning and documenting, the filmmakers take our food sources to task.
The movie doesn't leave you hanging. The filmmakers give you ideas of what you can do to help, to take action, to take control back from these companies.
I left the theater more determined than ever to buy local, buy organic and visit my farmers' market more often. I'm hoping I can hang onto the momentum and make a little bit of a difference.
Verdict: Thumbs Up.
Food, Inc. opens in June at Cinema 21 in Portland.
Visit their website.
Watch the trailer.
May 5, 2009
Thank you for letting me in when it was 9:10 and you closed at 9:00. The honey frozen yogurt was tangy and sweet and the strawberries were just perfect. Thank you for telling me the story about your friend and helping me to have a better day.
I'll come back sometime when you are not closed and try more things.
Your neighborhood food blogger,
P.S. I would post a picture of the yogurt, but it was gone before I got to my camera.
Here's a few food carts I have visited lately:
Q BBQ - 12th and Hawthorne: Had the pulled pork sandwich. BBQ sauce delectable. Sandwich not really possible to eat with hands, but if you do (like I did) be sure you keep the handi-wipe thingy that comes with it. You will need it.
Rip City Grill - SW Moody and Abernathy: Tri-tip steak salad, with blue cheese, caramelized onions and balsamic vinaigrette on organic greens. Like a steak dinner on greens - so tender, flavorful, and pretty. Hours: 9ish - 2ish.
Po' Town Vittles - SW Moody and Abernathy: Fried chicken salad with honey dijon dressing, currents, blue cheese and organic greens. Light, and cheap - $4.50! Hours: 9ish - 2ish. And the fried chicken is not heavy - it's crispy and flavorful and lightly breaded. Made the salad.
***Update: Ate the seafood po' boy the other day and it was fabulous! So much depth with fried oysters, shrimp and the sauce was appropriately spicy.
Grilled Cheese Grill - NE 11th and Alberta: Jalapeno Popper Sandwich with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, roasted jalapeno, ham and crushed up corn chips. I was skeptical on this one, but decided to try it anyway. Like a giant jalapeno popper, smooshed onto bread. Spicy, creamy, salty, and crunchy. YUM. Also. Pay attention to the music playing when you are eating there. You might get to hear Isaac Hayes singing Salty Balls.
May 4, 2009
This looks like an awesome event - almost all of my favorite people in one show! Wordstock, Live Wire!, Mortified, Back Fence PDX and True Stories come together for a show honoring mothers. Oh. And Saint Cupcake will be there. Also Loch Lomond! I can't believe you don't have your tickets yet! May 7th at 7:30 pm at the Bagdad Theater. This show is 21 and over and is $12. You can buy tickets here: Brown Paper Tickets. Need more info? Go to their website: http://wordtoyourmotherpdx.com.
May 3, 2009
In Mark Aselton's (writer and director) first feature film Gigantic, Brian Weathersby sells mattresses - high end, Swedish mattresses. He's also trying to adopt a Chinese baby. Oh. And he's being hunted by an assassin.
Brian, played by Paul Dano, sells a mattress to rich man Al Lolly (John Goodman), which is then paid for by Lolly's daughter, Happy (Zooey Deschanel). Brian and Happy fall in lust, in possibly the most tame manner I've ever seen: "Do you have any interest in having sex with me?" says Happy. "Um yeah," says Brian.
Brian is on the waiting list to adopt a baby from China, something he's wanted to do his whole life, all 28 years of it. But somewhere else in those 28 years, something must have happened to make the random guy with the beard, hiding around every corner, very angry. Because he keeps trying to kill Brian.
The assassin is a somewhat random storyline that is never explained. Or even discussed at all. It adds a little mysterious depth to Brian's character - knowing that there's a dark side to this seemingly average man. The spurts of violence are shocking to the quirky little love story. And they make it not so typically-indie-film-quirky. At times it's almost like watching two different movies - a love story and a thriller. Which isn't altogether bad - could be a perfect date movie.
The scenes, when Brian and Happy are falling for each other, a song plays loudly - "I want to see the bright lights tonight." It reminded me of a scene from The OC, the first season when Seth sees Summer's breasts for the first time and a song bursts out about sunshine. It's youthful, carefree and optimistic. The bright lights don't include assassins - the bright lights are their moments of bliss.
Brian is perhaps a grown up version of the character Paul Dano played in Little Miss Sunshine, still brooding and solitary and quiet, but subtly dependent on family. His family, Ed Asner as his father and Jane Alexander as his mother, are supportive and almost apologetic for having him so late in life. They are as excited about the baby as Brian is - it's sort of refreshing, as opposed to the constant familial conflict we are so often exposed to in movies and TV.
But I still don't understand why someone's trying to kill Brian. He seems like a nice guy. I mean, he wants to adopt a Chinese baby, for heaven's sake.
The movie clips along for 98 minutes at a good pace. The scenes are bright and colorful, the music loud and punctuating. It's a good effort for a first film - not perfect, but interesting and well acted - an indie romantic flick with some violent attacks, especially for your testosterone needs.
Verdict: Thumbs Up.
Rated R, 98 minutes long. Currently playing at the Regal Fox Tower in Portland.
Where is the best place to get a hot dog in Portland? Twitter survey says: Zach's Shack.
On the menu, it says "Dogs with a snap!" Zach goes on to explain: "All beef dogs with a natural casing. It's the casing and the steaming that gives the dog the 'snap'."
I ordered the New York Dog ($4) - cheddar cheese, yellow mustard, onion and chili. I've had some chili dogs in my life and I've never had mustard on it with the chili. But I have to say. I am a fan. You have the crunchy fresh onions, the heat of the chili and the tangy mustard, all brought together with the melted cheese. I could *almost* hear the dog snap, but it was covered in toppings, so even if it did snap, the sound would have been absorbed by the chili, I'm pretty sure.
I could have actually eaten it with my hands, but I was headed to a movie afterwards, so I didn't want to risk it, given my history of spillage. But it wasn't SO loaded that made it impossible to eat. I respect that. I respect the failure to concede to the trend to overload everything.
Although that did not apply to the fries. A simple $2.50 order of plain fries was a huge basket of super hot crinkle fries! Sturdy - I imagine they hold up to the available toppings (cheddar, cheddar and jalapeno, and chili and cheddar) quite well. I would say these are average fries, though they were exceptionally hot and fresh.
Also observed: Man who looked like Smith Jerrod from Sex in the City, with an adorable red-headed little boy, thoroughly enjoying their father/son outing. The boy was in the middle of eating his hot dog and spontaneously jumped up to give his dad a hug. "Ben and Jewwy's! Ben and Jewwy's! We awe going to Ben and Jewwy's!" he said while giggling and wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
Next time, I'm going to order the Chicago Dog ($4): yellow mustard, green relish, sport peppers, pickle spear, onion, tomato and celery salt. Also available, Feat Dog (brown mustard and coleslaw), Dylan Dog (cream cheese, onion and tomato), and Grateful Dog (onion, cucumber, tomato and celery salt), among others. All of which are $4 or under.
I'd also like to order up a red-headed child who can't quite say his r's. That would be delightful, thank you.
May 2, 2009
"Wait till you have kids. You have to get a babysitter at least once a month to get away." Large man drinking a beer and very loud, posturing on parenting. The ponytailed blonde next to him nodded, "At LEAST once a month. You won't have time for anything." Their friends, if they replied, were not heard.
Beer-drinking man continued to loudly express the difficulty of raising children, how much time they take up, how you don't get time for yourself, blah blah blah. Going on and on as they were made me think that they had one child, probably 3 or 4 months old. You know, like when you get something new and you just want to talk about it ALL the time and pretend like you are an expert in the subject matter because it's SO cool.
We were at the Casa del Matador on East Burnside (new location) last night, grabbing some dinner before meeting up with some friends. The atmosphere is cool - dark, red and black. Waitresses friendly and menu looked good enough. I ordered the mushrooms, cooked in chipotle butter, on the specials menu. Jen ordered the braised pork sandwich, which we decided to split.
The mushrooms arrived in a skillet (Why do restaurants serve things in skillets? Please stop. It is annoying and makes me think you are stealing recipes from either Chili's or Applebees) Whole mushrooms, though small, and three small pieces of charred bread. On each piece of bread, you could fit maybe two or three of these whole mushrooms. And you had to stuff it in your mouth fast before they rolled off.
The mushrooms were juicy, but flavorless and very, very hot (Hello! They were served in a skillet!). We used up all the bread and not eaten even half of the mushrooms within a few minutes. I asked for more, which they brought us, but charged us $1.50 for. That is kind of lame. Because you shouldn't serve a pan full of juicy mushrooms with three tiny pieces of bread. How are you going to sop up all the juices? With a spoon? We actually could have used more bread, but we chose to forego the juices and eat the mushrooms with a fork. I could taste the slightest hint of spiciness in the distance, but really, these mushrooms were so bland. Which is a shame. Because mushrooms are awesome if you showcase their beauty and flavor.
The pork sandwich was sweet and tender. I wanted it to be a bit saucier, but kicked up a bit with the peppers and the chipotle mayo served on the side, it was tasty. Fries were crispy and dipped in the mayo, I could eat a whole plate of them.
Jen saw the shirtless guy first. He was sauntering towards the door, carrying his shirt over his shoulder and a Budweiser in his hand. He wandered in. "Um sir, you can't have that in here." The waitress was trying to be firm. Shirtless man got right in her face, "Yes, I can, yes I can." The waitress backed away and the guy wandered over to a nearby table. "Portland kicks ass!" he yelled across the restaurant. Then he turned around and wandered out the door.
Yes, Portland kicks ass. Best people watching/eavesdropping anywhere. Awesome.