We spend the summer in Oregon, not far from the City of Portland
- home to countless fabulous restaurants, museums, galleries, theaters, gardens
and hundreds of interesting shops filled with tax-free goods. Do we ever venture
to the Big City? Once or twice a month. (I must clarify this statement to read:
we travel to Portland once or twice a month together; DT makes the drive
often for meetings.)
If you may recall, My Driver celebrated a Big
Birthday in April. Extending his special day into July, I surprised him with
tickets to An
Evening with Anthony Bourdain in Portland. The night would include a
nice dinner at one of his favorite restaurants and an overnight at the hotel
next to the theater. No driving. Just drinking.
I bought the tickets way-way back, maybe in March. About two days after the
(still a surprise) tickets were ordered, DT informed me that he no longer enjoyed Bourdain: "He's
just over-the-top, rants on and on..." So I spilled the beans and told him about
my gift for his birthday. He was a trooper and said he would go!
Plans made in March my take a twist by July. My Dad asked to meet us
in Portland for lunch today, so we packed an overnight bag and headed downtown
early. We had a great lunch with my sister, my Dad and Mary. They were driving
through Portland on their way to Seattle.
Looking good! We had an early light lunch at
The Davis Street Tavern and
caught-up with Dad and Mary.
Next, DT had to visit the TrackTownUSA crew as they were in Pioneer Courthouse
Square promoting the
World Indoor Track & Field Championships (to be held in Portland in March
2016). The team had set up a shot put ring and were encouraging passers-by to
attempt to throw a 16 pound metal ball. What could go wrong? Nothing! The event
was a huge success.
After the equipment had been removed and the TrackTownUSA crew
were headed back to Eugene, we checked into our reserved room at The
Heathman Hotel. Things were a bit confusing as a large crowd had gathered at
the front of hotel. I realized they were fans gathered to spot a visiting
celebrity and assumed they were waiting for Anthony Bourdain to appear through
the hotel doors. (Mr. Bourdain's show was at the theater next door to the
hotel.) However - and I'm no detective - upon closer view, my little brain
decided the gathered fans didn't exactly fit the description of someone into
food and travel writers. I cannot tell you if Anthony Bourdain stayed at The
Heathman Hotel tonight, but
Here is our conversation after we figured out the crowd were waiting for
Terry: Are they an English band?
Dave: No. American.
Terry: I wouldn't recognize any of them.
Dave: You wouldn't recognize Steven Tyler?
Terry: Oh, yeah, I would. Is he is Aerosmith?
(All the while I am googling "Arrowsmith" on my phone.) Though DT must live with
a cultural infidel, my ignorance was quickly forgotten when the hotel
mysteriously upgraded us to a fancy corner two-bathroom suite with a great view
of downtown Portland.
Nordstrom is just a few
blocks from the hotel and they are at the tail-end of their Anniversary Sale, so
we strolled around the department store and also had a look through the
flagship store, before meeting Dave's cousin Jim, and Jim's wife, Nancy, for
dinner at Higgins.
Pay attention! All of this has happened in only one day and it is only cocktail
time - and it has all happened within a few-block area of downtown Portland.
Fresh Oregon Chinook served over spatzle, Oregon green beans and garnished
with Oregon blackberries.
The cousins were in fine-form and we had such a great time at Higgins.
After dinner, we walked to the
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (always referred to as "The Schnitz" by
locals) to listen to Anthony Bourdain deliver a 90-minute monologue about his
life, his job, his television show, travel, food, family, restaurants, his sport
(martial arts) and occasionally trash-talking about other chefs. Bourdain was
very complimentary to My Idol,
(Barefoot Contessa), and only dropped the F-Bomb a few dozen times over the
Too dark for photography
In the end, Dave did enjoy his birthday gift and we both enjoyed
our fun-filled day with family! And we didn't have to worry about leaving our
We have security.
Until my next update, I remain, your exhausted correspondent.
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