Sunday, September 24, 2017

Happy birthday, Dave!

My friend, Dave, held his annual birthday pig-picking today, and it was a fun affair indeed.  Many, many people attended, many brought food to share, and Dave provided the cooked pig.  Kyle and I broke it down and sent tray after tray of meat upstairs to the hungry crowd, folks mingled and chatted, and everyone seemed to have a very good time.

I've been going to this party for something like 32 years, give or take.  People have come and gone from the party crowd, but many regulars have stayed throughout the years.  Some people I met there as kids now attend with their children.  The party serves as a reminder and celebration of not just age but also of the value of being part of a community, however odd that community may be and however infrequently it may gather.

So, Dave, happy birthday, and for both of us--for all of us who attend--I hope you keep holding the pig-picking for years and years and years to come.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

What's up with the John Denver resurgence?

In the soundtracks of three movies this year, John Denver songs have played major roles.  Alien: Covenant, Logan Lucky, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle have all prominently featured Denver's music.  Is this a quiet Hollywood tribute on the twentieth anniversary of his death, the outward manifestation of some strange cult of film music professionals, or perhaps something more sinister?

I want to know.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I'm home

After a little over four hours of sleep, I arose at the horrible hour of four a.m.--a time when I am usually not yet in bed--and began the long journey home.  I appreciate that some people love to get up early, but I don't expect to ever become one of them.

As such travel days go, this one was excellent:  upgrades on both flights, bandwidth on both, time between flights to work in the Admirals Club in ORD, and no surprises.

Even so, though, I'm quite tired and still must dig out from mail, unpack, and so on, so I'm going to get to all of that.

It's good to be home.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The tasting menu at Le Pigeon

is enormous, varied, and incredibly delicious.  It is also probably more food than anyone should eat at one sitting.  Nonetheless, we ordered it tonight, and, as usual, it was amazing.  Chef/owner Gabriel Rucker and his team produced seven amazing courses, one with two desserts.

I also had the non-alcoholic drink pairings, a lovely treat for a teetotaler like myself.  One of my favorite touches of the meal was this innocent-looking beverage.

Click the image to see a larger version.

That little glass contains one of the most sinfully wonderful drinks I've ever tasted, the Foie Gras Coke Float.

Astonishingly rich and strong and delicious, this beverage alone is reason enough to visit Le Pigeon.

I've said it many times over the past decade, but it bears repeating now:  if you ever get a chance to eat at Le Pigeon, take it.  Do not miss this place.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Willow continues to excel

The dinners in Portland this time have been nothing short of spectacular.  That trend continued tonight with my meal at what has rapidly become another area favorite, Willow.  Chefs John Pickett and Doug Weiler were in tremendous form tonight, turning out one exceptional dish after another as part of their six-course tasting menu.

Due to the hour, I'm keeping this short, so by way of proof of how great this meal was, let me make a statement I am surprised to ever say:  their "eggplant parmesan" dish was superb.  Understand that I normally dislike eggplant and really dislike this particular dish, and you will see what high praise this is.

Of course, their playful take on this dish had little to do with the classic.  Instead of a flattened piece of eggplant smothered in red sauce, their version used a block of Italian eggplant and some cheese and a very light amount of sauce that had us all trying to lick the bowls clean.

Click the image to see a larger version.

The green block of eggplant sitting under the snowfall of cheese was the best eggplant I've ever tasted.

I must sound like a broken record by now, but as I've said about other restaurants this trip:  do not miss Willow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cirque due Soleil's Kurios is a wonder

Though I knew that doing this would cost me a ton of sleep--and it has--I took off for a few hours tonight to go see Kurios, a traveling Cirque du Soleil show that is playing here in Portland.  I'm glad I did.  The show was wonderful, consistently entertaining and gasp-provoking.  It builds off a steampunk theme and offers the usual nifty Cirque mix of acrobatics, clowns, music, and odd storylines.

My review here is simple:  if Kurios comes anywhere near you, don't worry about reading up on it or understanding it, just go.  You will have a good time.

I had a great time.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Little Bird wows

Long-time readers know that I love Le Pigeon, the first restaurant from chef/owner Gabriel Rucker and co-owner Andy Fortgang.  I've eaten there basically once a quarter since mid-2007--and it's here in Portland, and I live in Raleigh.  It's no surprise, then, that I've also been a regular at Rucker and Fortgang's second restaurant, Little Bird, since it opened.  I've always liked Little Bird and always enjoyed very good meals there.

Tonight, though, my dinner at Little Bird was by far the best I've eaten there, a top-drawer meal from start to finish.  I enjoyed a compressed melon salad, the duck, and a truffled chocolate ice cream sandwich, plus tastes of several sides and, courtesy of Andy, some of a second desert, the peach pain perdu.

Every bite of every dish was fantastic.

I could go into a lot more detail, but it's very late and I have to get up very early, so let me cut to the chase:  Little Bird has become another must-eat Portland destination.

Do not miss it.


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