Saturday, February 2, 2013

On the road again: Portland, day 5 / Silicon Valley, day 1

As much as I travel, you'd think I would never be surprised by how much time travel takes.  Yet, on days like today, I am.  The relatively short hop from PDX to SFO and from one hotel to another ended up consuming more than six hours, much of which was unproductive time.  Worse, I had to get up early on a Saturday. 

Dinner tonight helped, though, because it was a delicious meal at what I consider to be San Francisco's best restaurant, Benu.  Chef Corey Lee's tasting menu delivers bite after bite of wonderful, complex, tasty flavors.  I recommend Benu highly.

I'd write more, but it's quite late and I want one long night of sleep before the crush of the week descends on me, so this will have to serve. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

On the road again: Portland, day 4

Interesting and fun visits today with clients who are also friends, but nothing I can discuss; the nature of our business and all.

Fog in the morning, gray sky in the late morning, and clear beautiful aqua shot here and there with gray-black clouds in the afternoon.

Dinner with friends at Jake's Grill, good enough though far from up to Portland's finest.

Food trucks standing open late under bare-branched trees wrapped in white lights. 

So February 1 begins and ends for me in Portland. 

I'll miss this fine place tomorrow as I head down the coast. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

On the road again: Portland, day 3

Work meetings filled a lot of today, and work at my computer consumed almost all of the rest.  The only exception was a delicious meal at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Le Pigeon.  Chef and owner Gabe Rucker was working tonight, so I had the chance to say hi to him after consuming his seven-course tasting menu.  Highlights included the hamachi with pineapple, foie gras, and coconut, a dish that sounds downright odd but that was light and refreshing, fish with a rich citrus edge; the grilled venison, which was flavorful and not at all tough; and a riff on Thanksgiving, a sous vide turkey with prosciutto, matzo balls, mushrooms, and sage. 

Work starts very early in the morning, and despite the timestamp on this post, it's actually quite late, so I'm going to finish work and hope to grab a few hours of sleep.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On the road again: Portland, day 2

Another day of meetings, another day I can't discuss much.  I can say that I love working in the tech industry, because new, exciting developments occur all the time!

Dinner was at another of my favorite Portland restaurants, Castagna.  Executive Chef Justin Woodward routinely creates one of the area's most adventurous and exciting menus. Tonight's was no exception, with five (or so, I lost count) little dishes as the "snacks" course delighting our palates even before the main eight courses started. 

As always, click on a picture to see a larger version.

To give you just one bit of food porn, here's the penultimate course, a dessert exploring grapefruit in different ways. 

It was wonderful, evocative of all the aspects of grapefruit and tasty in every bite. 

As I've said before, if you're in this area, you need to eat at Castagna. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On the road again: Seattle, day 3 / Portland, day 1

Today was a very long day indeed.  It began early with work email and then client meetings in the Seattle area.  All the meetings were interesting and fun, but when they finished, the second work day began.  We drove south to Portland in heavy traffic and moderate rain, a tiring drive that left me wanting to sleep. 

Instead, after checking into one of my favorite hotels, I worked and then grabbed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Little Bird.  Co-owner Andy Fortgang greeted me by name on sight--I had no reservation--and in no time I was enjoying a great selection of cheeses and charcuterie.  If you live in Portland or visit here, you need to eat at Little Bird (and at its sister restaurant and one of my all-time favorites, Le Pigeon; I'll be there Thursday night).  Something about simply sitting in Little Bird makes me happy. 

After dinner, I worked for several hours.  Now, though, I get to crash, which is a treat indeed. 

I have to say that though I like Seattle, I love Portland.  I don't ever intend to move away from Raleigh, but if I were to consider it, Portland would top my list.

Monday, January 28, 2013

On the road again: Seattle, day 2

I know this is a lovely area, but, wow, today was a dreary, drizzly, damp day.  Driving was stressful all the time, visibility was never good, and it never stopped raining. 

That said, the rest of the day was fine.  I enjoyed our client meetings--which, of course, I cannot discuss--and enjoyed many happy tech-geek moments. 

Dinner was with a client friend at Firenze Ristorante in Bellevue.  The company and conversation were great, and the food was quite good.  I tried a penne al gorgonzola that was perfect. 

Back to work for me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

On the road again: Seattle, day 1

Travel days inevitably peg the weirdness meter at least a little, because the act of packing yourself into big metal tubes for multi-hundred-mile-per-hour rides through the upper atmosphere is inherently a bit odd.  That's what I spent most of today doing, with an early morning wake-up in Raleigh and a late-night crashing in the Seattle area.  In between the two was my usual few hours in DFW, always a bit of strangeness. 

Beyond the normal people-watching, DFW did bring two fun interludes of its own:  this bit of Texas health-food lunch

and a stop at Red Mango for a small vanilla bean frozen yogurt with strawberries.  It was even better than the brisket sandwich; sorry for forgetting to snap its portrait.

I spent most of the first flight dozing and almost all of the second working, so I have very little to report.  I'm here safely, I had a pleasant dinner in the hotel restaurant, and I'm happy to be striding the terra firma sans big metal tube.  It's hard to ask much more from a day of business travel. 


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