museums

Cyclepedia

I’ve wanted to try Kenny & Zuke’s for years–the super cute, New York style deli was on my walking route for my lunch hour at work. It was always packed when I walked by there and I’d heard nothing but “these sandwiches are epic”–in portions and quality. Fast forward a few years later and I got the opportunity to taste test K&Z’s at a Yelp Elite event. That sealed the deal: as soon as I could, I wanted to try that pastrami sandwich.

Michael and I are officially celebrating our anniversary next month with a mini weekend trip. But to have a little date night celebration, we went to Kenny & Zuke’s for happy hour before going to the new cycling exhibit at the Portland Art Museum.

The place was half empty, which was a nice change from their overflowing lunch hour. I wasn’t very impressed with the service I got. The waiter seemed really disinterested in serving us, walked by the table a million times without greeting us or making eye-contact. It was just annoying and kind of soured the experience for me. He was clearly grumpy or unhappy about working there–who knows. Disappointing to say the least.

Despite the lackluster service, the food was spectacular. We ordered off the happy hour menu and split the pastrami sandwich on rye with Russian dressing. That was it–no lettuce, nothing fancy, just a pickle on the side and to-die for meat that was soft and almost like bite-sized bacon pieces.

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Thank goodness we split it! I was happy with the portion (splitting) and I did see that the regular menu had a “lighter” version of the sandwich. We also split a happy hour order of the Caesar salad. I also had an Ninkasi IPA with dinner. It’s been ages since I’ve had beer. I’ve been sticking with wine or vodka lately (less calories).

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Michael also got the hot dog smothered in sauerkraut, caramelized onions and relish. I had a few bites because it looked too amazing not to try. I know this is sacrilege to a lot of areas of the country but I like my hot dogs with mustard and ketchup. This hot dog did not have either on it and it didn’t need it. The sweetness of the relish and caramelized onions balanced with the sauerkraut was all that was needed.

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The vibe was pretty cool and the food was great. I’d definitely go back but I’d avoid the lunch hour and I’d definitely avoid Mr. Sourpuss’s section of the seating.

After dinner we took a jaunt up to the Portland Art Museum to see the cycling exhibit.I loved the presentation of the bikes. They were hanging from wires from the ceiling in a manner that flowed around the room like a lazy, curving river. There were 40 bikes and you had a laminated chart to guide you through each station.

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One of my favorite bikes was this one:

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It was the BSA Birmingham Small Arms Paratrooper from 1940. It was used by the British military in WWII and was designed to fold in half and be dropped to the ground using a parachute attached to the wheels. I felt like I was standing in front history. Who used this bike in World War II? Did they survive?

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The one above is nothing but BAD IDEAS but so totally cool at the same time. If you look carefully, you can see that it doesn’t have a front tire. That bike above was the “Capo Elite EIS” from 1966. It originated in Austria and was a “skating” bicycle. It was developed for icy streets and the front had a skate blade instead of a tire, and the back tire was studded. According to the brochure it “presented a hazard for riders in an accident, which were reportedly frequent.”

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How many of you want one? Yeah, no thanks. There were also a lot of modern bikes. The orange Trek below was eventually banned from competitions because it didn’t have a seat stem. The white one below was part of  a time trial in another event in the 90’s.

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It was cool to see the history and progression of the bikes through the years.There were definitely several bikes where you wondered what they were thinking. There was even a bike where two people sat side by side with one pedal (for the left and right person) and you couldn’t ride the bike unless there were two people. Odd.

After the bikes, we checked out the Gaston Lachaise exhibit. The short story behind his bronze sculptures was that this Frenchman fell in love with an American woman who was married, became obsessed with her and started sculpting nudes replicating her. This woman was married and they had a passionately love affair for over a decade before she divorced her husband, they married and moved to Boston.

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What I loved about his sculptures was the raw honesty and reality of them. The woman he sculpted was voluptuous. Most of the statues were beautiful and sensual–you could tell he was in loved with this woman. There were a few, though, that were simply body parts. I’m not a prude in any way and nudes don’t bother me, but to see a slab of bronze that are just two breasts was off-putting. It was almost like the woman didn’t matter, just the sum of her parts that the men find desirable. There were a few pieces that were dark and almost grotesque. I felt like he was angry when he sculpted those.

Then you’d turn a corner and see something so loving and sweet you’d question your own lens. Something like this:

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I’d really like to know the background of the particular pieces I saw. Where the ones that seemed violent towards women during a difficult period in their relationship when they couldn’t be together? Was it at the end of the relationship when maybe something soured? I have no idea. I could read a lot into it if I tried.

Best sandwich of your life? And have you seen a good art exhibit lately?

King Tut

This weekend, I went up to Seattle to stay with my parents because my brother Andy and his wife were visiting from Philadelphia. Since they live so far away we only see them once or twice a year. The way up to Seattle was probably one of the more memorable road trips. We were literally in the middle of nowhere when the muffler on the car in front of us fell off his car. Michael had nowhere to go, with a semi truck on our right and a cement wall on our left. You know what happens when you drive over a muffler at 80 mph? You get a shredded tire. And Michael’s car is a 3 ton tank! Luckily there was a Les Schwab in the middle of nowhere and we were able to get it replaced (AND it was still under warranty so it only cost $17 instead $200+!!).

Saturday morning I got up a little bit early so I could get in a gym session before we started our day. It was weird going to the old gym I used to belong to when I was 18 years old. It took me back to a time in my life when I was half-assing trying to lose weight (i.e. going to the gym once in awhile but still eating like crap).

After the gym, all 6 of us headed toward downtown Seattle for lunch at Dick’s Drive In. It’s a Seattle landmark and a must-visit if you’ve never been. I hadn’t been to Dick’s since I was a teen! Talk about walking down memory lane. It opened in 1954 and has been a popular place ever since and you may or may not have heard the lyrics “We’ll stop and eat at Dick’s–Dick’s is the place where the crew hang out–” by Sir-Mix-A-Lot in my Posse on Broadway. Ahem, I KNOW I am not the only one who knows all the words to this song….!

I got a standard cheeseburger for lunch and a diet soda (total for lunch: 340 calories! Not bad!). Michael got a deluxe, fries and a float. They are also famous for their amazing shakes.

After lunch we went downtown to the Seattle Science Center to see the King Tut Exhibit. If you live in the Seattle area, I highly recommend the King Tut exhibit –the first time in Seattle since 1978 (On display for the last time in North America! Egypt has decided this is last time they will allow the artifacts to leave Egypt). We meet again, dear friend!

The last time I went to a museum to see the King Tut treasures was in Chicago. It was a fun trip and the exhibit was definitely worth seeing. Quite a difference in those photos, huh? I love Egyptian history. To see the exhibit you had to buy tickets in advance and make a reservation for a time. They were only allowing a certain amount of people in each tour.

We had some time to kill before our reservations for the museum so we walked around the area. I felt like such a dork for playing tourist in the city that I spent 19 years in! But honestly, it was making me a bit homesick and I loved walking around and seeing everything I took for granted as a kid when I lived in Seattle.

It was so much fun and so great to see my brother. I hate that he lives so far away. Can you tell which one of us was blessed with the tall gene? I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in Seattle. While we were walking around the Science Center, the Blue Angels were flying overhead. Apparently it was Seafair weekend.

Now for the exhibit! If you can’t tell, I am totally into Egypt and I took hundreds of photos, but I will only share some of my favorites from the exhibit. The picture below was a canopic coffinette jar made of gold, jewels and precious stones and held King Tut’s stomach after he died.

You could get really close to most of the pieces in this exhibit, which was nice for taking photos. Of course the items made out of gold were behind glass.

I’ve seen many Egyptian artifacts over the years. My favorite exhibit was the British Museum and the current one in Seattle is probably my second favorite. It was put together very well.

This is a replica of the King Tutankhamen mummy. I already knew he wouldn’t be there (learned that in Chicago!). King Tut’s mummy, sarcophagus and death mask are not allowed to leave Egypt–which many people don’t know and I overheard several people complaining at the end that they missed the mummy. The replica was cool to see, though.

One of my favorite pieces in the exhibit was the statue of the Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Akhenaten was a fascinating character in history. He tried to change the traditional religious beliefs of polytheism (multiple gods and goddesses) to monotheism (a single god). It was not a popular change and after he died, the Egyptians went back to the old ways. Akhenaten was also King Tut’s father and he was married to the beautiful Nefertiti. Seeing his statue in person was crazy because it was so big and domineering. What is fascinating is the theories around this Pharaoh. The people who believe in extraterrestrials believe that aliens bred with the pharaoh and that’s why he looks so alienlike. Another theory is that he suffered from various genetic diseases (the one I find most compelling is Marfan’s syndrome).

I’ll finish up this post with some photos I took of the tropical butterfly exhibit at the Science Center. It was a beautiful (and muggy) experience:

The butterfly exhibit was fun because you walked into a room with them fluttering around, sometimes landing right on people! I hope you guys enjoyed the pictures. It was a fun day and I’m happy to share my adventure with everyone.

QUESTION: What is your favorite historical time period? And have you ever eaten at Dick’s?