concert

Out and About

Last week was such a busy one! Michael was dealing with fixing the car and stuff from the break-in. It ended up being a bigger hassle than we expected. Not only did no shops in Portland have the specific glass window for his car, but when they ordered it and tried to install it last week, they ended up referring him to a body shop to finish it. What a mess!!

Despite that, I had a pretty good week. I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile because of all the drama and the wedding planning appointments we had. I feel bad for neglecting my friends!

The Red Fig

I met my great friend Robyn at The Red Fig for dinner. I had a Groupon deal for it and had never been there before. It sounded like an interesting menu. I headed over after work; the night was really dark and the fog was thick. The kind of fog that makes it difficult to see much in front of the car. I drove through NE Portland, not too familiar with the area, and after driving around in circles a little but, finally found it. The restaurant was really cute! It looked like it was in an old craftsman style home that had been remodeled into a restaurant.

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It was still happy hour for a few minutes so we ordered some jalapeno poppers. I was not a fan. They weren’t what I was expecting and I kind of prefer Michael’s. The jalapenos were cut in half and then filled with melted cheese. Sounds pretty good, but fell flat.

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The menu sounded really good. There were a lot of things that appealed to me, especially the Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta Salad but it was such a cold, gloomy night that I wanted something warm and not a cold salad. I ordered the Panang Curry dish with chicken.

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It wasn’t very spicy, which was disappointing. It could have used some bite. But the flavors were really subtle and delicious. The curry and the sesame/peanut flavors all worked well together. I ate half of my dish and saved the rest for lunch. It was a satisfying meal, even if it could have used some spice.

The Doug Fir

The next night, Tuesday, was Michael’s office holiday party. This year it was at The Doug Fir. They closed off the basement concert area for the private party and there were drinks and hors d’oeuvres and three bands played.  I haven’t been to the Doug Fir in ages. I used to go quite a lot to see various Portland bands I was a fan of. It was cool to go back. It’s a neat space and decorated like a log cabin:

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We stayed long enough to hear some of the second band, Ask You In Gray , which I hadn’t heard of but loved! They were a duo and played like electronic-pop-dance-type music. They sounded a lot like Erasure. It was fun!

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But boy, was I tired by the end of the night.

The Lutz Tavern

I met up with my other friend Erika at this bar in Woodstock. I’d never been to it, nor heard of it, but it was a cute divey-type bar that looks like it used to be an old diner.

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It had diner-style seating at the bar and comfortable booths, plus a pool-table and jukebox. It wasn’t very crowded when we got there but it filled up fast and seemed like it was a popular neighborhood joint. They had a great beer list. I was super excited that they had my favorite beer on tap, Boneyard IPA. I happily got a pint. It’s been ages since I’ve had it. They also had Omission (gluten-free beer).

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I got the Lutz Burger with tots. The tots were probably the best I’ve ever had. They were perfectly cooked, not mushy on the inside and the outside was crispy and delicious–almost like a fried chicken exterior. The burger was pretty darn good, too, and it was only $8. I’d definitely go back here for some beers and burgers.

I also got the best present. 🙂 My VERY OWN BIG CARL!

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cougartown_240Thank you very much, Erika! 😀

A Montage

This week seems to be a time for reflection and reminiscing. First with a feel-good recipe on Monday and now I’m remembering the first days I moved to Portland.

For our anniversary a few months ago, Michael got us stellar tickets to the Nine Inch Nails concert, which was Monday night. We went home after work to play with Bella for a little bit and then headed back out into the dark, rainy night for a date night before the show.

We wanted to get dinner somewhat near the Rose Garden to make it easy. I suggested Montage. Montage is a Portland staple, a must-see for atmosphere and fun. Montage is a restaurant  famous for its mac n’ cheese, its quirkiness and is located underneath the Morrison Bridge. It’s a few blocks from the waterfront, near the train tracks; it’s kind of a dank, dark, creepy location, complete with homeless people lingering around. But if you can get passed that, give the place a try.

Stepping into Montage I was taken back to another time. It was really like stepping into a time machine. I went there when I first moved back to Portland by myself, so about 12 years ago. Why I never went back is beyond me. But as Michael and I got a seat, I started thinking about those days. They were both hard and exhilarating–I was coming off a really, really bad break up and my heart was ripped open–but at the same time I had a feeling of confidence and happiness because I was ON MY OWN. I’d done it. I was living on my own, in my own apartment, no roommates. I’d made the move from Seattle to Portland without a man in my life and it boosted my self-esteem. Being independent is so important to me.

Anyways, Montage was the first restaurant in Portland that had communal eating style tables. They were long banquet tables set up so that you were sitting next to a complete stranger while you ate dinner. In 2001 this was very odd to me, now it’s a Portland norm.

The menu includes alligator, frog legs, half a dozen different types of mac n’ cheese and a two page drink list bigger than the table we were sitting at. I love their goofy names for drinks. I ordered a “Laura Palmer” and high five if you get the reference. 🙂

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The drink was tart and citrusy. They had one drink called “The Ex-Wife” for $250,000. “Nighttrain and Thunderbird on the rocks made payable in monthly installments for the rest of your life.” Hahaha!

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For dinner I ordered the “Spold Mac” (terrible name by the way) which was a blend of the regular mac n’ cheese and their spicy version. It was creamy and had a kick a to it! Michael got a steak with bleu cheese on it, which came with mashed potatoes, corn bread muffins and a side salad. I ate most of my mac n’ cheese and then took the rest home. They wrap the leftovers into foil art!

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My leftovers were wrapped into a rose. It was cute. Someone at another table had their leftovers wrapped into a humongous battle axe. It was epic! I wanted to get a picture of it but that seemed weird. 😉

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After dinner we scampered up to the Rose Quarter just in time for the opening band’s last song (no idea who they were). NIN came on stage and gave a kick-ass performance. I’ve seen them once before, with Michael, and he’s seen them like 5 times. NIN was a band I loved the moment I discovered Pretty Hate Machine when I was around 11 or 12 years old… Hearing him play a lot of the songs from that first album was like wrapping myself in an old familiar blanket.

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Our seats were amazing. Michael splurged and got us seats just a few rows back from the mosh-pit. We were so close I could see the sweat dripping off Trent Reznor! They played a lot of the old favorites and a bunch of the new songs. They sounded fantastic. Flawless performance. The finale was “Hurt” and you can watch my video of it here. It was probably the best rendition of “Hurt” I’ve heard them do. It sent chills up my spine.

The show was done around 11pm and we hurried home. I let Bella out to run around a little bit and go outside to potty then it was bedtime. Needless to say, the next day was rough! I’m officially old. Staying out that late on a work night is brutal! But the show was so worth it. Have you ever seen Nine Inch Nails live?