Eleni’s Restaurant

Last Ride

Well I’m pretty sure last week’s ride to work was the last bike commute for the winter. It was dry and crisp, the perfect fall day, but FREEZING. It was around 40 degrees when I got up and out of the house and I think that’s being generous. Even though I have decent gear (and supposedly cold weather gloves) my fingers were so frozen they hurt. Same with my toes and my face. The rest of me warmed up nicely on the ride.

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The Springwater Trail was fairly empty that morning. I stopped mid-ride to blow my nose (cold weather makes it runny, same with my eyes) and my friend Debby rode past! So I caught up to her and we rode the rest of the way into work together. It was nice because we chatted a little and it distracted us both on how miserable we were!

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So yeah, that was the last ride!

I was so cold the rest of the day at work. Even though I was wearing a sweater, I just had a chill. I was so freezing that I skipped my apple for my morning snack and got a cup of broccoli cheddar soup to warm me up. I ate half of it and then had the rest with my lunch.

The afternoon was much more pleasant. It was warmer and the sun was out.

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About 10 miles total for the day. It was a pretty good way to end the cycling season. I’d done Body Pump the night before (took it easier this time so I wouldn’t be as crippled). By the afternoon ride home I was starting to stiffen up and get more sore. I think the bike ride helped loosen me up a tad.

So how are the kitties doing?

I figured it was time for an update on how the wild beasts in my home are getting along. As I predicted, Maya is staying in the bedroom and doesn’t come out. I knew it would take her a lot of time. Fat Kitty, on the other hand, has FINALLY decided to assert his authority. He’s the King of the house and he’s letting Bella know it!

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Last Tuesday night I got home from Body Pump and watched as Fat Kitty and Bella met. For two hours. It was quite entertaining. He alternated what side of the gate he was on as he hissed and growled at Bella. Bella was really good and didn’t chase him or antagonize him. She’d sit on one side of the gate, Fat Kitty on the other. Bella seemed more curious and scared than anything! She’d run back to the couch and look scared:

That short video needs audio. That is Fat Kitty growling at Bella. 🙂 He’s so fierce! Last Wednesday night I hung out in the bedroom with Fat Kitty watching some TV. He sat next to me on the bed and Bella came in and laid down on the floor at the foot of the bed. It was awesome! Fat Kitty didn’t growl for nearly 30 minutes! The three of us just hung out together. I was so impressed at the leaps and bounds the animals are making with each other.

But they aren’t ready to be alone together yet. So when Michael I got dressed to go out to dinner for date night, I put Bella in the crate for the hour or so we’d be gone. She wasn’t happy about it and I felt badly but…it’s too soon for her to just be out and about without us there.

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Michael was going out of town for a week so we went to Eleni’s in Sellwood for dinner as a date night before he left. Eleni’s has a special place in my heart because it’s where we had our first date.

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I ordered a glass of  Pinot Gris with dinner and we started with Michael’s favorite appetizer, the “Ktipiti” which is a spicy feta dip. It’s so good! We always order it.

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It came with warm pita bread, veggies and Greek olives. If I could have licked the plate of the feta dip residue I would have, it’s that delicious. For my entree I went with the steamed mussels that were in a tomato and garlic sauce with onions and feta. I’ve been craving clams or mussels for weeks! Finally got to have it.

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Michael ordered the lamb special of the night. It was a leg of lamb where the meat was so tender it fell off the bone and mashed sweet potatoes. It came with sauteed kale but they’d used a really heavy hand with the lemon and it was basically inedible. Which was weird because we’ve always had a good meal at the Sellwood Eleni’s.

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On the way home we stopped at Dairy Queen for a blizzard. It’s been a good 8 years since I’ve been! I used to be obsessed with Blizzards and would eat the big ones at least once or twice a week. This time Michael and I ordered the mini–which surprisingly still had a lot of calories in it! The mini was about 350 calories. Eeeek. Oh well. It was worth it. It will probably be another 8 years before I go back. 😉

We got home and let Bella out of the crate for the rest of the evening and Fat Kitty was extra grumpy. Hissing, spitting, growling. It feels like we take one step forward, two steps back with the cat and dog!

QUESTION: If you have a dog and cat, how long did it take for them to get along? 

A Memory Soured

I wish this post (and evening) had gone a different way, a more positive way. Recently Michael and I went to a favorite restaurant to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. We went to Eleni’s in downtown Portland. Eleni’s holds a special place in both of our hearts because it was the restaurant we went to on our first official date. To be technical, we went to the Eleni’s in Sellwood but this time we went to the one downtown because I had a Groupon for it. I am thoroughly disappointed with the downtown restaurant and will probably never go back (the Sellwood one is much better so go there!).

We made a reservation for 6:30 and when we arrived, they’d lost our reservation. Neither of us were too worried because even though the place was packed, they said they could fit it us. Okay. We got a table and ordered drinks.

I ordered a delicious, Earthy Italian Barbera and Michael tried to order an IPA. They were out. He tried his second choice. The waiter came back and said they were out of that as well, and brought another beer. Alright, not the end of the world.

Michael and I ordered. We ordered an appetizer called Ktipiti, which is a spicy dip made of feta, olive oil and red wine vinegar with red chili flakes. It comes with pita bread and veggies and olives. It’s the appetizer we ordered on our first date.

For dinner, Michael ordered the lamb special that came with roasted artichokes and spinach. I got the “Makaronia Me Soutzoukaki”–basically meatballs with red sauce and a creamy risotto with zucchini in it. The waiter said he’d bring out some bread and olive oil for us.

We settled in to enjoy our drinks and talk. No bread. I was getting hungry and drinking a bold red wine on an empty stomach is rarely my first choice.  We waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Our waiter wasn’t coming back to our table. I finally flagged down another waiter and asked about our appetizer and in a very condescending, snotty tone he responded that the kitchen was really back up and then walked away.

By this point, I was fuming. One of my biggest pet peeves is shitty service at a restaurant. If I’m PAYING you to treat me nice, I expect good service and I don’t think that’s an unrealistic expectation. I’m not paying to be treated like crap by a waiter. Not only that, there are so many amazing restaurants in Portland that if a restaurant has shitty service, I will NEVER go back. I’ll just go somewhere else.

At this point I told Michael that I wanted to put $12 on the table for our drinks and just walk out. I was that pissed. I said, “We are apparently at the invisible table.” I said we could go to freakin’ Taco Bell on the way home, I didn’t care. Mr. Calm-Cool-Collected talked me down and said that we should try the nice approach first and see if our waiter would rectify the situation. I conceded.

Michael flagged down our waiter and was very polite. He said that we were having a rough time in his restaurant and was hoping he could rectify that. Michael informed the waiter that we’d been waiting for 50 minutes and did not receive even bread, let alone our appetizer. 50 minutes.

The waiter was very polite and apologetic. He said he’d comp us desserts to make up for it.

Then guess what happened about 15 minutes later? Yep, you guessed it–our appetizer came out and then 30 seconds later our entrees arrived. Annoying. What I think happened is that the waiter forgot to put in our orders from the start.

Either way, I was not a happy camper and either was Michael. BUT we enjoyed the food. The food was fantastic. Michael loved his lamb. I loved my risotto dish. It was cheesy and creamy and the chunks of zucchini went well with it. I ate about half of my risotto and 1 meatball and saved the rest for later.

The waiter brought us out complimentary desserts, Baklava and a rich chocolate mousse. Michael and I split the desserts and then we left. Sure, the comp was nice (and the Groupon made it even more affordable) but the evening had been soured.

Michael and I both agreed we would not go back to the downtown restaurant again. The first time we went to it a few years ago, they brought me the wrong order! So clearly, they’ve never improved. We’ve never had a bad experience at the Sellwood one. But still. What a bummer. 🙁

But on a NICE note, Michael surprised me with gorgeous flowers–my favorites! Sunflowers! Aren’t they beautiful?

The flowers are currently in our bedroom closet where I can look at them every morning and night. And they are safe from Fat Kitty who likes to eat my flowers. 😛 And in even better news, we are headed out of town to celebrate! Talk to you guys soon.

QUESTION: Have you ever had a really negative experience at a restaurant?