October 2007

The Dining Report – The Savoy Tavern and Bistro – Pardon Me While I Shove My Butt In Your Face – and/or the story of how a small restaurant does a nice job serving a party of 14 (unfortunately there were 15 of us).Thank you to everyone who attended the largest RR dinner ever, a big whopping 15, two weeks after our last dinner, with a big number of 3 in attendance. Those are the weirdities of Restaurant Roulette, from the diminutive to the gigantic all in a fourteen day time span.

Anyway, it was by and large a pretty fun evening with generally decent food, and while communication was brutal from table end to end (or even middle to end), the majority of those who joined us at the Savoy had at least a few good vittles and some lively conversation, often with someone they had never met/talked with before (a good example of this being Sara’s buddy JR, who just moved here from the Lone Star state and basically knows only one person in P-Town). It was also so nice to see our old friends Grace and Frank, restaurant samplers extrordinaire, we haven’t seen them since Marrakesh because of their always hectic work/home schedules, but it was wonderful to have them back, especially as they always order so many of everything.

As is often the case with the group, Frank and Grace, not having attended a dinner since early spring were met by a sea of strange faces, many which have becomes RR old timers by now, so they were more like the newcomers than all those people who have joined after them. Whatever the case, it was good to have them back, I just wish I could have actually introduced them to all the people at the dinner they didn’t know (all of us but four people). Because the bistro section of the Savoy is pretty small, however, we were sort of crammed in a long skinny area with half of us trapped against a wall, so mingling and introductions were pretty impossible. I definitely played a poor hostess on this evening, I didn’t even try to introduce people who didn’t know each other, it was just too awkward in this particular setting. I did notice that most people seemed to be having good conversations with those seated around them though, so everyone found someone to interact with, and occasionally I would screech down to people at a far end, or would hear my name called and field an occasional remark from a friend in the distance, even if their question did have to be asked 10 or 20 times before I could hear it (sorry Sara, I guess I’ve got old coot ears).

The Dining Report –
Equinox – A Tiny Group In A Sea Of Noise

As someone who lives a relatively far piece North, often when I want to travel across town to far NE/North Portland, I take Fremont. Fremont as a general rule is a pretty nice street, it goes nonstop all the way from NE 92nd to just below the Fremont Bridge (imagine that), and although traffic bogs down at a few intersections, that wacky nightmarish junction in Rose City Park where it crosses Sandy at 72nd, and no one knows which way to go or who has the right of way, across 33rd where masses turn to go to gentrified hot spots like Alberta and Killingsworth, and at MLK where the short signal bogs everything down. But I like traveling Fremont, it really does go through many of the nicest neighborhoods on the Eastside, Rose City Park, Beaumont-Wilshire, Alameda, then stately Irvington. What long-running street can beat that for prestige from end to end? Even after it crosses MLK it goes some interesting places, through historic Boise-Elliot and right across hip and happening Mississippi, where every young artist and musician now wants to live if they aren’t already living around Alberta.

I only mention all of this because of the peculiar drive home I had last Friday after the RR dinner at Equinox, almost every car in front of me was either a complete hazardous menace or a spectacle in its own right. And all on Fremont. As I left the restaurant and headed south along Mississippi I immediately was trapped behind the last vehicle anyone ever wants to travel behind. The particular version of total road nightmare was an early 70s Toyota truck, already barely roadworthy, sitting about four inches off the ground because it was totally loaded with a massive pile of every article under the sun, and traveling about 15 mph. I didn’t see where it pulled out of, but my guess would be it was some local junk hauler who maneuvered away from the Rebuilding Center, taking every single item deemed unsaleable, and now stacked about eight feet high in this rickety old truck and barely confined or corralled in any way. I chanted to myself, please don’t turn on Fremont, please don’t turn on Fremont. Naturally, it turned on Fremont. There’s nothing like creeping along at 12 miles an hour behind a teetering behemoth of trash, faster moving traffic backing up at the tail end of your vehicle, while you worry what heavy object will soon coming flying off the pile, through your windshield, that in turn unenabling you from ever writing crowd pleasing and enchanting reviews like this ever again.