October 2010

Could Your Please Grow Those Apples A Little Faster?


Maybe it’s because we’re on the West Coast, which doesn’t strike me so much as a European Melting Pot as back East (although we do fine with Asia and down South here) but Basque culture is not something we are exposed to very often in Portland, and a Basque restaurant, how many of those do you hear about in our area? Sure, Spanish influenced places like Lolo or Toro Bravo have splashes of Basque cuisine, but they don’t market themselves as Basque.

IMG_1849On my very last “real” vacation, sadly a little over 9 years ago, part of our itinerary was to rent a car in Barcelona, then drive all over the most Northern area of Spain, starting in the Basque Region with a stay in a Parador in Hondarribia (Spanish – Fuenterrabia) a little Barvarian looking town across the bay from France. It was fascinating, once we left Catalonia, seeing every road sign and other directional marker in both Spanish and Basque, those Basque really know how to use those weird letters of the alphabet we have little use for here, like X, Y and Z. Hondarribia was a great little place, so quaint and full of Spanish, Basque, and French History, and the food there was unlike any I had found in my other travels around Spain, particularly heavy on seafood and peppers, and costing almost twice as much as other regions we had eaten in (not quite sure why, maybe because the North of Spain is a much harsher climate, one region actually referred to as the Scotland of Spain (although this is on the opposite northern coast from Hondarribia, in the NW environs of the country, in Galicia.) (more…)


Thank Goodness For Seeing Eye People

First of all, a little comment (to be followed by thousands of other little comments, no doubt.)

IMG_1785When I was posting the previous review for Irving Street Kitchen on this blog, I hadn’t even finished (the words post first, and then the pictures go in) and some girl/woman was sending me negative comments on the fact that I had mentioned that the waiter at Irving Street Kitchen had highly recommended an item that wasn’t even on the menu. Blah, blah, blah, it’s all water under the bridge. I think what really irked me was that she described me as an amateur blogger and made it sound like all I did was sit in front of my keyboard all the time trying to inflict hurt and make other people’s lives miserable.

Oh Contraire, Missy, the challenge of writing this blog for me, at times, is similar to the notion of draining one’s body of all one’s blood, one tiny pin prick at a time, you squeeze and squeeze and squeeze, and most of the time, only the smallest amount dribbles out. Although many writers love blogging, and I congratulate them on their constant creativity and willingness to put forth this continual effort, I am not one of these people, and the task of documenting the dinners is no less than monumental at many times (like this one.) IMG_1803The dinners are almost always good though, and some of the restaurants actually like being written about, (okay, NOT THAT ONE) so I continue to try to get these sometimes weird and wacky (but equally often mundane and obtuse) reviews written. So what if it’s three weeks gone by now, and these are the first words I have typed on our evening at Nostrana.

Actually, this is a pretty sad situation, because our evening at Nostrana was a really good one, and deserves at least as much documentation, if not more, than some of those fair to middling dinners I have posted endless paragraphs about. Three weeks in and no still no flowing juices of inspiration, not a good sign. (more…)