September 2012

The Dining Report – Market
How To Have A Pleasant Dining Experience In An Office Building


Okay, few will believe it, but I’m having a hard time getting this dinner review off of the ground. Usually I start out with some ZZZZ inducing preamble about the restaurant space, the neighborhood, the owner, the chef, the type of cuisine, some “relevant” experience in my life, anything, but Market is really a blank slate to me. What’s a long winded blogger to do, especially when the dinner deserves a decent amount of documentation?

Well, this has to start somewhere, so here are my dregs …

IMG_3128Market is another venture from Kurt Huffman’s ChefStable, the incredibly successful company who has brought us places like Gruner, St. Jack, Ox, and ¬†Interurban (although they sold their share in that one) with only one major clunker in their collection, the Titanic-like Corazon, which started sinking the minute it sailed. ChefStable is a restaurant management group who knows an interesting chef when they see one, so if they got behind Market, you know good things are likely to start coming out of this kitchen immediately. The previous major local tie to Market’s chef, Troy Furuta, was Clyde Common, a place that seems to have produced like 20 other local chefs now who lead their own restaurants. That joint must know something. (more…)


Sweating It Out In The Parish

There’s something a bit disheartening about going to a recently opened (3 months?) restaurant in the Pearl on a summer’s day of nearly 100 degrees and not finding air conditioning. Are spaces even allowed to open in the environs of the Pearl without A/C? When this was a cooking school before, wouldn’t they have had A/C?IMG_3079 I mean, what the……….? (fill in with your own comfort level of disdain-laden language.) This is a weird complaint coming from me, as my body is nearly always cold and corpse-tempered, and although I had been dying from the heat for two days, I didn’t even turn on my car A/C until I was nearly to the restaurant. So if I was over-heated, it must have been uncomfortable. I know the South is supposed to be all hot and sweaty, but would an upscale restaurant really open in a upper class district without having A/C? It seems highly unthinkable, so I can’t help but wonder if maybe the A/C at The Parish had broken down, or was overwhelmed by the extreme heat, or just not effective in the little private room we were shuttled to, off the main dining room. You would think they would mention it to us though, if one of the latter scenarios was the case, as they had to notice we were hot, as we kept asking for pitchers of ice and saying “man, we’re hot” and because the waiter looked incredibly uncomfortable himself (although the young hostesses seemed fresh all evening.)

Actually, I had read and heard how nice the decor was inside The Parish, and that the owners (the EaT Oyster Bar people) had done their best to bring an upscale New Orleans dining house to Portland, so I would have liked to have seen more than our hot and noisy little room. Even a trip to the restroom yielded no results (so to speak) as it was within steps of our isolation chamber, so the only interesting thing I could see was jars of pickled goods under the hostesses station. As for our room, besides the big table and the torture chairs, the only other things to look at (besides the “winners” I was dining with, tee hee) was a rather ratty looking wild boar head mounted high on the wall opposite me (wild boars could use a comb and a toothbrush) and a rather creepy black and white old timey photograph of three youths dressed is very scary evangelical garb.IMG_3094 As is usual with these private rooms, not exactly decked out to the nines. I can understand why sometimes people put large, loud, unruly groups in these separate areas (for example, bachelorette parties or groups of prom-goers) but we are distinguished diners who have to be a good example to other patrons with our effusive ordering, so why wouldn’t restaurants want to show us off? (rather sadly, RR’s loud and crazy days of boisterous and improper behavior and subject matter (diddle rooms) seem to have ceased and desisted long ago. My current regulars are great, but I miss those occasional kooks.) The problem with most private dining areas, they lack the character of the rest of the restaurant (one exception, Aviary) so not only do you not get the flavor of the restaurant, your surroundings are often lifeless.

I’m very thankful that this summer I have been experiencing better than usual turnouts, once again due to my food-lovin’ group of current regulars. IMG_3083This time my roster of nine was very similar to the group we had a Carpaccio Trattoria, Glenda, Heidi, Julian, Hank, David, Shohong, Cora and Sam, with one notable addition, Sam’s father, Jerry, who was visiting from Chicago. Although it was between 95-100 degrees out, Jerry, in his 8th decade, was a real trooper. Over the last couple of days he had been at Smith Rock, Silver Falls, and now to a non-air conditioned restaurant. What endurance! Somehow, everyone had one thing in common this evening, we were too hot. Even little Hank, who was a model gentleman at the last dinner, seemed a bit more testy this evening, as he too seemed overheated, Luckily, on the couple of occasions he cried a bit, the acoustics were so bad we could barely hear him. He did seem to be sucking his bottle with incredible vigor though, perhaps wishing for a cool Mint Julep. Also, like his mother, he seems to have an appreciation for good books. In Heidi’s case, she savors reading them, in Hank’s case, he gnaws on them with great relish. (more…)