December 2012

For all of you who listened to my recent podcast on MysteryMeet and want to know more about what MysteryMeet is all about, there’s a video …  Enjoy!


Searching For Germany, Did I Take A Wrong Turn At Thailand?

IMG_3227Our most recent dinner has kind of an unusual story behind it. The owner got mad at me before we even had the dinner there. Usually they wait until I actually go there and make some snippy remark, then they get mad at me (or in the case of that fish peddler guy, furious with me.) What happened in this case was that the owner of The Slide Inn, Eugene Bingham, was surfing the internet one evening and came across some less than complimentary remark I had made about the name of his restaurant. When I was writing the review of our second Gruner dinner, earlier this year, I had made a few comments about other local “Bavarian” places. The Slide Inn had opened not too long before, changing from its previous existence, as the Italian Il Piatto, to a  more Germanic concept. I had made an offhand comment that the name The Slide Inn sounded sleazy to me, making me think of at least two long-time iffy taverns, the Rovon Inn and the Reel M’ Inn (yes, I know I probably offended those tavern owners with this off-handed remark, but there’s no way I’m having a dinner in either of those dives.) Anyway, Mr. Bingham was offended that I was disparaging his establishment without even setting foot inside, and wanted me to retract my remarks on the blog. I thought about it, and decided it probably wasn’t fair to be calling a relatively new restaurant sleazy without having eaten there, or knowing anyone who had eaten there, so I did post the owner’s remarks on the blog,  mentioning that I had not been there, so really did not know if there was any sleaziness lurking at The Slide Inn. I also emailed Mr. Bingham again, telling him I had posted his remarks and a comment of mine, mentioning that I really knew nothing about The Slide Inn, only that its predecessor, Il Piatto, had tended to be mediocre most of the time.

After that, Mr. Bingham and I emailed back and forth a couple of times. It turns out he was a nice man, and since his online menu was outdated at the time, he sent me PDFs of all his current menus, telling me how they had diverged from their original German menu, now encompassing many cuisines and with a large emphasis on gluten free and vegetarian dishes. Germanic is not a large draw in Portland these days, so it’s not hard to imagine them having limited success with a menu strongly focused in that direction. Also, the well reviewed Spints Alehouse is not too far away, on NE 28th, so I could see that drawing customers away as well. I would also imagine that people who came looking for Il Piatto, which was in business for quite a few years, were less than enthralled with an all German menu, Italian always seeming to please more folks in these parts than alpine cuisine. IMG_3235I could see from the menus I received that The Slide inn had not only diversified their original concept, they had gone off the deep end, having German, Italian, American, Asian, and Gluten Free side-by-side. This made me a bit nervous about having a dinner there, as we usually like to dine at the places with those more defined menu concepts, but as I had been unfair, I told Eugene that I would have a dinner there before year’s end. Also, I felt a bit bad when I learned that The Slide Inn had been the Bingham family’s ski lodge restaurant when he was growing up, you probably should not make fun of someone’s family history (you notice I only said probably, I have to leave myself wiggle room here for the future.) (more…)