broke & hungry.

28 04 2011

there is absolutely no question that portland has incredible food. on munjoy hill alone live three of the best restaurants in town (bar lola, blue spoon, & front room), and the most perfect neighborhood market that ever lived.  possibly secondary only to family and friends, it is the thing that holds me here and reminds me that portland is home.

yesterday, i took a jaunt to the new five guys with a very bummed out boyfriend who was just informed that he needed to purchase a new transmission. place was PACKED! i really love how they only have like 5 things on their menu. simplicity to me is one of the earmarks of a restaurant that knows what they’re doing. you don’t have to have 200+ menu items if the 5 things that you make are super delicious.

that said, i wasn’t expecting much from my grilled cheese. and i was right to set the standards low. the cheese to bread ratio was way off (like an inch of american cheese- TOO MUCH!), and it was super small and dense. edible, but not amazing. french fries were undercooked and mouth searingly hot. although, my friend @torreyham said that he saw the face of god in his hamburger, and the boyfriend seemed overall quite pleased- even if they forgot the BBQ sauce.

but that’s not entirely my point today.  the point is that there are all these new restaurants opening up in portland all the time, but there is one large gap being left in the market that i would like to see filled: affordable food with sit-down atmosphere (mall restaurants need not apply).

on the cheap is easy when you’ve got diners and pizza and burger places up the yaz. upscale is easy if you can afford it. there also appear to be an inexplicable amount of asian restaurants cropping up on every corner… but when my mom refuses to eat indian food, and i only have $20, where do we go?

i don’t know exactly how to make it work. and i certainly have no idea how to run a restaurant… but i would love to see people opening restaurants with a greater awareness of A) how many similar restaurants already exist in the area, and B) the fact that we’re pretty much all fucking broke.

yeah, i’m sure that grass fed beef with walnut fennel chutney is great and all, but we don’t need to be so fancy. but we also need to be able to afford things that aren’t just pizza and french fries. oh, and we want the food to taste good.

ok, so maybe i’m asking a lot. but if anyone out there wants to open a restaurant, this town could use some unpretentious budget fare that doesn’t have to get cooked in a fryolator.

who’s with me?

(or we could scrap this idea entirely and just open an automat)





all over the place.

25 02 2011

work. rehearse. sleep. walk dog. work. rehearse. sleep (sort of). work. rehearse. eat? does a whatchamacallit constitute a meal? work. rehearse. crack up over dog trying to eat a cheez doodle. fall asleep on couch in a delirium. work. rehearse…

holy shit i don’t remember being this tired before. i can barely sit upright on the couch, let alone figure out something coherent to write about (passes out on couch and wakes up at 3:55 am). however, i have had a few lucid moments this week on other people’s blogs. maybe you could read those and pretend you’re reading this one?

my first real post on the coupon evolution blog declared my deep love for indian food at tandoor. plus, FREE APPETIZER COUPON!

then on the flyte blog, i wrote about this one time where my favorite radio DJ disappeared, and everyone pretended like it didn’t happen. it was bizarre and infuriating.

oh, and i also wrote an original piece about my polar dipping experience & hatred of fundraising (hot girl in bikini definitely NOT ME) for the wcsh6 portland blog.

also, pretend i wrote this yesterday. meanwhile, i’ll be pretending that i know how to tap dance.

off to work! rehearse! drink! drink! drink! sleep…





less is more.

11 01 2011

so i was reading this weird article last week about a restaurateur in new york who is opening up a temporary fine dining restaurant (in a building that will either be demolished or sold within a year). it was sort of an interesting read in and of itself, but about halfway through, i ran directly into this quote:

“sometimes no money is better than money.”

in the scope of the article, they were talking about how the budget forced them to make creative design choices. but in the scope of my life, i think it might be my new mantra.

in my past, i have lived comfortably with less (much less). in fact, in my very earliest years on welfare with my mom and sister, i don’t even remember being poor because my mom was a magician. she made quiche out of government cheese and picture perfect little bo peep costumes out of our bedroom curtains (just like scarlett o’hara!). she taught me that being broke doesn’t mean not having what you want. it just means being resourceful with what you have to create what you want. dear lord, how did i forget?

though it may provide a momentary jolt of pleasure and feeling of fullness, there isn’t a whole lot of satisfaction to be had in going to the mall and buying a sweater. knitting a sweater on the other hand is a triumphant experience. for example, my brilliant friend cindy unraveled a damaged cashmere sweater and made it into the most stunning pair of cable knit mitts ever. an amazing and thoughtful xmas gift that i’ve been wearing like crazy, and that cost her virtually nothing (except time, and of course, love).

true ingenuity comes from necessity, and when we’re broke, we’re forced to be creative about how we use our resources. buying stuff is my crutch. it solves the problem in the moment (although it often creates greater problems down the line), but i feel like my “makin do” muscles have atrophied. i may not be as broke as i once was (but worry not, i still have like $16 in my bank account right now), but that doesn’t give me an excuse to forget the value of maximizing what i already have.

10 days ago, i made a resolution to PAY ATTENTION! to how i spend my money (and my time and my calories…). i also declared that this would be my only resolution this year. well, i lied. sort of. technically it isn’t new year’s anymore… so consider this to be a mid-january resolution addendum.

number 1 will still be PAY ATTENTION!, but 1a will be BE INGENIOUS. if my mom managed to materialize a fantastical christmas out of food stamps and home made barbie clothes when i was 5, i can certainly figure out how to reel in the excess and stop solving my problems with my bank account.

i need inspiration! tell me how you have been creative with limited resources, so that i can try to outdo you.





full of grace.

7 02 2010

so last night i finally paid grace a visit. it opened a while ago, but i’ve been sort of afraid to go inside. i mean who in portland is cocky enough to open a fine dining (aka high priced) restaurant in a down economy inside a giant converted church? admittedly, it is a pretty impressive renovation, although there’s a faux classiness that smacks of homegoods to me. wine cork napkin holders?! also, the silverware is terrible. my spoon looked more like a tiny shovel, and was completely ineffective in getting the soup from  bowl to mouth (which turned out not to be that much of a problem, but we’ll get there soon).

however, i could forgive the tackiness parading as high class if the food was good. i’d pay $50 for a meal in a burnt out gas station if it was delicious, but it was really crap. the lettuce in my salad had dirt in it. my cauliflower soup was so pureed that it had an unearthly slimy smoothness that i found to be utterly gross. my dessert was microscopic. who knows what kind of carrageenan xanthan gum bullshit was in the earl gray hot chocolate (which tasted like burning tires and old perfume btw) that made it thick and lumpy-gelatinous. and for some reason, everything (no matter how tiny) was served on plates so giant that it was completely impossible for me to eat both my salad and soup simultaneously. the only decent thing we had all night was the wine, and we all went home hungry. boo-urns.

and the entire time, i couldn’t stop thinking about how much my $10 dinner at po’ boys and pickles earlier in the week was so much better. so much better. the sweet potato fries were the best i’d ever had (sorry silly’s- too soggy!), they made me a meatless ruben with incredible fresh bread (and only charged me $3 for it), and the sticky toffee pudding was as good or better than any dessert that i’ve ever had at any restaurant in portland (including the tres leches cake at caiolas). dear po’ boys, please move on to the peninsula, and i will happily buy bigger/stretchier pants.

as much as i want to support all local businesses, if they don’t deliver, they don’t deliver.  food doesn’t taste better if the hostess ignores me, or because they make me taste the wine before they fill the glasses, or if they take away my salad fork just because i’m not having a salad. i don’t care how much you spent on the renovation. just give me something (anything) that tastes good, or me and my $43 aren’t ever coming back.