Ava Genes

She Said

Tonight’s Agenda:  Ava Gene’s

After multiple attempts to secure reservations at Ava Gene’s, this popular Italian restaurant finally decided to let us in.  Would it be worth the wait?  Located in the gentrified SE Division neighborhood, Ava Gene’s has a pleasant, though fairly typical bistro ambiance with wooden table and chairs and rustic lighting.  The decor nicely reflects Ava Gene’s style of cooking that their website describes as simple, rustic, and Roman inspired.  However, do not expect a quiet or romantic dining interlude;  it is loud in here. While young families with young children may prefer a noisy restaurant to drown out the antics of their kids, I am at the “been there done that phase” of parenting and prefer quiet conversation with my spouse.  Ava Gene’s offers a family style menu option, so their vision does not appear to be that of an intimate dining experience.  If one likes a bustling, and booming dining adventure, Ava Gene’s would  be a good fit.   Continue reading

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Oregon State Fair, Nineteen 33 Taproom, Local Cow. He Said Extras

Oregon State Fair

Every year we go to either the Clackamas County fair or the Oregon State Fair. Kerry grew up on a farm and needs to occasionally reconnect with her agrarian upbringing.

The fair is always fun: she talks to the chickens, we watch the pigs get excited over getting fed, wander the exhibits and competitions and enjoy the live music.

There are certain things that are always a pleasure at the fair: the mutant vegetables, the gigantic pumpkin, the world’s biggest pig (did not see that the pig was present this year), the blue ribbon winners (the food always looks terrible) and the art. Now that the kids are gone we pass on the opportunity for projectile vomiting from the rides.

And if you want to keep up on the the state of the art for fried food, the Fair is the place: mashed potato balls, turkey legs, snickers, Oreos, Twinkie’s, and bacon wrapped corn dogs, all cooked in hot oil. No worry about acquiring an infections from the food. That is what the petting zoo and swine are for. Continue reading

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The Bomb-itty of Errors & Le Moule. He Said Extras.

The Bomb-itty of Errors

There are things that mark me as a geezer. I do not understand tattoos, visible underwear, the hideous square glasses frames that always look awful and hip hop.

Rap is an oeuvre, like country, that usually does not move me. I am an alternative/dad rock kind of guy.  Give me electric guitars and angst.

So I was hesitant to see The Bomb-itty of Errors, a rap adaption of Comedy of Errors  by MC Shakespeare. But it was by Post 5 and I have yet to be disappointed by one of their productions.  And part of being a geezer in PDX is going outside my comfort zone.  Sure, I could sit home and watch TV.  Or I could try something different.

Always go for the different, unless it entails falling a long distance under the influence of gravity.  No bungee jumping for me.

Go see this play. It is a hoot and half. An absolute blast. Forget about Suicide Squad. See Bomb-itty of Errors.

With a plot loosely based on Comedy of Errors, the play is done in rap with a live DJ doing the beat.  4 actors do all the parts and they are tremendous as well as funny.  Who’d have thunk the mutant offspring of rap and Shakespeare  would be so entertaining.

We also had the pleasure of seeing the production break down for a few minutes as the players became lost in laughter.  That is part of the fun of live theater and their recovery was a delight to watch.

As a rule I enjoy interpretations of Shakespeare and this was the most off the wall I have yet seen and one of the best. 

Funny. Well acted. Energetic. Clever. Tremendous.

See it before it closes Sept 17th.

Le Moule

The temptation after a Post 5 production is to head to Bible Club. But I wanted to try a new bar and I suggested Le Moule. Kerry agreed.

It is a French influenced restaurant/bar if you have not guessed it my the name and does feel Francaise with dark woods and leather.  A nice place for a date.

The back bar has a nice green glow (yes I should have taken a photograph) and, for a pleasant change of pace for old ears, despite being full of talking and laughing diners I could hear Kerry fine over the ambient noise.  Good sound proofing?  I don’t know, but it was good to year Kerry the first time she said something.

The drinks are really good (go for the Scotch Lodge or the Scouts Honor) but as would be expected from the name, they specialize in mussels. 

Fat, juicy, soft and perfectly steamed. Most of the time mussels are overcooked, these are so perfectly done it is hard to describe, almost a shellfish panna cotta in a shell the way they are prepared.  Right up there with St. Jack’s for perfect, yes perfect, mussels.  And served with perfect pomme frites, crunchy and salty; the French way is the only way to make french fries.

The dessert was a small waffle covered with chocolate, creme fraiche and blackberries. I wish I could lick the plate, but Kerry will not let me.  Spoil sport. Probably just as well as they serve some of the dishes on wooden platters and the ID doc in me thinks, ‘how do they get rid of the bacteria?’ I didn’t ask. And I would have licked the wood no matter how it had been cleaned, except, perhaps, licked by a dog in the alley next to the kitchen.  It was that good.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

I do have an addiction for all things French that I can eat or drink, Le Moule satisfies that addiction nicely. I will have to go back, if for no other reason than the pork schnitzel on the menu is calling for me.

Maaaarrrrrkkkk. Schniiiiiitzel.

How can I resist that siren call? Although the pull of perfect mussels may make it a battle for my dining soul.

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Duran Duran.

She Said

Tonight’s Agenda:  Duran Duran on the Waterfront

I am a proud child of the 80’s.  With the exception of Ronald Reagan, you will never hear me apologize for the 80’s.  Not for the leg warmers, big shoulder pads, and certainly not for the big hair.  I am only 5’2’’;  the big hair made me 5’6.”  I loved the music of the 80’s:  Prince, Blondie, and especially, Duran Duran.  We got tickets to see Duran Duran live on the waterfront several months ago. I simply could not miss the opportunity to see one of the coolest bands of the 80’s.  

Seeing Duran Duran live restored my belief that you can be over 50 years of age, and still be cool.  Simon Le Bon still as the voice and John Taylor still has the hair.  They had the admiring crowd singing, dancing, and, unfortunately, smoking too much pot.  Even Le Bon commented on the smell of skunk at the concert.  It was everywhere.  Pot is a scent that makes me feel nauseous.  But, thankfully, Duran Duran’s music made it worth the stink.  They flawlessly sang Rio, Reflex, Hungry Like a Wolf, Girls on Film, and my two favorites:  Undone and Ordinary World. They performed without a break for almost two hours.  Except for the stench of pot, it was a beautiful summer evening along the Willamette rocking with Duran Duran.  What more could a child of the 80’s ask for? Continue reading

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Accanto, My Brothers CrayFish, Sunny’s Diner, Cafe Mingo. He Said Extra.

He Said

Accanto

We continue in our quest to try all top 10 Italian restaurants in PDX. Accanto is in the space next to where the Genoa restaurant used to be. For you non-geezers Genoa was at one time the best restaurant in the city. I wonder how it would compare to today’s restaurants.

Accanto serves Italian bistro style. I started with scallop carpaccio, corn, purslane, leek flowers that was delicious. I am a sushi fan and the thinly sliced raw scallops were delicious combined with the crunchy corn and sauce. But not, I am afraid, as good as the scallops of Mucca Osteria.

For the entree it was cavatelli con mias: sweet corn, house cured lardo, sorrel, ricotta, bread crumbs that was also good but the lardo were tiny to the point of vanishing. The dish was a delight with the chewy pasta, but if there were lardo I would not have known. Big pig is the best pig. Continue reading

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Biking for Geezers. He Said Extra.

He Said

59 isn’t all that old. Well, it is. We are on the short side long slow side to the the eternal dirt nap with fewer days in front than behind.  But I can still put my socks in the morning standing on one foot and we try to keep active.  The spirit may be willing but the body? It wants to stay in the recliner. As I have slowly fallen apart I have gone from running to roller blading to walking as the joints just do not tolerate the pounding and even I am unlikely to fall with during simple hike.  Bicycling, being non-traumatic, is a pastime even geezers can do comfortably.  Ageing is about adapting and  you have to have the right bike. For years I have had a dual pad (one pad for each cheek) bicycle seat so my, ahem, doesn’t go numb and swept back handlebars for comfort. It makes all the difference.

We have taken to the road this summer and have had the good and the ugly for biking.

Continue reading

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Whipple Creek Regional Park, Radio Room Part Deux.

She Said

Highlights:

It has been a weird summer here in lumberland. The skies have been cloudy and the temperatures only in the 70’s, while the rest of the nation is sizzling in heat. People think of Portland as a cloudy and rainy place, but our best kept secret is Portland’s sunny, warm and breezy summers with no humidity. So I have been a little whiney about the cool and clouds. Nonetheless, Oregon has plenty to do no matter what the weather. Cloudy and cool in the summer always means hiking to me and it has certainly been a great summer for hiking. Continue reading

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Moulton Falls Hike/ South Pacific Cafe/Renata. He Said Extra.

He Said

Moulton Falls Hike

As I have said, a good Geezer hike is no more than 6 miles, mostly flat and near water. For those criteria, Moulton Falls Hike is almost perfect.

I never think of crossing the Columbia to go hiking but there are some good hikes just to the North. Moulton Falls trail is wide and on a gentle slope that runs along the Lewis River. It is less than an hour from Happy Valley and once you get out of the remarkably ugly east ‘Couve, there is a pretty drive along the Lewis river.

There is about 6 miles of trails and several small waterfalls. A perfect hike. Some warnings. The signs suck at the parking area and are confusing. There are also no signs on the hike to guide you at the occasional fork in the road so we occasionally took the paths less traveled by and it made no difference. Parking is better at the Hantwick Road Trailhead where the maps will make more sense than up at Moulton Falls. And do NOT miss on the short loop that takes you to Yacolt Falls. See the pictures below for what you are missing. Continue reading

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Portland Blues Festival, Barlows Artisinal Bar, Mucca Osteria, and the deLuxe Hotel

She Said

Today’s Agenda:  Portland Blues Festival, Mucca Osteria, and the deLuxe Hotel

Highlights:

I have always found it surprising that Zydeco music is played at the Blues Festival. With its joyful and big bouncy beat, Zydeco seems the antithesis of the aching and squealing guitar rhythm of the blues.  While I love the heart breaking wail of blues music, I go to the Portland Blues Festival primarily for the  jubilant beat of Zydeco music.  As a native Minnesota farm girl, I had not even heard of Zydeco music until we moved to Portland.  To fully capture the spirit of Zydeco, one needs to experience it live.  I cannot stop smiling while watching the enthusiasm of the musicians, the music, and the audience.  If you are in need of a lift, go to a Zydeco performance.  The Blues Festival provides a large dance floor, allowing the audience to show off their dance skills, but no one really cares about about your proficiency at dancing.  Even Mark’s and my “interpretive” dance skills are welcomed here.  It is all about the fun.   Continue reading

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LaCamas Heritage Walk and Downtown Camas

She Said

Today’s Agenda:  Hike at the Lacamas Park Trail, then  early dinner at Mill City Brew Werks

Highlights:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you encounter a four foot sturgeon while hiking the Lacamas Park Trail.  While I was initially enthralled at spying a few scaley and homely carp floating near our feet as we paused at a wooden foot bridge during our seven mile hike, the real carpe diem or fish of the day, was the sudden appearance of this gigantic creature that looked like the cross between a crocodile and a fish.  While I have encountered sturgeon on many fine dining menus over the years, I  have never had the privilege to see one in its natural environment.  It will go down as one of my most memorable hiking moments. 

Sturgeons are fascinating creatures.  I have subsequently learned sturgeons are considered living fossils since they have remained relatively morphologically unchanged from over 200 million years ago.  Rather than scales, sturgeon have five lateral rows of boney plates, giving them a crocodile-like appearance.  Their rear fin is like that of a shark, lending further to their eerie appearance. These guys have a lifespan of 50-60 years and typically reach 7-12 feet in length.  I also discovered that many sturgeon completely leap out of water with splashes that can be heard a mile away and have been known to cause injuries to people in boats.  The mere thought of this brute of a fish leaping out in front of us makes me understand why people believe in the loch ness monster.   Continue reading

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