Oregon Historical Society
I have lived in Portland for 46 of my 58 years and have never visited the Oregon Historical Society. I always figured there wouldn’t be much to see.
Currently there is a tremendous exhibit World War II: A World at War, A State Transformed. The show has an amazing collection of original material: letters from all the heads of state, maps used by the generals, George Patton’s pearl handled revolvers, McArthur’s walking stick, and more. It is always curious how we invest inanimate objects with meaning depending on the owner of the object. Seeing Patton’s gun was extra cool, but really it could have been any pearl handled revolver. They have a nickle plated Maxim machine gun that is a beautiful example of machines as art. I want one for the living room. I could use it on the neighbors barking dogs. Just kidding. Kind of.
There is also a great display of the Japanese firebombing with incendiary balloons of Oregon forests and submarine that shelled Astoria, complete with artifacts.
It easily takes several hours just to see this exhibit. Do it. It is well worth the time.
The permanent exhibit on the history of Oregon is equally wonderful, filled with original paraphernalia that we did not have time to see in detail. Also, I am good for about 2 hours in a museum, then I get brain fatigue.
The most curious display was an explorer whose diary mentioned he was fortunate enough to kill and eat a bald eagle. He said it tasted good, but failed to mention if it tasted like chicken, spotted owl or condor, my three favorite birds to eat.
Unfortunately we had other goals for the day, so we will need to return some rainy day to see the Oregon displays in greater detail.
Waiting for Godot’s Shoes
The ostensible purpose of the afternoon was to find a pair of work shoes. A couple of years ago on vacation I splurged on a pair of stylish wingtip shoes that were also sturdy, comfortable and had a good sole, one that did not slide on wet floors walking inside from the rain. A rare combination in shoes and and after hard use they have finally worn out. But I have yet to find a replacement that meets all of the above criteria.
Kerry suggested NW Portland, the Pearl, may have some shoe stores that would meet my needs. I am picky about shoes as I usually have one pair for work and wear them 10 hours a day, 5–7 days a week.
I did find some shoes I liked, but often they were too expensive. My old attending once mentioned that it is not the price of an object, but the price of an object per time used that is important, but these were a bit much.
But it did offer a good opportunity to wander the Pearl for an afternoon. I was raised in Portland, so I remember when the Blitz building turned the air sour with the smell of brewing beer and Powells was a warehouse of used Books, not the slick mega-store of today. Portland has changed, mostly for the better, over the years. Reading menus, wandering into shops where I think it is required by law that Kerry both look at and touch at least one of everything in the shop. Except the customers. I hope. The Pearl is a pleasant example of consumerism, much more pleasant than a maul. Er, mall.
But I prefer wandering outside between stores when shopping. I remember the old Lloyd Center, before they ruined it with a cover, where you went out into the crisp fall air after being kicked out of Meyer and Frank for playing what we called The Chase Game.
At the end of the day, with no shoes to show for the effort, it was time for drinks and food.
Vault Martini Bar
Vault is dark, comfortable and cozy. For once we actually got the wingback chairs next to the fireplace. They have a huge menu of drinks and I opted for the Algonquin: Rye, Bonal Quina and Peychauds, although one day I need to try one each of the Seven Deadly Sins. The drinks. I am already well acquainted with the real deal.
I wonder. Is there a computer program that generates new drinks from random ingredients? There are a number sites on the web what will give you the name of a random drink to try, a drink based on whatever is on hand or even the name for a new drink. But I would sure hate to be the liver of the bartender who had to come up with all the drinks on this menu. And then all the other bar menus in the US with their drinks.
After relaxing it was time to go around the corner to
My favorite style of American food is Cajun, just spicy enough for a heat wimp like myself. We had wandered by the restaurant and decided to give it a try.
A Southern Cafe style with wooden floors we had a table with a view of the bar. I had a Dark and Stormy with their homemade ginger beer. We split a delicious green fired tomatoes. Unlike most green fried tomatoes, these were more like onion rings, tempura style, rather than usual pan fried in corn meal, and topped with apple creme fresh.
I decided on the fried chicken dinner with slaw, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuit and a 10% off coupon for your next coronary angioplasty. It was that good. While I like to cook there are two recipes I never do well: pie crusts (never flakey) and fried chicken. This was good fried chicken: not oily, moist and slightly spicy. I have goal this summer when the boys are home from school to master fried chicken.
While the biscuit was excellent, I will brag and say that I make the best biscuits on the planet. Just ask my boys. Jeff: if you read this, agree in the comments. Or get your law school education cut off. Just kidding. Barely.
Desert was a coconut and nougat bar in chocolate, a mounds bar with extra atherogenesis. I can see why the South lost the war. After eating like this, no way could I march to the front and if I were to make it I would present too wide a target.