Monday, December 22, 2008

Arctic Blast '08

December 22, 2008

Evidently, last week, the 2 inches of snow we had qualified as an arctic blast.

THIS week, however, we really are having an arctic blast.

People who have lived here all of their lives say they have never seen anything like this.

The steps here at the guest house were shoveled with a hoe as snow shovels are not usually few people have them at least here in town.

I have been holed up for over a week at the guest house only going out to a local restaurant once or twice...and for about an hour last Monday when there was a break, I went shopping.

Portland proper has probably had about 12 inches of snow so far.

Banks, which is about 30 miles away, has had 16 to 18 inches.

And there is another storm scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.

THE GOOD NEWS? It's gonna turn to rain sometime in the next week or so.

Happy Holidays...

Friday, December 12, 2008

A National Treasure in Portland, OR

Sur La Table's Portland, OR
Culinary program

A National Treasure

Eating out gluten free is usually a huge challenge, excep here in Portland, OR. In general, Portland, OR is very gluten free friendly. Now, Urban Spoon Portland , an Iphone app, has a pretty large gluten free dining section. I also think that Portland, OR is a National Treasure, but that's another post coming soon.

So, during Sept. of 2008, I signed up for a Sur La Table cooking class: One Ingredient 5 Ways. The ingredient was figs...and the menu was Figs and Calamata Olive tapanade as the appetizer, Salad with Figs and Walnuts, Thick pork chops stuff with Figs and Apples on steamed spinach and rice pudding with figs for dessert. I like shopping at Sur La Table when I can but this was the first time I had been to Sur La Table's cooking class.

My list of accolades is long on why I liked the Sur La Table's cooking school experience, including a simple tip on how to know when pork is done. However, what has stayed with me since I took the class last Sept. and why I think Sur La Table's Culinary program is a National Treasure, is because it was a superb, well rounded, safe food experience. Something that I hope to experience more and more. And Scott Hargrove and his ensemble performers are way ahead with this experience. Everything was cooked to order and scrumptious. What made it exceptional was the way it was presented and how well the enselmble worked together: As an experienced performance ensemble, on a par with Saturday Night Live. In the end, I felt as if I had been served a wonderful Birthday dinner. Although there were 10 or so other people in the kitchen I felt like dinner had been made especially for me. Unlike some people who cannot even be around flour, I can and can even work with it...but I don't eat any gluten. Scott, Scott and Emilee made sure my dinner was delicious, simply and elegantly presented, the food was safe for me to eat and is was sooooo good.

If you enjoy being in the kitchen, want to learn to be in the kitchen and/or want an informative and delicious experience that can be gluten free, I highly recommend that you sign up for a class or two.

From left to right
Emilee Brown,
Scott Atkins and Scott Hargrove

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Meet Franc
Franc and Lauren live at the guest house here in Portland as she and Franc are relocating to Portland. They have been living in Alaska while Lauren has been completing her Masters in Creative Writing. She is originally from New Jersey. Her father's family lives in Asheville, NC and she spent many many years there as a child. She also attended UNCG - University of North Carolina - Greensboro.

Franc is originally from China. He and Lauren met at the Asheville Mall on Tunnel Road around Halloween of 2007 while she was visiting with her Dad and stepmother. Lauren found him irresistible. So there we were: Lauren, Franc and I, in the kitchen, at the guest house talking about Asheville, Mars Hill, Marshall and various other local Asheville places. She remembers when there was no 240 bypass. How about that for a connection?

Bikes in Portland

Bikes are a serious mode of transportation here in Portland. This photo is of a family on bikes taken at the Belmont Street Fair last weekend.

Man with bags on a bike

Bikes at the Belmont Street Fair

There was a wonderful street fair on Belmont Avenue last weekend. And of course there were bikes

More bikes at the hospital tram

Bikes at the hospital tram

Sunday Lunch in Chinatown

One of my most favorite Sunday brunch activities is to go to Chinatown. And there is a Chinatown here in Portland. There are beautiful Chinese style lamp posts and of course an arch.

Sunday Lunch in Chinatown

Friday, September 5, 2008

And yet in the middle of the city there are spiders

Who says there's no nature here in the city....

The elevators are wonderful

I haven't seen elevators like this since I lived in NY.

The elevators

It's all in the details

The buildings I am looking at were all built around the early 1900s, similar to my house in NY. So the details in the buildings are so reminiscent of the details in my Brooklyn Heights house. This is one of the light switches in the lobby of one of the buildings where I looked for a condo.

Condo hunting in Portland

I have been looking for a condo. Initially I thought I wanted to live in the 'burbs" and then thought again. I can live quite nicely in downtown Portland and WALK around, give up my car, and take public transportation. And when I need one I can use a zip car...remember that photo? A few photos back in the blog.

The bathroom in the condo I was looking at

Condo hunting in Portland

Condo hunting in Portland

Fire escape on a downtown building - view 2

Fire escape on a downtown building - view 1

I don't think I have ever seen such beautiful fire escapes anywhere.

Close up of a downtown building

The buildings here in Portland are so wonderful in their detail and patterns. They remind me of NY.

Detail of a Portland Building

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Zip Car

For me, the Zip Car is the best car since sliced bread....well...I know you can't drive a piece of bread...too much gluten...but these cars are amazing...Check them out on the web Zip Cars

Rose Buds in the Hell Strips

So, on my way home tonight, I saw this beautiful rose bud in the Hell Strip right there for everyone to smell. Sweet

Flamingo Guardians

These wonderful flamingos are the guardians for the tram that goes up to the hospital. The people who run the tram are very proud of them.

Shiney Leaves

What I notice here in Portland is that the leaves on all the trees are very clean and shiny. None of the leaves are stressed. It's pretty remarkable.

One Way

You know when you see lots of these signs you are in a big city...

Bacon Cooking at VoDoo

This is the hole in the you can see the folks making those delicious doughnuts...

VooDoo Doughnuts

For those gluten hounds in my life...there's this wonderful doughnut shop here in Portland. It's called VooDoo Doughnuts. A hole in the has some pretty amazing combinations. One of the most famous is the bacon and maple glaze...Yeah...I tasted that was good...

And then there's Gumby...I think

You see the most amazing sights in Portland...Sure looks like Gumby to me....This is a video link so click on the arrow.

More Share It Square

Share It Square

Share It Square is a community space in SE Portland. It's a wonderfully peaceful square where you can find a book, something to wear and have a cup of hot tea. Check this link SHARE IT SQUARE for a wonderful review of the space...Says it MUCH better than I can.

Share It Square

The Guardians of the Gardens

New and Old collide

More Lotus


Portland's Chinese Classical Gardens

Portland's Chinese Classical Gardens

I have been to the Chinese Classical Gardens here in Portland twice. It is a peaceful place that almost moves you to another place: China. But as you can see by some of my photos there are moments of contradictions where new meets old...and this time I got photos of the lotus blossoms.

Allan and I up high

My friend Allan came to visit while I was in Portland and we took the tram that goes up to the hospital. It has a wonderful view of the city.

A High View of Portland

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Which way from Pioneer Square?

Art in Hawthorne

The Hawthorne District, where I am staying, is a funky and charming neighborhood that is about 5 minutes to downtown Portland. The relationship of Hawthorne to Downtown is like Brooklyn Heights to NYC or even Greenpoint to Manhattan.

There are wonderful "art projects" on people's lawns. The Guardians are around where I am staying.

And check out the Portland Hawthorn Guest House. I'm really enjoying it. Who knew...Thanks, Craig's list.

The other guardian of the block

The Guardian of the block

Hell Strips

Portland city streets have a strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk. It's called the Hell Strip, because as my friend Denise says, it's hell to plant in that space...not much grows. Well, I always thought that roses needed tlc...well here in Portland, they plant these awesome gardens in these Hell Strips. The bushes/hedges come up to my nose...and that's about 4 1/2 feet.

These are rose bushes...actually heges

And they are at all the farmer's markets

I couldn't was good...

More Sourdough