Monday, December 29, 2008

globetrotting: tourist in my hometown - pt III

Saturday started with a last-minute coffee date.

Before my nap on Friday afternoon, I'd noticed on Facebook that my friend Carrie was in town. Carrie moved to Portland from Milwaukee last summer and became my first Milwaukee-friend in Oregon. She and her fiance live in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood of SE Portland. I met her over there at Albina Press, a clean, minimalist coffee shop with a nice low-key feel. I ordered a mocha, which may have been near perfect. Right temp, texture and even steam-art. I think I had a Malkmus-sighting while retrieving my beverage, but didn't want to embarrass self by pointing to Carrie. The place was too spartan and I feared my echo marring my cred. Also, pretty much everyone in Portland looks like Stephen Malkmus, so there's a very strong possibility it was just your average Hawthorne Hipster.

Carrie and I had a nice time catching up. I learned about her new job and her adjustment to the Pacific Northwest. We comiserated about the piss-poor snow management. She hadn't been able to get fresh produce for days -- not exactly helpful for a vegetarian. Thanks to the melt she was going to venture to shop in the 'burbs that afternoon so our visit was a short one. My next agenda item was to meet up with my brother for lunch.

Unfortunately the brother was not answering his phone, but luckily I had my laptop on hand so I did some internet errands and enjoyed a cup of Morroccan Mint tea while waiting for a call back. I finally connected and found out that he forgot about our lunch plans. I drove the short distance to his place and he'd decided we could go somewhere near his work before he had to report at 3. Starving by that point, I was happy with the plan.

The place he wanted to go was closed, so we ended up at Laurelwood Public House & Brewery in the Hollywood District. Parking was a little tricky, especially with Rudolph taking up space:

From the accidental wisconsinite

I ordered the Build Your Own Burger since I was allowed to pick a turkey burger (I wish more places in Milwaukee would warm up to this substitution), and added sharp cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, tomato, lettuce and onion. Opted for the side of fries. I washed down my meal with a seasonal Vinter Varmer. Kevin got the Chicken Caesar Wrap and a Space Stout. Everything was excellent and I'd recommend this dining option to even the most casual Portland visitor. For a hungry, rainy Saturday afternoon it hit the spot.

I dropped the bro off at work and connected with my best friend Kat, who had been snowed in for most of my visit. I finally got to give Kat the bracelet I bought her at Art Vs. Craft. Of course, it didn't hold a candle to the hand-sewn apron she made for me out of a recycled pro-choice Oregon t-shirt and plaid fabric.

We decided to swing by Mary Ann's parents' house for their holiday party, since their daughter was stuck in Canada thanks to the toxic combo of bad weather and airlines. We had a nice visit with her mom, some Christmasy snacks, and caught up with each other. We just wish Mary Ann had been there!

After the party Kat and I stopped over at my parents' house so I could pack a little for my flight the next day. Locking ourselves up in my room and giggling never gets old, even after 14 1/2 years.

Eventually it was time for the caravan to leave from the Arnold abode and head back across town to my brother's work. This time to eat and be entertained by the Tony Starlight's Christmas Show. You see, my brother works at a pretty hip joint, Tony Starlight's Supper Club & Lounge, which features live entertainment while you eat. On Saturdays that entertainment is Tony Starlight, my brother's comedian/lounge singer boss. You're guaranteed to have a great time when you go. During the rest of the week they have live jazz and big band and other hip surprises and delights.

Because I had been grazing all day, I ordered light for dinner. I got a garden salad and then the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo. Mom got the chicken pesto pasta, which she scarfed because it was so delicious. My dad got the prime rib special and Kat opted for the award-winning burger. Everything I ordered tasted great, but the soup was VERY spicy. Prepping me for India, I suppose. For dessert I chipped away at the world's largest tiramisu and sipped on a potent Starlight Coffee.

From Dining Out

We stayed for both sets of the show and were thoroughly entertained. A wonderful way to spend the last night in town with loved ones.

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