Americanos2 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.25.12 Carbon(ated) Copy

David Mamet has written some great plays with plenty of memorable dialogue, but the line of his that sticks with me is a deceptively mundane one from a slightly camp film, The Edge. It stars Alec Baldwin as a smarmy fashion photographer and Anthony Hopkins as an intellectual billionaire thrust together in the Alaskan wilderness. After their plane crashes, the two of them—who mix it up like oil and water—are pitted against a gargantuan Grizzly that's out for their blood. Hopkins is amazingly resourceful and when faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of outrunning the bear, says only, What one man can do, another can do. Meaning survive, in this case, I'm guessing.

It's a reassuring thought, isn't it? A reminder that determination and force of will are sometimes all you need to level the playing field. When confronting fear, this has become a sort of mantra for me. It's handy even in the face of small challenges, like recreating the wonderfully refreshing carbonated Americanos we enjoyed at Clyde Common in Portland. Essentially a ready-to-quaff Italian-style aperitivo—Campari and sweet vermouth with an orange peel twist—these house-made and -bottled cocktails were a real revelation, and G pined for them back in New York. So what's a DIYer to do? It's not like barman extraordinaire Jeffrey Morgenthaler doesn't have the full set of instructions up on his website.
Tagged — Portland
Vista 790 xxx
photos by george billard & gluttonforlife

6.22.12 Portlandia!

There are things to do in Portland besides eat. It's the perfect place to stop and smell the roses, quite literally. The gardens there are full of them, overblown heirloom beauties, the more delicate wild ones, and climbing roses draped over fences and arbors. We actually saw a huge tree that had been entirely and spectacularly overtaken by one of these! If you know nothing about Portland, you can always get a quick primer from Portlandia, the IFC comedy written by and starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. We didn't ask any locals what they think about this wacky and loving spoof of their hometown, but I imagine they are secretly flattered. The show even coined the indie-ubiquitous tagline "Put a bird on it!"—a reference to the way the artisanal/locavore/crafts movement seems to think everything (coasters, t-shirts, cupcakes) can be improved with an illustration of a bird. Amusing. Anyway, there's no doubt that Portland is full of freaks, and I say that with full admiration. White dreadlocks, rococo tattoos and more than the average number of people muttering to themselves, not to mention an assload of Birkenstocks and Patagonia. Shades of my own hometown, Santa Cruz, California. The people-watching is good, as is the hiking and, believe it or not, the shopping.
Tagged — Portland
Americano 790 xxx
welcome to portland!

6.20.12 PDX: R&R&R

PDX is the code for Portland International Airport, and it's ubiquitous there as a shorthand brand, sort of like Manhattanites use NYC. We went there for some R&R&R—that's rest, relaxation and restaurants. We got very little of the former and plenty of the latter. What a gorgeous place! I discovered that it's known as "The City of Roses" because its climate—warm, dry summers and wet but mild winters—is ideal for these sometimes finicky flowers. All over town we saw lush gardens overflowing with fragrant roses and other blooms, tall grasses and incredible old trees. We stayed at the Ace, a slightly more quirky and rustic version of the one we stay at in New York, and I recommend it, especially if you don't mind rickety elevators, super-casual service and a Stumptown coffee outpost in the lobby. Even better, off the other side of the lobby is Clyde Common, a sweet place that describes itself as a "European style tavern," although I'm not really sure why. It's definitely the prototypical Portland-style farm-to-table eatery. The bar, run by cocktail king Jeffrey Morgenthaler, is not to be missed. We were instantly addicted to his clever new take on the Americano—a mix of sweet vermouth, Campari and orange oil that he carbonates and bottles himself. We will be doing that at home very soon, so stay tuned.
Tagged — Portland