Thursday, August 14
The forecast was calling for 99 degrees today. But it was definitely hotter! A crazy heat wave was upon us. I always say I don’t miss the humidity of Virginia, but I missed the balmy summer nights when you could wear a sundress and hot have to bundle up by sundown. That said, when it gets into the hundreds, I happily take back the typical, mild Oregon summer day.
The heat felt even worse considering I wasn’t feeling well. My throat was really sore and I was still dealing with the aftermath of my gluten contamination in Montana. Days of bloating and, well, getting sick. It starts with nausea and then just becomes painful. And then I have to dart to a restroom. Not very pleasant.
I had been in and out of label press checks all day, which meant I was in my car a lot, which meant I was really feeling the rising heat outside. It was stifling. I snuck out from press checks to grab a bite to eat, and went to a Thai place. I ordered a seafood salad and took a bite of a tomato that was very off. It had either some kind of bacteria or mold. It was nasty. I spit it into my napkin. It was awful.
I returned to finish the label checks for the day. Next, I had to drive to downtown Portland for a meeting with our designer to go over some marketing, branding and design work.
From there I drove to my co-workers home in Lake Oswego. We carpooled over to northeast Portland to have dinner at Trebol’s on Andina. My intention was to taste the food before I’d write my story on gluten-free dining in Portland. I enjoyed, at first, a blood orange margarita with mint. It was so refreshing, it went down way too easy. We were given warm mini tortillas with two different salsas. We shared a pico de gallo with heirloom tomatoes with fresh baked tortilla chips. I ordered the special of pork cheeks from Carlton Farms with a red mole sauce, carrots and small potatoes. I had a cucumber margarita with lime with my main course.
The food was delicious. Trebol’s Executive Chef and owner Kenny Hill came out to chat with us. Friendly with a relaxed air, Hill was genuinely proud of his restaurant’s example of sustainability. He used a custom farm door to partition his privite dining area, the base boards were re-used, as was the gorgous patio outside, railroad ties were used for the tequila bar – and he’s building an eco-roof to open in October with elementary school children maintaining the plants. Hill is clearly committed to sustainability not only in the physical structure of his restaurant, but in his commitment to teaching and inspiring the next generation to care, as well. His dream is to include a Zen garden and education center. He is also committed to working with local farmers, using fresh, seasonal ingredients while creating a menu that changes every two weeks. He uses organic products as often as possible, depending on what’s available.
The place is beautiful, the food was interesting and the service was friendly, perhaps a little slow, but I think that’s a result of the laid back vibe and not a disinterest in checking in regulary on customers. I personally prefer the space and not constant interruption of overly attentive service. The bartender served out table, actually, and his drinks were innovative and refreshing. The cucumber margarita tops my favorite drinks of the summer.
After dinner, we headed out to the Wonder Ballroom to catch the Squirrel Nut Zippers show. The SNZ hail from North Carolina and I heard them a few times back in DC over the years. They hit a high note back in the late 90′s, around the time big band sounds, Zoot Suits and Swing had a revival, thanks, in part, to the movie Swingers. The SNZ have an old timey sound of Swing meets Jazz (think Paolo Conte) meets blues meets Appalachian folk. They have an authentic sound with an eccentric mix of musicians including the original circus styled ex-spouses James “Jimbo” Mathus and the wonderfully offbeat chantreusse, Katharine Whalen, with her Billie Holiday-esque voice.
By the end, I was dancing as if I were doing the Charleston on the southeast in the 1930′s. And there were several Portland characters who showed in their best retro wear of Zoot suits and 1940′s punk glam.
It was a good night. But I knew I’d be dreading a concert night on a ‘school night’ when I’d have to get up early for more label press checks in the morning.