Category Archives: Adventures in Reality

Southland Whiskey Kitchen

This post is guest-posted on Dave Knows Portland as well.

When Dave asks, it is imperative that you do the right thing. Especially when it’s “Hey, Rick, would you like to checkout this new restaurant that serves tasty BBQ and delicious grown-up beverages?” So, I did the right thing: show up to Southland for a preview of their tasty menu.

Southland is a new project by the folks who brought the Casa del Matador to Portland located just a couple doors down at 1422 NW 23rd. Not that other (awesome but totally different) Matador. The first thing you notice is the decor. As you may have noticed at their Matadors with the intricate ironwork, these guys are chronically attentive to detail, with a simple but elegant wood decor and some awesome light fixtures that I won’t endeavor to describe, as my effort will fall short so you should probably go check them out (but props to Hippo Hardware for providing the moody bulbs). The space has a large open air section facing NW 23rd, openings that were not there when it was the Clear Creek Distillery.

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The menu is heavily southern without many concessions to vegetarians, most of which live in the sides and salads. Vegans need not apply, unless you’re just looking to quench your thirst. Everything I ate was pleasing. There were two standout items: the collard greens, and the spicy shrimp with grits. The biscuit was a thing of beauty, and went nicely slathered with honey butter and brisket.

Eric (my date) and I disagreed on the fried chicken. There was consensus that the meat (we both had thigh) was juicy and tender, but butted heads on the fry. It comes down to a matter of preference, I like mine a bit crispier and spiced, and Eric likes it the wrong way. Don’t tell anyone but the fried chicken may become available in ‘n waffles format with the advent of a brunch menu.

They were nice enough to bring us key lime pie for dessert but I was so stuffed on main course items I only shoveled a couple quick bites into my mouth on my way to tour the kitchen. Please remember folks, we’re professionals, excelling at planning, pacing, and execution.

Okay. Now on to the bar. The wonderful, wonderful bar. The bar is wide. With whiskey. The only place in town I can think of with a comparable list is the Brooklyn Park Pub. Southland specializes in American bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys. A rough count or their list shows about 120 American selections. They appear to be well curated as well, a trait that reaches into the Canadian, Irish, and Scotch varieties as well.

We were served a variety of hard and soft mixed drinks throughout the evening. I was presented a Mint Julep just for walking in YMMV. The julep was great. I was parched from the long drive to NW 23rd from the office, and the crushed ice worked wonders with the classic refresher. It had a sweetness, but over the top for me, unlike the Southern Punch. My date Eric loved them both, but I tend to shy away from beverages with “punch” in the description. For the kiddies and DDs (can’t think of anyone else) they have their scratch lemonade. They make it from lemon juice and sugar. Again, super-sweet, but I think that’s how it’s done in the South.

Meal service closed with an Old Fashioned. Ah, back to my kind of drink. This was the most avante-garde of the bunch, with a big ice cube and a suspended cherry (next to the ice, not in it). The effect was of a somewhat deconstructed Old Fashioned, which you could drink from different sides of the ice for slightly different effects.

Happily, we got to checkout the kitchen, which was pretty classy with its mesquite grill and big ‘ole black smoker. It smelled wonderful in the back with the local apple wood smoking the meats, but I can see why they do their best to vent out and up, since some customers may object to a smoky meaty sauna.

I’m expecting Southland to pack a pretty lively happy hour, which runs daily 3:30-6pm.

They’re opening Thursday 10/11 at 11am.

 

Urbandig

My miha at Miho Izakaya

Roxy is totally into noodles, and so am I!

I’ve recently started contributing to a nifty new iPhone app called urbandig.  It is the app that I wanted when I was in NYC earlier this year.  It’s the app that I want when I visit Memphis and Denver later this year.  Basically, they’ve gone out and found people who know the city, or parts of it, really well, and gotten them to created nice little curated morsels of experience.  Portland’s urban dig experience has just been release, and in it you can enjoy my delicious noodle crawl, in which I explore some of Portland’s more exciting Ramen joints.

In addition to my fantastic list there are some on where to get a great microbrew, tasty pork, a cuppa joe, and much much more in our fun little town.

So far they feature NYC, LA, PDX, San Francisco, and Vancover, BC.  Austin, Chicago, and DC are in the works.  So I guess I’ll need to look elsewhere for my short term travels.

Head over to their site, or hit up your favorite app store to get it for your iPhone.

Working to drop a car

I’ve been riding the bike a lot lately, and it’s been great. It’s not just good exercise to ride for my commute, it’s also a far better way to relax than driving to and from work. I’ve been doing it so much lately (driven to work once since early August) that I’m kicking around selling one of the cars. We’re currently a 2-adult 1-baby 2-car household. I’ve registered for ZipCar account, though I’ve yet to use it. Happily there is a Zip Car parked two blocks from my house and another less than 1/2-mile from my office.

From Portland 2011

I’m growing more and more excited about dropping the Corolla, but am concerned about my resolve through the rainy season. Even worse than the rain, or perhaps compounding it are the wind and the dark. The wind make the rain wetter and the cold colder, and the dark just makes riding more dangerous. I suppose I should just suck it up and get on my bike. Every day.

The holding pattern

Well, today was the due date. I haven’t talked about it much, but N and I are expecting a little girl here anytime. She’s been a trooper, we went out to a Christmas party last night, walked to NePo42 for a tasty breakfast.  She got gorgeous fluffy pancakes with apple (real apples hunks…bigger than chunks) and I got the biscuits and gravy and a bloody mary.  Augie got pet but no food.

The baby holding pattern is a weird stage in life.  I mean, it could happen at any time.  But it might not happen for days or even weeks.  In the meantime, you go about your business, but as Michael Lewis suggests in Home Game, it’s a good goal for the father to not show up to the birth drunk.  So, I’m trying to limit it to a friendly buzz.

So we’re trying get things together around the house, I’ve been playing a lot of video games, and we’re just hanging out.  Not a bad way to go, I suppose.

SxSWi was a good time

and I learned a lot. And met some nice people.

There were a lot of major themes. I was happy to see the internet future includes thoughts on how all this stuff will work inside business too. As a corporate lacky, this is valuable stuff for me, and for a long time it has seemed neglected. The main focus here was around corporate culture and the roles of communities and community managers. Interesting conversations with Saul Colt and Mallory Messina. A particular surprise was the huge value I got from a brief chat with Capt. Broshear or the USAF. Challenging concepts to translate from military to business, especially in regards to openness!

Search is one of my favorite topics, and I saw a few talks on the subject. Peter Morley, author of Ambient Findability, spoke on Search Patterns. Pretty interesting stuff.

And then there is the whole where am I where are you do I care wtf do I do with that? set of presentations. Geolocation is huge and going to get much huger. Great stuff from Adam Duvander who happens to be geolocated right down the street from me, as well as Skyhook and SimpleGeo. Truly, these people get it. It was great to see, hear, and spin on this stuff.

It was great to connect with the local Portland crew. There are some good folks out there. I liked the Macallan samples and the other free stuff too!

Thanks Texas!

SxSW – what’s a beerdrinker to do?

N and I are heading down to Austin shortly to catch the SxSW interactive conference and spend some time with her sister who moved there from somewhere I didn’t want to visit about 6 months ago. So I think I can find my way around a conference. But what about the city? Any tips…beer, BBQ, texmex, or whatnot. Cheers.

PS. Just saw the Tron Legacy preview and it looks pretty awesome.

Visiting Portland Guide: Crawl #1

Jeff at Beervana poses a question: what five beers are a connoisseur’s must-haves visiting Portland. I might have to tackle that, but really, Jeff is really on top of that in his post. I suggested a different route, a road trip around Mt. Hood. But I also threw in a crawl that I think is really worth sharing with your Portland visitors.

Begin at Rontom’s. If it’s nice out, enjoy the patio. If not, squeeze in and grab a pint. Next, move on to B-side, for a quick pint. Then, The Farm for dinner if you’re hungry. Eat light, because Noble Rot has great snacks too. Work off the meal with a light stroll up to Union Jack’s. You’ll need a few bucks for cover to this strip club. Then head up to Doug Fir and Voodoo Donuts to see how the hipper half live. Maybe there’ll be a great show downstairs. Finally, cruise up to Sandy Hut where they’ll be happy to pour you something potent while you wait for a cab.

2009 retrospective – loss and renewal

It’s been an amazing year. In some ways great, but there were some painful times. It seems that there’s a cycle where every now and then I need to go through some changes. Change is painful, and this was no exception. I didn’t always handle it well, and at points I handled it very badly. I’m not sure that I was built with the emotional fortitude to maintain the stoic coolness I’d need to manage the changes. Que sera.

In many ways I’ve completely realigned my worldview. Soccer no longer has a starring role. With that shift, my relationships both internal and external have changed dramatically. It wasn’t easy, I put a lot of my life into the game, the people, it was a passion, and still is, albeit sidelined. I no longer have the conduit for my emotional, social, and physical energies that I have known for so long. Soccer was my culture, and its people were my people. But as I had to pull myself away, things changed.

At the same time, work was changing. I felt betrayed by my job. Not for any good reason, but because of uncertainty. The changes built on top of each other. Energies otherwise spent spun on impending change that I had no control over. I felt that I was training people to commoditize my job. The world was falling apart, and mine was metamorphosing.

And change is painful. A full-blown depression, what was in my head I felt in my body. It was pretty weird, and tough to shake. And it didn’t feel good. It took a lot of work, facing my demons, sorting out what I wanted, rediscovering myself.

But slowly I emerged from the fog. It was the clarity of a clear day, morning sun lighting the mist in beams through crisp air, the bright haze bringing out the depth of the forest. Renewed purpose, a rediscovery of joy. I think I’m in a better place. But why is it so hard to get here? My friend Cory, a brilliant personality theorist had forewarned me that something like this would happen. There’d be painful changes and I would have difficult discoveries.

I wish that I hadn’t alienated some people who were important to me in the process, but eventually I’ll discover deeper meaning. I don’t think I’m through it yet, but I’m grateful for the change, I guess the pain is part of the learning.

What’s the Matter with V?

I was pretty excited about V. It was bringing back what in my mind was the original miniseries, and a nice bit of sci-fi. But this time with a budget and awesome effects and some hindsight on making a great series. Plus, I wrapped BSG and 4400 up pretty recently and need a new sci-fi serial fix.

I watched the pilot last night, and was a bit disappointed. 4400 was great, and there are some strong ties to that show here, between Joel Gretcsh and Scott Peters they really raised the bar. And after one episode, I just am not hooked. I will give it another go, but I’m not chomping at the bit for more yet.

I’ve heard people criticize and/or laud V for its ‘harsh commentary on Obamamania.’ It definitely made unveiled references to the president and current political situations. Brave. But they came out looking like something from a Sophomore’s script. Just silly. A commentary on universal health care and hope. We all know what the visitors are. They’re also presented as terrorists. I have to “hope” that the Obama references were limited to their uninspiring pilot, that their intention is to borrow from many modern charismatic leaders for the evolution of the V plot.

I suppose that my advice for the V writers is if you want to go political, start by modeling ideologies and create parallels. People will get it, and they’ll point it out for the ones who don’t…or at least the message boards will start lighting up. Get too specific and your point will be watered down, and at some point you’ll have to sacrifice your principles in favor of the fiction, or vice-versa. Symolism and metaphor are powerful tools. Billboards are too, but I’d prefer to see them on the highway (or not at all).

I was not upset by the rate at which the visitors were revealed as sinister. It wasn’t going to surprise anyone, so why put that sort of effort into a surprise? So they needed to spend some time on character development. Unfortunately they wasted too much on demonstrating which stereotype to model each character on. Most annoying was the whiny-teen you’re never around because you’re saving the world archetype of the son. Of course he’s going to be a V ambassador (or was it Hope?). Chad Decker looks to be the Faustian reporter who will sell-out his principles and the human race. I can only hope that he has a fraction of the complexity of Gaius Baltar, but for now it looks like he’s going to be the visitor’s reluctant lapdog, accepting more and more power, until he grows a pair and starts to help the resistance on the sly.

The product placement in V was pretty robust. It felt like there was almost as much as in 24. iPhones and cars and more. Lots of stuff for us to buy. Maybe it’s a visitor plot.

A two-hour pilot would’ve been a wise move. If you’re creating an epic, it helps to build empathy and plot. But if it’s a teen drama don’t worry about it.

I will watch the next episode, and probably the rest until the break. And then I’ll decide if V will continue to visit my living room. It wasn’t terrible, but so far I just don’t care, and my TV time is valuable! One positive is that V inadvertently introduced me to FastForward, which is excellent so far…sort of cop show meets memento with a bit of sci-fi thrown in.

Battlestar Galactica Rocked – a viewing tip (no spoilers)

I just finished BSG, the whole shebang. It was awesome. Here’s a tip if you’re viewing the final DVD of season 4.5: Daybreak extended is like the Director’s Cut of Daybreak episodes 1-3. I was unsure if it was all, or part of them, and spent some time searching the internets for that info (carefully avoiding spoilers). So watch whichever you prefer, you’ll get about the same content told differently.

The bicycle: Car or Pedestrian?

The debate has been serious this summer. From touchy questions on sides of buses to annoying comments on blog posts to occasional legal debate. The community has been vexed by this question: Is a bicycle a car or a pedestrian? To help shed light on this problem, beerdrinker has gone undercover, actually riding his bicycle most days, frequently more than 25 miles.

I’ve been thinking about this question for quite awhile, but it really came to a head (or mine) when Webtrends posted their controversial question on Portland’s public transportation: Should cyclists pay a road tax? The confusion was evident most clearly in a response to that question…”Cyclists should pay $.10 every time they change roles.” or something like that. But it’s been prevalent in conversation around the internet and reality for a long time.

With more people riding bikes due to higher fuel costs, better and/or more vocal communities, and peer pressure, the answer to the debate is becoming more pressing. Drivers are more frustrated, and more vocal. Bike lanes are taking up more precious road space. Green boxes are making colorful areas near busy intersections to the dismay of automobile owners. At some places, cyclists even have their own signals, and in others roads dedicated to them (and pedestrians).

Sometimes it becomes necessary to take a step back from the problem to really see what its inner workings are, and how they fit together. So I looked up the terms.

A pedestrian is a person traveling on foot.
wikipedia – pedestrian

An automobile or motor car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor.
wikipedia – automobile

Those are pretty clear, and pretty general. There are unfortunately vehicles that do not fit into either classification. In fact, the subject of this article does not.

A bicycle is neither a pedestrian nor an automobile!

Well, dangit. I guess we need to be asking a different question, like “where do cyclists belong?” But first, let’s continue the analysis to make sure we’ve covered all our bases.

A bicycle is like a car in many ways. It has wheels and a passenger (sometimes 2-3). It moves faster than pedestrians typically move. It will hurt a pedestrian if it hits them.

At the same time, there are a number of differences between cars and bikes. A car can accelerate and travel far faster than a bike. A car propels itself. Typically, cars do far more damage in collisions than bicyclists, and cars will universally win contests of strength. Like a turtle, cars have a crunchy, protective outside and a chewy center, whereas cyclists are a bit more like a delicious chicken leg with a hard lower part and a moist, fleshy upper portion.

Comparing a pedestrian to bicycle, we again see similarities and differences. They can both fit on sidewalks. They both weigh about the same. They are both self-propelled. Yet, bicycles can move faster than pedestrians and do have pokey hard parts. In a battle between cyclists and pedestrians, the cyclist would have the upper hand. In addition, they typically gain the element of surprise.

At this point, we have pretty much established that a bicycle is neither a car nor a pedestrian, having some qualities that are common to each, and some dramatic differences. In the future, I will explore how cyclists fit into a system that has difficulty seeing the grey areas.

Akoha earns negative karma (updated…and less negative)

My wife wanted to support what sounded like an interesting idea. Pay it forward cards. I’m not going to go into the idea, because they’re not worth my time. It sounded like fun, she ordered some. Somehow she ended up with the wrong cards. She called, they blamed her. A company that deals in karma points should have a somewhat better perspective. Akoha, I’m playing it forward to you…you fail.

UPDATE: Akoha has since done the right thing. Good jorb. We’re looking forward to the cards, and hope they are as enriching as anticipated.

Is this poison oak?

I am terrible at identifying plants, yet at the same time I’m really susceptible to poison oak. For some reason, it is very difficult to find a decent image of the toxic weed. Guidebooks all have the same line drawing as can be found at trailheads. Pics on the internet are obscure and frequently hidden behind broken links.

So I found a plant I think might be poison oak. Can somebody please confirm?

Is this poison oak?

Is this poison oak?

thanks! I didn’t want to get any closer for fear of getting the aerial wrath of this f%*ker.

Winter Camping on the Deschutes

Had a great weekend with some buddies camping over on the other side of the Cascades. We got out of town right after work on Friday and beat most of the bad Portland weather. At the top of 197 there was some gnarly snow and I was a bit concerned that we’d get stuck, but it let up surprisingly soon, and we saw no more precipitation for over 24 hours.

From Deschutes Big Freeze 12/08

We found a nice campground on the Deschutes about Shearer’s Falls near Maupin, and pitched our tents. It was freakin cold, so we kept the beer in coolers to help prevent them from freezing overnight. Good thing we were well-armed with a substantial amount of whiskey.

From Deschutes Big Freeze 12/08

We hiked (a little), fished, and had a generally good’ole time battling the elements and being ridiculous. We had a ton of wood, and kept a fire raging.

From Deschutes Big Freeze 12/08

It started hailing around 10pm on the second night, followed shortly by snow, but it never got too deep. On the other hand, it got really cold that night.

From Deschutes Big Freeze 12/08

Crashing the Etnies holiday party

From Etnies Party

Word travels fast. Shortly after this was announced, we decided to crash it. You can see some more photos on my photostream or picasa. Some are a bit more adult than my usual fare, but nothing that’ll get you fired. Jane Wells has an entertaining summary also, featuring a shot of me and a few other crashers.

From Etnies Party

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Thank you, Etnies!

Tears and hope

‘”Change has come” and we can all work together for a better and united future for all in our country and worldwide.’

That was my mom in the comments tonite. We had a fun little election party, and for the first time in a long time, we ended up happy, not just wiser.

And we cheered. McCain’s speech was great. That McCain may have won the election. He was honest, sincere, honorable, clear, and inspiring. For the first time since this all began I saw McCain make an effort to unite people, not just ignite his base. The cycle could have been far more exciting and far less scary.

And Obama spoke. Pericles, a great orator, perhaps someday Obama will be read, thousands of years in the future, and his words will be seen as the ones that brought a civilization together. He is a man who has ideas and can lead the people. Unite us. Tonight he attacked that divide and Obama will continue to attack the divide.

I had hoped for the 60 senate seats. Not that I believe a supermajority is a great thing. I’m far too moderate. But because I believe that things have gotten so bad that only in the face of utter defeat can we reach across to humble Republicans and say that we’re in this together. We’re not in total lockstep (as the last so many years have witnessed), we’re in a discussion. We are all patriots. Without superior firepower, I fear that the war will continue.

But…back to what my mom said. I watched Barack Obama speak tonight. It was wonderful. I drew near tearful on a few occasions. But I saw the comment from my mom. So much hope. It was beautiful, and it brought tears to my dry eyes.

“Change has come” and we can all work together for a better and united future for all in our country and worldwide.

Memories…

2000. Oh, the disappointment. Later and later it got at the Yukon Tavern, drinking Pabst after Pabst, watching the states black out one after another. The red carpet on the walls and the mannequin legs dangling above. Great conversation as we drifted further and further into desperate (to know!) drunkenness, and then even further into it with desperation not to know.

2004. Doin’ it bourgeois-style at Everyday Wine. Grimmer and grimmer. The wine bar closed when it was grim, but there remained hope. Kieran and I went to The Spare Room, an unbelievably surreal bar, to watch the remainder of the election. We’d expected to be among celebrators, many members of The Greatest Generation drink there, but instead we had a soul-searching time carousing and commiserating with a unique blend of folk. Things changed when they opened up the speakers and a small older lady did her karaoke version of The Candy Man Can. I am still haunted. Rest her soul, she’s no longer with us, but that memory is strong. I hope that she smiles after tonite, wherever she is.

cheers, and Godspeed.

We’ll miss you Kali

Kali, one of my favorite pups in the whole world passed on this morning. She was always so sweet, and just wanted to be loved as much as she loved you. A great personality, she’ll be in my heart. And my love goes out to ACUC, I can only imagine how you are hurting today. Here’s my effort to help you celebrate her.

From Dogs
From Dogs
From Dogs

And this video I came across just tugged at my hearstrings…it’s not Kali, but I think you get it.

Greeted after 14 months in Iraq

Back when I was near-homeless my aunt and uncle took me and and I got to live in their basement. Kali was a great friend then, I’d let her come into my room, and she’d lie next to me while I sat on the computer until four in the morning. Or she’d hang out on my matress and I’d scratch her ears. She was a great friend.

PLB

Minister Rick

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Got my Universal Life Church ministry certificate because a couple friends had asked me to perform their wedding services. This past week was the week. The first was on Sunday, and the second on Friday. I’ve been just a wee bit busy with all of that…meeting families, drinking beer, BBQing, clamming, crabbing, camping, cooking, eating, driving, playing hookie, and petting my dog and smooching my lady.

Both weddings were super fun. The first was a bit more intimate at the Leach Botanical Gardens. That place is a hidden gem in deep southeast. Great people, great food, and a bit of an edge from it being my first time and all. Matt and Christine chose a hand fasting ceremony, which is pretty neat. It’s an ancient tradition, and pervasive through many cultures…basically family and friends came up and tied ribbons around their linked hands, each ribbon having a particular meaning.

From Hilla-Mott Wedding

The second was a bit bigger, held in the couple’s backyard. Friends and family pulled together to make it happen, from booze to catering to cleanup (in that order?). We danced and were merry, I tore the ass out of the pants of my new suit doing some silly maneuver. But it was at the end of the second wedding, so that’s how it goes. I did change into my kilt rather than exact further damage to my pants or pride.

From Clutter-Jacobson Wedding

Both had plenty of beer to drink too, and both began serving prior to the ceremony. But just barely in the case of the latter because we somehow ended up with an incompatible tap. Ouch!

Harrowing times in Peru

My Minnesota buddy Don had a crazy time in Peru…read the tale of his questionable guide Roberto Penny Cabrera (Desert Man of Ica) as they defied death in the desert. He has a few gorgeous photos to help capture their experience as the drunken guide barreled through the dunes to show them a lone skeleton, send them on their way to explore alone, and rescue a hapless cyclist traveling the desert.

UPDATE: ummm…I’m a dork and didn’t put the link in. It’s here now.