djonn: Self-portrait (Default)

You’d think that two free restaurant dinners in one day would be grounds for celebration.  In practice, it didn’t actually work out that way….

It so happens that, after the closing went through on the condominium that’s now Lone Penman Headquarters, the realtor on our side of the deal sent along a respectably generous gift card for one of the new online restaurant-delivery services.  For a one-person household who (a) doesn’t drive and (b) occasionally works multiple graveyard shifts in sequence, this was an especially happy gift, and I have been whittling away at that gift card balance with good results.

Until this past Wednesday, that is, when I placed an order for a shrimp ravioli dish from a nearby Italian place, one from which I’d ordered happily before.  As on the prior occasion, the delivery driver actually beat the estimated delivery window by 15 minutes or so, and handed me a hot takeout box (the entree) and a sturdy small-sized pizza box (the extra side of focaccia).  I thanked him, closed the door, headed for the kitchen, and was actually dividing the entree — enough for two meals, as before — into a bowl and a plastic storage container when I realized that Something Was Wrong.

I had gotten not shrimp with ravioli, but shrimp risotto.

And sadly, I am not at all fond of risotto.  Also, even good risotto tends not to travel well.

The ensuing online chat conversation unfolded like a classic series of good news/bad news jokes.  The chat agent promptly got on the phone with the restaurant…but I couldn’t get the right entree sent over, because there wasn’t a driver available.  They were happy to refund the entree price…but we ran into enormous trouble trying to verify that the refund had actually landed on my electronic gift card (neither the delivery service or its gift card vendor had a way to look up the stored balance without the long alphanumeric code on the paper card I’d originally been given).

And by the time I looked up from typing a highly annoyed email to the gift card vendor, two hours had gone by, during which the shrimp-risotto-not-ravioli had been sitting out on my counter getting cold.  I sighed, tossed it (between not liking risotto and the food safety lectures one hears about not leaving hot food out, I wasn’t going to take chances), and went off to take an abbreviated pre-work nap.

Now, one of the few shortcomings of the shiny new Lone Penman HQ is that while the bus stop is a mere five-minute walk from my front door, and the bus ride to work takes maybe seven minutes, the buses stop running much too early at night for someone working a graveyard shift.  And the weather is not yet good enough to commute via bicycle.  I have therefore taken to riding the last bus up to the relevant intersection and hanging out in one of the available hangouts until it’s actually time to report to work. The night in question being a Wednesday, the McMenamin’s was closed by the time I got there, and I was too hungry to be satisfied with Taco Bell, so I went into Shari’s, thinking that at least I could get some dinner there.  [There is also a Mysterious Seedy-Looking Sports Bar in one of the shopping centers that no one ever talks about.  Someday I may explore the Mysterious Seedy-Looking Sports Bar.  Last Wednesday was not that day.]

And indeed, I ordered a small plate of fish & chips, ate the salad that preceded it, took a bite of fish, and was just picking up an herbed French fry…

…when there was a dramatic BLINK, and all the lights went out.

“We’re sorry,” came the sad but still cheery voice of the Shari’s night manager out of the darkness, “but we have to kick you all out into the street send you all out into the parking lot.  You can’t be here when there’s no power.  It’s not safe.”

“On the other hand,” she added, in a cheery but still sad voice, “whatever you were having tonight is on us.”

I managed to snag a couple of the herbed French fries before following the crowd of customers out of the restaurant into a night which was now not just dark, but extremely dark — it wasn’t just Shari’s that had lost power, but everything for at least several blocks in all directions, up to and including street lights and traffic signals.  And as matters turned out, the outage only lasted perhaps half an hour.  I was able to clock in on schedule at work, and the computers were up and running again.

But what I’m going to remember most about that particular night is having been given two free dinners, and only being able to eat half of one of them.

djonn: Self-portrait (Default)

Most years, the annual Shakespeare Festival pilgrimage is a family event.  This time, however, I was on my own, and as a result I went exploring among the Ashland restaurant scene in search of new and interesting places to eat.  I found a couple, and as I have a foodie or two in the gallery, I figure I ought to indulge in a bit of additional reportage.

If food be the music of love, read on.... )

djonn: Self-portrait (Default)
More than usually interesting Mother's Day dinner this year; for special-occasion dinners, I sometimes pick places we haven't been that look capital-I Interesting (within the limits of my parents' culinary tastes). This time I chose a relatively new establishment in Portland's Western suburbs, Dessert Noir. It was in many respects an excellent meal, but I find myself more than usually conflicted about the experience.

Lengthy comments beneath the cut to spare the non-foodies: )
djonn: Self-portrait (Wabbit)
I am faintly astonished.

As I type, there is turkey and dressing in the oven. The table is set (for three -- my parents will be over shortly). Two-thirds of the components for apple pie are prepared and awaiting the arrival of the third (I admit it, for pie I cheat and use refrigerated premade crusts, but the store was out when we went shopping Tuesday night). But there is only one dirty dish in the sink -- the sauté pan in which the veggies for the dressing were heated -- and the kitchen is otherwise in extraordinarily tidy shape.

What's really astonishing is that the kitchen is that neat, and I have time to type a LiveJournal entry, even though this is the first Thanksgiving dinner I've hosted in a very long time. Most years my parents and I go visit the Kid Brother and his family in sunny southern California for Turkey Week. David is a superb turkey-chef (he indirect-grills his birds), and my sister-in-law's family joins us for the feast, so it's definitely a full-scale Thanksgiving. This year, however, Mother is recovering -- very, very well, mind -- from knee replacement surgery, and isn't yet up for a long trip. So we are having a smaller Thanksgiving here.

pause, answer phone/door )

Have You Heard This?

"Changing from bad to good's as easy as...taking your first step!"

-- Kris Kringle (to the Winter Warlock)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town

April 2017

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