Monday, June 29, 2009

bastille my heart

pix patisserie on north williams

i know i should be gearing up for one of the most american holidays of them all, july 4th, but when july rolls around every year, my heart is in france. july is the month portland francophiles go all out to celebrate the conclusion of the french revolution--bastille day.

if you have never celebrated bastille day in portland, mark you calendars for july 11th and head to one of the following events. you will not be disappointed because one thing is certain, portlanders love a party and the bastille day celebrations are one of the best summertime parties here in portland.

the alliance francais sponsors the bastille day celebration in the pearl district at jamison square saturday, the 11th from 12 to 8 pm. this is the sight of the ever popular waiter's race where you can see local waiters race through an obstacle course while carrying trays of drinks (i have my boyfriend in training for this running around the yard chasing me with my drink on a tray). it is always an entertaining event and it begins at 2:00 pm in jamison square. for more information, go to this is the alliance's website which has a calendar of french based events going on around portland. the alliance has a wonderful newsletter that you can subscribe to so if you are interested in other events like this throughout the summer, this is a great resource.

of course my favorite bastille day celebration is the more eclectic gathering over on north mississippi. throughout the day you will find music, street performers, food, shopping and of course the eating of frenchie sweets provided by pix patisserie. pix will be on hand for the neighborhood festival over on north failing and mississippi.

pix is one of my all time favorite portland entities as i'm sure it's many of yours as well. when it comes to choosing one of their two locations, i can never decide. they are both unique in their own way but still quintessential french. lately i have been found at the north williams location but i still love their original home on se division. if you have never experienced pix, drop what you are doing right now and run get a shazam!

3402 se division 503.232.4407
3901 north williams 503.282.6539
so this bastille day go and conquer the streets of porland and most definitely, eat cake.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

music and the moon


carmina piranha (now luna)

i haven't been to berbati's pan for a while but i caught a really great show there last night, the french singer/songwriter, tete. tete is a paris musician who has been referred to as the jeff buckley of france (however, still with us). he got his start playing music in cafes and busking on the streets of paris and is now hailed as one of france's best songwriters. you can catch him under the moon tonight at edgefield playing with eric john kaiser starting at 7:00pm. it's a free show and a beautiful day today so if you are looking for something to do this evening, pack some cheese and wine and head out to edgefield for a wonderful night of french music.

if you are in the mood to stick closer to home, head over the the press club at se 26th and clinton to hear carmina luna. carmina luna is made up of members of the now defunct carmina piranha, a portland band that was popular in the mid 90s. carmina luna does not play many shows these days as most of the members are busy playing with their other bands (including lara michell of the stolen sweets) so i highly recommend checking them out tonight. that's where you will find me. it is a free all ages show beginning at 8:30. (carmina image from cd baby)

and happy saturday to you all!

Friday, June 26, 2009

missing the movie house

the former movie house theater

the very first film i saw in portland was il postino at the movie house over on sw taylor. sadly, the movie house is no longer open as a theater. if you ever had the opportunity to see a film at the movie house i'm sure you will understand why i wax poetic about it. it was such a beautiful theater and it really makes me sad that we don't get to enjoy it any longer.

sitting in the movie house, watching il postino was so magical. the theater in the movie actually looked like the movie house and i understood at that time that i would remember that experience for the rest of my life. a few years later, i was lucky enough to watch the re-release of my all time favorite movie, le grand bleu (the big blue). and shortly after this, the movie house closed.

i think i want to start a movement to bring the movie house back. isn't it just so cute? it even looks like a little italian cinema...sigh.

if you haven't seen il postino or the big blue, check them out. two classics in my opinion.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

apartment living

so something that i would like to fit into this blog is interior design which is a passion of mine. ten years ago i scrapped my career as a social worker and went back to school to study interior design. i worked as an interior designer for a few years until i found my niche of working in the home furnishings retail environment. i really enjoy what i do but i would love to get back into interior design in the residential area.

like many portlanders, i still live in an apartment and have not yet made the leap into home ownership. i actually like renting as being somewhat of a bohemian, setting down roots that home ownership entails seems like too much of a commitment (even though i've lived in the same building for 7 years). so i stick to my little apartment decorating and redecorating when the whim hits me.

as i was saying, i would like to find a place for interior design on my little blog and to start out, i would like to focus on apartment living since it is something close to me. if you have a great apartment or know someone else that does, leave me a comment and i will get in touch with you. i would like to feature photos of beautiful portland apartments of which i'm sure there are many.

here's a photo of my new tabletop. i bought the table base at a sample sale for $50 and wanted to put an old door or something on it but i couldn't find one the right size. a few weeks ago, my boyfriend had some wood delivered to his house that i thought would be perfect for a farm table so he made me this tabletop. my dining room is a little cozy now so i plan on changing out the chairs for benches but this makes me happy for now. i love my new tabletop, thank you lorenzo!

go fever

go fever

one of my favorite local bands, go fever, is playing a show this weekend. get on their myspace page for the details.

"go fever, a portland, or trio have built a sonic cathedral propped up by welcome walls of sound. their formidable brand of rock and roll is atmospheric and grand, delivering jangly retro guitars, sexy bass lines and primal beats, which inspires and captivates the listener. go fever's music is culled passionately from a broad array of influences, both old and new, esoteric and familiar."--tony of go fever
go fever will be releasing a record very soon and have another one in the works.

if you can't make it to their show this weekend try to get out to see them soon. i'll keep you posted on their upcoming shows.

(photo by go fever)

artsy thursday

last thursday in may

thursdays are gallery days here in portland. there is the long standing first thursday in the pearl where neighborhood galleries launch their new shows for the upcoming month. this night tends to draw a crowd of all ages from the young art students at near-by schools like the art institute and pica to the empty nesters living in the condominiums scattered throughout the neighborhood. then there is last thursday across town over on alberta street.

alberta street is to the pearl district what the left bank is to the right in paris. alberta is home to the bohemians and ruffians as the pearl is home to the more sophisticated scene. so there is no question that i enjoy last thursdays over on alberta the way i gravitate to the left bank in paris.

last thursdays in the summer should not be missed as everyone is out and going wild after nine months of confinement due to rain. so if you are looking for something to do tonight head on over to alberta street, however, you may want to take tomorrow off if you do!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


i watched this really good movie last night called "man on wire". it's been out for quite a while but i finally had the chance to see it. this guy is amazing and i highly recommend the film if you haven't seen it yet.

i think it is really amazing when people have a dream and devote their lives to fulfilling it. it gives me such inspiration when i get to encounter people like this.

it got me to thinking about my dreams and ambitions when i was a kid and how my life has turned out. when i was young i wanted to be a trapeze artist. my parents were very encouraging so they enrolled me in gymnastics and my dad built me a giant swing that went off the balcony. i can't believe he did this, i could have flown off the side of the hill! i thought it was just the coolest thing until i kicked my foot through an empty fish aquarium that my brother left outside and required 4 stitches. that was the end of my trapeze career. i must say that my current career is a bit more stable than trapeze and for that, i am thankful.

what did you want to be when you were younger? did you have a dream like walking on a wire or swinging from a trapeze?

my favorite places to rent movies are movie madness at 4320 se belmont 503.234.4363 http://www.moviemadnessvideo/ or videorama


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

heartisan pizza

ken's artisan pizza (margherita with arugula)

lorenzo's heartisan pizza

if there is one thing i heart almost as much as portland, it's got to be pizza. i can remember some of the first pizzas i ever ate--village inn pizza in first grade to buccaneer pizza in fifth grade. i remember the first piece of pizza i ate in florence, italy, it was mozzarella e melanzana (eggplant), like it was yesterday. i truly do heart pizza!

as far as pizza in portland goes, some of the best can be found at ken's artisan pizza. i first discovered their pizza when a friend took me to monday night pizza at the 21st avenue location. then, due to it's popularity, ken's opened a pizza place on se 28th avenue. both are equally excellent but the ken's on 28th is closed sunday and monday. thank goodness you can get the pizza monday nights on 21st because sometimes i just can't wait until tuesday.
ken's artisan bakery 326 nw 21st 503.248.2202
ken's artisan pizza 304 se 28th 503.517.9951

however, as much as i love ken's pizza, my very favorite place to eat pizza is in my boyfriend's kitchen. he can pile more toppings on a pizza than you can believe and the crust that he makes from scratch could very well be sold in the stores!

what is your favorite pizza place?

Monday, June 22, 2009

melody monday

melody gardot

since music is clearly on my mind today, i thought i would share with you an artist i have recently discovered. her name is melody gardot and she is a beautiful jazz musician out of philadelphia. her latest album is called "my one and only thrill." when melody was 19, she was struck by a car while riding her bike (something close to home for us portlanders). she discovered music therapy while recovering from the accident and soon put out her first album.

melody lists her influences as janis joplin and miles davis to name a few but i would compare her to madeleine peyroux and billie holiday.

when i first heard her, i rushed out to my favorite music store (music millenium 3158 se burnside 503.231.8926 and bought her latest album. i'm still a little old-fashioned and like to have a cd in my hands but if you would like to check her out first, starbucks is currently giving away icards with a sample of her latest cd.

(image from detender wordpress)

mock me

the mock crest tavern

the jessica stiles band

after living in portland over ten years, i'm always excited to experience new things. this weekend i visited the mock crest tavern for the first time to see the jessica stiles band, also for the first time. both made for a great evening!

the mock crest is located in north portland at 3435 n. lombard 503.283.5014

the mock is a cozy little bar nestled in between the kenton and st. john's neighborhoods. the drinks were stiff and reasonably priced. i was even offered a sample of tequila the minute i sat down, which in my opinion is quite the sign of hospitality (you can take the girl out of new mexico...). we also ordered some appetizers and out came the largest portion of tater tots i have ever seen in my life. in fact, after 10 pm, you receive a complimentary small basket of tots with the purchase of a pitcher.

my friend and i arrived early to get a seat as it can fill up very quickly. there's not a stage so the band is up close and personal which creates a very intimate setting. as much as i love to go see live music, i do not enjoy music that is so loud that you and your companion must yell at each other (which seems to happen at tiny music venues) and i am happy to say that the volume was perfect. i will definitely catch another show here and i've been told that they regularly have great music.

the jessica stiles band plays classic western music a la patsy cline. jessica writes here own music which tends to be humorous, western drinking songs and also performs classics such as dolly parton's "coat of many colors" and gram parson's "sin city" but with her own charming style. if you have the opportunity, check jessica out next time she's playing. i found her home page on my space under jessica lynn stiles. she was also joined by portland pedal steel player, paul brainerd for her last set. i swear paul must be cloned because he plays with every alt western band this side of austin!

so if you're looking for something to do this weekend, check out either of these fine portland establishments.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

shanghai'd in paris

shanghai tunnel

a few years ago when i was in paris, i was staying in montmartre for the last two days of my trip before coming back home to portland. my last night, i walked around the neighborhood and at the very top of montmartre popped into this little irish pub to have a beer and write some things down. i sat there, writing for a few hours and when i got up to pay, the bartender struck up a conversation with me and wanted to know where i was from. he was a really sweet kid from scotland who had recently moved to paris and had begun bartending while going to school. well, when i told him i was from portland, his face lit up and he asked me if i had ever been to the shanghai tunnel. i laughed and said yes i had been to the shanghai tunnel many times as it was in the neighborhood where i worked. he just thought that was so cool that i been there and he said to me that he had wanted to come to portland just to go to the shanghai. how funny was it that there i was in paris, on montmartre and the person i had met wanted to visit the shanghai in portland. it turns out that he had recently watched the insomniac episode that featured portland. i wonder if he ever made it here?

if you have never been to the shanghai, check it out. although i don't make it there very often any more, it's still one of my favorite bars.
it's located at 211 sw ankeny 503.220.4001.

if you don't live in portland and would like to check out the shanghai, there is a movie called bigger than the sky that features great interior shots of the shanghai, as it's the bar the characters frequent. it's a very sweet, simple little film but you can see a lot of portland in it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

my own private portland part two

10th street entrance to the governor

clyde's menu

entrance to clyde's

the ace hotel portland

so after posting yesterday, i thought that it would be interesting to hear what movies have made a major impression in your lives the way my own private idaho did for me. did you ever see a movie that made you decide to do something drastic like i did? i'd love to hear about it.

so, when i did finally make it up to portland back in '98, i spent my first night in a hotel located in the neighborhood referred to as "vaseline alley". in one of the last scenes in my own private idaho, keanu reeves walks into a restaurant named jake's famous crawfish. well this was right up the street from my hotel (which at the time was called the ben stark and then the clyde). this hotel has been featured in other gus van sant films, namely drugstore cowboy (interior shots). currently housed here is the chichi ace hotel and clyde common restaurant. both the hotel and the restaurant are very portland hip. my friends and i like to go to clyde common for the happy hour but you should definitely go for dinner sometime, too.

the ace hotel is located at 1022 sw stark 503.228.2277

clyde common is located at 1014 sw stark 503.228.3333

from the ace and clyde common, just head west on stark where jake's famous crawfish is still located at 401 sw 12th 503.226.1414

then head south to the governor hotel at 614 sw 11th to find the old hotel where river, keanu and friends gathered at when bob was in town. the 10th street entrance (which shows jake's grill) is the entrance featured in the movie.

if you get tired of walking, there is usually a radio cab close by (shown in ace hotel shot). or you can call them at 503.227.1212 (i have them on speed dial).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

my own private portland

back in 1991 or 1992, i was living in a little town called albuquerque, new mexico. one of my favorite things to do back then was to go to this tiny theater on central avenue called the guild. the guild was and still is the best theater in albuquerque because it's the only place you can see indy or art house films. this was where i first saw movies like the crying game, drugstore cowboy and another movie that paved the way to my future--my own private idaho.

i had been to portland before when i was younger (my parents decided to pick up one day and moved us to gold hill, in southern oregon) and we would frequently drive to portland for visits. i had always had a fondness for portland but there was something about it in that movie that made me vow right there at the guild that i would one day move to portland. i loved everything about the city in the movie--the beauty and the grittiness that gus van sant had captured as well as the eccentric characters in the movie which he had developed around real people living in portland at the time (many of whom still live here).

in 1993, i brought two of my friends on a road trip to portland where we visited several of the sights from my own private idaho as well as other great places like the movie house on sw taylor and moody's on sw 4th (sadly, both no longer here). it was after this road trip, i returned to albuquerque and began serioulsy planning my move to portland which finally happened in 1998.

and this is when my little love affair with portland became a commitment.

my favorite movie theater in portland is cinema 21 at 616 nw 21st ave 503.223.4515

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ahhh portland in june...

inspires me to do the things i've been putting off for the past 6 months. things like cleaning out the closets (to get ready for the annual mulberry court yard sale), long walks around the neighborhood and more writing.

so here we are today with my new blog. i have wanted to get a blog started for some time now and had even set a june 1st kick-off but things happen and it just didn't get done. so, there's no time like the present to just do it.

this blog is a tribute to all things i love but particularly, portland. i will try to post as often as i can on life here in portland and you, too, will see why i heart portland, oregon!