A Weekend of Food and Friends

07 October 2007

After several weeks of being rather non-social, Kris and I spent a lot of time with friends this weekend.

Thursday

On Thursday, I drove to Salem to have lunch with Mackenzie. Though both of us are feeling heavy, and we believe we should start watching our weight, we opted to eat at The Great Wall, my favorite Chinese buffet. I love that place. While we ate, we brainstormed possible collaborations.

I’m interested in having Mac help me revive Money Hacks, a companion site to Get Rich Slowly. Mac surprised me, however, by suggesting a site that I’ve had on the back-burner for some time: Get Fit Slowly. I’d planned to launch a site with that name on January 1st, but was worried I wouldn’t have time with all my other projects. But with Mac as a partner, I think it has a far better chance at succeeding. I’m excited about working with him on this.

On Thursday evening — my belly still stuffed — we headed to Gino’s with Paul and Amy Jo. We seem to do this once a week lately. It’s fun. I ordered the clams, of course, and a cheese platter. But I was so full from The Great Wall, that I couldn’t even finish the clams! When the cheese platter came, I thought I’d explode.

Friday

On Friday afternoon, we stopped by Rejuvenation to look at furniture for the living room. I sat in a number of chairs, and fell in love with the much-too-expensive Stickley pieces. Now begins my quest to find similar furniture for less. (Look for more on the furniture quest in coming entries.)

In the evening, we visited Marcela, Pierre, and their children for a wonderful dinner. We have them over about once a year; they have us over about once a year. Though we don’t see them often, I always love these meals. Marcela and Pierre are intelligent, witty, and fine cooks. Their kids are very precocious. On Friday, Ella was telling me all about the money she’d saved. It was great stuff. But by the time I remembered to run to my car for the camera, she’d become a little shy. Still, here’s a couple of minutes of my conversation with her. Louis is providing background commentary.

For dinner, Marcela had prepared a pork roast, mashed potatoes, and more. It was delicious. Pierre, being French, always has a great selection of wine. In particular, I’m fascinated by his ability to pick sparkling wines that aren’t too flowery. I always think of champagne as a light drink, something sort of girlie. But Pierre has a talent for choosing sparkling wines that work well as aperitifs. This time he served a Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Noirs. “This is like pop!” I exclaimed, and it was. It was great. He also recommended the Blanc de Blanc from the same winery. (Another winner from the past was a Roderer Estate Anderson Valley Brut.)

Saturday

Saturday found us double-booked. We spent the day doing chores. In the late afternoon, Mac and Pam and the kids came up for dinner. We prepared salmon with lemon/caper/mustard butter using fish from our neighbor, John, who is newly returned from his summer in Alaska. (John is also our primary source for grapes, especially the Concords, which I love.) It was great to chat with the Proffitt-Smiths, and to see the now-beefy Liam.

After they’d left, we darted up to Portland to join Courtney’s 40th birthday celebration at Bluehour, one of Portland’s hippest restaurants. We’d never been before, but knew it was swanky. Apparently it’s swankier than we had imagined. I felt severely under-dressed, but my discomfort faded after I began to chat with Andrew. I felt like we had a nice talk, something we don’t get very often anymore. Because Kris and I had already eaten, we didn’t have much. Perhaps it was because we didn’t order an entree, but I wasn’t impressed. Bluehour is expensive, but the food was decidedly mediocre. It was nothing special. I’d rather go to Gino’s almost every time. (In fact, we spent as much for just a little food at Bluehour as we might spend for an entire meal at Gino’s.)

Sunday

Now we’re enjoying a lazy Sunday. I have a lot of writing to do. Kris is reading the book group selection for the month: Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Grey.

It’s been a lovely weekend, actually. Very nice, indeed. But this weekend is just the beginning. We have a lot of social engagements in the coming weeks, too. In fact, I think every weekend in October is booked, as well as many in November and December.

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