Oh, Portland. After a decade, you’re finally starting to grow on me. Your rivers, your bridges, your crazy cyclists. The food and drink selection, however, is certainly one of your shiny bits.
We’re venturing to the west coast today, to the place where hearts are left and the Fernet flows freely – beautiful San Francisco, California. The iconic city by the bay is not only a tourist’s dream, it’s food and drink destination, with an abundance of cocktail pioneers and Michelin stars.
As a Midwest kid who grew up in a faith-heavy community, it almost felt a little sacrilege to read Christopher Moore’s Lamb. The story of Jesus’s teen years as told by his best friend, Biff, Lamb spins the story of the Messiah’s early life, before the healing and the leading and the fishes and the whatnot.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bartender extraordinaire.
More like Jeffrey the Grouch when I first met him in the Denver airport years ago.
San Francisco chef Richie Nakano is as widely known for his opinions as he is for his ramen. An online biography describes the cocksure chef as “the expert of kitchen trash talk”, his regularly updated Twitter feed peppered with sideswipes at everything from local regulations to “Best Of” lists. Nakano doesn’t toss his thoughts around lightly, however, and his long abandoned blog reads like a Bourdain novel, an articulate, knowledgeable voice representing kitchen dwellers from Los Angeles to New York. A father, a baseball fan, a line cook. Another dedicated chef you won’t see at an awards show.
It was a last minute trip home, the kind you don’t want to make, the kind you take because someone’s health is failing and visits must be made. Everything from my pre-departure routine to those long hours in a metal tube with wings felt more dismal than usual. I had a cocktail on each flight, sleeping when I could, eschewing my iPod and trashy magazines. The subsequent gathering of my immediate family upon my arrival into Detroit weighed heavy with concern, a weekend schedule of meals and responsibilities and meetings with health care providers. Our family’s modus operandi to laugh and carry on conflicting with the uncomfortable stomach-gnawing of impending loss.