I’d Date Me

Sometimes even an extrovert needs alone time.

(Stop laughing, Andrew).

An extrovert’s alone time consists of being alone, but around people. This past Thursday was the perfect night for me to do this. I got all gussied up and took an interesting and funny lady on a date – yes, I mean me.

For my date I took myself to Ox, a restaurant in Portland I have been meaning to go to. Ox does not accept reservations so I figured I could sneak in at an early 5:00 dinner hour. I headed there after work and thought I might not make it due to some major backups. But, I parked at 5:15 at the nearest cross street.

The main window of the restaurant faces out to MLK. As I approached I peeked in to make sure that there was seating available. The restaurant was mostly empty. I spied a door next to the street facing windows and tried the handle before realizing it was locked. It was the door leading into the lofts upstairs. I turned the corner around the building and ran into a dick.

A real dick.

It was attached to a man.

He was peeing on the corner of the building.

He was angry at me – like anyone would be if you accidentally walked in on them while they were in the bathroom. So, that would be understandable, but for him peeing on the building. At the corner of a busy street. In public. Street-side.

I found the restaurant door and entered.

“How can I help you?”

“Um. You have a gentleman peeing on the corner of your building. Also, I would like to be seated for dinner.”

“Excuse me?”

“There is a gentleman, well actually, he’s probably not a real gentleman as he is peeing on the corner of your building. Also, can I get a table for one.”

“Oh, um, sure. OK. I can seat you and I will take care of the other thing in a moment.”

“OK. Though, he’s probably done by now.”

“Do you mind the bar? I can seat you right by the window.”

“Sure. As long as it’s not a view to the corner of your building.”

She seated me at the bar and I ordered a bourbon. My meal came out slowly but never at a pace where I was trying to figure out where it was. The bartender was pleasantly chatty without being a part of my date. The food was good.

It started with a light cauliflower bisque with smoked peppercorns “sent by the kitchen”. I always like this in a restaurant. I feel like it probably means they like me more than the other patrons.

Then came my appetizer which was octopus and tripe (stop gagging, Andrew) with mint aioli. I had not been expecting a stew, probably because I had not read the menu properly, but that is what came out. The octopus and tripe were each cooked beautifully without being rubbery. But in the tomato based spicy stew the flavor of each got lost. Also can we please stop calling it aioli and just call it mayo? That’s what it is. And in a heavy stew, the mayo just added a slightly greasy extra-heaviness. This was not my favorite dish.

Next came my main course, lamb shoulder chop. This was my favorite dish. When I ordered, I had been having trouble deciding between it and a steak when the bartender explained to me the lamb was pretty fatty. That sold it. It was cooked perfectly and had some charred rosemary on it.

I also ordered the kale and radicchio salad. It had toasted chick peas and blue cheese. It was supposed to come with a dressing, but I don’t really like dressing.

This salad needed dressing.

The kale was not rubbed so it was dry and chewy. The whole salad was dry. And chewy. It was not good. The chick peas were tasty though.

Then came dessert. There are very few gluten free options for dessert at many of the good restaurants of Portland. Ox is no exception. I ended up with a scoop each of peach bourbon ice cream and honey chamomile ice cream. The peach bourbon tasted more like “peach, hold the bourbon.” But, that was likely due to the overwhelming flavor of bourbon the bourbon I was drinking had. The honey chamomile was divine and felt like a nice cup of tea after a tasty meal.

All in all the food at Ox was pretty good. The staff was excellent. The atmosphere was mostly blue-hairs because it was so early in the evening. One particular table near me, who apparently had never been to a restaurant before, was superb people watching fodder. They would ask the waiter daunting questions about how they could reduce the price of their meal, “What if we just want a half portion, would that be OK?” “Well, how many shrimp are actually in the dish, because we probably don’t want all of them.”

But the company was the best of all.

Sometimes, a girl just has to date herself.

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Hell! Oh, Austin

Travelling would be much better if it weren’t for all the people.

“Sir, if you don’t shut your whiney son up I am going to have to step in.”

“Ma’am, we all want to get off this plane, but you and I are in row 28 so would you please sit until it’s our turn instead of shoving your ass in my face for 15 minutes?”

“Hey, person in the seat in front of me I know there isn’t enough room to sleep or do any work but bouncing all your weight into your seat while pushing the button is not going to gain you room, it’s just going to spill my drink all over me. So, if you don’t mind, please quit being a dick.”

My layover in Phoenix was more of a jogtothenextgatetomakeitontimeover. But, at least I got to put my new ACL to the test having to shift around people who have no concept that there are others around them. So they walk in the middle of the walkway texting or checking Facebook on their phones or coming to a sudden and complete stop and then they look at me when I accidentally bump into/kick their whiney child that would not stop whining from Portland to Phoenix as though I am somehow malicious.

I made it to my gate just as boarding was beginning. Right next to the gate was a Mexican food place. I ordered a chicken taco salad hold the taco and cheese. I got on the plane opened up my food and noted that “salad” was more of a concept.

A woman two rows in front of me started complaining that something smelled like vomit. I am not saying she was wrong – completely – but, I just think maybe she should have been more considerate. I mean imagine if she had to eat it. But, I was starving so I dug in. I sent Andrew my pre-flight text “I hate flying. I love you.” and napped until we landed in Austin.

The rest of the trip my text messages with Andrew in summary:

Me: “Am at my cousins now. It’s hot here.”

Andrew: “Texas is hell-adjacent.”

 

Me: “OMG it’s hot”

Andrew: “Hell yeah.”

 

Me: “mmmm BarBQ”

Andrew: “I am pro-BBQ”

Me: “I am anti-heat”

 

Me: 105

Then my phone melted.

When I first got to Austin I went directly to my cousin’s house and we had some bar-b-q and some catching up. Then I went to the hotel and was immediately antsy and anxious. I have never really traveled on my own. I mean I have gone to visit people, but never have I stayed by myself somewhere and I wanted to go explore but was also kind of nervous. I eventually got over my fear and went downtown. I found a restaurant and a drink and chatted with the bartender about what to do in Austin and the similarities between Austin and Portland (hint: not the weather).

I got up the next morning and worked in my hotel room which was really comfortable. Then I decided to workout prior to my meetings and before it got too hot (too late). For the trip to Austin I packed a backpack. This was revolutionary for me as usually for an overnight trip I need to pull out the big suitcase, “just in case”. I mean, I never know what kind of clothing or shoes I am going to want or need. But, for this trip, I managed to make some hard choices and winnowed away my packing to just the outfits I really needed. Andrew was pretty impressed, which is why the fact that I brought only sports bras but no workout shirts is a factor of my foresight to the level of heat-to-undress I would need to cope and not a reflection of my having forgotten to pack workout shirts (thank god it wasn’t shorts I’d forgotten not needed). After one mile on the treadmill I regretted not having brought a bathing suit, it was too hot to run. I got back to my room and panted for exercise.

After work on Thursday me and a coworker went out for some live music and bourbon. We ended up at Cedar Street Courtyard – an inaptly named location as it is on 4th Street and more of a courtalley. Nothing says Austin music like two skinny white chicks singing backup to a cover of Naughty by Nature’s OPP.

photo (7)

AMIRITE?!?!

But in actuality the band was fun and they played a lot of more recent top-40.

It was about 100 degrees out, and Cedar Street Courtyard was an outdoor venue. So, after a bourbon all I really wanted was some water. For the new traveller to Austin, a word of advice. Do not order water, nor drink water, in Austin unless it is from a bottle. Austin tap water tastes like what public restrooms in parks smell like. I don’t mean bathroom smells generally, I mean that wet concrete musty smell. It’s disgusting. I went back to hydrating myself with bourbon.

All in all the trip was a success. I enjoyed traveling and visiting with my cousin and I am pretty sure that the older couple sitting next to me on the plane trip back belongs to the mile high club.