Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"I'll Just Have the Cheese Plate"

"Stumptown" is affectionately considered the nickname for Portland, Oregon, my beloved "stumping grounds". Some of my most devoted readers may already know- but I am originally from Oregon and can often be found (average 1.2 weekends in a month) either savoring the rain or 8 weeks out of the year saturating the sunshine with my family.

Why the name "Stumptown"? I guess the city was growing so rapidly that the stumps of trees were cut down to make way for roads, leaving a big mess of stumps. Believe it or not some were painted to call attention to them. I love that thinking- even if it's slightly unsightly- let's give it some pazazz or flair by painting it and then consider it a landmark. Brilliant.

This last weekend I was able to make a trip south to see my family and friends. Friday night I met my sister and Sarah for a little wine (or as my sister calls it in her worst nightmares "rodney" (you'll have to ask her- and it's a REALLY good story- so please do ask)) and cheese. Actually I think that was exactly how I greeted my sister at Blue Hour - "can we immediately order wine and a cheese flight".

It had been one of those weeks that only wine and cheese could cure. If I was in a committed relationship I could probably think of other things besides cheese and wine that could relieve my stress- but alas I was left with the caloric alternative- cheese and wine.

I knew I was in good company when my sister has already ordered me a glass of syrah and then nonchalantly reviewed the menu and ordered a bottle of
Cote du Rhones. After a 3 week stint in France she couldn't help but know her french wines...........
Soon Sarah arrived and our dinner party seemed complete. We choose a variety of savories from the menu to perfectly compliment our bottle of wine. While discussing my recent love for the color purple (purple is THE color for fall) I found myself consistently and increasingly raising my voice to a new audible level. In the back of my head I wondered why I kept hearing this constant drum beating. I know it had been a long and tiring week.... but was it so bad that I was continually hearing a drum beating? For a slight moment I actually regretted breaking up with my therapist earlier this summer. Suddenly Christi admittedly exclaimed "We were NOT eating foie gras so why all the noise". Wait. What?

Ohhh..... that's right. I was in such a hurry to order my wine and cheese I almost forgot about the group of protestors at the entrance of Blue Hour with all the foie gras picket signs. Up until that point they had been peacefully picketing. Ever so often we could hear them yell something or we might of noticed their picket signs in the corner of your eye, but nothing offensive. For some reason towards the end of our dinner they got quite "ambitious" and almost intrusive.

They started picketing right in front of our table, loudly chanting and beating their drums. To be honest I was almost worried one of them might swipe a slice of margherita. Obviously this had elevated to a whole new level when my dinner savories and ability to relax were at stake.

So.... what did I do? What any loyal and considerate blog writer might do..... I took a bunch of pictures so I could document and share the experience with my readers.

What did Blue Hour do? They brought around complimentary shots for all their outside patrons. Although my affections can not be bought- that damn drum beating in the back of my head certainly did soften a little.

At that point it took us about .08 seconds to finish our drinks, close out our tab, stumble past the picketers and walk into Teardrop Lounge for a relaxing bottle of champagne.
In closing- there is something quite commendable about exercising your right to protest. At the same time there is something to be said for the right to enjoy your cheese and wine sans a beating drum (be it simply in your head or in front of your table).

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