Bike Show Returns!

So, I had to admit to Daniel (who promised he wouldn’t brag “I told you so”), that I made a mistake by not going to the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show.  It skipped a few years but now this annual happening has returned to our area.  I was tired and I figured it might be tough with the little ones but it seems – from Jenny’s account of her day there – that I was wrong.

Organized by the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association and located at Swan Island, a bunch of the state’s top frame builders assembled.  Apparently it was really quite incredible.  There were 18 builders and 36 exhibitors and the kids had such a blast seeing their newest creations.  It wasn’t just old-timers who are famous either – there were exhibitors who were just starting out who were really creative. Then there were all the cool Chris King Precision Components; Dan Coyle’s handmade wooden helmets; Brian Engelen’s funky light creations and more. 

Yes indeed, it was a shame we missed it.  But, as Daniel nicely said to me when I admitted my mistake, “there’s always next year.”

Bite of Oregon Festival

We’ve not done all that much with the kids over the summer vacation because Daniel and I have had pretty tough deadlines throughout July and August at work.  So when Daniel suggested last weekend we go to the Bite of Oregon festival with the kids and his mom, I thought it would be a great idea.  Jayden was thrilled as his best friend’s family was going to.  Turns out, so was the rest of the city…or at least it felt that way.  I later read that close to 50,000 people had the same idea as we did – to go to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park for this annual happening!

So while I initially felt a bit sick when I got there on seeing the tremendous hoards of people, I lightened up when I saw that the entrance fee was at 50 percent of its original price.  There was tons of food (which Ethan gobbled up and I enjoyed), lots of beer and wine (Daniel was in heaven) and celebrity chef, Aaron McCargo Jr. who used to host Big Daddy’s House.

I watched some of the chef demonstrations which Ethan got a kick out of (Daniel is convinced he’s going to be our chef in our old age as he loves food; so much so that he often throws up from eating too quick).  Indeed, overall, a fun time was had by all.  Tons of money is raised for Special Olympics Oregon too and that means a lot to me.


So apart from finally doing something fun with the kids in the summer, we helped a good cause too!


The Waterfront Blues Festival

It’s all been happening here in Portland and the summer’s only just started!  I truly love summers here; they’re always a lot going on for both children and adults.  A few weeks ago we had the Waterfront Blues Festival at Tom McCall Park. What I loved about it was that there was something for everyone.  Daniel told me it’s the 25th time they’ve done it, on a yearly basis!   It first began as the Rose City Blues Festival, as a tribute to the homeless.  It still has that theme, as it has a mission: to eliminate hunger for all.  So it’s a great fundraiser (which is important to teach the kids, that while we’re doing something fun we should think about others less fortunate than ourselves), by donating $10 for entrance as well as at least two cans of food. What’s great is that all donations go straight to Oregon’s Food Bank.

For me personally, I loved the Steve Miller Band and James Hunter.  But what was great also is that it was very kid-friendly too with all the fireworks, kids’ dance classes, Blues Guitar Workshop and more.  What a blast.  So everyone in the family enjoyed it.  Can’t wait to go back again next year!

Eater’s First Pizza Week

I am not such a huge fan of pizza, but Daniel and the boys just love it.  So they were really happy to hear about Eater PDX first-ever Pizza week in Portland.  What this means is that for all the restaurants in the region that have never served pizza, they now have a chance to concoct and serve up a special Eater Pizza to be accessible to restaurant-goers for that entire week.  Every day for a week, a new item will be highlighted and reviewed at Eater PDX, with the first one being Greg Perrault’s June restaurant at 2215 East Burnside Street. 

Our friends checked it out.  They were thrilled with the entire flatbread concept of a clam pizza.  We asked them if they knew how it was made.  So apparently, it’s all down to Perrault’s techniques.  His dough is where it’s at – the ingredients include: whole-wheat flour locally milled from Greenwillow Farms; and sprouted radish seeds.  Then, he does something quite unusual with it. Instead of baking, he actually grills the dough on a medium heat. The dough is sautéed and then flipped on its other side.  Perrault put on the leaves, cheese, clams pickled ramp steams and coppa in layers and then the whole thing goes on a rack in a hot oven until the clams pop open.  At that point, Perrault drizzles the dish with a cream flavored anise seed.

Portland Loo Up for Grabs?

Portland is famous for a whole lot of things and I guess its bathroom facilities are probably quite high on the list.  However, when you start comparing the public facilities to others throughout the nation, the Portland Loo doesn’t have all that much competition.  So now it seems the city might be cashing in on its invention.

I always remember my mom complaining that there were no facilities along the road when she was pregnant with my siblings.  It drove her – and my poor father who was trying to take us on a road trip – nuts.  So when I got to Portland discovered the Portland Loo, I remember telling my mom all about it.  “Oh,” she said, “things still haven’t changed all that much here back in Cincinnati,” she bemoaned. 

Even if one can find such a facility, they often smell worse than where a vagabond has been sleeping for more than a night or two.  And the vandalism is insane. So unless you happen to be close to a popular restaurant chain, then you’re pretty stuck.  And it sure isn’t fun when you’re pregnant, as when you have to go, you really have to go.

It seems though that now the country’s big cities are trying to do something similar, which is ending up to be a costly – and not so effective – poor alternative. Large cities around the nation are purchasing very high-tech self-cleaning automatic loos that aren’t quite doing the job.  Like in Seattle, five were installed, costing the city a staggering $5million but due to them being used for drugs and prostitution, they were sold on eBay in 2008!

Clearly the Portland Loo is the way to go.  I mean, if it anyway already has its own FB page and more than 200 Twitter followers, what more can one ask for?