Saturday, May 22, 2010

Family Dinner at Bar Avignon

Last weekend, I donned a silly black cardboard hat and a dour wizard cloak and received a piece of paper with shiny gold lettering from the President of Reed college. Today, I'm staring up at the ceiling fan in my parents' Southern California home, with absolutely no responsibilities, plans, or job prospects to my name, save impending oral surgery on Monday (grumph).

I anticipated this moment, and brought with me an arsenal of novels, magazines, photo equipment, and recipes to try, but I haven't been able to peel myself away from the self-contemplation and worry that hits me after big life moments. No. More. School. Ever. Unless I decide to do more... but still. I don't even know how to wrap my mind around this. So instead of trying, I thought I'd share some photos of the amazing dinner I had with my family at Bar Avignon last Sunday.

I had the pleasure of hosting Avignon's chef Jeremy Eckel in the Chef in the Market demonstration last weekend. I like to make it a point to visit the restaurants of the chefs I meet, especially when my family is in town and I don't have to pick up the tab. Hey, need I remind you of that "no job prospects" thing? But I digress. We were seven for dinner, which can be a bit of a quagmire when the restaurant of choice is, quite literally, a bar. So imagine our extreme pleasure when we walked into Bar Avignon, ready to sit at different tables scattered around the place, to find a near-private wine room with a huge wooden table practically calling our names.

It was idyllic, to say the least, and the food was amazing. At the Farmers' Market, we had made three vegetable salads for spring BBQ's (because Portland is Portland is Portland) so I knew Jeremy had some local-produce tricks up his sleeve, but was absolutely floored by the quality of every dish, cocktail, and desert we tasted. Every meal in my family becomes a "family-style" meal - we coordinate our orders so we are able to try almost everything on the menu, forks and plates are passed around like a game of Hot Potato, everyone tastes every dish (except for my little sister, currently a vegetarian who looked stricken with every word of praise over the chicken, pork, and steak), and desserts are shared with mathematical precision. Oh, and every gamely puts up with my snapping photos of each dish before they get to try them.

It's a bit crazy, coupled with our loud conversations and even louder laughter, but it was a great time. Avignon's delightful owners Nancy Hunt and Randy Goodman were more than amazing, and it is always a pleasure to spend time with the raucous group of characters I have the joy to call my next of kin. I may be completely listless, jobless, planless, and scared, but my family is the wind in my sails.


  1. What a wonderful family dinner! Great creative drinks, meal and dessert! We enjoyed celebrating your commencement at Bar Avignon and shared the lovely experience with your new camera and new life. Much love and best wishes for what more time will give you to add to your talents, gifts and enjoyment in life!

  2. I agree... a wonderful family dinner indeed. I read on one blog about how mealtimes can be a very powerful source of nourishment for optimal development of our children and sites 7 ways to improve mealtime with family which i think you should also check it out.

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