Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Today was, objectively, the prettiest day of the year. An unseasonably warm breeze danced through every jewel-box tree in Portland, sending gold, ruby, and topaz leaves swirling around my boots as we walked up to Bar Avignon for the last Fried Chicken Dinner of the year. We arrived super early to beat the rush (word has gotten out about Chef Jeremy Eckel's Draper Valley Farms Fried Chicken with Spiced Buzzing Canyon Honey, and these Wednesday night Chicken dinners have been stirring up quite the crowd) and to catch a bit of sunlight before the early-onset evening turned Randy and Nancy's bar into the romantic, candle-lit corner it becomes after dark. I just love this space. It's been my go-to date spot for a year (or, you know, it would have been if I went on more dates), and we've celebrated everything from birthdays and graduations to Happy Hours and promotions. I'd been telling Randy and Nancy that I'd come by for Bar Avignon's chicken for months, but Wednesdays have been notoriously busy this year - what with President Obama's rally for Kitzhaber and the various Portland Food Adventures (at Park Kitchen and Nostrana) I've been lucky enough to attend - though upon final examination the spread was all it was promised to be. The chicken was smokey and tender, the honey ridiculously good. Seriously, I could have drizzled that spiced honey on anything and everything. The star of the meal in my opinion was the mashed potatoes with chanterelle and chestnut gravy - I'm telling you, it was like the Platonic Form of Thanksgiving in a single bite. Paired with Nancy's killer cocktails, it was the perfect end to the day.
I could definitely handle a few more weeks of this weather - much more like a California fall day than one belonging to the City of Roses - but the improbability and transience of the sun and warm temperatures made today that much better. I'm off to Costa Rica next week - it's supposed to be in the 90's and HUMID - so my body is in for a huge shock. I'm a bit nervous that I'm going to come back and the fall colors that make this my absolute favorite time of year will be gone and the drizzly chill will have taken away everyone's smiles, but, well, I'm not going to complain about going to Costa Rica. At least I have these sunny photos from dinner to remind me that we always make it through winter. Enjoy!