Great food, fine wine, fun design,

a quirky film and a new book

I've been a bit lax on the bLog-oMotives entries lately. It seems a busy social calendar, writing my new book Identity Crisis! (to be published by HOW Design Books in 2007), submitting articles for publication in Turkish and Russian design magazines, and preparing materials to be published in other books got in the way this past week. The social aspects were a great deal of fun and provided lots of design inspiration.

Last Tuesday night I attended a great cooking class at the culinary store In Good Taste in Portland's Pearl District. Holland + Knight, the law firm for which my partner is the business manager, had the cooking class "Hands-On Tropical Escape" as their summer associate activity. Chef Erika Carlson and her cohorts led us step-by-step through making Tamarind- Glazed Prawns on Won Ton Crisps; Watercress Salad with Oranges, Caramelized Coconut Spiced Macadamia Nuts and Chevre; Chicken Jerk and Halibut Pineapple Skewers on a bed of Caribbean Couscous with Dried Tropical Fruit and Flaked Coconut; and Banana-Rum Flambe with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream. Along the way we sipped Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, Red Stripe Beer and Willow Crest 2005 Pinot Gris. A great time was had by all - and, as a designer, I enjoyed checking out the great packaging of all the food products throughout the store.

The following night some friends had a private party at the new N.E. Alberta retail establishment Cork: A bottle shop. The store, operated by the former owners of the restaurant Assaggio, is a welcoming space highlighting an incredible selection of wines. Proprietor Darryl Joannides did a beautiful job designing and building out the store. One of the first things I noticed was the business card produced on an actual wine cork. Designer Todd Skiles of Fullblast created the logo and other identity elements. The walls of the store displayed some beautiful art works from the Alysia Duckler Gallery. As if we hadn't had enough food and wine the previous night, the party featured a wonderful selection of appetizers and desserts from caterer Food in Bloom, and much more than tastings of three whites (including a selection from Jacques and Francois Lurton - who make some of my favorite wines from Chile and Argentina) and four reds. The voice of jazz singer Mary Kadderly sounded fantastic in the acoustics of the space. While I was checking out all the wine label designs I heard some laughter across the room. One of the party guests had discovered Bitch - a Barossa Grenache produced by Dan Philips, David Hickinbotham and Chris Ringland, some well-known individuals in the wine industry. Quite a bit of Bitch was purchased by the party-goers. I'm sure everyone has someone in their life that deserves a bottle. I'll certainly be going back to Cork to check out more wines, their selection of gourmet chocolates, and the balsamic vinegars and olive oils. We'll probably pop in on Thursday evening while enjoying Alberta Street's Last Thursday event.

My Thursday was a day of recovery and time to catchup on many work-related efforts. I really had no desire to even leave my home and spent much of the day working from my new garden space.

Friday started out with a meeting to help coordinate the Second Annual North Portland Pride BBQ and Festival to be held August 13th on the grounds of the University Park United Methodist Church. Last year I designed the logo for the now annual event. I had great biscuits and gravy, at Darcy's in the Portsmouth neighborhood, while brainstorming with the coordinators about sponsors, participants and performers for the festival.

I then rushed home, changed my clothes and headed to the Simpatica Dining Hall, in southeast Portland, for a client luncheon. The dining hall is located next to the Simpatica catering kitchen in the basement of an interesting old building that was formerly the Pine Street Theatre and the La Luna club. I think their logo is beautiful (and will try to find out who created it) It was another amazing meal of their signature green salad, grilled asparagus with Parmesan and lemon, fuscilli pasta with Nonna's meatballs and red sauce and a chocolate cheesecake tart. I was so tempted to have the Simpatica Cheeseburger, but felt I'd already overeaten throughout the week. With my lunch I had O'Reilly's Chardonnay, while other guests enjoyed a Zoot Allures syrah/cabernet (bottled by J. Christopher Wines). Lunch ended about 3:00 p.m. and then it was suggested that several of the guests walk a block over to Doug Fir, in the Jupiter Hotel complex, to cap the afternoon off with a cocktail (or two). Somehow it was suddenly nearly 5:OO p.m. and time to call it a day.

This is not my normal kind of week. I'm usually quite the home-body. With 80-85% of my design work being done cyberly for clients outside of Oregon I seldom have the need to leave my own neighborhood for any reason. It felt great to spend part of my Saturday going the Marbott's Greenhouse & Nursery (1808 NE Columbia Blvd) buying several flats of annuals for my garden and patio pots. The relaxation continued as Ed and I spent part of the evening watching the intriguing and quirky movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I thoroughly enjoyed the Saul Bass-ish opening credits and the movie was great entertainment.

Our social obligations for the week were not quite over. Yesterday morning we had a brunch book signing to attend at the home of Robert Weiss and Norma Leszt for Weiss' latest book, Mardi Gras at the Monastery and Other Stories. (Bob was a founding partner in the law firm Weiss Jensen Ellis & Howard, the company Ed went to work for over 12 years ago, and the firm later merged with Holland + Knight.) The roof garden of their condo was the perfect place for the gathering, with more good food, mimosas and music provided by Robin Dubay and Holly Stern of the Portland Baroque Orchestra. I'm really looking forward to reading the book when I finish with some of the other selections on my nightstand. The brunch was the perfect start of a beautiful day, and a great way to end the craziness of the past week.

With this entry I hope bLog-oMotives is back on track. I plan to post entries on more of regular basis. So, it's back to work as I try to focus on staying cool. The forecast is for 102 degrees here in P-land today. I'm fairly wimpy in that heat - a great reason to stay in my air-conditioned office and get a lot done.

Photos © In Good Taste and Doug Fir

© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives


kafkasaxe said...

Da*n, Jeff. If you're not careful, you're gonna explode from all that gourmet food!

Jeff Fisher LogoMotives said...

Yes, I think it's time to fast for a few days...liquids only...maybe just wine!