29 July 2009

The Hometown Feel

Last week, I went out to dinner with some friends who were in town from the Twin Cities. We tried a place near my house called Por Que No. It was amazing. I loved the food—I've been scheming about ways to get back there to eat again ever since. I also loved the atmosphere. The place is small, casual, hot, and crowded. Folk art covers the walls. You order at the counter and then wait for your food to be brought to you. Margaritas come in pint glasses. Water, salsa, and silverware are self-service. It's casual and comfortable and homey. It's totally Portland.

I love to eat and I love all kinds of dining from the most casual to the most formal. John and I did a lot of upscale dining when we were together; eating out was far and away our biggest entertainment budget item. I appreciate white-glove service and fancy food. But the truth is that I grew up in this town where even fine dining has a casual tinge and where the juxtaposition of amazing food in a low-key setting is keenly appreciated. Ultimately, that's the vibe that feels most comfortable to me. Sitting at Por Que No, eating tacos, reminsicing with good friends . . . somehow the ambience of that event was a distilltion of why Portland is home to me. It was a snapshot of what makes Portland Portland, why I wanted to come home.

21 comments:

bostongirl said...

So glad things feel right! Thinking about you a lot during your transition.

eminpdx said...

Sounds like you are describing the one in North portland, rather than the one on Hawthorn. Although they are both crowded and hot. The tacos are worth the price and the margaritas are the best. Pleased you enjoyed.

Snickollet said...

eminpdx:

Yes, the NoPo location. MMM.

-snick

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean! Welcome home.

Tamar

SupersammyG said...

Sue Ella and I are so meeting you there next summer! I so want a big margarita! I think I deserve one too!

Diana said...

Sooooo very glad you are home and feeling so good about it.

mek said...

I could not resist torturing myself with clicking over to see the menu. Now I am sooo hungry! It all sounds delicious!

And I bet those Twin Cities friends are awful nice people!;)

Anne said...

Looks great!!! Wish I could try it! So glad you're feeling happy and at home...

cv said...

You'll have to take us there when we visit. I haven't forgotten about you, just getting my ducks in a row. Stay tuned.

Snickollet said...

CV--

I haven't forgotten about you, either! Things just seem to be busier by the minute around here. I look forward to hearing about your rows of ducks, and to having you visit.

MEK--

Yes, those Twin Cities friends are awfully great.

SupersammyG--

Margaritas for all the mamas! We all deserve one (or two . . . ) I can't tell you how much I'd love to have you all visit.

Olivia said...

It sounds so great, I am so jealous! Wish we had it in Toronto.

Vodka Mom said...

lovely..

I adore those kinds of places- the ones that remind you that you are home.

Amanda in Atlanta said...

snick
I'll have to try it next time I'm in PDX ( hopefully soon). My BIL lives on the SW side of PDX and you know how reluctant they can be to head to NoPo! I love PDX and my 6 yr old did too. We went to Oasis pizza on Hawthorne and then to my new favorite store "presents of mind". I found the food to be great and the casual atmosphere of all the places we ate, shopped, and played to be exactly what I'm looking for in a place to live. I can really see why you would want to be there, especially to raise your kids. I even accidentally met some bloggers I "know" when they told my BIL to bring us over for a play date. I recognized her twins instantly and we spent the playdate talking of which blogs we had in common and who we knew live.
My daughter is Chinese and just on my BIL's street alone are several adoptive families and single mom's who were pioneers in adoption in various countries. Fu was shocked to see teenagers who were adopted!!
love to move to PDX and my BIL is anxious to have his only neice nearby!
Amanda in ATL

OTRgirl said...

More incentives for me to try to steer Jrex toward Portland on his job search! We both love that kind of vibe.

It's funny how 'right' it feels to think of you in Portland. I'm really happy you were able to move back there.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Snick,
Have you frequented the little hole in the wall Mexican place that just so happens to share a bathroom with the strip club next door? My friend took me out for fish tacos and kept asking if I had to use the bathroom. Hee...Hee.. I've never peed so quickly in my life!

Snickollet said...

OTRGirl--

Move to Portland! Move to Portland! I'll get the welcome wagon ready.

-snick

Maya said...

Oh...happy for you and SO jealous. Born and raised Portlander here trapped on the east coast (NYC area-blech!). Daydream daily of coming "home."
There's no place like Portland. Added bonus is the many awesome and cheap restaurants. I always say they have a better "scene" than NYC and people look at me like I'm nuts. But I know better. I love your blog even more now that it's based in PDX!

kristin said...

My sister lives in Portland, and we had the best sushi ever at this totally low-key place in her neighborhood, and it was exactly what you described. only with raw fish. :) Glad you're getting out and enjoying.

Kerrie said...

Oh yummo, it looks and sounds great...seems to be run on very sound principles too.

Perhaps a weekend brunch or early dinner with M&R is in the weekend plans..??

So thrilled you feel at home and happy where you are.

Michelle said...

Mmmm, love Por Que No. Bryan's Bowl is perfection, the pomegranate margaritas are killer, and the ceviche is delicious. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! Glad that you're settling nicely back here and found such a great neighborhood.

Fairlington Blade said...

Hey, Snick! I just heard a great shout out to Halibut's on The Splendid Table today. The halibut was said to be terrific and the Copper River salmon, sublime.

Deep fried salmon. Errrrrrr (done in my weakest Homer Simpson imitation). Anyway, it's on Alberta Street. So, if you ever have a hankering for a hunk of cheese (oops, wrong turn)... Make that hankering for some fish&chips, give it a try.

Cheers!