Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Naked Ladies!

Now that I've got your attention, I have to admit that we're talking about nudes here...the kind of naked ladies that don't want your lust as much as they (or the artist) want to pique your interest. The artist, in this case, is one of the best naked-lady-artists (or artists, period) ever to hoist a camera, Edward Weston. And the naked lady of the title is his model and, eventually, his wife, Charis Wilson.

The point is, the NW Film Center is premiering a movie about them called The Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson. It was made by Northwest Documentary Arts and Media, a local production company dedicated to creating quality documentary works in the Pacific Northwest. The story of this couple's passionate relationship and collaboration in creating some of the most significant photographic work of our time is told by Charis Wilson herself. Now age 91, she fills in the often-overlooked intimate details of their relationship and how it shaped modern American photography.

Details: The Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson. Mar. 8, 7 pm. Tickets $7 available at the NW Film Center website. Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave. Phone 503-221-1156.

Bewon Korean Restaurant

When I was in college I went on an overseas study program to Korea and took language classes and lived with a family for a semester. I look back on it as a formative event in my life and, because it was my first trip outside the country, I was a total sponge, soaking up the sights, the sounds and the tastes of a place completely foreign to my experience up to that point. And yet I found the people as warm, kind, funny and accepting of me as any I'd met on this side of the Pacific.

So when I get to craving the smells and tastes that will conjure up that sense of discovery and familiarity, I head for Bewon Korean Restaurant. Having tried many Korean places here and in other cities, I find Bewon to be the most authentic representation of the Korea that I remember. Though I've only been there for lunch, which is extremely reasonably priced, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for dinner. And its elegant, understated decor serves as a perfect foil for the hearty flavors of this cuisine.

Mandu (above), the Korean version of pot stickers, are a ubiquitous item whether you're in a tiny village cafe where farmers gather for their midday meal or a high-end restaurant in Seoul. You can usually get them steamed (my preference but hard to find here) or fried. This version is pan-fried and filled with sweet potato noodle, tofu, bean sprouts, cabbage, onions, scallions, beef and pork and is a great starter for a meal.

The soon doobu chi-ge is a hearty, deeply flavorful stew that brings out both the subtlety and spiciness of Korean food. The soft tofu gives it textural interest, while the meat (we chose seafood) adds heft and flavor. It comes with a side dish of rice, which you can have separately or stir into the soup to make it more of a main dish. This would be the ideal dish to have before taking a hike through the mountains that Koreans are so fond of doing.

But my favorite dish by far is namul bibimbap, which consists of seven seasoned vegetables and an egg that is served in a bowl with a specially blended mild red pepper paste, a side bowl of rice and a small portion of their vegetable soup. Each vegetable in the bowl carries a certain flavor of sweetness or smokiness or tartness that, when mixed with the egg, rice and pepper paste, makes an explosion of flavors in your mouth with every bite.

In addition, small plates of various sauteed or pickled vegetables are brought to the table, including kimchi, the traditional Korean spicy pickled cabbage that every household in Korea preserves in large pots on their rooftops. Bewon must have my host mother's secret recipe, because it's just the way I remember hers tasting. And if you're nervous about trying this cuisine, don't be! Everyone can find something they'll like on this menu, and it's a tremendous value for the quality.

Details: Bewon Korean Restaurant,
1203 NW 23rd Ave. Phone 503-464-9222.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Do You Love Bacon?

Like we love bacon? Well, we love it so much that when I saw these bacon bandages, I had to get some. They're quite the fashion statement when you're in the checkout line at the store or in a client meeting. And a great conversation starter. (As in "What kind of nut would wear that in public?") They're occasionally available at New Seasons, and you can get them online at Archie McPhee, which has some other quite cool stuff (check out the bandages poster from India).

In other bacon-related news, we've become hooked on Beeler's Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon, which is perfect in my adaptation of Marcella Hazan's carbonara recipe (below). And sorry, dearest brother, but we actually prefer the bacon to pancetta. The smoke rules.

Carbonara
Adapted from a recipe in Marcella Hazan’s "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking"

Water for pasta
1 lb. dried penne or other pasta
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. grated parmesan, or a mixture of parmesan and romano
1/2 to 3/4 lb. bacon, sliced into 1/4” strips
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1/4 c. dry white wine or dry vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the water on to boil. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together, then add 1/2 c. of the cheese and beat in.

In a skillet, fry the bacon till it is cooked but still tender. Add the garlic to the bacon and saute briefly, then add the wine and allow to come to a simmer. While the bacon is frying, add pasta to the boiling water.

When the pasta is done, pour it into a colander to drain and then place it in a serving bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the top and stir to combine. Add the bacon mixture and stir briefly just to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle some of the remaining cheese on top and put the rest in a small bowl on the table. Serve.

Serves about four as an entree.

'Sup in Salem?

If you should ever have the need to go to Salem, the state capital of Oregon, I would recommend making the stay as short as you can and bringing as much of your own food (and drink, right) as possible. There's not a whole lot to do, especially if the weather is inclement, and not much good food to be had unless you're into a pale representation of what is available in Portland. What is it with state capitals that make them this way? Think of Sacramento...though I hear it's finally getting some good restaurants...stuck out in the drylands of north central California. Or even little Montpelier, Vermont, with the teensiest, cutest little state capitol building you've ever seen. Just try to get a decent cup of coffee, available on practically every corner in Burlington. And don't even get me started on places like Salt Lake City. Egad.

All ranting aside, though, there is a nice place to stay, the Phoenix Grand Hotel, that is right in the middle of the downtown area. A small movie theatre, Salem Cinema, that shows smaller budget and foreign films and has the most interesting home-made decor consisting of wire grids and red colored paper. And a restaurant just outside town in Silverton, the Silver Grille (left), that I would liken to the small bistros that have excellent (and well-priced) wine lists here in town.

My first day I started out with a visit to The Beanery, right across from the downtown Starbucks, which has been an institution in Salem and a boon to workers in the Capitol building for many years. While I haven't been a big Allann Bros. Coffee fan in the past, this official outlet does a nice job and has a wide selection of quiches, wraps and pastries to go with their beverage selection.

Another spot for breakfast or lunch and an old-line downtown institution is Busick Court, a place with good coffee and the usual selection of omelettes and sandwiches and is a good place to rub elbows with the locals. On Sunday they have a brunch menu that is ala carte and has several nice options, including crab cakes the size of pancakes (you get two) that come with eggs, potatoes, toast and a side of a decent hollandaise. In other words, portions are not a problem.

Other places to go include the Oregon Garden near Silverton, which at this time of year is open but pretty dormant, so I decided to hold that for another trip later in the year. But the thing you should go there for is a jewel of a house called The Gordon House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as an example of his Usonian design philosophy, which emphasized living in harmony with the land. He designed these houses for people of widely varying means and, in the process, revolutionized small house design and construction. This house was moved to the Oregon Garden to save it from demolition and it is the only Wright-designed house in the state.

At this point I have to come clean that, as a native Oregonian, I have never been to Mt. Angel or set foot on the hilltop campus of Mt. Angel Abbey. And it is something you must do as soon as is humanly possible, not because you'll have some kind of cosmic epiphany but because the Mt. Angel Abbey Library is housed in one of internationally acclaimed architect and furniture designer Alvar Aalto's two buildings in this country. And it is truly one of the most incredible buildings I've ever seen. The sweeping curves that are echoed in the skylight that spills tons of natural light into the stacks radiating out on three floors from the central desk are magnificent, and there's something soothingly regular in the little white lamps that pop up from the reading counters with their Aalto-designed stools. The furniture and most of the lighting fixtures in the library were designed and placed there by Aalto and represent one of the largest collections of Aalto's furniture in North America. This is well worth a trip by itself, and if you throw in a visit to the nearby Oregon Garden, it'd make a perfect day trip.

So I did have fun in Salem and got to see a couple of pretty amazing things that have been on my list for awhile. Now, if they could just start accepting pets at the Phoenix Grand, I could take Rosey and have a really good time!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Birding and Blues at the Coast

If you're heading to the coast this weekend and your schedule isn't completely booked with napping, walking or reading (my preferred activities when at the beach) you might want to check out the Pacific City Birding and Blues Festival in, you guessed it, Pacific City, just north of Lincoln City.

They're featuring guided field trips, speakers, workshops and, of course, blues music in the evening with the Lisa Mann Blues Trio and DK Stewart Blues Quartet with Reggie Houston. While most of the festival is booked with pre-registered participants, they have a few spaces available for walk-ins during the events. If you're interested, it's probably best to call them at 503-965-6247 or e-mail soon.

Also, if you're near Pacific City, be sure to check out the Pelican Pub & Brewery, one of the most scenic spots you can imagine for a pub, since it sits right on the beach overlooking the rock outcroppings off Cape Kiwanda. Great beer, good food.

Details: Pacific City Birding and Blues Festival, Kiwanda Community Center, Pacific City. Feb. 23-25. Phone 503-965-6247.

Glass at Bullseye

You meet the most interesting people in the oddest places. For instance, I met Martha Pfanschmidt at an outdoor fitness class that I'm taking from trainer Kristin Jackson. Kristin mentioned that Martha has a show coming up at Bullseye Gallery, and it looks like Martha's got some major mojo working.

Originally a printmaker, Martha began experimenting with glass in 2004 and has worked steadily in the medium since. This will be her first solo show, and Bullseye is the premier place in town to see what's going on in glass art. Definitely worth checking out.

Details: Martha Pfanschmidt at Bullseye Gallery, Mar. 2-Apr. 21. Reception Mar. 1, 5-8 pm and Mar. 20, 5:30-7:30 pm. Bullseye Gallery, 300 NW 13th Ave. Phone 503-227-0222.

Monday, February 19, 2007

First Century!

Welcome to the 101st post on GoodStuffNW! I can't believe I've written that many of these little missives, and I'm pleased that so many of you are still reading and, hopefully, enjoying them.

If you have any comments on the blog as a whole or suggestions about where you'd like to see it go in the future, please click on the comment button just below the post. That way everyone can read it and we can get some ideas going.

Again, thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Groovy Pad

My pal Laurie came over the other day and pulled out a little yellow notebook that got me all excited. Not only does the yellow-orange color remind me of Veuve Clicquot champagne, but they're made in France and have very cool blocky letters in black on the front. Cooler still, those yellow covers are made of sturdy cardboard that open up to reveal white graph paper pages with pale lavender grids that bring back childhood memories of the grid paper tablets I used (and loved) in school.

If you google the Rhodia paper company, you'll find that it was begun in 1932 in Lyons, France, by two brothers named Henri and Robert Verilhac. Legend has it that the two trees in the logo represent the two brothers. Originally they concentrated on producing stationery and exercise books, eventually coming up with the notebook, which has become the premier product of the Clairefontaine Rhodia company.

You can find them online at myriad places, but our very own Paper Zone on SE Grand has several sizes available if you want to check them out. I can't wait to use one at my next meeting!

Recycling Ideas

Every year, Metro, our regional government organization that protects open spaces and parks, plans for land use and transportation and manages garbage disposal and recycling for 1.3 million residents, organizes a billboad competition for the region's schoolchildren.

This year there were more than 3,000 entries from kids in grades K-12 focusing on recycling, reducing and reusing products and packaging, as well as helping to make life better for everyone through conscientious consumption. It gives teachers and schools the opportunity to explore the issues around recycling, what it means to be a responsible citizen and what that means for the other people and organisms we share the planet with.

I was asked to be on the judging panel for the competition this year and I've got to say it was a tough job winnowing down the entries to the four winners (one from each age group) that will be made into billboards, rotating around the region for the next year. It's a great program, and one we can all be proud of!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mexico? Why Not?

In case you're not signed up for e-mails from ¿Por Qué No? head hombre Bryan Steelman, then you're missing out on the latest from this tiny taqueria with the heavenly carnitas on N. Mississippi. The skinny? To quote Bryan:

"I have a plane to catch with Josh (Chef @ Por Que No), Troy (Chef at Lovely Hula Hands) & Josh's brother who just moved here. We are doing our annual inspirational trip down to Mexico...This year we are flying into Mexico City, renting a VW, driving down to Oaxaca and hopping into some of the best cities in Mexico along the way: Puebla, Guanajuato, Taxco, and places we don't know of yet. We leave at 10pm tonight and we will return next Friday, so look for some great specials and a killer Michelada to be gracing the specials board when we return."

Gee, Bryan, sounds like a great road trip! And you can be sure I'll be in line to see what you bring back.

Details: ¿Por Qué No?, 3524 N. Mississippi. Phone 503-467-4149.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chocolate Man

There must be a lot of women who totally want to marry David Briggs. The fact that they may be in their 50s (or more) and he's maybe in his 30s isn't a consideration. No sir. And it's all because this young man is not only a fabulous cook (he's sous chef at Park Kitchen), he's also the chief chocolatier, designer, dishwasher and everything else at Xocolatl de David, a recent entry in Portland's burgeoning chocolate scene. I met him at a chocolate tasting at Foster & Dobbs and got to try a few of his products as well as some of his recent experiments, and was thoroughly impressed.

This guy has a very different take on that dark, sweet delight, though. It started when he was in culinary school and decided, after a family dinner that involved one-upping each other with different food combinations, to complete a class project by developing a bacon ice cream. Yes, I said bacon ice cream. Which led him to try ice cream and then chocolates with a savory (some would say demented) twist. Using ingredients like, yes, bacon (which is an amazing thing to taste), lemongrass, salt, cardamom, olive oil, camembert and Sichuan peppercorns. Not all at once, mind you.

You can find his wonderful truffles at various local outlets, including Steve's Cheese, Foster & Dobbs and Tea Chai Te. And look for more incredible flavors and products to come. This guy has plans, and the talent to make them happen.

Dueling Garden Shows

Someone is really messing up the scheduling here. Normally at least a week or two separates the two big Portland garden shows, the Portland Home & Garden Show at the Expo Center and the Yard, Garden & Patio Show at the Convention Center. But now they're both slated for the same weekend! I can barely handle the smaller of the two shows, the one at the Convention Center, without getting overwhelmed in just a couple of hours. And it's within walking distance of my house. How are we supposed to make room for both? Especially now that I found out that taking Max to the Expo Center is so easy, it totally blows my whole rant about driving all the way out to North Portland. Yeesh!

So I guess I'm going to have to sit down and map out a plan of attack. Luckily the Expo show runs for five days (Wed.-Sun.) and the other one is three days (Fri.-Sun.). Maybe I should call Donny Rumsfeld for strategic advice...he probably has nothing better to do. Then again, he wasn't too good with the whole Baghdad post-war thing.

Oh, and don't forget that if you see a plant or container that you simple can't live without, ask the people at the booth if it's for sale. Lots of vendors sell out their show inventory for peanuts compared to the price you'd pay at a garden store, and you can go in the last day and pick them up.

Details: Portland Home & Garden Show, Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Dr. Wed.-Sun., Feb. 21-25. $10 adults (coupon on the website for $3 off admission). Phone 503-246-8291.

Yard, Garden and Patio Show, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Fri.-Sun., Feb. 23-25. $11 adults (coupon on the website for $2 off admission). Phone 503-682-5089 or 800-342-6401.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Dish on Seattle Dining

I just found out about a new Seattle food blog called Urban Dish that focuses on locally owned and operated restaurants, bars and pubs. It was started by a group of food enthusiasts, including a few restaurant types, who couldn't find an online guide that fit their needs. They wanted something that had an attitude, that wasn't compromised by advertising, that talked about the kinds of good, comfortable places we're all looking for, that...hey, wait a second...this is all sounding just a little too familiar, isn't it?

So far they have a smattering of restaurants featured, along with a "Kiosk" section that provides a free section for restaurant folks to post information about upcoming events. It's worth checking out now, but look for big things from these guys. It's going to be the go-to site for us, for sure, when we need dining info for our next trip.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Waffle-icious!

Bread and Ink, that cornerstone of life on SE Hawthorne for more than 20 years now, has added Belgian waffles to their menu. How does a Belgian waffle differ from the regular waffle we're used to seeing at Denny's throughout the land? Well, that's what proprietor and dessert maven Mary Fishback set out to resolve after her sons came back from a month in Europe raving about the waffles they'd bought at street carts in Brussels.

The problem was getting the right texture and flavor combination that allows this hand-snack to be consumed while walking the ancient city. Mary discovered that it's a special kind of sugar, called pearl sugar, that's added to the batter just before pouring it into the waffle iron that gives the yeast batter its unique portability.

They'll be serving these treats topped with seasonal fruits and maple syrup and mascarpone, and you may even see them popping up on the evening dessert menu. So if a trip to Brussels isn't in your immediate future, head over to Hawthorne for this most Belgian of treats.

Details: Bread and Ink Cafe, 3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Phone 503-239-4756.

Zen Box

According to Wikipedia, our source for all things, "a masu was originally a square wooden box used to measure rice in Japan during the feudal period." Made of hinoki wood, these boxes became the standard serving vessels for sake. The restaurant that has borrowed that name, Masu, with its original location downtown and a newly opened outpost on NE 28th, has used the little box as an inspiration for some of the best Japanese food I've had in town.

I went there for lunch recently with my friend Kathryn and was blown away by the preparations, presentation and distinctive flavors presented. We started with a salad of translucent slices of flounder sprinkled with roasted red pepper, black and white sesame seeds and fish roe, served with shaved jalapeno pepper and radish. Heaven! This was followed by shiitake mushrooms and steamed squash wrapped in little packets of wonton noodles around a puddle of pureed squash, the whole dish drizzled with green onion-infused oil.

Not knowing when enough was enough, we then ordered a "Butterfly" roll of eel, crab, cucumber and avocado that put us right over the edge with its smoky, fishy creaminess accented by the addition of bits of pickled ginger and wasabi.

I've been a dedicated habitué of Nostrana's lunch menu for noontime meetings with friends and clients, but I'm definitely going to be putting Masu on that same list. And if you go to the website, there's a special password that is good for the first hour of lunch and dinner service that will get the first 15 customers a discount of 15% off their food purchases at the eastside location.

Details: Masu, 310 SE 28th. Phone 232-5255.

My Life in France

Unfortunately I haven't yet had that life, but at least I can read about someone who has. This is the well-reviewed and much talked about book by Julia Child's nephew that was written in collaboration with her in her last years. It's a book she'd wanted to write for many years but just hadn't gotten around to, and when her writer nephew offered to help get it done, she jumped at the chance.

Reviewing the voluminous letters she and her husband, the writer and artist Paul Child, had written to various friends and relatives while Paul worked for the American embassy in Paris and Marseille, Alex Prud'homme has done a marvelous job of telling their story in Julia's unforgettable voice. Forthright and funny, she goes from being an insecure new bride plopped in a strange land where she doesn't know the language to an indefatigable champion of the country's people and culture. It also tells the story of this loving but unlikely couple, Julia over six feet tall with horsey good looks and Paul a shorter, bald man ten years her senior.

A much more concise work than the hideously edited but fascinating biography, "Appetite for Life" by Noel Riley Fitch, this is a good introduction to a very human Julia Child before she became a revered (and caricatured) American icon.

Paley's Bar

And no, I'm not talking about Vitaly Paley's venture into the questionable realm of the it-tastes-like-cardboard power bar. I'm talking about the pocket-sized and European-feeling bar that sits to the left of the main dining room at Paley's Place, one of Portland's great dining spots. You take a seat, hang up your purse or coat on the hooks under the bar, and before you can even greet the folks sitting next to you, you've got a menu in your hand, water and a dish of their addictive homemade barbecue-flavored chips to munch on while you ponder your beverage choices.

And this bar has major cocktail chops. My negroni was nearly as good as Dave makes them at home, though theirs is the orange zest version rather than the lemon zest we use. And those of my companions were spot-on as well, nicely balanced and with generous pours, not those wimpy little half-sized things that some bars in town pass off for $8 and change.

The bar menu is the same one the restaurant offers, so you can stick with their wonderful small plates or go for the big entrée guns. We had the night's special mussels, big, orange-y and succulent, and when they start rolling out the (seemingly bottomless) house specialty fries with mustard aioli, stand back. As if that weren't enough, we then had the truffle spaetzle with mushrooms that oozed earthy goodness, and a Dungeness crab salad with truffles and bacon. Yikes!

This is as good as anything you'll get on the planet, and it's the ideal cozy, romantic spot to share a drink and a nosh with someone special. Even if they're sitting next to you at the bar and you've never met them before!

Details: Paley's Place, 1204 NW 21st Ave.; Phone 503-243-2403.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Swimming to Knott St.

For the last couple of weeks I've been going to Dishman Pool, a Portland Parks and Rec facility just off MLK, for water aerobics classes. A friend has been going there for several years and, despite my whining about not having a suit and the whole locker-room being-naked-in-front-of-anyone trauma, finally convinced me to try it.

And I'm a convert...in one hour you get a great aerobic, conditioning, strength-training workout without sweating a drop or over-stressing your muscles. Plus it's great for core muscles, since you're wearing ankle floats and having to work to stabilize yourself in the water. And Dishman is one of those all-too-rare places in Portland where you can experience all of our community's different economic, political, ethnic and age groups. What a great feeling!

There are classes and lap swimming from 6 am till 5:45 pm that are geared for everyone from pre-schoolers to seniors (and those of us somewhere in between) and the cost is very reasonable. I'd highly recommend trying it out.

Details: Matt Dishman Community Center & Pool, 77 NE Knott St.; Phone 503-823-3673.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Street of Eames

If you love modern architecture and design as much as I do, you already know about the powerful work of Charles and Ray Eames, the husband-wife team that did so much to promote an ethic of humanistic modernism in the middle of the 20th Century. Known for their groundbreaking work in furniture design, architecture, industrial design and photographic arts, they were at the epicenter of the post-war changes that were taking place in this country.

And now a new Portland home tour, cleverly named Street of Eames, is featuring tours of six mid-century and contemporary modern homes on Saturday, April 14. Four of the the six homes are occupied by their architects and designers, so this is truly a rare opportunity to see some very personal statements by leading local professionals. And the best part is that the event is raising money for Project Returns SOARING program that seeks to maintain an after school program for homeless and low-income children.

BTW, tickets go on sale in mid-February and they sell out quickly, so get your name on their e-mail list on the website to get updates and a reminder when tickets are available. Additionally, there is an event featuring the Eames film legacy on Feb. 22 at Design Within Reach that also benefits the Project Returns program and provides a rare opportunity to see their films, many of which are out of print.

Details: Street of Eames Home Tour. Sat., April 14. For ticket information, send a blank e-mail with "tickets" in the subject line to tickets@streetofeames.org.

Eames Film Festival at Design Within Reach. 6:30-8:30 pm, Thurs., Feb. 22. $5 donation suggested. Design Within Reach, 1200 NW Everett. Phone 503-220-0200.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Big Blue

Recently, we made the dreaded trek down the freeway to the outlet mall just to go to the Le Creuset store and, thanks to a generous Christmas gift from my in-laws, purchased a very large (9 1/2 qt.), very blue oval Dutch oven.

Though they cost a scary amount of money, this baby has more than earned its keep in the last month, churning out a batch of heavenly choucroute garni for nine, coq au vin (a couple of times) and, just today, a cannellini bean dish with sausages that would take any mortal's breath away. Something about the way the heat is concentrated inside the Dutch oven when it spends a couple of hours in a low, slow oven turns the beans to butter and steeps everything in that wonderful smoky goodness from the sausages and bacon. I've made this dish many times on the stove and it's never tasted like this. What a great addition!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Raise Your Hand!

There's an auction coming up, giving you an opportunity to nab some excellent original photographs for very reasonable prices and, best of all, to brag that you're a supporter of a small but vital organization dedicated to building a community around local photography, the Newspace Center for Photography. And the work up for auction isn't just the product of some snap-happy goofballs with disposable cameras, but photographs by fifty local and national photographers including Larry Fink, Gus Van Sant, Michael Kenna, Stu Levy, Shawn Records, Holly Andres, Christopher Rauschenberg, Mariana Tres, Cherie Hiser, Ann Ploeger, Jim Lommasson and many more.

The auction on Feb. 24 culminates an exhibition of the photographs all this month at Newspace. And if you've thought about adding some photographs to your collection but aren't sure what distinguishes a good photograph from the vacation snaps you took last summer, on Feb. 13 they're having a special preview of the exhibition and a gallery talk on collecting photography hosted by Jennifer Stoots of Stoots Fine Photography, an appraisal and consulting firm, and Terry Toedtemeier, curator for the Portland Art Museum.

So get out your paddle and start working on your bidding chops. You've only got a couple of weeks!

Details: Newspace Center for Photography, 1032 SE 10th Ave.; Phone 503-963-1935.

Doggie Nirvana

If there is such a place as dog heaven, it's going to look a lot like Kelley Point Park. This large 93-acre park is one of Rosey's favorite places and ranks high on my list of great spots for hiking, picnicking and, like I said in the previous sentence, taking your dog. Located at the mouth of the Willamette where it meets the Columbia, it's the perfect place to walk along the sandy beach next to the river, throw sticks and enjoy a view of wildlife, a working river and the giant ships that load and unload cargo on the other bank.

Created on a spit of land in 1984, in the 1840s the park was originally meant to be developed into "the Manhattan of the Northwest" by New Englander Hall J. Kelley. When he realized his grand scheme was often underwater, he gave up and went off in search of other projects. But when it fell into the hands of the Port of Portland, the agency covered the flood-prone peninsula with tons of river dredgings to create the park as we know it today. The dogs of Portland salute your failure, Mr. Kelley!

Chocolate and Zucchini?

When my friend Martha sent me a link to a site called Chocolate and Zucchini, I was (no offense, Martha!) pretty skeptical. But when I clicked and was taken to a foodie wonderland of great recipes, forums and pictures, I was completely sold. Plus there are three recipes on the front page that I have to make right away.

It was started in 2003 by a young Parisian woman named Clotilde Dusoulier who, like so many of us who have turned to blogging, wanted to share her "thoughts, recipes, musings, cookbook acquisitions, quirky products, nifty tools, restaurant experiences, ideas and inspirations." Apparently she's quite well known and successful at her venture and now has a line of Chocolate and Zucchini books, which she also blogged amusingly about while the projects were in development.

Call me a johnny-come-lately to the C&Z pool party, but I'm (finally) in!

Great Looking

You're not going to believe this, but for the first time in ages I actually ventured out (on a week night!) to First Thursday. But only because my friend Dana felt she needed to attend the openings of a couple of her photography students and she wanted some company. After getting a guarantee that the evening would include having a drink and snacks, I agreed and she came and whisked me off to the Pearl.

All this is the long way of telling you that you've got to get to PushDot Studios and see the work of photographer Tara Chatterton, a recent graduate of Mt. Hood's digital photography program. I rarely get knocked to the floor by someone's work anymore, but Tara is a major talent waiting to happen. Like great photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark and Elliott Erwitt, hers is a personal sensibility that is somehow transmuted through the people she photographs, so much so that you're not sure if you're looking at the person in the photograph or at Tara herself. It's a show well worth seeing, because you're going to be hearing more about her, I can guarantee you.

Details: Tara Chatterton at PushDot Studios, 830 NW 14th Ave.; Feb. 1-24; Phone 503-224-5925.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What Goes Around

Just got an update from our old friend Joel Weinstein, master of the fondly-remembered ass-kicking local magazine formerly known as Mississippi Mud, who is now ensconced in a little casa in Puerto Rico and causing ripples on the internet with his new venture Rotund World. Though I haven't made it through the whole site, it's an amazingly deep survey of what's going on in the world of Latin American art and culture filtered through Joel's shall-we-say unique perspective.

In the old Mud days, Joel was a neighbor in Sellwood, taking Spanish classes, doing freelance design, writing for local pubs and providing occasional babysitting for parents in desperate need of a break. Then he moved to Austin with ladylove Cheryl, then to Miami and now San Juan where his fluent Spanish has landed him in the center of the art and art-journalism swirl on the island, and Cheryl is putting together breath-taking shows as chief curator at the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

What next? We'll just have to check in with RW for the "homenajes, comings and goings, squabbles, promesas, sales to important collectors, drunken brawls, unconcealed flattery, pissy interchanges, lukewarm showers, boring stretches of nothing going on, accidental deaths, hip-joint replacements, studio hijinks, unintended insults, and a bit of fly-specking, sometimes all at once."

WARNING: Dark Deliciousness Ahead!

Consider this a heads-up to you chocoholics in rehab to avoid Foster & Dobbs on Tuesday, Feb. 13. They're having a class that evening with master chocolatier David Briggs, the guy responsible for Xocolatl and wacky combinations like Bacon Caramel, Fleur de Sel and Szechuan Peppercorn Ganache, as well as Milk Chocolate with Earl Grey Tea, among others.

David will be discussing how he comes up with his (evil) flavor combinations, his methods and materials and more. And he'll be taking participants on a guided tasting tour from the raw materials to the finished confections. So stay home, put on your jammies and repeat your twelve-step pledge...it's not going to be a night to venture out!

Details: Xocolatl with David Briggs at Foster & Dobbs. 7:15 p.m., Feb. 13; $15, reservations only. Foster & Dobbs, 2518 NE 15th Ave. Phone 503-284-1157 for reservations.