5/6/13

End of a Perfect Day



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We had a lovely evening last night at the Portland City Grill.  The Portland City Grill is located in the US Bank Tower in downtown Portland.  Here's an image of the building known affectionately to Portlanders as "Big Pink".

(image credit to Dan Haneckow)

The building is constructed in a diamond shape, and so there are no right angles.  I used to work in the building, and if you ride the bus to work, it has the advantage of being the first stop on the bus mall going out of town.  Why is that an advantage, you ask?  Because there are always open seats!  Nothing worse than working an 8-5 job and then having to stand up riding the bus to home.  (Glad those days are well behind me.)  But I digress.

The restaurant is located on the 30th Floor and has amazing views of the city looking north, east, and south.  It's worth waiting for a table by the window, and there were plenty of open seats next to the window in the cocktail lounge last night.  Here's what we saw when we first sat down.

This is the view looking east.  Mt. Hood always looks like you could reach out and touch it.  That is the Burnside Bridge on the left.  On the far side of the river, you can see the walkway that takes you down to the Esplanade on the east side of the river.  The east side of the river was not easy to get to until the Esplanade was built.  Now, we sit on that side to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.


This next image is the view looking north.  You can see the tip of Mt. Adams in the upper middle of the image.  Also, that is the steel bridge to the left.  It carries cars, but it also allows Amtrak to cross the river at that point.  At the extreme left is the Rose Garden where the Portland Trailblazers play basketball.  Almost in the center, but a little up, you can see the spires of our convention center...an iconic image in Portland.


Next is the view to the south.  You can see some of the bridges.  The first bridge is the Morrison Bridge, and at the close end of the bridge, you can see a ferris wheel.  There were some sort of festivities going on along the waterfront, presumably a Cinco de Mayo celebration.  There were no fireworks, but we didn't need them.  It was a lovely evening anyway.  Further down the river you can see the Hawthorne Bridge, and the Markham Bridge (which carries Interstate 5 across the river), and a little beyond that and barely visible is the Ross Island Bridge.


We each had a cocktail.  Mine was a Cosmopolitan...it seemed only fitting if we were going to come to the "big city" for dinner.


And we shared a spring roll appetizer.  That was delicious.  I love spring rolls as an appetizer.  They are yummy, but also light, and so I don't feel overly stuffed when dinner arrives.


When we were finally seated at our table, this was our view of the Burnside Bridge extending to the east side of town.


There was Happy Birthday confetti sprinkled on the table.


We had a really nice bottle of Pinot Noir from one of the local wineries.


I had the filet mignon with a pepper crust and a brandy cream sauce.  (I'm sure it was very low in calories.)  It was served with buttermilk mashed potatoes and some fresh lemony green beans.  The beans were delicious, and the steak was cooked perfectly.  Mike's dinner was nearly identical except that he had the rib eye cut.


We watched the sun set.  While we were finishing up our meal, I took this picture of the city through my wine glass.  See the reflections in the window...and the reflections of people in the reflections?  Cool!


They served us a complimentary chocolate fudge cake.  It was served warm with a caramel sauce and a salty component.  I've seen these mixtures of salt and chocolate in recipes, but it always sounded kind of gross to me.  The server explained that the salt enhances the flavor of the chocolate.  I can't say for sure if that was the case, but it was delicious.  Now I'll be on the look out for those salty chocolate things.  Yum.


And that was quite enough food and grog.  We paid the bill and headed for home.  It was a truly lovely evening.  We haven't been out for a meal in a nice restaurant for quite a while, and so it was a real treat.  

Mike's birthday is tomorrow, and so I'm going to get up in the morning and make him his favorite Eggs Benedict.  The kids are coming over next Sunday to celebrate his birthday for real, and it will be nice to have everyone here for Mother's Day.  Mike has requested prime rib.  To read this post you would think we are massive beef eaters, which we generally are not.  Once in a while though, we do loves us our roast beast.

So that's it.  Another birthday come and gone.  As I've told a few of you, a classmate of mine from high school passed away recently.  He was my age, and a truly nice guy.  He had a family with adult children and small grandchildren, who no doubt are missing him terribly right now.  We were not close, and never dated, but we were friends in high school.  He was tall and thin, with an easy smile, a kind heart, and very blue eyes.  I enjoyed seeing him at the reunions I attended.  While I dislike growing older from a physical standpoint--aching knees, wrinkles, gray hair, fuzzy memory--it is far better than the alternative.  My friend's untimely death has really driven that home to me.  Further, as I get older I find things bother me less, that I am more forgiving, that I care less what people think of me (which works well to mitigate my feelings about the wrinkles and the gray hair).  These changes are all very liberating.  Next year I will hit the big 6-0, and it's really okay.  I'm looking forward to my 59th year being a good year, and I have a lot to look forward to.

So here's a birthday toast to all of you...and especially those of you who are getting a taste of what it will mean to grow older and to be just plain old.  [Chink! of glasses and coffee cups.]  Thanks for stopping by with your birthday wishes.  The day was all the better thanks to all of you.

The wind has died down today, and so the weather is going to be really nice.  I need to go out and check the annuals to see if they need water.  Also, I simply must do a little housework, which I have been putting off.  Then I'm going to make some more progress on my Gardener's Journal quilt.  It would be great if I could get the first three sections finished today, but I'm aiming for tomorrow.  Smitty is hard at it already, so I guess I'll go see what he's up to.  I hope you have a lovely day!

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

sophie said...

My parents' birthdays are also on consecutive days in May. It makes it easy to remember. Your dinner looked fantastic, from spring rolls to goey carmelly salty chocolate thing.

Quilting Babcia said...

Your night on the town and dinner sounds wonderful! And yes, our annuals and everything else need water. I just got in from an hour of watering the gardens and all the potted plants. The wind and sun really dried everything out quickly. Enjoy your sunny Monday!

quiltzyx said...

I cannot believe they forgot the fireworks for your birthday! Sheesh.
Dinner looks wonderful - I really like the reflections picture.

Oh yes, salt & chocolate. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is one of my faves from Starbucks & Stonewall Kitchens has a delicious Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce that is OMG to swoon over! http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/shop/speciality-foods/dessert-sauces/161018.html
(I found it at the Harris Ranch gift shop on a trip up to NoCal)


Another Happy Birthday to you & one to Mike for tomorrow!

Donna said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your dinner. It looked lovely, both the meal and the view. When people tell me I'm getting old, I tell them no...I'm getting older, but not old. There is a difference even if it's only in your mind.

treadlemusic said...

That was an outstanding post....The photos were perfectly professional! Such a sweet occasion! And a Happy B'day to DH, too!! Special days are to be noted and everyday celebrated....for sure! Many more to you both..hugs, Doreen

Sheila said...

I always tell people that I am not getting older, I am getting better. My birthday will be coming in a few days, I'm a little older than you are. My husband and I both retired this past year. Even though we have had a few ups and downs, it still has been one of the best years in our 40+ years together. I always enjoy your scenery; the mountains are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

gpc said...

You are making me feel old. Sigh. What a lovely birthday, and sounds like it's going to be a lovely week. :)

Sherry said...

Lovely scenery for your birthday dinner, it all looked quite yummy. I'm seven years older than you so I can relate to the "old" thing. But we are only as old as we feel... right?

Teresa in Music City said...

So glad you had a lovely day and evening out! Thanks so much for the impromptu tour of your city :*) I am only two years behind you and dealing with all the aches etc you mention, but also seeing friends pass much too soon. Clicking my glass with you my friend - to LIFE - ain't it Grand?

Brown Family said...

That was a lovely place to have dinner and a good dinner! I told a friend that you can not stop the aging process, but you do not have to grow old. Sixty was not traumatic for me, I just have to remind myself that it was three years ago and if I have a 43 year old daughter, I can not be 45! You are only as old as you feel and think! Stay young at heart, it is more fun!

Nan

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Happy Birthday!!! Looks like you had a very very nice one.

Celtic Thistle said...

Stunning views Barbara, a wonderful way to end your Birthday celebrations. Roll on the next one :)

Rosa said...

Happy Birthday!!Great pics.

Kate said...

Glad you had an enjoyable birthday dinner. That dessert looks absolutely heavenly! How fun that your and Mike's birthday are just a day apart.

works4me said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday out. Thank you for sharing this day wityh us.

Happy birthday.

Lyndsey said...

The views from the restaurant are magnificent. Thanks for taking them time out from celebrating your birthday to take the photos. It's fun to see where other people live.

Lourdes said...

What a perfect way to celebrate your birthday!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY

lourdesfay at gmail dot com

Lynne said...

Sounds like the perfect ending to a happy birthday. Happy Birthday wishes to Mike (even though I'm late again!)