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August 6th, 2003 Caryn B. Brooks | Miss Dish
 

GOODBYE, FAREWELL AND AMEN

     
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The Statue of Liberty in a Bagel
GENTLE READERS,

The last time Miss Dish will write that greeting is right there. She will also dispense with the third person and give it to you straight--I am leaving my post at the Dish desk after almost five years of service. This is my final column.

While some adversaries may claim victory over my departure, a bloodless coup has not run me out of town. The truth is less intriguing, but exciting all the same--I've been given a fellowship at Columbia University in New York City and will spend the next year taking classes and researching arts journalism.

But what is proving harder than leaving Stumptown is writing this final column. The questions are many. Will I miss this place? Do I have regrets? Anyone I'd like to fling the sting at one last time? One colleague, David Walker, admonished me to "write it like the last episode of MASH, not the last episode of Cheers." I'll try.

Did Hawkeye love Korea? Even under the duress of war, he came to understand that a place becomes the sum of its parts. And I adore Portland--it's my brilliant Korea. As I gather up my things after five years as WW's arts editor and almost as long as Miss Dish, I've been meditating on the meaty essay by bicoastal (New York and Portland) writer Jon Raymond about the concept of regionalism. The piece, which appeared in local arts broadsheet The Organ, raises some interesting questions. In the wake of what many see as the death of regionalism at the hands of big, bad globalism, where do our stories of here fit? Who owns them? How do we wield them? What do they mean?

Raymond's essay starts with the line, "Everywhere, if you ask people who live there, is the most amazing, underappreciated, awful, beautiful, fascinating place on earth," and he's right. It's ridiculous to say I won't meet equally inspiring people in New York or that Portland has the corner on passionate restaurateurs, intriguing dining concepts, ego-tripping blowhards or specialized ingredients. Still, Portland's stories--our delicate friction of people, place and thing--do matter, even if they only matter to us. The war against globalism and its army of sameness starts at home.

So, without further ado, some hiccups.

I will miss the following:

* Eating dinner at Ripe and staring at the Fremont Bridge from the stoop in front of its adjacent coffee shop.

* The Apples Carl Sagan at Noble Rot.

* Drinking Chimay and eating a burger with the most amazing garnishes at Higgins' bar.

* Drinking a Cosmopolitan at Colosso at a quarter past midnight.

* Celebrating Passover at Mother's Bistro with a bunch of strangers.

* Burgerville.

* The adorable Lebanese brothers at Pico de Gallo who make Mexican food--though I beg them to bring me their mother's cooking (still haven't gotten it, guys).

* Fondue with French fries at Bluehour.

* Tillamook Brown Cow ice cream.

* The Chef to Go duo, who show that you could own a five-story building and still not make food as good as what comes out of their humble cart.

* Avocado daiquiris at Mint.

* Dungeness crabs caught and cooked at the coast.

* Sunday brunch at the Daily Cafe.

* Slices at Bella Faccia.

* People who have the courage of their convictions, misguided as they may be (Ted Papas and Sam Macbale, I'm talking to you!).

* New Seasons market.

* Chef Robert Reynolds, who once convinced me that Versace was inspired in his designs by the way a certain Italian dish lay on the plate, thus changing the way I perceive food forever.

* Clay pots at Pho Van.

* Some formidable competition named Karen Brooks, Grant Butler and Christina Melander.

* Ripe plantains at Pambiche.

* The Oregon roll at Mio Sushi.

* Line-caught salmon.

* Chicken bento at Mr. Moto.

* Waiting at Saburo's.

* The Chicken Marbella sandwich at Leaf & Bean.

* The burger with the egg at Stanich's.

* Octopus cocktail at Taqueria Nueve.

* WW food writers Roger Porter, Jim Dixon and Elizabeth Dye, who taught me a thing or two.

* Grandma Jean's at Gino's.

* Black Sheep Bakery's vegan goodies.

* Rogue Ale. MacTarnahan's. Widmer.

* Curry at Lemongrass.

* Skinny French fries at McMenamins.

* Philippe Boulot's accent--and his cheese.

* The potato guy at the Portland Farmers Market.

* Italian spoken here at O, Cielo.

* Potato cakes at the Tin Shed.

* Talking hoagies with Navarre's John Taboada.

* Vegan corn dogs at the Paradox.

* Voodoo Doughnuts.

* Good Dog/Bad Dog's Oregon Smoky.

* Pinot noir from the valley.

* The bacon-caramel milkshake at Johnny Ray's American Grill.

* Muffuleta sandwich at Crowsenberg's.

* Bahn Mi at Cali's Sandwiches.

* Earnest discussions with La Buca owner Scott Mapes.

* Sunday buffet at Yam Yam's.

* Grand Central's Como.

* You, gentle readers, you.

 
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