Archive for Portland

It Takes More Than One…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2010 by Donna Arriaga

…dedicated and wildly creative person to throw a seriously magnificent Beast Feast.

Major props to Cat — co-mother of Beast Feast and to Dan — who is the beast and co-planner.

Thanks for joining forces for a terrific 2nd Annual Beast Feast!

The Story of Beast Feast

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , on April 24, 2010 by Donna Arriaga

Over the course of hundreds and thousands of years, the original Beast Feast villagers scattered across the globe. Eventually their culture and heritage — including this festive celebration — faded into the lost annals of history.

…until now, when Molly Johnson (aka @piratemolly) brings to us The Second Annual Beast Feast — a momentous revival of a lost tradition.

And, as designated historian, I am obligated to tell the story of The Beast Feast…

Long ago, a horrible beast creature was gobbling up people. I mean really gobbling them… Like ultra hungry ogres herding lambs to the uber-commercialized-disassembly-line-style slaughter house.

Not a pretty sight. The beast made man kabobs, deep-fried man, grilled Sam and Sally sandwiches w/ a side of slaw… the list goes on. Its culinary creativity was rivaled only by its insatiable blood lust.

Some have theorized that the beast had an eating disorder. And, being the only one of its kind, had succumbed to binge eating as a way to mask its painful isolation. That it binged on humans is thought to be merely a matter of coincidence, as the village was conveniently located next to the beast’s lair. Others have proposed that the beast’s man-flesh carnage was due to a physiological drug-induced addiction. The theorized culprit: the human pituitary gland. All it took was one. Just one little pituitary gland. After that, there was no curbing the craving.

In a desperate and rather unsophisticated act of defense, the villagers resorted to beating the man-eating beast with long sticks. This startled the creature. But it was eventually the beast’s severe allergy to sap from the Juniper tree which was its ultimate undoing. After many beatings with sticks plucked from the village Juniper trees, the beast finally fell (as did the overly and brutishly pruned Juniper trees).

After destroying the beast, the people feasted – bare handed – on its magnificent meat, both tender and juicy. (It’s suspected that the juniper helped flavor and tenderize the beast flesh – not to omit the likely tenderizing effect of the beatings.)

Since the villagers’ victory, the people vouched to commemorate the slaying and the feasting on the beast with an annual celebration. A reenactment of slaying the beast with sticks is carried out. And, true to the people’s barehanded consumption of roasted beast, the commemorations always called for feasting merrily on foods using no silverware.

Hence, the piñata and sans silverware convivium at the annual Beast Feast.

2nd Annual Beast Feast is Upon Us

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2010 by Donna Arriaga

The 2nd Annual Beast Feast is slated to kick off tonight, right here in Portland, Oregon! Be prepared to consume a delectable array of food stuff — all with your bare hands.  Oh yes, and channel those aggressive tendencies because you’ll need them when it comes time to ferociously whack at the traditional Beast Feast piñata — which very well may be filled with little plastic army guys, carrots and random paying cards.

But really, what is Beast Feast you ask? Here’s the official event notice pulled straight from the Beast Feast event page on FaceBook…

The Second Annual Beast Feast…!!

Food without utensils (meat! pie! meat pie!), yummy jello-shooters, Beast Feast Cake, a piñata with mystery prizes, 2nd quarter resolutions, and the Beast Feast activity (TBA). Other ridiculous Beast Feast holiday rituals to be announced…or not.

Please bring:
1. Food item to share that can be eaten with fingers but isn’t necessarily meant to be. No stews or soups, please, unless you bring your own tarp.

2. A beer/alcoholic liquid/cola if you don’t like two buck chuck or coors. Or jello.

3. A friend. Or three. Just RSVP–or you may not get your treat from the Beast.

*Suggestions for activities this year’s festival holiday are welcome though the committee will make all final decisions.

To give you a better idea of Beast Feast, here are a few windows into last year’s celebration…




THE Piñata


Many thanks to Molly for organizing last year’s and this year’s Beast Feast!

Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Posted in Portland with tags , , , on January 17, 2010 by Donna Arriaga

Alright, so the Space Room Lounge isn’t at the end of the Universe, but the ambiance of this Portland classic still manages to pack a pretty unique punch.

The first out-of-this-world visual to greet you is a massive, brushed metal UFO perched just above the brunch counter. Another wall is adorned with overly sized alien prints.

Space Room Lounge

But wait, that’s not it… Every table at the Space Room Lounge sports its own scifi-themed decoupage tabletop.  Table themes range from full-on Trek, to Star Wars, to pulp scifi, to a large center table covered with newspaper clippings of UFO sightings.

Paul and I had the distinct pleasure of sitting at the pulp scifi table.


The only thing that could improve upon this spectacular atmosphere is their choice of programs airing on four big-screen TV’s.  While we were dining, a football game was airing in the background.  I’ve gotta say… It was the one inconsistency in this otherwise spot-on Space Lounge.

My recommendation: Keep those tellies glued to the SyFy channel.  Or better yet — much better — run back-to-back classic scifi flicks.

So clearly, I was much taken in by the look and feel of this lounge. But what about the food… Right???

Well, their Space Menu consists of Out of this World Entrées and All-Day Breakfast plates as well as Extraterrestrial Appetizers and Fresh from the Starship Deli items.

Paul ordered the Ciabatta Chicken Burger — chicken breast, onion, tomato, lettuce, Havarti, and pesto sauce.  He gives this burger a 3.5 out of 5 intergalactic stars.

I ordered the Chicken Pannini — chicken, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, and pesto on grilled ciabatta bread. I give this sandwich a 3 out of 5 intergalactic stars.  With that said, a couple strips of bacon and ciabatta bread that was actually grilled is all it would take for a full 5 stars.  (The bread tasted as though it was lightly toasted on a griddle.)

The fries, on the other hand, were truly out of this world! The battered French fries were served up golden and wonderfully crispy.

Damn those Lying Restaurants

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , on June 22, 2009 by Donna Arriaga

Twice this week, I’ve found my taste buds tantalized by lush, descriptive menus.  Then, my food comes.  I prepare to take that much awaited first bite and WHAM! My cravings are beaten into submission all because the menu description was way off the mark.

CASE 1: Bonfire’s Jerk Pork Sandwich

Last Thursday, the Bonfire Lounge on SE Stark was the source of my affliction.  It started with the following menu description:

Jerk Pork Sandwich. House jerked shredded pork with lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Served on a hoagie with a side of our Caribbean coleslaw and Sweet potato fries.

Mmmm. I craved that bold Carribean flavor profile — a bouquet of Scotch Bonnet peppers, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, onion, nutmeg, and garlic. But what I got was just plain ‘ol pork seasoned with salt, pepper, a little garlic and grilled to perfection.

Yes, it was grilled to perfection.  But, it was NOT Jerk.  Nothing about my pork sandwich even remotely resembled Jerk.

CASE 2: Marriott’s Seared Salmon Sandwich

This evening, it was a restaurant at the Sea-Tac Marriot that led me into culinary disillusionment.  The menu item: Seared Salmon Sandwich.

I expected the color and texture of my salmon to be something like this:

Seared Salmon

Unfortunately, it looked a little more like this:

I am inclined to believe these restaurateurs are liars. However, I am open to other possibilities.

  • Classic Bait-and-Switch strategy.
  • Cooks are food-illiterate and need a refresher course in cooking 101.
  • Menu writer assumes customer is food-illiterate and will write just about anything to lure the unsuspecting diner into buying  the dish.