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Posts Tagged ‘Morton’s Steak House Sucks’

Whats left of the once picturesque mountain type.

When I travel I am not one to sit around get a sun tan, especially in a place I have never been.  For me its all about adventuring and true to the source my parents are the same way.  I guess that is where I must get it from.  We all had a serious urge to go check out Mt. St. Helen’s in Washington the site of one of the most violent volcanic eruptions ever recorded in north America back in 1980.  Although the explosion took place a year before I was born I picked up a picture book on the incident at a yard sale and it was one of my favorite books as a young-in.

The barren volcano among the green pine filled landscape.

My parents and I cruised up to the site of the blast and I must say it is a very impressive sight to behold for a number of reasons.  First the blast itself ripped off the entire top of the mountain.  Then the shock wave from it ripped down every tree within a 17 mile radius and scorched others with in 30 miles.  57 people were killed including the scientists studying the seismic activity at the time.  Now thirty years later there is actually some life beginning to take shape in not only the surrounding areas but even around the area just at the foot of the mountain.

It got me thinking about how life will prevail even in the darkest of places.  I took it further to symbolize how life goes on despite occurrences no matter how adverse.  As it turns out ground hogs who had been hibernating when the eruption took place and were then buried by up wards of 75 feet of ash managed to claw their way to the surface and helped to bring plant life back to area. Imagine how fucking pissed off they were to have to do all that extra digging only to pop up and find their home completely trashed.  Insects and bacteria did as well.  In a way it was like miniature model of how life came to Earth.

These tree stumps are all that is left of an old forest torn to pieces by the blast. If you look closely at the surrounding hills you can see hundreds of downed trees. Yet around all this death and destruction new life is starting to take shape.

After leaving Mount St. Helens we heard that in the town of Castle Rock there was a giant Rock that stuck out over 100 feet into the air.  We drove all over the place trying to find this thing only later to find out that it was in the center of the town but that trees have all grown over it.  I guess the Indians used it for navigation back in the day but hundreds of years later it is  nothing more then a hill covered in foliage. Talk about the tour book blowing it.  The town itself was this really quaint little mountain town one would expect of the area.  I think they should rename the town Tree Covered Rock so as to stop any future confusion.   That night I cooked us up a nice steak dinner over orzo pasta in a lemon basil olive oil sauce.

Oregon Wine Tasting

I have been as of late enjoying all different blends and varietals from both Oregon and Washington.  Being a wine enthusiast I just had to make my way out to the wine country for a tasting.  According to most sources it seemed like Mc Minnville, Oregon was the closest center for local wines to where I was staying.  We cruised out to do some tasting but as a result of heavy holiday traffic my parents and I did not arrive in town till well after 3pm and most tasting rooms in the area closed at 5pm.  My dad had highlighted a tasting room which his tour book said represented the broader spectrum of the area’s varietals.

It turns out that part of the world is know for their Burgundy like reds and pinot noir. Being from Santa Barbara I happen to come from a place that grows some of the better pinot noir I just had to indulge.  I started chatting it up with the sommelier and next thing you know she is pulling out vintages and blends not on the tasting menu.  Let me say I was very impressed.  So much so I spent a bit more there then I had expected to and joined the wine club.  Time was of the essence considering everything was about to close.

The sommelier recommended two more tasting rooms to check out one a personal friend of hers who specialized in Italian varietals,  barbera, sangiovese  and a blend.  My Italian pedigree made this one a must stop for me.  The wine maker was a total bitch to me the entire time I was there thus ruining my tasting experience.  I must say though her barbera was very good. Given her attitude I was not about to spend a penny at her place. I got one more tasting in that was average before the day was over.

The town on the whole was pretty cool.  It reminded me a lot of Red Bank New Jersey, this little artsy town near where I grew up.  I would have liked to have hung out there a bit longer but my parents were over it so back to Portland we went.

A Night on the Town

Initially when I booked my trip I was told that Vancouver, Washington was just “steps away” from the city of Portland.  I know people in the pacific northwest on the whole are taller then much of the majority of America but even for them the route to Portland needed some big steps and many of them.  I suppose it was about time I got a taste of my own medicine, “yeah guys its just down the street”.  The fact of the matter is in order to get to the city from where I was staying it took at least a twenty minute car ride and the crossing of two bridges.  Forget about public transportation. There were a total of three buses that got over the river.  Out of that only one ran on weekends and none past 9pm.

Basically I was trapped stuck at the whim of my parents.  I felt like I was 15 again except I did not have a bike or high school sluts to sneak around with.  After 72 hours of nothing but the folks and the sleepy town of Vancouver I needed to get out.  I needed to party.  My friend Grant from back in the day had too much  going on for us to link up for some debauchery.   About to solo it my good friend and UCB hero Mauriello said I should hit up his friend Lily from college who happened to just recently move up to Portland for work.

This is what I have been constantly preaching here people, the coconut wireless, friends of friends of friends.  My whole life I have benefited from the loose connections I have with others and in return have offered up the same hospitality.  Fact of the matter is if you were to hit me up in Santa Barbara and mentioned you got my info from a friend of mine as far as I am concerned you are now a friend of mine and I will do what I can for you.  Lily in this case really came through for me.

My parents and I were going out to dinner at this fancy over priced steakhouse Morton’s in the heart of the city.  I hit Lily up and told her I was in town.  She just happened to be hitting the scene that night too and clued me in to a hot spot her and a friend were at.  Morton’s by the way was terrible.  My filet mignon was over cooked and poorly cut and so were my parents’.  I could have made a better meal myself for half the price at least.  The wine was good.

From Morton’s I left my parents with the reassurance “I have no idea whats going to happen, if I’m coming home tonight, tomorrow, or if I will even survive.  I love you.” and cruised to the club.  The place was called Blitz and from the outside it looked like my kind of place.  Neon lights, sick music and I mean sick music.  The DJ was this black dude with dreads and he was fucking killing it.  I literally danced all night.  The bar was packed shoulder to shoulder making ordering a drink very difficult.  At first I was being all polite waiting my turn and in the process getting pushed and shoved by everyone in attendance.  Finally I put on my boxing gloves and fought my way to the bar.

Everything was so cheap compared to Santa Barbara.  A tall rum and coke and a shot ran me $10.25.  I know whats with the fucking 25 cents.  I left at the end of the night with a pocket full of fucking quarters.  I met up with Lily and her friend Melissa  and lots and lots of dancing ensued.  Melissa bowed out early.  Lily asked me if I was over it and I just looked at her and replied “who do think your talking to?”.  The club ran till two am.  There was in impromptu limbo contest that this Asian kid owned,  I got into a dance off with this random chick but then somehow lost her in the crowd.

Lily offered me up her couch for the night, which was way better then my initial plan to go home with a fat girl if all else failed rather then spend over $80 on a cab home.  Unfortunately Lily gave her keys to Melissa leaving us locked out hanging on the steps of her apartment building waiting for someone to hopefully show up.  At 2:30am it was rather unlikely.  Eventually Melissa called Lily to see if she was alright and as it turned out she was in Lily’s apartment all along and she passed us down the key.  It was good cause I was starting to get hypothermia out there as my alcohol blanket wore off.  All and all I would say it was a solid night of party.

Click here for par 3 where I will discuss my day of urban exploration in the city of Portland and the wedding.

My Dad and I in front of some new pine tree growth less then a few miles from the base of the volcano.

This is some Mexican guy with one arm in a cowboy hat. I like to imagine he lost his arm bull fighting but most likely it was due to a logging accident. Yeah, I’m an idiot but a romantic idiot…

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