Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pears from Neighbor Tom's Tree

I had to go to the upholsterer today and since it's close by, I decided to take Beau with me. It's tough for him to walk too many blocks on a hot day and by the time we got to the upholsterer's shop, Beau was worn out and breathing heavily from the exertion of his walk. Frenchie's have a difficult time breathing in hot weather and you have to be careful about not overheating them. Beau collapsed near a bowl of cool water provided to him by the owner. We did our business and then as it was 5:00 PM, I thought it would be nice to go to the tavern next to the local pizza place I've written so admiringly about.

Within two seconds of my ordering a glass of Pinot Grigio, I'm talking food with two macho types sitting next to me and admiring Beau. Once these two manly married men found out I was a cookbook publicist, we were off to discuss Portland's favorite topic: Food. The minute people find out I'm from New York, it's like "what's your favorite place to eat in Portland?" or How does food compare to what you're used to in New York." In this case, these guys were two contractors who work on houses that have been foreclosed on. One of them had just come from New York where he "wasn't too impressed by Babbo." Every great restaurant has its good nights and bad. I used to love Babbo, but I hadn't been there in years.

On my way home, Beau and I took a detour near my house which I always enjoy because I pass a house with a spectacular rose garden. This time the owner and his dog were outside in the garden and I got a chance to tell him how much I admire and enjoy his roses. He was very appreciative of my compliments. His name is Tom and he's Vietnamese. The front of his corner lot house is all flowers, but the back yard is all vegetables and fruit trees. In a wide plot adjacent to his garage was a Bosc pear tree heavy with fruit. As we talked, he told me Bosc pears are rather a rare sight out in Portland. Didn't notice. They are plentiful in supermarkets and green grocers in New York. He asked me if I wanted some. "Oh yes please," I replied. This nice batch will become a Gingered Pear Pandowdy, the first book I'm reviewing in my new cookbook review blog, StoveTopReadings, which should be up and running in the next two weeks.

My point here is that food is a topic as dear to the hearts of Portlander as sports are to say, New Yorkers. I knew there was a reason I moved here.

I'll have more details about StoveTopReadings in the next few days.

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