Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Gloomy Afternoon in Portland: New Year's Eve Lunch at Saraveza

New Year's Eve afternoon found us looking for something to eat and maybe a brew to wash it down. Dolly-girl had eyed a new joint over on Killingsworth in the Lake States Section. We headed over there after sending off a couple quick wires over at the Western Union--you know, Happy New Year messages and such.

The place was jane from the outside, know what I mean? Just your standard restored, upscale brick building in a rough part of town that has its eye on better days ahead. We went in.

First thing catches your eye is the coolers full of beer, and I mean beer from all over the place. Obviously this Saraveza guy's connected. Twelve eyes walked us past the coolers, watched us read the handles, and put us in a booth near the back. I patted my heater for security and put my blower on vibrate. On the wall above us, the Beavers were eking out a victory over Pitt. Seemed like what we were looking for--a joint where you could get a cold one, and something warm for it to wash down.

"Haven't seen you in here before--new to this part of the city?" The waiter was strangely familiar, like he might have been an entertainer--maybe like the Host in Drag over at the Rainbow Room.
"First time here," Dolly-girl purred. I felt an urge to fire a Lucky, but being that the Portland smoking ban is just hours away, I resisted. Besides, I quit almost 31 years ago and I didn't have any with me.

A betty came out of the backroom, checked the bar out through the convex mirror hanging in the corner, flashed a smile and stopped to chat with a couple arty numbers at a table. They were splitting a Polish porter. Boots and Bee's Knees socks covered her gams. She had a bottle in her hand, a bottle of Elmer's Glue, and some masking tape. Maybe some glitter. What was that about?
The room got quiet. Our waiter jerked his thumb and mouthed. "Sara Veza." So, Veza is a chiquita banana. Explains the joint's ability to pack the coolers. Obviously, that 8-bit smile opens doors around Stumptown.

I went for the half a pasty and a taste of yesterday's soup. Dolly-girl had a head of buttercrunch lettuce covered in fromage bleu and the house pasty, hold the meat. We ordered beer--Caldera in a can for her and an Anderson Valley IPA for me. The eats were good and the beer was cold. So that's Veza's angle.

So what's not to like about a place with tables made from arrangements of bottlecaps, a hundred beers, and some stick-to-the-ribs food like pasties? Not much in me and Dolly-girl's book. The taps were getting cleaned--I guess that would be my complaint, and they were out of the Erie Brewing Company Railbender Ale that I've been wanting to try. Other than that, the joint's a keeper. We walked out to a gray and chilly Stumptown day, the last one of the year. I took Dolly-girl's arm, put her in the ride, and headed home.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Dang, I need to be in Portlandia! Who's the writer of this noir? Loved it.