Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Beautiful Evening in Portland: Dinner at the Lincoln Restaurant

The blower sparked. Dolly-girl rolled over and elbowed me. "Jack, the blower, it's gotta be for you this time of the day." Tootsie. She and Slim were planning a check-it-out trip to Stumptown to see if they couldn't find a piedatterra. The Valley wasn't doing what they needed done in terms of keeping them busy doing anything but busy work on the weekends, follow? Slim was pushing Stumptown as a get-away from what needed getting away from. Anyway, they wanted to know if we wanted to tie on the feedbag. We did. Dolly-girl reads about joints in the broadsheet. She stirred, figured what me and Tootsie were talking about, said "Lincoln Restaurant," and rolled over. It was set.

Slim and Tootsie rolled in about an hour after the olives line up for their bath. Tootsie brought her niece, Bluebird, who lives over in the part of Stumptown me and Dolly-girl call hectic, but it's still on our side of the river. Slim was shaking his head as I handed him a shot of something from South of the Border. "Missed a turn. Ended up across the river. Tootsie and the kid were yappin' and I just plain missed it. Here's salutin' your serape." We did a do-it-again and then piled in the roadster and headed for the trough--it's not far away, but too far for shank's mare. Turns out it's in a part of Stumptown that would like to be a gourmet gulch but isn't Gourmet Gulch if you know what I mean. Beans were hitting the plates in a new-fangled building--jane from the outside, but a great layout and lots of sunshine pouring though lots of glass roll-up doors. You might think it had been a Ford agency at one time, but the only grease there now is what they use to cook up some mighty-fine cornmeal onion rings.

"D'Mestiere--five of us, may be under Fiora." "On it. Right this way." We sat down next to an open door/window and Missy was quick to us with Bull Run, the whaddayas, and a smile. Slim ordered us all some skidrow and we raised glasses to whatever needed it. I checked the inside out. No one behind us but a wall and a hallway that left me a little jumpy, not to mention Old Mister shining in my eyes. The sunshine felt good but I'd wouldn't have seen trouble coming if he'd been dressed in pink and wearing a Stetson, get it? Dolly-girl gave me a little squeeze that let me know she voted for calming down, but still, this part of Stumptown
makes the broadsheet for more than just feedbags, with me?

Still, it was a nice night, people were having fun. I sat back and forgot about the week of talking with people who needed talking with, except for giving the group the high points of the low down from a swimming session I had at local gin mill in The Valley with Dixie and the Slider. They introduced me to a guy I needed to meet, name of Rocky Fell. He runs a high wire act when he's not eating hot meat and pepper seed.

I looked around the place. Pretty standard table except Mike was in a little tin cup and Ike was no where to be seen. There was a little jeannie burning oil on the table. I snuffed it. You may think of me as a tough guy, but I got a soft spot for Planet Earth and didn't think we needed to be burning fossil fuels in the sunshine. Dolly-girl gave me a quick one though the wave and the next time Missy came by, she popped a lit one on the table and took my work away. I held back on the urge and that got me another little squeeze from my chiquita banana.

Missy took the orders and was back by the time we'd raised another glass of skidrow. "Here are your kick-it-offs: cackleberries swimming through the oven in cream, steamrolled doughboy with tonnato and your bruschetta. The hash slinger keeps an eye on you and he'll start your whats-up-next when he sees you stop chewing your cud." It didn't take long before I gave the slinger the high sign and Tootsie and Dolly-girl's cowfeed showed up. Dolly-girl was looking at quite the bale and Tootsie's had some kind of tropical delight cut up on it. The two of them were purring like a couple of half-Siamese I know when those plates hit the boards. And I'll tell you, they were a couple satisfied kitties (but not the real Kitty) when they chewed through that field.

The joint was jumping and the Missys were running so fast they were a blur by the skidrow glasses. The slinger had feedbags lines up like shots on the bar at the VFW.

Another nod in the direction of the Tappan and the main attraction arrived. Slim went for beef from the hanger, asleep on some of that cave-made frog wax, Tootsie and Bluebird were doing fin flips over Charley, gnocchi so good Dolly-girl tucked the wave behind an ear and dug in. I was looking at a chop from a porker that was raised with me in mind. That plus yellow green beans left me singing "I'll be seeing you..."

We did a do-it-again on the skidrow and settled down to business. Up and downs all around the table told me what I needed to know--no one here wished we were there instead of where we were. In fact, I'd been to a bunch of theres in the last couple weeks that made me wish I'd been here instead. Missy kept us in her thoughts and we didn't want for a thing.

Finish-it-ups had Slim shaking in his shorts over a slug of fudge on some ice cream they'd cranked up in the back room. Dolly-girl and Tootsie split something baked with berries while Bluebird had something light, I think she called it sore-bay. Go figure, but it was ringing her bell.

A couple Grants plus a Jackson got me and Dolly-girl out of the joint and left a smile on Missy's mug. That ain't bad for top-notch feedbags and our share of two bottles of rosso. We hooked arms, strolled into the night, and put Lincoln Restaurant on our list of places that ain't seen the last of us.


Karen said...

Sounds like a place to go!

Elisabeth said...

The last time I saw gnocchis that looked this good was in this little place in little Italy, NYC.
My taste-buds are dancing at the thought just seeing yours!
Slumptown 4ever!