Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Date Night

Mondays are a great night for dates.  I didn't plan to have a date last night, but I happened to check my Powell's events email and saw a couple of interesting options.  Plus, I got my homework done for the week which meant I was free of deadlines for the next seven days and I felt like celebrating.

We went to the Powells flagship store downtown and heard Bich Minh Nguyen read from her memoir, Stealing Buddha's Dinner. We found parking right away in front of Whole Foods and I stopped to get some snap peas to snack on.  Oddly, I've been finding pretty good ones lately even though it's January. 

We walked over to Powell's and found out that we were forty minutes early, so I suggested going over to Cacao for some chocolate.  Because apparently, I can't be within a square mile of the place anymore and not go have some chocolate.  At least it's cheaper than my REI addiction.  We called ahead to make sure they were still open.  They were.

"If we walk in there and they recognize us, we're in trouble," I said to Jess.   Sure enough, the look on the guy's face said it all. Ah it's those girls who called just now, he must have been thinking.

We shared a big cup of the cinnamon drinking chocolate and enjoyed a couple of samples.

When we got back to Powell's, we went into the Burnside entrance where the all but useless bike rack is stationed.  It's one of those 'artsy' bike racks that's not actually any good for it's intended purpose which bugs the crap out of me.  I picked up a comment card at the front info desk.

When we got back to the Pearl room where the reading was being held, there were a respectable amount of people gathered.  I went to the counter to borrow a pen for my comment card and the woman behind the counter gave me the 'I know you' look, so then we had to figure out how. "Sarah," she said and I figured out that she meant Skelly, who's no longer a friend of mine.  I seem to be running into a lot of her friends lately (the last on my cross country ski trip).  I don't bother mentioning that she's not my friend anymore and hasn't been for a long time as I think it would just serve to make things awkward. 

We got seats in front of a rude woman who took up the chair next to her to hold her tea cup and monopolized the Q & A session after the reading. 

The reading itself was very good and funny.  The book is about her family's arrival from Vietnam in 1975 to Grand Rapids, MI and her growing up caught between two cultures and desperately trying to fit into a conservative blond-blue eyed town.  It didn't work of course.  Her brother was in the audience and it seemed half the people there were friends of his.  Always nice to see family supporting each other.

The Q & A session was good too, lots of good questions asked, except the the rude women who had to ask Bich if her grandmother was still living--she wasn't and she died recently.  The odds on that being the case weren't too hard to figure out and I wanted to smack the rude woman for making her talk about it in front of an audience.  What a bitch.

I still had money on a Powells card someone gave to mom so I used the last of it to buy her book and get it signed, and then we asked Vin (her brother, who lives in Portland) where to get good Vietnamese food in town.  Seeing as the book talks a lot about food, I thought it would be good information to have and Vin was a fountain of knowledge on the subject.  If you're wondering, the general rule is to go east, beyond at least 40th street and the farther east you go, the better. 

I turned in my comment card and we set about figuring out what to feed ourselves.  We've been in a food rut lately and I didn't feel like cooking at home so we ended up a t P.F. Chang's a few blocks over.  I had never been.  It was practically deserted on a Monday night and we had the best server that I've had in a very long time.  She was completely unfazed by Jess's dietary restrictions and let me tell you, finding menu options for a lactose intolerant vegetarian who can't eat tofu is not the easiest trick.  Elizabeth knew the answer to almost every menu question we asked, had helpful things to add about the suitability of various dishes and never once showed any impatience with us, in fact, just the opposite.

We had a great dinner, and afterward, I wrote Elizabeth a nice comment one the back of a P.F.C. business card, since they didn't have comment cards.

When we got home, we continued our Dexter marathon.  We love it, but it's so stressful that we often end up watching two at a time because I can't stand the cliff hangers.  We discovered, late in our viewing, that it was actually easier to stop in the middle of an episode.  We just finished up season two tonight and it was even more twisted than season one.  I hope the writer's get a deal soon so we can find out what happens next.

Friday, I'm taking Jess out on a new and improved secret date that's kid tested, dead-mother approved and does not involve strapping anything to our feet.  But I can't tell you what it is because then...well...I've been watching Dexter, you figure it out. 

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