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Monday, November 26, 2007


Mr. G and his fam fled Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday - we went off to Portland OR to visit the eldest brother. Hey, I love Chicago and its muscular vastness, but Portland has to be one of the top urban locations in the U.S. Yes, it is small and still a little provincial, but what beauty! Trees! Hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the city limits! Powell's Books! Insane variety of tasty beers! Oh yez.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast joint, the Terwilliger Vista House. This is a terrific place, built in the 1940's situated in the hills above the city. The two innkeepers were a pair of 20-something youngsters that did a great job of hosting a broad variety of guests - families, old codgers, college kids, etc. We even had a fireplace in our room - a nice item to warm up the cold Oregon evenings.

We bought a smoker at Home Depot and prepared a 22 pound turkey outdoors. The hickory smoke eliminated the blandness of the bird; the overnight soak in brine kept the damn thing from drying out. I haven't shared a Thanksgiving meal with my brother and his family in over 20 years, so this was a wonderful event for ol' Mr. G.

We returned to Chicago on Saturday night - it was cold, but not much colder than Portland. The city is still fabulous, but everything looks flat and treeless here after five days in Portland. But Chicago has a larger, richer music scene (although Portland is pretty hip, with a decent blues community). There is a connection between the blues communities in Chicago and Portland - several ex-Chicagoans are playing the blues in Oregon now. In addition, Powell's Books traces its roots to Chicago - Michael Powell opened his first bookstore in 1970, in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood (his dad opened a Powell's in Portland in 1971, and they joined forces in Oregon in 1979).

I can imagine living in Portland, but I don't want to leave Chi-town.....yet.

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