Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weather For Salem, Oregon

And the weather forcast is...sunny, hot, dry, and clear. Where are we again? Salem, Oregon you say? Accuweather actually uses the words "sunny and delightful" to predict Saturday's weather.

This is great weather. It seems like we usually get a bout of rain around this time of year, but it doesn't seem to be in the immediate future. I'm sure we'll see some rain again before summer weather kicks into high gear, but it looks minimal.

Of course, as a true Oregonian and weather cynic, I always wonder if this good weather now means we're going to have a rainy summer. Somehow I can't quite believe we could be allowed to have 5 full months of sunny weather. But, oh, how I hope we do!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Word of Mouth Bistro (and the drunk people who nearly ruined my dinner)

Who has ever gone out to a nice dinner only to have it ruined, not by the food, not by the service, but by other diners nearby?

I had the most annoying dinner last night at Word of Mouth. The food was scrumptious, of course. I had the Portabello Panini filled with thick slices of melting mozzerella, fresh tomatoes and basil, and chopped portabello mushrooms. It was on a nicely toasted sourdough bread and it was absolutely delightful.

The company at the next table: not so delightful. They nearly ruined a perfectly good panini dinner with their drunken babblings and trying to fit 7 people at a four person table. They were running into things, standing in the aisle so the staff couldn't get by, bumping into our table, drinking copious amounts of alcohol (this seemed to be two ladies in particular), talking loudly, banging their glasses on the table, etc, etc.

I'm pretty sure if I'd been running the place I would have asked them to leave. They were just obnoxious. But I'm sure they spent a pretty penny on alcohol, so perhaps it was worth it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buying Blinds at JC Penney

I purchased blinds for my kitchen window this weekend at JC Penney. I just have to say that I was very impressed with the staff in the window coverings department. They were very knowledgable and helpful. I had been in to ask for information the week prior and the saleslady informed me that they would be having a 70% off sale, starting on Wednesday. That is a huge savings, and as anyone who has purchased custom size blinds knows, they aren't cheap!

There are a lot of options when looking at window coverings, so I spent quite a bit of time picking her brain about the best options for my window situation. She thought of things like cord length, ability to reach the window, amount of darkness/light they let in, heat-saving options, and on and on. Being the saavy shopper that I am, I really appreciated her input on things which I wouldn't have thought of until, oops, I'd already bought and installed them!

So, because I was really happy with their service, I decided to let you all know. That's the kind of customer I am. Treat me right and I'll be your personal advertising service. Treat me wrong...and well, you know.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Arby's Free Wednesday Deals

Okay, here's a deal for everyone. Every Wednesday Arby's is having a different deal for a free item. This week if you ordered any sandwich at the regular price, you got a free milkshake. According to the very helpful man at the drive-up window, next week the special will be that if you buy any drink, you will get a free regular roast beef sandwich. Every week there will be a different deal, but it is on Wednesday only.

So, if you're like me and you get cravings for strange little sandwiches piled with thin slices of meat and topped with horseradish sauce, you should plan on hitting up Arby's on Wednesdays. I love a good deal! Particularly if it includes oddly tasty, little meat sandwiches. :)


NOTE: A list of weekly Arby's Wednesday deals for the summer has been added to the comments thanks to NetButch!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jaywalking in Salem, Oregon

It's so Salem. I got "pulled over" for stepping into a crosswalk on my way to work yesterday before the light had quite turned to walk. Another woman and I were walking across the street and suddenly I heard a whoop of sirens and the officer pulled into the parking lot beside us and asked us to talk.

Now Officer Croll was very nice about all this. He explained that this was technically a fine for crossing against the light. He understood we were intellegent women who had probably looked both ways. He was just concerned that we were being a bad example for the kids who walk downtown. "There are a thousand people watching you, and a thousand people watching what I do," he said. Apparently he felt that if he didn't stop us then people would get the idea it was okay.

Now, here's my issue with this whole thing. It is actually legal to step outside the crosswalk and cross the street against the light, but you may not cross against the light inside the crosswalk.

So, apparently we think people are smart enough to look both ways and cross when there is no crosswalk, but not if there is one. What??? Does this make sense?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer Weather in Salem

Okay, did this weekend feel like summer or what? It gave me the urge to go camping, hiking, boating and all those fun summer things. I did end up going to a barbecue at a friend's house, walking across the Union St Bridge (with what felt like about 200 other people!), and hanging out at the boat launch at Wallace Marine, drooling over even the tiniest, rustiest boat. It's just the time of year that I feel the need to be out on the water. Maybe I should get a rubber raft. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Taken" at Northern Lights

Last night I was convinced to go see the movie Taken with Liam Neeson at Northern Lights. We arrived just in time to see a preview for He's Just Not That Into You, which reminded me of how hilarious that movie was and how I'd like to see it again (looks like I might be going back soon!).

The movie was exactly what you would expect of an action flick. The hero is a loner who has secret skills honed in the special forces of the military. When his daughter is abducted by evil human traffikers while traveling in Europe, he shows them what-for with his single-minded attempts to find her. He ends up killing a lot of people, getting chased by police, and generally surprising his enemies with his amazing fighting skills and sheer luck.

Even though it was a traditional action flick, there were a couple of things thrown in that sort of surprised me. There was some interesting political commentation about immigration since the evil people he was dealing with had immigrated from Albania to France and he sort of loses it at one point and shoots an innocent person, which you don't see much of in hero action movies.

I thought Liam Neeson did a really nice job of portraying a father distanced by divorce, trying to regain a relationship with his daughter.

Apparently, Taken was a surprise hit, which just goes to show that people still love a story where good triumphs over evil.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

10 Things to Do in Salem This Weekend

I decided to put together a list of things to do in Salem this weekend for anyone who might be bored and need some good ideas. I'm sure most people will be able to find plenty to do with all the sunshine out there, but here are a few ideas to add the mix.

  1. Go see To Kill a Mockingbird at the Salem Repertory Theater
  2. Celebrate Spring with a parade at the Keizer Iris Festival
  3. Go see some live music at any number of bars, restaurants, and even at the Iris Festival
  4. Try a restaurant that you've been meaning to try out, but just haven't made it to.
  5. Taste Norwegian food for Norwegian independence day on May 17.
  6. Walk from Riverfront Park to Wallace Marine across the new Union Street Bridge.
  7. Check out the local produce, crafts, and food at the Saturday Market on Winter and Union St.
  8. Go see the pretty flowers at Schreiner's Iris Gardens
  9. Take a picnic or barbecue to any of our wonderful parks - Bush, Riverfront, Minto Brown, Willamette Marine, and many more!
  10. Take a bike ride at any of the parks above or pretty much anywhere else you can think of!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Questions about Salem Restaurants - Pete's Place and Napolean's

lavachickie asked...
What's Pete's like? I was there a few years ago with someone and it was awful! Then I read about how they were redecorating and changing to a sit down eatery and I thought, "What!?"

Well, Pete's is Pete's and it's probably about the same as it's always been except for one BIG change. It is now non-smoking, of course, as is everything in Oregon. Pete's Place is the kind of spot where you know you will always run into the same people. You used to only be able to see them through a cloud of smoke, but nowadays you can clearly see the eclectic mix of people that populate Pete's. It's not a classy place, but it's the kind of place where you could easily make a new best friend, or just a five-minute friend to chat with while you were there. Pete's is the kind of place where drinks come cheap and the jukebox is full of good songs you can sing along to.

Now, here's the secret about Pete's. The food is a LOT better than you would expect from the atmosphere. Apparently, that's why the kitchen is called The Pioneer Grill, to differentiate it from the bar scene. The restaurant section is in the front of the building and has sort of a down home diner look. Now that the place doesn't reek of smoke leftover from the nightime crowd, it is actually not a bad spot to pick up some good cookin' during the daylight hours. If you haven't eaten at Pete's, you should give it a try for some plain ol' good food. I haven't eaten a meal there in awhile, so let me know what you think.

Gerri asked...
I see it says crepes at Napolean's? Wonder what they're like? Been to French Press and the crepes not so good but the coffee is pretty good.

Yes, Napolean's is part of the French takeover of Salem! They do serve crepes there and although I haven't been to French Press to compare the two, I will tell you that I wasn't too impressed with the first crepe I tried at Napolean's, but the other two I had were quite delicious. The Chicken Brie Crepe just didn't have much flavor at all. A friend ordered the Salmon Crepe, which I tried, and I would definitely recommend that one! It is full of flavor and delicious fillings. I also tried the Bananas Foster Crepe for a dessert and that was quite tasty, too. So, in my opinion you have to figure out which ones the place has mastered and stick with that. I would definitely say the Salmon Crepe is the one Napolean's has mastered. I would like to add that Napolean's panini sandwiches have gotten rave reviews from friends who have tried them. The Tuna Melt Panini is on my list of foods to try next time I'm there.

And, of course, the gelato is what I go for! And their coffee is quite good, too.

Let me know if you have any other particular questions about an establishment and I will probably have some opinion on it! I usually do. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Food Crawl Questions

I've gotten some questions about the places in the food crawl. If you have any other questions about a restaurant or area, feel free to add them in the comments section and I will be posting answers in a separate post soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Salem Food Crawl

Our Salem Food Crawl started out at the downtown Willamette Noodle Company and moved to La Capitale, Napolean's, and Pete's Place (kitchen known as the Pioneer Grill).

Willamette Noodle Company on High Street. I actually prefer the atmosphere of the Broadway location and I hope they don't permanently move to this location. It is definitely bigger, but it's not nearly as cozy.

Garlic Cheesy Bread - Mmmm. The name says it all.

We walked down to La Capitale where we got seats at the bar with no wait.

We ordered the Aspargus and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding. It was a more eggy than bready and has more the consistency of an omelette than I was expecting, but it was delicious.

Of course we had to try the Pommes Frites for a little appetizer! Crispy, tasty and greasy. As all good fries should be!

The great bread that comes with the entree. Don't know what it is but the seeds and whatnot on the crust are really tasty.

We moved on over to Napolean's on Court Street in the Reed Opera House. I don't know when this place isn't busy!
The lads making the crepes

Our gelato selection. It is always changing and always good.
We ended up going over to Pete's Place to hang out for awhile and met some friends who had not yet eaten. The kitchen had closed except for the bar menu, so here is what they had.

A Chicken Ranch Wrap in a sundried tomato tortilla with fries. And good fries, to boot! We decided they beat out the La Capitale fries. If you don't believe me, you should do a comparison for yourself!

And this is what I call the Great Platter o' Fried Deliciousness!

A Lovely Salem Weekend

The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect and I went to bed last night feeling like I had had a perfect weekend altogether.

Friday night I visited a friend and caught up a little, and then, since I was in the neighborhood, headed over to Winco to pick up a few groceries. Have you ever been to Winco on a Friday night? Seriously good people watching, let me tell you. Actually, Winco is good people watching most of the time. The woman behind me in line was yelling at someone on her bluetooth (which you couldn't see at first because her hair covered it, so it looked like she was just a crazy woman yelling at herself). She kept yelling, "Just go to Denny's and do not get in anyone's car."

Not sure what that was all about.

Then Saturday morning I went for a walk down at Minto Brown. There were lots of people and dogs out and about. It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine, although the air was still a bit cold. The paths are flooded in a couple of spots down by the river, but there was still plenty of space to walk.

I cut up four pounds of strawberries on Saturday afternoon. I had been lured in by the big pack of bright red strawberries at Winco the night before and decided I should prepare them for the week. Now I can eat strawberries for every meal!

After all that strawberry cutting I needed a nice Saturday afternoon nap. :)

Then it was sushi for dinner with friends at Sushi Kyo. Then a stop for gelato at Napolean's downtown and a drink at Venti's basement bar before heading to bed for a good night's sleep. Ahhh.

Sunday, I woke up late, went over to my sister's to babysit my cute little nieces. I got my arts and crafts on and we made Mother's Day cards.

Later, we went on a Sunday afternoon drive out to the Turner hills to check out some very fancy properties. If anyone is looking for a nice, quiet, country home there are a ton of places for sale out that direction and it's only about 15 minutes from downtown Salem. It is beautiful land out there and the fancy estates are mixed in with quaint little country homes.

We decided to stop for some pad thai at Thai Beer on the way home, which was fabulous. We split of plate of chicken pad thai and some salad rolls, which was just the perfect amount of food.

Perfectly Perfect.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Salem Film Festival Makes News

There was an article in the Statesman Journal today about the Salem Film Festival and their 20% rise in attendance this year. I think this is great!

But the best part is that they mentioned the red carpet thief and how the story had been picked up in the news. So I Googled "Salem Film Festival red carpet". And there were 18,200 results. Now, granted they don't all refer to the stolen red carpet at the film festival, but by my unscientific count, the majority of them on the first 5 pages DID refer to Salem Film Festival's lost red carpet.

It makes me wonder if we'll get more out of town visitors for the film festival next year.

First Wednesday in May

Well, here are a few pictures from a nice, sunny First Wednesday Celebration in May. It wasn't the most well-attended First Wednesday I've ever seen, but some of the locations were pretty happening. We stopped by Alessandro's on Commerical St. for the art show put on by CASA and then headed over to the Wild Pear for a snack of Blue Cheese Dip with Pears.

Wild Pear on State Street

Their delicious coffee!

Blue Cheese Dip with Pears and Baguette

We also stopped by the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery. All of the spots we stopped were bringing in quite a bit of traffic.

People with the Progressive Film Series handed out their listing for this month's film, which is about stem cell research. I'm looking forward to that and will try to post a review here for people who don't get to see it.

There was lots of music, art, good food, and...interesting people at this First Wednesday and I am excited to see more people out and about at the next few as the weather gets better.
Street Artist

Grateful Ted with the Clown

And...Grateful Ted's Van

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Don't Forget First Wednesday!!

It's first Wednesday and guess what? The sun came out to celebrate, so get out there and make downtown Salem a happening place. Maybe the sun will take the hint and come back to party more often!

Well, one can always hope, anyway.

A Funny Thing About Rain...

It makes me want to curl up with my blankets and a cup of coffee and read a book all day. It definitely does not make me want to hear my alarm clock, get up, walk to work, or actually DO any work while there. It feels more like Fall around here than Spring and it's got me all mixed up. I feel like I should go into hibernation. Do you think bears get mixed up about this stuff, too?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chickens in Salem?

I went to the city council last night to support chickens. Yep. I said it. I support chickens. I don't even want chickens right now, but someday I think I might, and when that day comes, I would like to be able to own chickens legally.

Actually, I lived in Scandinavia for awhile and the people I lived with had a nice little coop with about six hens. The hens ate leftover scrap food, ate the bugs in the yard, laid nice fresh eggs, and yes, eventually ended up in stew.

It's just common sense to me to allow people to have small farm animals, as well as domesticated pets.

And the people involved in CITY are about the most organized group of volunteer advocates I have ever seen. They have their ducks in a row (yes, I see the pun) and they can back up their statements with research. I sure hope the city listens to this group and takes their advice on chicken ownership.

There were probably about 50 people at the City Council meeting, including quite a few families with children, that showed up to stand in support of Chickens in the Yard. Listen up City of Salem, your people would like chickens!