Friday, July 24, 2009

A New Portland Spot

So, I ended up driving up to Portland last week. That seems to happen a couple times a month. Between friends, the airport, and events happening in Portland, I seem to make plenty of trips to the northland.

After wandering around the Pearl District for awhile, I realized that it was beautiful and classy, but mostly out of my price range. So I decided to head over to Alberta Street and check out the restaurants over there.

We ended up choosing a place called The Hilt on Alberta and 29th. It looked cool and inviting so we decided to check out their menu. Oh. My. God. It was so good. The menu prices were something you would expect from a pub. Burgers were $7-10 and entrees were $8-12. But here's the thing: the food was all expertly prepared by a Greek chef who made everything himself except the kalamata olives and the tomato paste. He told us so himself when he came out to make sure our spanakopita appetizer and fettucine with mushroom and rosemary cream sauce entree were to our liking. Hell, yeah, they were! :) Then he told us that they had only opened the day before. Well, if they were making food this good on the second day, I'm definitely going back.

Seriously, this place has really good food. At least the two items we tried. I also ordered a glass of wine and our whole meal (shared, but plenty for a light meal for two) came up to $18. For the same types of food that you would expect to pay $25 or more for in a restaurant in downtown Portland.

So, if you find yourself up the freeway, looking for a delicious bite to eat, head on over to Alberta St. (Take the Killingsworth Exit off I-5) and enjoy a delightful meal at the Hilt.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

295 Church Street Condominiums

I have so many things to catch up on writing about since I've been away. Let's start with the Church Street condos. I seem to have a little theme going here with the condo thing, so why stop now?

Let me just start by saying that I went to 295 Church Street immediately after seeing the Meridian, so I can't really help comparing them. The Church St. building is a completely different style. It is light and bright and has big windows that make it feel like you are really a part of the city. The condos on the south side looks out onto the park areas along Trade St. while the condos on the north side look over the downtown area. Both views are very pleasant.

The condos have an open feel, with bright light from the windows. They are well laid out, with nice storage spaces and good sized bedrooms. I especially liked the fact that each unit had a deck and the decks were decent sized. The kitchens were nice and open, although in some of the units they were a little dark because they were on the hall side of the condo and therefore didn't have windows.

On the positive side the location is excellent, the floor plans use the space well, and they have lots of light and windows. Some of the negative things I noticed were a lack of storage units or garages, and that there is only one parking slot per unit.

Again, I think the prices are pretty high for Salem. I went and looked at units in the Pearl District in Portland, and they were running about the same prices for similar sized units. I think that is quite strange, since normal housing in Portland runs quite a bit more than in Salem. I think that the prices are going to have to come down a bit in order to make this work.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Meridian Condominiums in Salem

After the last foray into the townhouses being built behind Salem Cinema on Broadway, I was duly impressed with their style and space. We decided to check out some of the other condos being built around town as a comparison.

First we went to The Rivers, but although their office was open, no one was there. We waited a few minutes and then decided to head over to The Meridian for a tour. The outside of the building was beautiful as anyone who has driven by can clearly see. I have been admiring in for months myself and was anxious to see the inside.

I was quite disappointed. Not that it wasn't beautiful. It's just that it felt dark and sort of like an over-priced hotel. It's the kind of place that is supposed to feel rich and luxurious, and to some it might be just perfect. For me, it felt like a little too much. The condos aren't all finished, but the ones we saw seemed like they lacked windows(probably because only one side is open to the outside unless you have a corner unit), and were poorly laid out. In one the entryway probably took a good 100-200 square feet out of the 1000 or so sq. ft. allotted. It just seemed like a waste of space.

Okay, here are the good points, even though it wasn't to my liking. There was lots of storage space throughout and each unit has a storage unit deeded to it as well. The floors are not solid wood, but have a veneer that can be sanded and refinished. All the walls are moveable, so you could remodel your unit or have it laid out differently if you get there before they finish the units. It is very well inusulated from road noise even though it is on a busy street. Also, it is a secure unit with locking elevators.

As I said, it wasn't quite my style, and I felt a little hemmed in when I was inside The Meridian, but you should check it out for yourself, if you are interested. At least 13 of the units have sold, so apparently they are perfect for some people. Personally, I'd rather spend my $230,000 to $1.5 million somewhere else. HA. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Slow Days in Blogland

Sorry, I'm going to be a little out of commission the next week or so. Hopefully, not completely, but I'm busy taking an intensive Master's course out at Western Oregon University so things are pretty crazy.

If you miss me, I'll be posting things over here that we're discussing in class. All kinds of fun and interesting things to do with Media Literacy, which is a subject we all need to be aware of in this day and age.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Lancaster Dancing Lady

Do you know this woman? She stands on the corner of Lancaster and Silverton with a sign for a shoe sale almost every day.

Let me rephrase that: she dances on the corner of Lancaster and Silverton. I can't believe how much energy this woman has. She's all smiles and waves and fun little dance moves. Pure entertainment.

I have noticed a steep increase in the number of sign-wavers advertising businesses lately. Is it the economy perhaps? It's pretty good advertisement for a local business. Perhaps it's cheaper than radio or newspaper spots.

Whatever it is, it has given this dear, dancing lady a job and she sure looks like she's happy in it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Down Home Fourth of July

I must admit I've been slightly jealous of my friend who lives in Willamina. Over in smalltownville they have these great holiday traditions. It's like a little slice of Americana. There's the mud drag races to raise money for the fireworks, then the town barbecue put on by a local restuarant, the annual parade, the bingo down on main street, the fireworks and the traditional family get-togethers after the town events. Everyone is involved, and everyone has a grand ol' time.

I almost made me want to move to Willamina. Instead, I decided to make the most of my own hometown. And I must say it was pretty all-American.

I ran some errands in the morning, then headed down to the farmer's market for a some veggies. Once there, I had to stop by the baked goods section and ended up with some snickerdoodle cookies and a loaf of zucchini bread. MMmmm.

Then I met a friend and a neighbor and we went to dinner at the Best Little Roadhouse, which was surprising unpacked at dinner time since everyone seems to be out of town this weekend. Or possibly everyone was stuck on Hwy 22. Either way, we got seated immediately and had a great dinner.

On the way to the fireworks show we stopped to pick some cherries from a friend's backyard tree. What's more American than a fresh cherry snack while watching fireworks, huh?

We decided to skip the Union Street Bridge and head to the top of the Chemeketa Parkade. We got a prime spot and set up our chairs. I had run into a neighbor watering flowers in the yard earlier in the day and so they showed up as well.

So there I was, enjoying freshly picked, delicious Bing cherries, watching fireworks with my neighbors on a beautiful summer night. My own little slice of Americana.

And suddenly I wasn't so jealous of smalltownville anymore. Salem is exactly what you make it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Salem's Strange Reaction to Hippies in Eugene

So the burlesque show Pretty Things at the Roxxy Thursday night was an absolute blast. It was fun and glamourous and full of pretty things. But that's not really what I want to talk about...

Something strange happened and I still don't know quite what to think of it. The MC was making jokes and trying to get the crowd riled up and as MC's do he yelled out questions about whether we wanted to have fun and then would get a yell.

"Are you getting drunk tonight?" and the crowd yells.
"What? I can't hear you!" and the crowd yells louder!
and then he says...
"The hippies in Eugene were louder than that last night!"

Dead silence.

Seriously, not a single yell, boo, or clap. Just utter silence. Like he hadn't said a word. It was so weird. Just...silence.

So, apparently thinking he had hit on something with the hippies, a little later he tried some hippie jokes. People laughed a little, even though he wasn't a spectacular comic. I don't think he could quite figure out the crowd. And truth be told, I couldn't quite figure it out either. I reacted pretty much just like the rest of the crowd, but I don't know why.

Does Salem hate hippies? Do we hate Eugene? But there wasn't even any energy put into booing.

Maybe it was that we don't like being compared?

Is that it? We feel like we're just ourselves. We're from Salem. We don't care to be like any other city. And if you try to make us compete, we'll just stare you down. Is that what the silent treatment meant?

I'm not sure exactly what it meant. What do you think it meant?