Sunday, August 03, 2008

Firehouse Restaurant: we run into and old pal and meet some new neighbors

Last night, Kelly Ray and I wandered down the street (wait, what am I saying -- we rode our bicycles) to Firehouse Restaurant for a "small plate." You can choose three small plates for $12. I chose:

-Oregon chevre and homemade flat bread, with Oregon-grown champagne grapes (they were tiny!). I all but licked the plate of the chevre it was so delicious.
-pickled vegetables -cauliflower, carrots, and rutabaga (never ate it before, can't spell it now, but I liked it)
-crostini with pork confit (OMG, this was delicious).

Kelly chose a bowl of mussels ($12) and the crostini with pork confit. I don't like mussels, but they were big and pink and he said they were wonderful.

We split a bottle of red and over the course of the hour or so that we were there, sitting on the patio, folks chatted back and forth from the tables. One couple had a little dog with them, who behaved very nicely (his dad said the secret was the bag of treats in his pocket). Another couple came in with their dog, who looked like a spaniel of some sort - they got her from the Humane Society and didn't know. She was seven years old and a little more feisty. The dogs were well behaved and people seemed to delight in coming over to pet them. We all exchanged where we live -- everyone within ten blocks, and how nice it was to be able to walk - and bike - to a real restaurant.

And then, ducking into the side door I saw Ron Paul (not the politician, the restauranteur) and his wife. Ron Paul is giant in the Portland Food scene, a master player in Portland's farmer's markets, and has been working for years on a permanent public market, like Seattle has (of course, ours will be better). Here's the website:

I got to know Ron Paul when I worked for Vera Katz. He was frequently in the office and is a real, genuine nice guy. (Trust me when I tell you I met a lot of jerks during that chapter of my life.) It is always a delight to see him. And his connection to Firehouse Restaurant is that he used to work with Eric Rose, one of the owners, many years ago (he hired Eric away from Starbucks, back when Starbucks had only 44 stores--that's how many years ago).

I asked our server to send a bottle of wine to Ron Paul and his wife, with my compliments. He came back and said they had just returned from a wedding, where they had consumed quite a lot of wine, so were just having a glass. ("Great! I just saved $25 dollars!" I laughed.) Ron Paul came back out of the side door and we had a great big hug and I introduced him to Kelly Ray (to whom he said upon leaving, "Keep her out of trouble." Why do people always say that? What do they know?!) We caught up on who's doing what to whom, and he caught me up on the Public Market.

I love the Firehouse Restaurant. It is exactly what I wanted in my neighborhood. And let me tell you - that pork confit? Delish.

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