Saturday, March 27, 2010

Date Night

Last week Grampa let the Monkey sleep over one night so we could have a Date Night.   After being reassured he wouldn't have to sleep alone the Monkey could barely restrain his excitement.  I had some mixed emotions - thrilled to have a WHOLE NIGHT to ourselves, but also a little hurt he seemed so happy to ditch the parental units, too.  Guess we all needed a little time away from each other.

We began the evening at this great little second-run, drink-in theatre in SE on Stark St. called The Academy, right next door to Portland icon, Flying Pie Pizza. The Academy was restored in 2006 and continues the River City tradition of cheap second-run movies in funky renovated historical properties that let you drink great microbeers/boutique wines while you watch.  Because what's better than a Brew Pub/Wine bar?   A Brew Pub/Wine Bar  WITH MOVIES!!!   The McMenamin brothers may have started it but other independent owners have climbed on board and are taking it to the next level.   Cinetopia of course is now the gold standard, what with the super HD screens, live music in the lobby, award-winning fine-dining restaurant and and in-theatre service. But the Academy and other venues (like the Laurelhurst) are comfortably filling the niche in between, serving affordable gourmet grub and limited alcoholic beverages with second-run/art or independent movies at a fraction of the cost of the sticky-floored, outrageously overpriced big movie chains.  And due to the liquor licensing laws - no unaccompanied teenagers!  Kids are welcome in theatre with their parents, or - even better - many like the Academy offer on-site weekend evening babysitting service for the young ones. Other theatres like McMenamin's Kennedy School offer "Mommy Matinees" for the stay-at-home contingent where you're invited to bring your fussy babies mid-afternoon and nobody complains.

After watching Sherlock Holmes in swanky reclining leather seats (great movie, btw) for the rock-bottom price of $4 each we discussed our options for dinner in the foodie mecca of SE Portland.  I know it gets old saying "what I love about Portland/ the Pacific NW..."  but the sheer diversity of cuisine available is right up there.  Of course there's the fantastic Pacific NW regional fare (featuring the freshest local ingredients, paired with the best local wines and microbrews), and all the hip fusion joints.  But you can literally spin a globe, pick a spot almost anywhere on the world and there's a menu somewhere in the city featuring those regional favorites. Tonight we were in the mood for Latin flavor.

We chose one of my faves from my days of singledom... Cuban bistro, Pambiche.  It's a small place with tables packed in so you need to be comfortable butting elbows with your neighbors, and there's almost always a wait but it's very well worth it.  And as you see more and more around town, they have graciously installed radiant heaters above and around their covered sidewalk patio tables so waiting outside is no hardship.  With the Latin music playing and the aroma of spiced roast pork and fried plantains drifting through, you can almost close your eyes and imagine you're in Havana.

1 comment:

Gettysburg Mom said...

What an awesome date night. Cheap movies AND yummy microbrews? I hope you know how lucky you are! :D