Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Portland: Commonality

One thing Portland really has down in a very on-their-sleeve kind of way is the concept that we're all in this together. The notion of "the commons" — shared space, figurative and elemental —is not just about the natural environment, but resounds in the names and practices of numerous, residents, restaurants and buildings. For coffee, there's Public Domain, for beer, the Commons Brewery, and for building there's the brothers Moon who are building their own 'commons,' a self-generating home that meets The Living Building Challenge ('projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.') It's inspiring and highly congenial. Last night, we ate at one of Clyde Common restaurant's convivial community tables. Albeit Clyde Common is not the place to go if you're vegan — the menu has more meat liver based offerings than many I've seen and most of the vegetarian items feature dairy (though I've a feeling they'd work with vegans as needed).  What is on the menu is thoughtfully constructed in its open kitchen — the grapefruit in the beet salad is jellied; the greens adorning the broccoli soup, micro; the ice cream on the apple crisp flavored with scotch. Oh yea, it is a bar as much as a restaurant and the liquor list rivals the wine list (from Oregon, Washington and Europe but nada from Cali), complete with imaginatively named house drinks (Pancho & Lefty, Heavy Petting) and barrel aged cocktails. It's just that kind of Portland place, one where of course they want you to be happy because then everyone else will be that much happier.

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