Friday, May 30, 2008

Table For Twelve: The "It Is Not Nice to Eat Someone's Pet Lamb, but it IS Nice to Go to Simpatica Dining Hall" Edition

Dear Friends Who Love Food,

Michelle and I were sitting around TableTalkPortland headquarters earlier this week, eating Cheetos, I mean Foie Gras and Jelly Sandwiches, and warbling disconsolately to our favorite inclement weather Carpenter's tune, "Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down," when we remembered it was time to think about where to go for our next Table For Twelve.

"Somewhere nice," Michelle sighed, twisting her bright orange, I mean, foie gras-flecked lips into a pained moue, "Like, the Spanish Riviera."

We can't very well go abroad, I reminded her, since her little problem with immigration following her recent trip to Mexico, but we can go somewhere nice right here in Portland. In fact, we'll go to THE "nice"-est restaurant in Portland, which would be Simpatica Dining Hall. In case you didn't know, "Simpatica" means "nice" in Spanish. Michelle learned this in Mexico, where her nickname among the locals was in fact, "No Simpatica."

I am hoping that if we go to Simpatica, Michelle will be shaken from her faux-Spring doldrums and become more Nice, because recently she has exhibited some very Not Nice behavior. Let me explain.

Last night, at Castagna's excellent Morels dinner, Michelle sat there straight-faced and silent while I talked to Castagna owner Monique for almost four straight minutes with whipped cream from the Rhubarb crème brulee tartlet all over my face, then when Monique left, Michelle snickered and said loudly, "Nice cream on your face, sis." NOT NICE.

When I arrived at Café Castagna for our pre-arranged before dinner drink, Michelle had ordered a martini for herself and then had the bartender pour the final tablespoon of her martini into a thimble-sized bar glass, which she slammed down in front of me. "That is your drink," she said airily. "You have to be well-behaved tonight." NOT NICE.

When we were working in the Farmer's Market Taste the Place booth, a cute little girl walked by the booth with her tiny fluffy white pet lamb in tow, and while everyone else was 'oohing' and 'aahing," like Nice people do when they see a lamb, Michelle shouted, "Yummmm-eeeee!" and the little girl started crying and ran away with her poor lamb. NOT NICE.

As you can see, it's none too soon that we head to Simpatica Dining Hall for one of their lovingly written and prepared prix fixe dinner menus, which they only serve up on Fridays and Saturdays. Just to give you an idea of what you're in store for, today's dinner menu includes Viridian Farms Asparagus and Soft-Boiled Duck Egg On Crostini with Oil-Poached Artichoke Vinaigrette; Halibut Cheeks on Your Kitchen Garden Fennel and Eggplant Caponata with Golden Raisins and Madeira; Cattail Creek Lamb Shanks (Michelle would have loved that) with English Pea and Mint Risotto and Green Garlic Gremolata; Strawberry Crostada with 12-Year Balsamic Gelato. Talk about Yummm-eeeee. Next Friday's menu won't be released until Tuesday, so we'll send it out then to whomever is dining with us.

We hope you join us next Friday for Table For Twelve: The "It Is Not Nice to Eat Someone's Pet Lamb, but it IS Nice to Go to Simpatica Dining Hall" Edition!

Details, Details
When: Friday, (yes Friday! Simpatica doesn't do dinner Wednesdays!) June 6, 7:30 pm

Where: Simpatica Dining Hall, 828 SE Ash St.,

Why: To get a dose of Nice in these dreary times we live in.

What Will Happen To You If You Commit and Then Flake: Simpatica made us put our credit card number down to hold the reservation and they charge it for no shows, so if you flake, I would not be surprised if Michelle flies into a wild Greek rage and eats your pet lamb. With a side of Cheetos.

RSVP: Via email, at
See you at the table,

Jen and Michelle

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