Monday, May 30, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Sunshine Tavern is neither sunny nor a tavern: discuss.Let's get the griping out of the way: the Sunshine Tavern is not a tavern. It is many delightful things: a beautiful room, a mini-arcade, a chic new restaurant whose slender menu lacks nothing. But it is not a tavern, not in atmosphere and not in priorities.(Also, on none of my visits to the Sushine Tavern was there any sunshine in evidence, but it seems unfair to blame the owners for that.)Names set certain expectations. And if you're a pedantic little jerk like me, this sort of thing can ruin a night out. (I never quite surrendered my grudge against Taqueria Nueve: not a taqueria.) I realize this is absurd and self-defeating, which is why I'm glad my principles so often crumple in the face of a really yummy dinner. As it turns out, the Sunshine Tavern could wear a pretty hat and call itself the Queen of France and I'd forgive it, on account of the chicken.Sunshine's menu offers just three entrees, plus a handful of inventive pizzas, sandwiches, salads and burgers. Order anything you want as long as it's the fried chicken dinner ($14). You'll be rewarded with perfect, juicy, boneless hunks of bird on fat semolina waffles drizzled with honey. It is heaven. The same chicken is equally good on a spicy sandwich ($11), accompanied by a tawny pile of awesome fries. And I was exaggerating earlier: everything we tried was delicious. The chopped salad with french fries ($8) gets a lot of attention, but a boring-sounding iceberg wedge with buttermilk blue cheese dressing ($8) is even better. The baked-egg appetizer ($9), lauded in the Wall Street Journal, is worth trying for novelty, but it's less exciting than a platter of gravy cheese fries ($9), and not only because to eat them is to toy with death. (A small heart attack may be a fair price.) Even the humble burger ($10, more for extras like cheese, eggs or pork belly) holds its own.None of this is a huge surprise, considering that the Sunshine Tavern is owned and run by Jenn Louis and David Welch, the folks behind Lincoln. The drinks list is as well-edited as the food menu; it includes a handful of specialty cocktails ($7-8) and eight unusual beers on tap ($5 pints), plus lots of interesting things in bottles.But let's get back to the griping just for a second. If Sunshine is not a tavern, what is it? The place is confusing. It's an elegant room, with huge windows, tall tables, and rough dark wood smoothed into hard-angled shapes. The bar is made of an old bowling lane, and over it hangs a long metal Jenga-style light fixture that will blow your mind. The shuffleboard table at center stage has a lean grace not generally associated with the sport.Meanwhile, kids are running wild all over the place. Donkey Kong and Ms Pac-Man bleep their familiar bleeps from the corner. A bartender refers to a window-side six-top as the Party Table. The crowd is adult-looking, but they're sipping margaritas dispensed from a slushy machine behind the bar. The star dish -- that so-sweet chicken and waffles -- is practically dessert. And afterward you can have a bowl of ice-cream ($5) with house-made "magic shell" chocolate sauce. Remember magic shell? It's still fun!In short, the Sunshine is a place where you can be a parent and a child at once. In that sense, it might be the quintessential Portland restaurant. It's not a tavern. You wouldn't nestle in with a pint and a paperback. But it's a nice place to try some sophisticated comfort food and briefly abandon your hangups.Order this: The iceberg wedge, then the chicken and waffles.Best deal: Fried-chicken sandwich with fries, topped with slaw.I’ll pass: Slushy margarita ($7) -- fun idea, but not really worth it.EAT: Sunshine Tavern, 3111 SE Division St., 688-1750, sunshinepdx.com. Dinner 5pm-10pm Sunday-Thursday, 5pm-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$-$$$ Moderate-Expensive.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sorry, glob fans, for the recent neglect. I've been out gathering valuable insights to share with you. Oh, fine: I've been fooling around on motorcycles and watching lots of movies.
I will tell you about the movies eventually.
OK, I'll tell you about one of them right now.
Hobo with a Shotgun!
Hobo with a Shotgun opens tomorrow (Friday!) at the Hollywood Theatre. Like Machete, it's one of the movies that grew out of the fake trailers included in the Tarantino-Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse. You can watch the original Hobo with a Shotgun fake trailer here. In the full-grown movie, the hobo is Rutger Hauer and the shotgun costs ten bucks less. (Times are tough.)
The title kind of gives away some key elements of the plot, but here is the gist: a hobo (Rutger Hauer) makes the terrible mistake of getting off the train at the presumably once-idyllic Hope Town, now renamed Fuck Town, a place inhabited mostly by people made of ketchup. I'm only guessing about that last part. They seem to be made of ketchup, inside very tautly stretched skins, because whenever they are even lightly punched, kicked, stabbed or crushed by evil go-karts, they explode in a big wet splash of red and essentially vanish.
The ketchup is extra red because this movie is filmed in Hipstamatic. (Although the opening credits display the hilariously period-correct Technicolor logo.) I couldn't decide if I liked this or not. It's pretty, but it somehow looks wrong. I mean, y'know. More wrong.
Anyway. An evil businessman and his Raybanned sons have taken over Hope Town and spraypainted over everything nice. You can tell they're evil because their insults are uncreative, and also because they break a kid's joystick arm so he can't play videogames anymore. Dicks! And their clothes are iridescent white, so they like to congregate near bluelights, because it looks awesome, and they YELL all their dialogue.
The yelling is hilarious. Sample dialogue [please read at full volume]:
"I'm gonna wash off this blood…WITH YOUR BLOOD!!!"
Anyway. The movie starts out a little slow, but pretty soon someone is foolhardy enough to piss off Rutger Hauer, and things pick up quickly. (He eats glass! Did I tell you that already? They make him eat glass! Rutger Hauer!) And then, about the time you figure it's peaking, the main bad guy yells, "SEND FOR THE PLAGUE." Awesome.
The Plague is HILARIOUS. It's a metal monster thing that looks like an angry Lego.
I mean, you probably know what you're getting into with this kind of movie. Rutger Hauer eats glass. He yells at babies. He springs up out of a shopping cart filled with slurpy human guts. A guy gets his crotch shot out, and the camera zooms in on it -- twice. And kind of lingers there. To make sure you really get a good look. Because how often do you get to see a thing like that?
Also: death by ice skate!
Also: toaster used as weapon! Lawnmower used in anger! Motorcycle riders in spurs!
Here's this bonus note from the theater:
Before the shows on Friday and Saturday night, to make sure we get the crowd's adrenaline pumping, we'll be running a 35mm "RUTGERSPECTIVE" trailer reel, honoring the great Rutger Hauer, star of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.