Searching for Dinner

Dear Liza,

The Ross Island Bridge

First, the exciting news: We finally got to see one of Portland’s drawbridges, the Morrison, actually UP! Of course, we were trying to cross it at the time, so this meant that we waited in traffic for an extra 20 minutes, but it felt very Portland-ish.

This happened the other day while we were¬† heading to the traffic nightmare that is Portland’s South Waterfront. This part of the city is full of new construction, looming overhead freeways, labyrinthine detours, and part of the OHSU Medical Center. After 30 minutes finding a parking space and getting up to the tenth floor, we were rewarded with wonderful views of the Willamette River and the Ross Island, Tilikum, Marquam, and Hawthorne Bridges.

View of four bridges from the tenth floor

We admired the view, had a short chat with the doctor, scheduled another appointment, and headed down to find our way out of the maze before the Minotaur found us.

“Schoolhouses are the Republican Line of Fortifications” said Horace Mann

By then it was dinner time and we were brain dead and hungry. We headed for Revolution Hall on SE 12th, formerly Washington High School, now repurposed as offices. There is a restaurant called “Martha’s” on the first floor and a bar on the roof. This beautifully designed and preserved school from 1924 is the Alma Mater of Linus Pauling, a famous and controversial scientist, and there are several portraits of him in the foyer.

Portrait of Linus Pauling at Revolution Hall

Again, we hunted for parking and when we finally got in, “Martha’s” didn’t have what we wanted and the other place (which I have never been to but Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett love) was closed for redecorating.

Heavy sigh. Back to the car, around a newly arrived and hastily parked ambulance, and off again, hungrier than ever.

Auntie Bridgett remembered The Belmont Station on SE Stark. We entered through the cider and beer shop, through the bar, and out the back door to Monk’s Deli, a food truck that sells sandwiches and French fries. By combining everything, we were able to assemble a delicious meal and recharge in the lovely open patio, petting dogs and catching our breath.

Monk’s Deli Food Truck
Monk’s shady, peaceful patio

Watching the light change from blazing afternoon white to mellow evening rose, we arrived home, happy to be out of traffic, fed, and together.


Grandma Judy

Accidental Delights

Dear Liza,

Last night, after the weather got cooler and we were all done with work, Grandpa Nelson, Auntie Bridgett and I went for a walk. We were headed for Colonel Summers Park, but we got distracted.

We saw signs that said “Shakespeare in the Park” with an arrow pointing…not to the park, but to the Lone Fir Cemetery, which I have told you about before. I like watching plays by William Shakespeare, and so we followed the signs. In the middle of the cemetery, we found a small audience sitting in lawn chairs around one of the war memorials, and people performing a play called Troilus and Cressida. There were hardly any sets, just enough to give the idea of “where we were” for the play, which was an army camp.

Actors in Troilus and Cressida at the Lone Fir Cemetery

There was no lighting, no microphones, and the costumes were very simple. But it was wonderful to see not only the actors, but the audience there, on a warm summer evening under the tall trees in the cemetery, enjoying theater. We watched the show for a while, then quietly left. I made a note to myself to read the play as soon as I get my Shakespeare books unpacked.

Continuing our walk, we followed Belmont Street west and realized we were only a few blocks from Revolution Hall, the former Washington High School that is now being used as offices for different businesses, concerts, and restaurants.

It is a beautifully designed brick building from 1924 and there is a small restaurant on the roof that has a wonderful view of the city. Since it was almost sunset, we decided to go up and enjoy some wine and watch the sun go down. It was pretty crowded up there on the big flat roof, but we found a table to sit at and watch as the glaring sun dipped behind the western hills and turned the whole sky a soft pink.
Washington High School, now Revolution Hall


The view west from the roof

Grandpa Nelson said we should get home before dark, so we started walking back along Stark Street towards our house. We saw the Penny Market open, a tiny building on an almost dark street. We went inside, got some ice cream and met Tom, the man in charge. He was very friendly and happy to be living in Portland, too. We got home, tired after our more than 2 mile walk, and got into pajamas.


Grandma Judy