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The Dream of the ’90s

I hope to get around to writing more about the food—it was uniformly good, from food truck porchetta, pigeon crudo to a copy cat Mugaritz dish—I encountered in Portland. In the meantime, here are some photos and non-surprising surface observations from someone who hasn’t lived in the city for 13 years.

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People move incredibly slow. You will miss the lightrail waiting for a free ticket machine even though the doors are left open for what feels like five minutes. You will not make it off the lightrail and to the corner in any reasonable amount of time because everyone shuffles in a big zombie mass (you would think sports sandals would make one zippier) and you can’t break free without being rude. I want to say that I was never this slow, but I do recall the first time I visited NYC in ’94 that the subway doors seemed to open and shut in a split second and I was hyper-concerned about not getting smashed in them. 

If you don’t smile and talk a lot when making transactions or even say hi to strangers on the street (WTF? I know I never did that) you also seem rude. An NYC friend who visited Portland the week before I did, said she felt compelled to buy things she didn’t necessarily want in stores because of this. I did not.

Strangers make long, sustained eye contact, i.e. stare. You are not my lover and I don’t even abide that from people I know. This occurred on the street, in restaurants and on public transportation. I wanted to shout “What do you want?!” I guess you’re supposed to say hi?

A normal response to “I’ll have a coffee/donut/cocktail” will be “cool.” I have been known to respond similarly, probably inappropriately in business situations, but I am not in the service industry.

No one can merge onto the freeway (I can’t either and it’s the reason why I flunked my second driving test). The concept of speeding up to squeeze in does not exist.

Everyone under 35 really does have elaborate tattoos. I often feel self-conscious in NYC with two fairly small ones.

90% of families will be wearing sport sandals and cargo shorts or demin shorts. Gussied up with a polo when it’s warm or polar fleece when it’s cool, this is perfectly acceptable apparel for fine dining. Women will also be breastfeeding at upscale restaurants, but that’s probably no different from Brooklyn.

If you make a reservation after 8:15pm, it is very likely you will end up being the last party left in the restaurant.

Straight women have man hair. I like short hair on women. This is not that.

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