Thursday, June 28, 2007

2.0 Stuck in the Muddle with You

Starring Erin & Mike
Guest Starring Adam & Josh
Filmed on Location in Beautiful Downtown Sellwood

There’s a new pub in town (not really). “The Pub” accepts no reservations – we’ll call you (but don’t wait by the phone) – and seats a maximum of four (or six if you include the kittens). It’s a small space doubling as our foyer (and tripling as the dining room). Just open the front door, and there you are! You know it’s a pub because there’s a pub table, which is a cross between a coffee table and an ostrich. And looking down on its patrons, the O’Shaughnessy Coat of Arms – two lions astride a castle turret, beneath a clenched fist holding a rolled-up copy of the TV Guide. But something’s missing. Pub food! And something to wash it down with. Or vice versa.

It was Friday. Erin and I had “one of those weeks”: Work was tragic in its peculiar synthesis of ennui and comic horror; and bad news plagued the lives of friends those last five days. By the evening, we expected, even embraced the thought of the apocalypse – let life begin again, with or without mankind. Dylan’s lyrics “It’s doom alone that counts” looped in my head. So we went to bed.

5:30 a.m. In a seemingly quantum leap from asleep to awake, I found my footing on the crust of Saturday morning. Parting in harmony, the curtains and clouds banished the darkness. Granted a temporary anamnesis, I remembered in a flash how wonderful life can be! Ye gods! It’s the weekend! And tonight’s the reservation for this month’s “In the Sellwood Kitchen!”

Originally we were going to prepare a seasoned pork loin with baked squash for dinner, but instead we opted for our long-rumored “Pub Night.” A perfect opportunity to serve Erin’s now-legendary (just ask my brother Jim) Quesapizzas! And I’d finally get to use those fez-bedecked monkey swizzle sticks my mother had given us that morning at brunch (they’d been burning a whole through my hurricane glass all morning)! We were eager to swizzle something with them!

We invited our friends (and neighbors) Adam and Josh over that evening. Quoting Saturday Night Live with the devotion of storefront preachers, the boys serve double-duty as diners and entertainers. Josh is gluten-intolerant (like me, except for the gluten thing), so every edible offered is preceded by a concerned and often ignorant query. “Hey, Josh, you want some water…Can you have water?” As previewed earlier, the tonight’s menu offered Quesapizzas. He couldn’t have them. Nor The Pub’s featured potable, an improvised concoction Erin would eventually dub a “Sellwood Breeze.”

In the living room, I put some Elvis Costello on the stereo. I suggest you do the same. Try “The Deportees Club” from Punch the Clock.

While our pre-Carter Administration oven heated to 350 degrees, Erin prepared the Quesapizzas. What’s a Quesapizza? No stretch of the imagination is required to figure out this outrageously delicious appetizer (or, if you eat enough, meal) is part quesadilla and part pizza. Oh dear, I’m drooling again, they look so good. Now they’re in the oven. They smell great. 10 minutes to glory!

Buzzzzzzzzzz. They’re done! Out of the oven and divided into slices, they were quickly consumed.

In a mock-Costanza outburst, I exclaimed “These Quesapizzas are making me thirsty!”

Cue Adam: He recounted a cocktail he’d recently been served after requesting “something fruity” from a bartender.

- What was in it? asked Erin.

- Everything! replied Adam.

- Hey, I’ve got that! exclaimed Erin.

Earlier that afternoon, a visit to the West Moreland Liquor Store yielded a bounty of vodka, gin, triple sec (whatever that is) and some pomegranate martini mix. At the Kitchen, we already had oranges, lemons, limes and pineapple.

Voila! The “Sellwood Breeze” was born! Muddle in a martini shaker a slice of orange, a slice of lemon and a slice of lime, three chunks of fresh pineapple, and three leaves of fresh mint (we grow it out on the landing like Hippies!). Add two shots of vodka, a splash of triple sec and a plash of pomegranate martini mix. Add a few ice cubes. Shake with vigor! (The vigor wanes after the third one.)

The evening glides softly into night. Saturday Night Live’s on in 20 minutes. New material for Adam and Josh! But I’m still hungry. Erin stops my whining by whipping up a tray of her Cheesy Breads: Cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese mashed together with a fork (not blended) and spread on slices of fresh bakery bread (we prefer the organic French batard!). Broiled until melty and bubbly. I wish I were eating them now instead of typing over this tray of Safeway sesame chicken…

While they cool, the booming yet soothing voice of Don Pardo introduces the cast of SNL. We snack heartily, laughing occasionally, content in the warm blue glow of TV. A “Pub Night” success! Adam and Josh stumble home. Erin and I sit for a moment in the living room. The kittens claw the couch. Heading for bed, we avert our eyes from the conglomeration at the kitchen sink. Just let it soak, I think. The Pub’s closed. But before we flip the sign, here’s the recipe for the legendary appetizer:


1 flour tortillas
2 small pre-grilled chicken tenderloins (diced)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped onions
Buffalo sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat flour tortilla with buffalo sauce. Mix cheeses and sprinkle over tortilla. Add layer of grilled chicken. Sprinkle second layer of shredded cheese and chopped onions. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts together (about 10 minutes). Suggested dipping sauce: blue cheese dressing! Feeds one, maybe two. Doubled recipe feeds 2, maybe four. Enjoy!

The “In the Sellwood Kitchen” cast and crew can be contacted at:


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