A Date with the South

I don’t know what it is lately, but I have not been able to get myself up in the morning. I haven’t been going to bed all that late – 12:30ish. Ok, that’s late, but even so, I should be able to reasonably get up after 8 hours, so in theory, 8:30 am. When my alarm goes off, though, I keep snoozing… and snoozing… and snoozing. I wonder if this is a side effect of tapering? All my fellow TNTers have been talking about how emotional and exhausted they’ve been during the taper.

I didn’t get up until 10am and had lunch plans at noon, so I just ate a beautiful red D’Anjou pear to hold me over. Lunch was with my former office manager and another colleague at the Daily Cafe, which is right near my old office on the east side of the river. It’s a great little cafe with an excellent selection of sandwiches, paninis, and salads, as well as rotating quiche and soup options.

I ordered the turkey, avocado, and caramelized onion panini on ciabatta, which came with a green side salad.

I had so much fun catching up with them. My job was stressful and hectic a lot of the time, but one of the things that made it worth it was the people I got to work with. We passed the time with typical office gossip and discussing my former co-worker’s upcoming wedding.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was jampacked. I managed to squeeze in 45 minutes on the elliptical before rushing home to shower and head out again. As Jacob is packing, he is realizing the other stuff he needs for Guatemala and we end up with a lot of errands to run. Yesterday’s task was to find lightweight business casual pants, and we scored a great pair at Macy’s. I also talked him into his first pair of Docker’s chinos and he looks goooooooood in them 🙂

Next up was the TNT sendoff for the Eugene team! All the half marathon and marathon runners and walkers, about 50 people in total – gathered for a potluck, to get our official shirts, and go over race weekend information. Coaches Mike and Julie gave us the rundown on the course as well, from everything to elevation changes to where to expect the best race support). I’m still holding out hope that I’ll be able to run this marathon, and just thinking about it puts my stomach in knots. In a good way, of course 🙂

I tried to save my appetite at the potluck, because Jacob and I had already made plans for our last dinner out together before he leaves. Our restaurant of choice? Screen Door, “the best Southern cuisine in Portland.”

Screen Door is, in a word, delicious. It is true Southern cuisine, but made with the best fresh, organic, and local NW ingredients possible. They’ve got everything on their menu from low country shrimp n’ grits to fried catfish, and also have a lot of vegetarian options as well.

It being a special occasion and all, I began with a drink that I sipped on veeeeery slowly. It was the Rhett Butler – Maker’s Mark, ginger puree, and lemon juice.

After we ordered, I presented Jacob with my gift I’ve been working on for the past few weeks – a scrapbook and picture album of all the fun things we’ve done together in the past two years.

In such a short time, we have done A LOT. Numerous trips up to Seattle and others around the Northwest (including twice each to the beach and Central Oregon); a week in Cancun in December 2009; and 10 days in Italy this past September. I tried to save ticket stubs and other small memorabilia when we were in Italy just for this reason and I think the book came together nicely. Here’s to more memories in the future!

back to the food 🙂 We aren’t normally in the habit of ordering appetizers, especially if we’re not starving, but with hush puppies on the menu, how could we not??

These perfect little fried balls of cornmeal with a honey mustard dipping sauce were served just right – not overly greasy, but they had that amazing crunch to them that you only get with a deep fryer. Mmmm.

My entree was the Screen Door plate, which is always my go-to option. You get to choose three sides from their regular menu, or from the “local/organics” menu which rotates nightly. I went with the andouille sausage and chicken jumbalaya; fuji apple salad; and cauliflower and fennel gratin for my choices.

Everything was delicious, especially the cornbread – it had whole corn kernels in it that popped in your mouth. The only thing I didn’t care much for was the gratin, which had far too much cream for my tastes. I only made it through about half of this meal before I cried uncle and am already dreaming of it for lunch 🙂

Despite being STUFFED, I conned Jacob into ordering the Ban-Offee Pie for dessert. This is one of the best desserts I have ever had, and that’s out of a loooooooot of past options! “Shortbread-pecan crust layered with bananas and caramel sauce, topped with whipped cream” is not something you say no to.

I’m salivating just looking at this photo.

We basically had to roll ourselves to the car and lie on our backs for awhile to digest this incredible meal. I think meals like this are worth the uncomfortable stuffed feeling every now and then… though I have a feeling I’ll be on the elliptical for awhile today working this one off. I’ve been feeling a little “fluffy” lately, and am really going to watch what I’m eating for the next week. My clothes aren’t fitting any different and I don’t think the scale has changed much, but I’ve been eating a lot of sugar and rich food lately and that does not a fast marathon make. If for nothing else, cleaning up my diet for the week beforehand will make me feel more mentally ready for this thing. Start wishing me luck now – I’ll need it!!

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