Posted by: David Stewart | June 2, 2009

Pretention? Or bad manners?

I’ve always treated this blog as “the things I would tell you over lunch, if we could sit together.” So this little life experience seems to fit exactly. But it’s also a little embarrassing to write about.

Deb and Laura and I had been planning a dinner together for some days at a place in downtown Portland called Carlyle”.  It was because we had a coupon for dinner there which expired on June 1 and a coupon for bread at Ken’s Artisan Bakery which expired at the same time. Both are in NW Portland, so we would need to plan a special trip there.

I had never even heard of Carlyle, but our running group goes by it fairly often, and it’s in an odd location under the Fremont Bridge, so we thought we should check it out.

As soon as I opened the menu, I could tell that it was a bit more expensive than I had expected.  In fact, with Genoa closed now, it might be the most expensive place in Portland. But hey, I think to myself, we won’t have too many more chances to have dinner with just Laura, so I guess I will stick with it.

And frankly, the experience was fantastic – the food, presentation, and service were all wonderful.  For example, we had a soup course that was a zucchini and oregano puree, poured over a little zucchini cake. Terrific, and a great presentation:

Dinner at carlyle

(Sorry for the crappy cell phone photo)

Laura and I had a prix fixe selection, which was soup or salad, choice of chicken or tortellini, and a dessert.

As I said, the service was terrific, and wasn’t at all snooty. Hey, this is Portland, right? There was even a patron who was dressed in shorts and tennis shoes.

But just as we’re about to leave, my allergies call up and I blow my nose. The young guy at the next table leans over to me and says, not at all quietly, “Can you please go to the bathroom to do that?”, or words to that effect.

At the time, I thought it a bit odd, given that I am bombarded with some particularly unpleasant bodily noises in some countries I travel to, and just mark it down as something to ignore. 

At the time, I mumbled something about “my allergies acting up” and then sat there fuming a little, twittered the incident and signed for the meal before we left.

Once we left the restaurant, my family started chiming in and stating that this guy had been acting pretentiously all evening, and frankly I hadn’t even noticed it.  I won’t go into particular details here, but I can see why they would think it.

I guess it’s true – you can dress me up, but you can’t take me out.


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