Portland for Eats, Coffee and Old World Charm

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One thing Portland really has down in a very on-their-sleeve kind of way is the concept that we’re all in this together. The notion of “the commons” — shared space, figurative and elemental —is not just about the natural environment, but resounds in the names and practices of numerous, residents, restaurants and buildings.

For coffee, there’s Public Domain, for beer, the Commons Brewery, and for building there’s the brothers Moon who are building their own ‘commons,’ a self-generating home that meets The Living Building Challenge (‘projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.’) It’s inspiring and highly congenial.

We ate at one of Clyde Common restaurant’s convivial community tables. Albeit Clyde Common is not the place to go if you’re vegan — the menu has more meat liver based offerings than many I’ve seen and most of the vegetarian items feature dairy (though I’ve a feeling they’d work with vegans as needed).

What is on the menu is thoughtfully constructed in its open kitchen — the grapefruit in the beet salad is jellied; the greens adorning the broccoli soup, micro; the ice cream on the apple crisp flavored with scotch. Oh yea, it is a bar as much as a restaurant and the liquor list rivals the wine list (from Oregon, Washington and Europe but nada from Cali), complete with imaginatively named house drinks (Pancho & Lefty, Heavy Petting) and barrel aged cocktails. It’s just that kind of Portland place, one where of course they want you to be happy because then everyone else will be that much happier.

Deborah Crooks
Deborah Crooks (www.DeborahCrooks.com) is a writer, performing songwriter and recording artist based in San Francisco whose lyric driven and soul-wise music has drawn comparison to Lucinda Williams, Chrissie Hynde and Natalie Merchant.

Singing about faith, love and loss, her lyrics are honed by a lifetime of writing and world travel while her music draws on folk, rock, Americana and the blues. She released her first EP "5 Acres" in 2003 produced by Roberta Donnay, which caught the attention of Rocker Girl Magazine, selecting it for the RockerGirl Discoveries Cd. In 2007, she teamed up with local producer Ben Bernstein to complete "Turn It All Red" Ep, followed by 2008's "Adding Water to the Ashes" CD, and a second full-length CD "2010. She's currently working on a third CD to be released in 2013.

Deborah's many performance credits include an appearance at the 2006 Millennium Music Conference, the RockerGirl Magazine Music Convention, IndieGrrl, at several of the Annual Invasion of the GoGirls at SXSW in Austin, TX, the Harmony Festival and 2009's California Music Fest, MacWorld 2010, Far West Fest and many other venues and events. She toured the Northwest as part "Indie Abundance Music, Money & Mindfulness" (2009) with two other Bay Area artists, and followed up with "The Great Idea Tour of the Southwest in March 2010 with Jean Mazzei.
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