Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ore-GONE (but not forgotten...)

As I write this entry from a hotel room in Santa Nella, California (Population: Crazy), it is approximately one-hundred o' I'll make this brief, yet rambly.

Last night (Monday) was our final night in Portland, OR. Jon and I ventured out to a creperie called Le Happy. We had originally planned on just eating dinner there and heading out to some other bar--but, well, the combination of their cool atmosphere, fun board games and the "Here, Kitty" strawberry-and-liquor beverages kept us there for the remainder of the evening. Our very-nice waiter promised that it gets very busy there on Monday nights, but because of the severe weather, he wasn't sure what would happen. That was just fine by me. I was definitely ready for a quiet-ish night after our week abroad.

Jon and I whiled away the evening with rounds of Sorry, Chinese Checkers, American Checkers (as they call it in China), Yahtzee and Connect Four...As well as rounds of "Here, Kitties"--one of which was on the house because our waiter forgot about us for a little while. But we didn't care...we were busy trying to leave each other in the Gumdrop Forrest. (HOT!)

This morning, I was sad to leave the hotel (see Jon's post about more hot people working at the front desk) but I was psyched to go find a Dunkin Donuts. Being from the east coast, I get pissy sometimes when I can't have a lemon-filled powdered donut made just right. For some reason, there are no Dunkin' Donuts in California at all. I hate this story and lament about it nearly every day. But i did some research--there are three of them in Portland!

As Jon and I got off the 5 at the appropriate exit, we noticed something was off--The address where I was told the Dunkin Donuts was had a sign on it that said "STARBUCKS." I nearly burst into tears right then, but quickly remembered there were two more locations. I called 411 and they connected me to the nearest Dunkin Donuts straightaway!

A gentleman answered the phone, and I couldn't quite make out what he said, but it didn't certainly sound like "Dunkin Donuts, home of the most delicious donuts that ever crossed your tongue, how may I serve you today?" I said, "Pardon? What did you say?"

"Dippin' Donuts. Can I help you?"

"Surely, there must be some mistake," I thought, "I clearly asked directory assistance for a Dunkin Donuts. I'm going to write a stern letter," I continued to think.

"Can I help you," came the voice again.

"Umm, is this Dunkin Donuts?"

"No. This used to be a Dunkin Donuts. I bought it and now it's a Dippin' Donuts."

"But I don't want Dippin' Donuts. Aren't there any Dunkin' Donuts left in Portland?"

"Nope...this was the last one."

Again I found myself on the edge of tears as I slammed my phone shut. We made our way back to the freeway, saddened by the lack of pastries in Portland.

Where the fuck are all the Dunkin Donuts going?

Anyway, the only way to make this up to myself was to stop at an A&W Root Beer stand on the way back to California. I needed a Root Beer Float badly. When we arrived at the stand in Umpqua, OR, Jon was pale in the face--somewhat less than enthused about our fast-food venture. I ran over to the 17 year old girl behind the counter (Amber) and then stared dumbly at the menu. Jon decided to have the chicken know, to be healthy. He added some fries and a float for just 59 cents more. The float was presented to him as I ordered my #1. I could hear chaos ensuing seconds later.

I looked over at Jon to see a virtual root beer river on the counter. Jon was shocked, but Amber seemed non-plussed. "They do that," she offered. "You can't agitate them." Jon, now agitated himself, rushed over to find some napkins and begin cleaning up as Amber ignored Jon and allowed me to add something called "Cheese Curds" to my order.

The food was fried and tasty, just how I remember it... And the service was sassy and inane, just how I like it. As we were leaving, Amber was busy chatting it up with friend and co-worker Jessie at a booth towards the back. A 60+ trucker came in and plopped himself at the counter, waiting to be noticed. I stood and watched out of the corner of my eye while Jon was busy in the bathroom. Amber stood up and shuffled her way over to the counter. The man made some remark about her not picking up her feet when she walked. Amber replied, "If I don't pick up my feet when I walk, I don't trip as much." (Keith, maybe you should try this at home!) I pretended to look at the postcards as the customer gave her some kind of hell about this and ordered a root beer. Amber: "You want a regular root beer?" She quoted him a price.

By this time, Jon was outside waiting for me. Behind me, I heard coins fall onto the counter, followed by a stunned silence. I turned around and saw Amber's jaw was agape, complete with blue chewing gum resting on her bottom teeth as she glared at the senior citizen counting up his nickels and dimes in order to pay for his cup of root beer with a side of youth hostility.

I was sufficiently entertained and we exited Oregon for the second and final time this tour.

I'll miss it...but something tells me I'll be back. Even if it's just to see Amber harass everyone who happens to cross her path.

It's now one-hundred-thirty and I need to pass out. We'll be back in LA tomorrow!!



Anonymous Ben said...

You missed out by not making the (long) trip down to Dippin' Donuts. I realize it wasn't Dunkin any more (too much money to keep up the franchise demands for a place that is not as popular on the west coast - apparently the east coast ones make so much money by selling coffee, coffee, coffee!). I was treated to their donuts for the first time this week and am hooked! I think they kept the old recipes.

2:52 PM  

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