Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wiener Dogs, Polka Music, and Beer

But and alas, no bratwurst or saurkraut. At yesterday's Bend Oktoberfest,  Deschutes Brewery won the coveted "Worst Pretzels Ever" award for their mushy and tasteless offering. A request for their hottest mustard resulted in a pretzel served swimming in a pool of watery sugary yellow liquid with a vague mustard taste.  Feh.

Mrs Elliott said that Velo's little meat pie was delicious, though. And of course, while other people in more-deprived parts of the country are cheerfully swilling down yellow fizzy pisswater beer from the likes of Budweiser and Miller, Silver Moon, Wildfire, Cascade, McMenamin's and the previously-mentioned Deschutes Brewery were serving up cups of their far better brews. It's only because Deschutes is my present favorite local brewery that I am not setting a vex on them for that stunningly crappy pretzel.  

Yesterday actually started with us riding our town bikes out to Fred Meyers via the Old Mill district and Reed Market Road. Mrs Elliott has taken up guitar lessons and needed to get the nails on her left hand shortened. This is the kind of work that she prefers to leave to professionals, so while she was being attended to by the folk at Smart Nails, I killed time by wandering around Freddies (sampled some nice cheese) and fiddled with the rear derailleur on my bike. It was being fussy. 

Once her manicure was done, we cruised back to downtown where we paid our $5 admission into the Oktoberfest tent, where we ate the cursed pretzel and uncursed meat pie, where the little doggies ran their little hearts out; and when we tired of the spectacle we settled down at a table in front of Bellataza and people-watched. 

My son, Jim, joined us. We'd been waiting to see him because he had just finished his first day at his new job at Bend Lock & Safe and we looked forward to hearing how it went. Very well, it seems. He reported that the company is very well-run, that they are on first-name basis with their customers, and that his direct supervisor has impressive knowledge of locks and safes, their operation, and their history. Jim is genuinely pleased to be able to use his training as a locksmith for such a good company. 

Mrs Elliott and I are genuinely pleased that the boy finally got a job at a place which enjoys a good reputation in town, and that he is now hunting for a place of his own to rent. 

This gets him out of the house, and I gotta say that having the house to just the two of us is something we've been looking forward to for a long time. 

We finished up the day with dinner at Taj Palace Indian Cuisine on Wall St. I'm no afficionado of Indian cuisine, but I have have learned that what is considered hot or spicy in Bend is considered less than mild, almost bland, in San Diego. The host just laughed when we asked for more fire--I suspect that he thought we were insane.  But despite my insistance that the curry must have some noticeable heat, it was only mild at best. 

(We've experienced the same thing at Toomie's, where the Thai dishes that are marked as "spicy" on the menu aren't. Pacific Northwesterners have timid palates, it appears. )

Today we took out our little road bikes and rode the 24-mile Bend-Tumalo route. Mrs Elliott got pretty darn tired and all kind of cranky toward the end of the ride. She was so intent on getting to Mother's Juice Cafe for lunch that she was positively shouting at little old women and little children to get out of her way as she rode onto the Drake Park footbridge. It's a miracle none of the old birds had heart attacks or took swings at my wife with their umbrellas or canes. I suspect that at least one toddler has been scarred for life and will never approach a footbridge without taking a cautionary look over his shoulder to scan for rapidly approaching cranky women on bikes. 

We are seeing why so many Bendites say that September is their favorite month. The weather is fantastic, and the tourist density has dropped faster than a paralyzed falcon. 

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