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Archive for January, 2013

Huber’s Cafe – a Chinese owner, American turkey, and Spanish coffee

It was another luncheon outing of the “lovely library ladies”, the group of us from the book club who meet once a month for lunch at various eateries in Portland. This time we decided to try Huber’s Cafe, the restaurant that sports this claim to fame, “Established in 1879, Huber’s is Portland’s oldest restaurant”. It is a beautifully old, dark wood, lowly lit place from a time past. The room we ate lunch in is covered by a ceiling of Tiffany glass, along with a bar that looks like it came out of an old Hollywood movie, complete with the original brass cash register.

Huber’s was started by Frank Huber, but was eventually taken over and bought by Jim Louie, a Chinese immigrant hired by Frank Huber as Huber’s original cook. The main menu item of the early Huber’s was a turkey sandwich and coleslaw, and Jim Louie continued on with the turkey tradition, expanding the menu to include many different types of turkey offerings. The turkey melt sandwich I had with brie cheese and caramelized onions on a toasted baguette was very tasty, along with Huber’s famous coleslaw that lived up to its reputation as delicious.

But the best part, and certainly most entertaining was the Spanish coffee we had after our meal. This drink was developed by James Louie, another member of the Louie family, and having it prepared table side is an event in itself.  This amazing and very yummy drink consists of Kahlua, 151 proof Bacardi rum, Bols triple sec and hot coffee, topped with fresh whipped cream and nutmeg – what a tantalizing combination of flavors it is! The bartender came to our table with a tray of all the needed ingredients and special heat resistant glasses rimmed in sugar, and proceeded to concoct our beverages with the showmanship of a magician. He poured layers of the various liquors into the two glasses he held, as he moved his arms in an sweeping arc, almost like the movements of a ballet dancer. And at one point in this performance, he lit the liquid inside the glasses on fire, adding much flair to the whole spectacle.

It was the perfect end to a delightful lunch on a cold and rainy Portland day, as we added another great Portland food destination to our ever growing list of lunch time adventures had by the lovely library ladies.

The bar at Huber's

The bar at Huber’s

The start of Spanish coffee

The start of Spanish coffee

Lighting the coffee on fire

Lighting it on fire

Topping it off with fresh whipped cream

Topping it off with fresh whipped cream

Ready to drink!

Ready to drink!

 

 

 

 

 

Turning to Mom, no matter how old they are

I got a call from my daughter the other day in the middle of the afternoon, when she should have been hard at work and not calling to chitchat with me. Of course my motherly radar of doom and gloom kicked in as I picked up the phone and saw who was calling. My mind began to run through the endless litany of terrible events that must have happened to her. I tried to be the voice of calm and cheer as I answered the phone and said, “Hi! How are you?” I heard the big sigh and then her reply of, “Not good – I’m sick!” Hopefully she didn’t hear my sigh of relief at her dilemma; not happy that she was sick, but relieved that’s all it was. Oh, the crazy rationale of motherhood!

And the only reason she called, and really quite a heartwarming reason, was to get some good old-fashioned motherly sympathy for her plight of illness. Being recently married, she now has a husband who is there to take care of her and baby her during such times, but it is a mother’s compassion that seems to be the healing balm she wants when she is sick. That’s not to say that men are less effective in taking care of someone in the throes of an illness, but a mother’s touch, even hundreds of miles away, seems to be a special kind of remedy for whatever ails you.

We might think that when our children grow older and start to claim their independence that they will have less of a need for our wise parental guidance. But there are some things about being a mom that will never fade away, no matter what age my children are or how successful they become on their own. My daughter was able to take the reins very nicely and plan her whole wedding herself; my advice from across the country was asked for on occasion, but she really put the whole thing together on her own and did a fantastic job.

But when it comes to dealing with any sickness she may encounter, I am sure to get a phone call, looking for words of advice and words of comfort. It is those times I am reminded that my role as a parent may change throughout my children’s lifetimes, but I will always have the role of Mom, the best comforter of all.

 

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