Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Livin' in the Blurbs: Busy Busy Busy!

This weekend is looking to be a blockbuster, with the city filling up with the nation's top bartenders here for the confab that is known as Portland Cocktail Week, the grape harvest starting in the vineyards (call your favorite small winemaker and offer to sort grapes…they'll cry) and apples literally spilling out of orchard crates at the many harvest festivals and apple tastings going on. But if you're not busy tomorrow evening and want to stuff yourself for a good cause, you can't do better than to buy a ticket to the Portland Farmers' Market 20th Anniversary Party. Not just another sit-down fundraising dinner, this shindig is sporting live chef demos, sweet treats from the city's top patissiers, intimate lounges and dining spaces and options for everyone regardless of food leanings (meaning omnivores and vegans alike). It's going to be the dinner of the year, and the price is ridiculous for what you'll get.

Details: Portland Farmers' Market 20th Anniversary Party. Thurs., Mar. 20, 6:30-8:30 pm; $75. Dinner held at the Sharp restaurant at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Portland, 34 NW 8th Ave. 503-241-0032.

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It was like Christmas in October when I came back from walking the dog yesterday and found, O Joy!, a little plastic bucket sitting on my front stoop. To me it represents nothing less than a major redemption of a cardinal sin that I've been committing daily for a number of years. That is, to be specific, throwing perfectly good vegetable trimmings and other compostables into the trash. It's not that we don't want to make our own compost, it's that we don't have the time, the space or the backs to manage a major composting effort. So the idea that I can keep this little bucket under my counter for the scraps and bits and then throw paper towels, the odd pizza box and even bones into my green roll cart for the good of the community is nothing short of miraculous. Thanks to the powers that be!

Details: Portland Composts. Get a complete description of the program and a list of what goes in and what stays out at the Portland Composts website. Questions? E-mail

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Every Sunday around 9:40 or so in the morning, the call goes out across the house: "Puzzle Guy!" That means it's time to gather around the radio…um…the iPhone in the dock, actually…and listen to Will Shortz, "the Puzzle Editor of the New York Times and NPR's Puzzlemaster," befuddle a caller with a crafty brainteaser. If you, like Dave, have lines around your mouth from grimacing and patches of hair missing from trying to solve Friday's NY Times crossword, or if, god help you, anagrams or palindromes are your thing, you can't miss the upcoming fundraiser for Write Around Portland. An organization that works to put on writing workshops, publish anthologies and present public readings in the community "with a special focus on people living with HIV/AIDS, survivors of domestic violence, adults and youth in addiction recovery, low income seniors, people in prison, homeless youth and others who may not have access to writing in community because of income, isolation or other barriers." It's a tall order, and their yearly fundraiser is coming up on Nov. 5, with an opportunity to hobnob, nibble and sip with other word geeks while playing word games and walking away with silent auction items. It'll be fun, really!

Details: Write Around Portland X Y & Z Fundraiser. 7:30-10 pm; $50 adv., $60 door (tickets available online). Event at Design Within Reach, 1200 NW Everett St. 503-796-9224.

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