falling in love, first dates, how i met the missus, lovelovelove, miyake, my love, romantic restaurants

Second Chance At Our First Date

What does a lesbian bring on a second date?
A U-Haul.

It’s definitely one of those ‘it’s funny because it’s true‘ jokes. But, the question to be asked now is, before the chronic cohabitation were to commence, where would said lesbian–this lesbian, in fact– take you on that ever important first date in Portland? That was our latest task given by A. for an early break in the ‘O-rama‘ series. We were asked to imagine, if we were just meeting our partners for the first time, where we would go on our first dates in Portland. It’s a fun thing to ponder as it’s been quite some time since I was on a first date.

The Missus and I have been together nearly seven years, meeting on a muddy path leading to the hell that was Coventry. Julia Child had died that day, and the Governor of New Jersey had just come out, and I do believe those two pieces were our ice breaker. We smoked the same cigarettes, we found out. Even had the same birthday (I’m a year older). We hung out that evening and I headed back to New York the next day, with the security group I was there working for. She gave me a hug that lingered the entire eight hour drive back.

We talked a lot on email. I left my marriage and she finally got away from her ex and their not so healthy relationship. We saw each other when we could and I moved here two months later. She often called it ‘serendipity’ and I have to agree. Had I not fallen in love with her, I would not be in this town that, with time, I have grown quite fond of.

My first weekend here is etched deeply in my mind. Our first date was Sapporo and I remember it was because there were Saketini’s.

It would be greatly different this time around.

I thought choosing an imaginary date would be fun, but it actually caused a bit of fluttering in my stomach as I thought over some possibilities:

  • Back Bay Grill: The scene of what has been our most romantic evening living here. Food. Ambiance. Service. Joy. All there for my 30th, her 29th, birthday.
  • Bar Lola: It oozes love from door to plate.
  • A world where Evangeline is still open: Because sweetbreads are fucking sexy.
  • Silly’s: Where a coworker recently went on her first date and I thought it was brilliant. The energy that pulses through there is awesome. The food is good and definitely covers the ‘something for everyone’ bill. It’s fun. It’s playful. It’s memorable.

But, they’re not quite… ‘it.’

My brain kept going back to Miyake. I could actually picture us having our first date there. I could see us sitting at the bar, because you MUST sit at the bar, sharing a bottle of sake and enjoying ourselves immensely. There is a nice intimacy to being at that bar, sitting next to–instead of across from–the person you’re on a date with. You have the honor of watching Chef Miyake behind the bar, hands and blade moving so effortlessly and delicately, as he prepares your meal. It’s conversation. It’s beautiful.

Then the sake begins to take effect, and the Omakase is hitting it’s stride, you can lean back and put your arm around your date. Brilliant.

And, of course, there is the food. The beautiful, beautiful–is that truffle oil?–beautiful food. I have fallen in love with, and over, that food so many times. But, how can you not fall in love with food so beautiful and so perfect? Even more, how can you not be caught up in the near rapture it causes? Every meal I have had there, every single last time, I have left light headed, happy and smitten…even when I have eaten there by myself. Even writing about it right now, recalling the delicate watermelon flavor of Ayu Shioyaki–one of the most memorable things I’ve ever eaten, I find myself with a smile.

I can even picture what we’d order–which may be a bit sad as it’s become our ‘standard’ order. I know we would order the Omakase lv.5 with the addition of any pork belly offered, miso black cod and the truffle oil topped baked scallop and lobster. I do believe there would have to be tea and creme brulee.

And the next day we’d be packing up a U-haul.

Miyake on Urbanspoon

And what did the other Portland bloggers have to say about a first date? You can read one here, another here, a third here, yet another here and here and, because we’re stealing her even though she wasn’t an official participant, a final one here.