Portland, An Ironic Mix of Great Food and ex-Funeral Parlors

The jury is still out on what the best part of Portland, Oregon was for Father Figures – Doughnuts from “Voodoo”? Tacos at “Porque No?” Playing two really well attended, well received shows alongside really cool bands? Homemade avocado-and-sweet-corn salsa?

We’d like to say it was the salsa, but it’s really too close to call. We arrived in Portland monday night, and spent all of tuesday morning at True Brew, a great Portland cafe that also happens to employ our good friend and hostess for our Portland stay, Erin. Not only was she a gracious and generous host, but she picked up Bananagrams like Mozart picked up counterpoint at age 10. When Ross, Ian and I learned from Adam at the beginning of the tour, it took us a good few games before we could even begin to compete, but Erin was a quick study and was giving us a run for our money, or a run for our bananas, right off the bat.

The first night we played at The Woods, which is a very cool venue that also happens  to be an ex-Funeral Parlor. Perfect for zombie jazz! We played with two other bands, one from good ol’ Brooklyn called “The Secret History”, and a local Portland band, “The Soft Tags”. Coming off our successful run in Seattle, our first show in Portland was an undeniable success. Adrenaline from our show, among other things, drove us to seek out the legendary Voodoo doughnut shop, open late, on our drive back to Erin’s. It’s nice to know that you can get a huge pink box, full of doughnuts, for ten dollars flat at two in the morning.

A few hours and semi-digested doughnuts later, we awoke to a beautiful day in Portland, and went to a great taqueria called “Porque No?” just down the street from Erin’s apartment. It was one of the best, cheapest lunches we could have asked for, and looked great too:

Not to be outdone, Erin’s sister’s boyfriend, Greg, whipped up some serious salsa that afternoon. Avocado and corn, can’t beat it. This bowl started out full:

The show that night was at another, yes, another, ex-funeral parlor, this one called the Ella Street Social Club. We thought we were playing first out of three bands, but quickly learned that the lead singer for the second band was eight months pregnant! It goes without saying that all of Father Figures are outstanding gentlemen of the classiest order, so of course we switched spots with them. They were called “Part-time Pony”, and were native to Portland. Great band. It was also their last show in a while, since the lead singer was a soon-to-be mommy, so they brought tons of people to the show,  a lot of whom stuck around to check us out, which was very cool.

The band after us, “Why I Must Be Careful”, blew my mind. (Their Myspace is here) They had played with us a year ago, at Death By Audio in Brooklyn, but I was unable to stick around for long to check them out. Drums and rhodes duo, winding in and out of tight composed sections, meters flying everywhere, they built grooves up hard and tore them down harder. What a seriously kick-ass band. And the nicest dudes you’ll ever meet, to boot! Check them out.

The entire time we were in Portland, Ian couldn’t stop talking about a special doughnut he had heard about from Voodoo, the coveted Bacon-Maplesugar doughnut, but when we went there on tuesday night they didn’t have any. Broken hearted, he quietly accepted that maybe he’d never get to try it. But in a last final gesture of pure kindness, we discovered a big pink box when we got to Erin’s apartment the night before we left. Inside were three delicious, sinful doughnuts slathered in maple sugar and topped with two strips of bacon. These doughnuts do in fact have bacon on them, and it’s the best thing you’ve ever regretted eating.

Portland was good to us. Special thanks to Erin, Sarah, Cody, and Greg, for being awesome people. You guys rock.



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