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Perfect Portland Pairings a Killer New HBO Show

Plus, an intriguing new novel.
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In retrospect, this week was so close to perfect because it took place in pairings, combining the outdoors with good food: A group run with PRC + pizza at a favorite spot, kayaking on the Willamette + pasta at home, biking + beer at a brand-new brewery, a long Forest Park hike + brunch at home, picking peaches on Sauvie Island + baking a pie. Of course, the week wasn't entirely perfect—we realized we can't head to Guatemala for the holidays because flights are so exorbitant (I'm sorry if anyone else was hit with the rising-flight-prices reality too!). But even that was coupled with the happy confirmation that we'll be hosting my family for Thanksgiving. For now, if you need us, we'll be paddling on the Willamette River, likely thinking about what's for lunch... Here's what else I loved this week:

1

If you read the excerpt of Dana Spiotta's Wayward in last month's Vogue magazine, you may have expected a lighthearted story about a woman who finds herself through the falling-down house she buys in Syracuse. Not... quite. At surface level, the book isn't about much more than a woman's relationship with her daughter as she copes with her mother's illness. But it's made rich by her interior monologue and Spiotta's way of describing things ("Always she liked to imagine herself as subtly different from everyone else, enjoying the tension and mystique of being ordinary on the surface but with a radical, original interior life.") If you're into plot-driven books, this one may test your patience—or be a welcome divergence from the norm.

P.S., I keep a running list of books I've recommended on "The List" this year here!

2

I prefer to wait at least three episodes before recommending a show—but White Lotus, which is being doled out one episode a week on HBO, is so good I felt confident recommending it to everyone who would listen after just the pilot. The social satire alternates between the experiences of the guests and staff at a ritzy Hawaii hotel over the span of a single week, leading up to the death (murder??) we get a sneak peek of in the first episode. And the cast is killer—I'll watch anything with Connie Britton, and an early scene with Natasha Rothwell and Jennifer Coolidge was pitch perfect. Already eagerly awaiting the next episode!

3

In the span of two days, the fig tree in our backyard has exploded with white figs—one of my very favorite fruits. Because there are only so many figs I can eat in a day (with salt and pepper, please *chef's kiss*), Jonah and I have been on a tear to find other ways to preserve, cook, and bake with them. For a recent dinner party, we made Marian Burros' Plum Torte, replacing the plums with figs, peeled and seed-side out. Served with some lightly sweetened whipped cream (ricotta would be delicious too), it was heaven... which explains how I managed to grab exactly zero photos of it...

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1. Felt relevant, given my fig consumption lately. ;) 

2. Intrigued by this new store.

3. Hot take: Jeff Bezos' space launch is the pinnacle of waste.

4. A helpful list for anyone decorating their home on a budget. (We've got this!)

5. I organized a fun wine-tasting for our team last week, taught by Maison de la Muse Natural Wine Club (with Three Spirits Drinks as a non-alcoholic option). 10/10 recommend as a fun Zoom event with friends/coworkers!

6. This NYT interactive piece on climbing, and three other Olympic athletes, is so interesting. 

7. "Why do Americans joke about hating their spouse?"

8. This weekend, I went to my first concert since COVID to see my friend's friend, Corinne Sharlet. I especially loved her song "Deep Water," a single off of her album that comes out in September!

9. This meme, about the evolution of a published piece, made me laugh.

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