Bite Me has come to count on Portland's downtown for its delectable desserts, chicken Caesar topped with epic black bread croutons, and sinful duck breast. She had no idea, however, that the place also served Raging Lunatic Pork Belly.
Let Bite Me explain.
Portland's had recently started a wine-tasting night at its fabulous bar, and Bite Me had been meaning to check it out. So she perched herself outside the joint, in her usual fashion, and interviewed folks as they stumbled out. Things went swimmingly until your curious host spotted a trio of folks inside who looked like they'd be the perfect conclusion to her evening: energetic, smiling, and three sheets to the wind.
105 West Portland, Phoenix
602-795-7480. Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner: Monday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Appetizers: $7-$24; main courses: $10-$24. Major cards.
Well, fuck me. Ever find yourself trapped in a conversation with miserable people who compensate by spewing venom and hellfire? And why is it always the oversize gal who looks like she ate a small village who can't shut up? Bite Me had no choice but to ride it out to the bitter conclusion, while debating with herself whether she could throw a punch and still keep her job. (She decided not to find out.)
After the freak trio finally split (to go in search of dessert number three, no doubt), Bite Me got good and raging drunk. She got so plastered, in fact, she can't remember where she dropped off her film that night. She knows it was a Walgreens. No, maybe it was an Osco. Whatever.
Anyway, y'all will have to make do with Bite Me's renderings of the folks she encountered. She's no artist, but trust her, they're accurate portraits those faces are seared into her memory and will haunt her for months.
Bite Me one. Freaks zero.
Alissa Hartman and Scott Foust
Physical Therapist and Freelance Photographer
Bite Me: So, did you drink some wine in there tonight?
Alissa: Four wines, but I didn't care for the Zinfandels very much.
Bite Me: Ah. Zinfandels. You's a wine connoisseur, I see.
Alissa: I usually drink Merlots but today we tasted mostly Zinfandels, something new. It was our friend's idea, an excuse to get out of the house.
Bite Me: Are they selling wine in there? What's the deal?
Alissa: They show you how to look for flavors, specific colors and body and how to better describe the wines you drink.
Bite Me: Do you drink wine with dinner or just pour yourself a glass when you come home?
Alissa: I drink maybe a bottle a week.
Bite Me: You're my kind of gal. So, what do you two do for a living?
Alissa: I do acute inpatient rehab and Scott's a photographer.
Bite Me: So, Scott, who or what do you shoot?
Scott: I do a lot of acting test shots. I do corporate annual reports, brochures, modeling test shots and I just started shooting some weddings.
Bite Me: What's your favorite?
Scott: Model testings.
Bite Me: Well, yeah. But how come you're not in Hollywood?
Scott: Well, I did that. I was in New York and in Miami for four years. I actually worked for the New Times in Miami. I moved here about seven years ago. I had a lot of clients in L.A. but then I got real busy here in Phoenix.
Bite Me: So are there like fancy people here?
Scott: Here? No.
Bite Me: I don't mean Portland's. I mean Phoenix.
Scott: Well, I just bought a historic home in Scottsdale. I love the laid-back pace here. I'm originally from Baton Rouge.
Bite Me: So where's your accent, buddy?
Scott: Don't have it. Lost it. Got rid of it. But I can turn it on if I have to.
Bite Me: A couple of whiskeys and it pops up?
Scott: Not even whiskey. But like in New York where people are real abrasive I can just turn on the Southern thing. They think I'm an idiot at first.
Bite Me: I love that Southern thing. It's sooooo charming.
Lidia Gomes and Laurel Silk
Corporate trainers, University of Phoenix
Bite Me: I saw you two from across the bar and thought you'd be a hoot. Where are you from?
Lidia: I'm from Connecticut, but I can do the trashy New Yawk thing. (Lidia, who, quite frankly, is fillin' the room with her, er, vibrant personality, is squawking like a Mike Myers wanna-be.)
Bite Me: I've had a sore throat so my voice is all funky, but don't I sound sexy?
Lidia: No. You don't sound sexy. You sound sick. And hey, I'm Lidia with an "I," not a "Y." I actually used to be a trainer for Prudential back on the East Coast but I lost my job 10 months ago and, um, ended up here. I've only been in Phoenix for three months and I'm trying to get used to the relaxed environment. I'm used to the fast pace, "Let's go, let's go, let's move, let's move."
Bite Me: Okey-doke. So who is this demure chick next to you?
Lidia: Her name is Laurel Silk. Tell me that's not a porn name!
Bite Me: Hello, Laurel! Have you been in porn long? (Laurel laughs shyly. But let's be clear, Laurel is a corporate trainer, too. This classy broad is no kneelin' Nelly.) So, do you whip people like Lucy Liu did in Charlie's Angels?
Lidia: No, I don't do that. I'd like to spank a few people, however, but because of this whole sexual harassment thing we can't do that. The thing is I'd probably be the one fired because I'd be doing the sexual harassing. So I just train on systems now, which is really boring, not what I'm used to. I'm used to fun stuff, "Hi, I'm Lidia, you wanna be just like me, fun and happy-go-lucky."
Bite Me: Are you ever in a bad mood? (Bite Me also wonders if Lidia ever shuts up and lets her sweet-looking friend speak a syllable.)
Lidia: Only when I'm not having sex. That would be now.
Bite Me: Well, now! Thanks for sharing. So, what's up with Shy Silk's hubby? He keeps glaring at me. (Hubby-o-shy chick has been shootin' some serious bitter vibes at Bite Me since she walked up. He looks like a man on the brink. She's about to find out what he's on the brink of because he suddenly snatches her tape recorder and proceeds to grill her.)
Cuckoo Random: Let me ask you a question. Where's your BA from?
Bite Me: Okay, freak, I'll bite. I have a pre-law degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Cuckoo: And where's your MA comin' from? (Bite Me wonders what sort of an education this nutball thinks is necessary for thrusting a tape recorder in the faces of drunks.)
Bite Me: I'm not gonna get me no master's.
Cuckoo: What kind of degrees do you wish to get from any school? Do you wanna get a Ph.D.? Who are you working for?
Bite Me: New Times. (Bite Me is fed up. She grabs the tape recorder from freak boy. Enough is enough.)
Cuckoo: You guys don't do any good for anybody. You just run sex ads. You only do bad stories. (Bite Me has a mean right hook and she's about to show it off. Her eyes dart to her gay companion across the bar, who firmly shakes his head. Bite Me takes a deep breath. She will do this often in the next few minutes. Lidia, meanwhile, tries to calm down über-weirdo.)
Lidia: Don't worry, Davey, I'll rub you down later . . . purrrrrrrrrr . . . (Cuckoo, a.k.a. Dave, dashes away.)
Bite Me: He hates me because I don't have a master's.
Lidia: Make sure I don't have a fat chin in the picture. No fat chin.
Bite Me: I'll do my best.
Lidia: No fat chin. Every photo I take, there's always the chin. (Bite Me thinks that Lidia needs to learn to love that chin. Jay Leno has made a career out of his, hasn't he?) Can you make my boobs look bigger?
Bite Me: Yours are bigger than mine. (Bite Me opens her jacket to flash some cleavage. Lidia is already showing cleavage. A lot of cleavage.)
Lidia: I know, but I want them bigger. It's all fun 'til someone gets poked in the eye and then it hurts.
Bite Me: And that's when the fun starts, huh?
Lidia: Sometimes. Um, listen, you're shady. Shady. We're going with your whole thing because you've got a tape recorder but it's shady. What is New Times, anyway?
Bite Me: It's the coolest weekly in the state. We've got a big office on Jefferson. Here's my card.
Lidia: Jefferson is not a street. The card says P.O. Box. P.O. Box. Not even a real street. People like me from the East Coast are not as gullible as people from the West Coast.
Laurel: (Suddenly finding her tongue. God bless her.) Jefferson runs parallel to Washington. We pass New Times every day on the way to work.
Bite Me: Ya know, you should eat at My Florist. It's great but heavy on the carbs. Not the place for those on the Atkins diet.
Lidia: I'm sorry. Do we look skinny?
Bite Me: Uh, no.
Lidia: I'm from Portugal. We eat. Thanks for the martini, beautiful chocolate man. (Yes, Lidia just called the African-American bartender a chocolate man. Judging from his look of horror, he didn't think she was referring to the martini.) Can I just tell you that you and your friend sitting across the bar watching us look like some married couple looking for extracurricular activity tonight? Shady. Shady. So shady. And your business card . . . uh, I make better ones off my printer, okay?
Bite Me: Well, my friend is gay, so that would be some kind of threesome. But thanks for thinking I'm so desperate for freaky sex that I made up a fake company to work for.
Lidia: I need to get a part-time job. I'd love to be a waitress.
Bite Me: You should be a Hooters girl.
Lidia: The only thing is my job travels me all over the place and I wouldn't have time.
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Bite Me: That's Hooters' loss. What a shame. Hey, you could be a Bud Light girl at a lesbian bar.
Lidia: I'd have to get over my phobia of them touching me. Sorry, no lesbians. (Don't worry, Lidia, most dykes have an aversion to homophobic heifers anyway.)
As parlayed to Marnye Oppenheim