Bar Avignon – Division Street Restaurant

by lhannan on February 19, 2012

Here we are, living in southeast Portland, a city known for innovative dinning, and we can’t seem to get beyond SE Division Street when we go out to eat. Any why should we? Between our house and Division there is a plethora of fabulous restaurants offering an array of cuisines from around the world. By choosing to stay within our neighborhood we eliminate hundreds of great restaurant possibilities, but even within these restricted boundaries it is still difficult to make a dining decision .

A couple of years ago we stopped in at Taste Unique to pick up Italian to go. My husband Ty was raised on real Italian food and will not suffer inferior substitutes. Taste Unique is authentic home cooked Italian cuisine lovingly made by the Italian couple who owns the place.

It was one of those dark and dreary winter nights in Portland, the rain was slamming down faster than the windshield wipers could react. Two seconds out from under cover and you were drenched. We picked up our order and made a mad dash for the car, which was parked around the corner. On this same corner stood another restaurant that we had been eyeing for some time, Bar Avignon  The interior looked cozy and warm and Ty suggested we go in and have a drink. There was only room at the bar, which was perfect. When you sit at the bar you don’t feel compelled to order a full dinner but have ample opportunity to really observe the place and how it operates. We ordered cocktails and, with the expert guidance of our server, appetizers. The experience was wonderful and since then this little gem of a place has turned into one of my favorite haunts.

Last night, when once again the rain was pouring over our fair city, we returned to this cozy sophisticated place and watched from our window seat as an episode of Portlandia unfolded before us. The place was full of dinners of all ages and backgrounds. Bicyclists came in stamping the wet from their clothes and dining without taking the time to remove their neon yellow and orange vests. The young couple next to us was out celebrating Friday night; she, trying to get her pregnant belly behind the table and requesting a’virgin’ cocktail. Hipsters and neighborhood regulars were welcomed by the staff and everyone looked satisfied after their brief or lengthy stay at this wonderful place.  The wine selection is broad based both in taste and value. Every dish is thoughtfully prepared with care given to even the smallest of details. The servers are knowledgeable and attentive without the obligatory, “Hi, I’m Brandon and I’ll be your server tonight”, which always irritates me. In short, it is a perfect place on a cold, dark, rainy night or, conversely, on a warm August night sitting at an outdoor table drinking a cold beer and enjoying this lively and animated neighborhood.

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Modern Architecture and Landscaping

by lhannan on February 13, 2012

Let me first say that I love Dwell magazine. Though I live in a traditional Tudor home, I prefer the clean uncluttered lines of the modern structures that appear in Dwell. Natural wood, concrete and glass contrast greatly to my actual home but I’m drawn to the pictures presented.

For anyone who shares my love of the modern design and for those of you repulsed by this esthetic, there is an amusing blog written by Jenna Talbott and Molly Jane Quinn at These girls match clever one liners to selected photos of the stark and forbidding style of modern architecture found within the pages of Dwell. Their thousands of  followers (including some Dwell employees) have taken up the cause and send in their own hysterical submissions to the site.

This is wonderful entertainment but highly addicting. The first time I looked at their work I spent an hour laughing my head off and only reached the first handful of pages. So funny, so smart.

Assembling the shipping container inside the apartment, painting the interior fire-engine red, getting all too familiar with a handheld drill to modify the box—it&#8217;d all been worth it to discover his happy place.<br />
(Photo: Nicholas Calcott; Dwell)

Assembling the shipping container inside the apartment, painting the interior fire-engine red, getting all too familiar with a handheld drill to modify the box—it’d all been worth it to discover his happy place.






The Little Black Dress

February 11, 2012

When my mother passed away almost four years ago, my daughter put together a beautiful memorial slide show for the funeral. After working many hours on this creation, she called me into the office and said, “Mom, you have got to take a look at this”. She flipped through all of the slides that included a […]

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Planting Spring Bulbs In February??

February 2, 2012

Here it is February and I still have spring bulbs to plant in my garden. This happens every year, and each year I make a promise to myself that next year I will order my bulbs in August and plant them the day they arrive. This, of course, will never happen. In my business I […]

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Gardening in the snow

January 19, 2012

It snowed today. Not unheard of, but still, unusual enough that the newscasters were able to hype Storm 2012 for hours. My first reaction was the same as it was when I was a kid, EXCITEMENT! But then I remembered my geraniums. There are gardeners who stay on top of the tasks required to maintain […]

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Welcome to my Blog

January 9, 2012

Welcome to my blog, a place to share my opinions, projects, inspiration, and creative endeavors. My husband and I are the parents of two children who, gratefully, have grown into wonderful young adults. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, traveled around Europe, studied interior design in Seattle and returned home in my 30s. I am […]

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