niblets: arts and flowers edition

Oregon is doing its springy best to paint the landscape in springy colors, so we, too celebrate art in nature.

Fuchsias, named after a German scientist Leonhart Fuchs and hence the odd spelling, are some of the most unusual and easy to grow of the shade/semi-shade flowers, so I always pick some up in the spring. Fred Meyer’s held a “Fuchsia Day” yesterday, and they have an excellent variety of starts.

Help those pollinators get an early start!  They’re important for our stone fruit and apple crops in the Willamette Valley.  Plant flowers that bloom early and attract the bees.  In my garden, that means rosemary, crucifer crops’ flowers (they love the yellow flowers of mustard relatives), lilacs, Oregon grape, flowering quince, and haskapberries.  More ideas from OSU Extension here.

Today on Food for Thought on KLCC at noon, listen in to Ryan and Boris, with special guests from Eugene’s latest addition to the cocktail scene, Rye.  The bar and restaurant opened a few weeks ago, and I had a chance to sample the menu the other day.  They have a terrific selection of pre- and post-Prohibition cocktails; the food could be just as good if they kicked it up a notch.  If you’re used to drinking deliciously spicy bourbon cocktails, you might try to lighten up with a Vancouver, a gin, vermouth, and Benedictine cocktail which has been likened to a Manhattan…on a diet.  Perfect for spring.

If like me and artist James Earl, you’ve been fascinated by crop circles while flying over agricultural regions of the United States, you’ll love Jim’s exhibit in the DIVA space and at the Eugene airport, Window Seat: The Art of the Circle Field.  A professor emeritus in the UO English Department and all around Renaissance man, Jim used Google Earth images to construct artistically interesting snapshots of irrigation systems interlaid into the US transportation network, squaring thousands of green circles. Check it out from now until May 4.  More information here.

Cinema Pacific is one of Eugene’s yearly glories, and this year the festival features two Japanese films about food production.  Take your environmentalist cousin to the gorgeously filmed and grotesque Midori-ko on Thursday, and your urbane food critic uncle to the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Sunday. Unfortunately, the sushi dinner after the film at Kamitori is sold out, but there will be sushi from Sushi-Ya at the film!  Yours truly will be reporting about the dinner.  You can watch all of this year’s film previews, collected by the festival organizers, on YouTube.

I was pleased to see Eugene’s culinary art at another annual extravaganza, Chefs’ Night Out 2012, this week.  Over a thousand people attended, most of whom stood in orderly lines to get delicious food.  (Anyone have a link to news about the award-winners and how much money was raised for Food for Lane County?  I know the press was there — where’s the story, guys?) My best bites included lovely little candied kumquat and farmer cheese on black pepper shortbread canapés from Koho Bistro, Blue Dog meads, a creamy fisherman’s stew from Fisherman’s Market, and a pulpy marionberry soda made from local berries from Hot Lips Soda.  But best of all was probably the simply pan fried oysters with tartar sauce from Mac’s at the Vet’s (bottom shot).  Tumbling from the frying pan into our mouths, they were hot, creamy and delicious.  Not really “Cajun” as advertised, but a tiny bit of spice was appreciated and the tartar had a nice dill pickle dice in it.

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