weekend goodness

This was a good weekend. First of all, as stated on Friday, the weather was amazing. Finally. Second, as also stated on Friday, we had a lovely evening out Friday night. Third of all, as not yet stated, our Saturday was quite nice, too.

Maria came to watch Elena and Ian in the afternoon so that Jeff and I could do a bit more camera research and actually have a chance to focus on talking to someone. Jeff bit the bullet last week and upgraded to a new Canon DSLR model from his six-year-old one that has been having flash and other issues for quite some time now. It was delivered a few days ago and it’s a bit like a third child just arrived. Except, thankfully it’s much lower maintenance than a third child. Now he has his eye on a new type of lens, which I will make no attempt to try to discuss here. I just know it has something to do with zoom.

Not to be left out of the mix, I have my own photography aspirations. Though Jeff is definitely known as the photographer in the family, truth be told that I actually enjoy taking pictures as well. The problem is that while I’m definitely ready to move beyond a point-and-shoot, I’m also definitely not at the same level of skill as Jeff. And that is what was so great about heading to Pro Photo Supply yesterday. Like many local stores, these guys know their stuff and the customer service was fabulous. All I had to do is describe what I was looking for: something beyond just a point-and-shoot that is for a beginning photographer who wants great quality photos, fast shooting, image stabilization and not a lot of buttons to learn. Immediately, he steered me toward an option I had not even considered, which is called a DMC – or digital mirrorless camera. And specifically, this Panasonic Lumix G3, which was just released a few weeks ago (at least this latest version was):

Panasonic Lumix G3

If it’s hard to tell here, trust me when I say that it’s a fraction of the size of even the entry- level Nikon DSLR that I have been looking at, which means I’m probably more likely to grab it on the go than a larger camera. And, both the super nice and knowledgeable photo shop dude and the reviews I’ve read at home confirm that it’s a really great camera for my user profile. Even better, the quality is essentially the same as a DSLR. Not to mention that it also includes HD video and it has like four different color options. What’s not to love about that?? Anyway, I didn’t walk out of the store with a new Lumix, but I am quite intrigued. If you’re interested in reading more about it, there’s a great review here that likely covers more than you ever wanted to know on the DMCs and obviously, this model in particular.

From there we ventured across the river to southeast for some drinks and dinner. After literally several months of doing the whole, “we really need to try that place sometime” thing, we finally decided that this was the night we would go to Nuestra Cocina. After some drinks outside at a lovely little bar across the street on SE Division, we ventured across for dinner and got seated immediately at a lovely little window table – thanks to someone in our party (I won’t say who…okay, it was me) who got our name on the list pre-drinks. The atmosphere is great – a very open room with a big open kitchen prep area and bar; a lively but warm place with nice lighting and tile work.

It only took one scan of the menu where every single thing looked worth ordering that I wondered if we had made a mistake in waiting four and a half years to check out this place. While we were feeling torn between ordering tapas to share or a “plato” for each of us, a lovely server with the cutest flower in her hair approached us with freshly-made corn tortillas and a salsa to spread on them that was delicious. Ultimately, we went with a selection of four tapas: their signature pork tacos (OMG – so good!), a chile relleno, queso fundido and an ensalada of baby spinach, bacon, queso fresco and a chiptole vinaigrette. Complemented with a Spanish temperanillo, and finished with a Grand Marnier flan and a side of homemade caramel almond ice cream, every bite of the dinner was AMAZING. Even the side of rice and refried pinto beans was out of the ordinary and seemed done to perfection. Last night, Nuestra Cocina easily jumped to being one of my top two or three favorite restaurants in Portland. So while I’m sorry we hadn’t been there sooner, I’m happy that we’ll have plenty of occasion to go back.

All in all, another happy, sunny weekend day.

Ole!

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