“The waiter is more authentic than the food”: The Best of Gloria Russakov, part 1.
August 16, 2013 3 Comments
Gloria Russakov was a humorous restaurant critic for the Portland area, and the author of Guide to Eating Out in Portland. In 1978, Oregon Magazine published Gloria Russakov’s guide to Oregon Restaurants, a delightfully witty and funny book that I turn to often in times of trouble. Although I’ve visited only a few of the restaurants in the book, I find her prose quite entertaining and fun to read.
In her introduction to the guide, she argues that abstinence in reference to delicious food is not the answer. To prove her point, she states: ”Learning that this planet still houses cultures that figure bride-price by the pound,… and cellulite is merely a contemporary synonym for Rubinesque, I have evolved a food philosophy I can live with. Deliciously.” She affirms that great cuisine does reside in the state of Oregon, however, she warns that: ”Standing between you and gastronomic heaven is an almost impassable mountain range of boxed croutons. Impenetrable rolls reheated in microwave ovens. Cascades of iced tea made from a mix. Dense forests of iceberg lettuce with shredded cabbage thorns,… and the frozen bodies of thousands of chickens from Kiev who all died with their wing tips saluting.”
Gloria’s guide separates restaurants according to regions: The Coast, Portland Area, Willamette Valley and South, and East of the Cascades. She uses the star system, and only one restaurant, The Pancake House in Portland, receives her perfect rating of four stars. About Lucas Lodge, no star, in Agness, she has this to say: ”Spring water at the outdoor fountain by the porch is delicious. One lucky child gets to ring the dinner bell. Water and bell are the highlights. Especially if it’s your kid,…” Her 11/2 * rating of Valley River Inn from the Willamette Valley contains the following lines: ”Service is that delicious mix of professionalism mingled with college-boy innocence… The waiter is more authentic than the food.”