This post is probably more aptly titled “the day I met Nickel Creek…and other awkward stories.”
Let’s start from the beginning. Nickel Creek is a straight up awesome bluegrass band that has been together for 25 years (minus that recent 6 year hiatus: the dark years). They started performing together as 8 and 12-year-olds, which absolutely blows my mind. Anywho, they came to Lexington while we were in college, but tickets were so expensive that we didn’t go. This has been my greatest concert regret, especially since the group disbanded shortly after.
But they’re back! And we didn’t hesitate to get tickets to see them in Portland. I mean, when this is the way your mandolin player is rocking out, how can you resist?
Since we’re moving to Portland in the near future, we opted to head up there on Friday morning, spend the day checking out the various neighborhoods, eat awesome food, and finish the night with the Nickel Creek concert.
We started with lunch at Bollywood Theater in southeast Portland. I’ve been craving Indian food like a mad woman lately, and this totally hit the spot. Holy cow. Deliciousness.
From there, we headed to the Pearl District, which is one of the super nice (read: extremely expensive) neighborhoods in Portland. It has a ton of super cute shops and restaurants, and just makes me feel like an all-around classy person. We were walking down the street there when we popped into a little home furnishings store. At this point, Eric starts mumbling something to me, as if he’s trying to be really quiet, but has something important to say. Eventually, he spit it out. “Nickel Creek is outside.” I have no idea how I didn’t notice this myself, but sure enough, Nickel Creek is sitting right outside the store.
Now, here’s a little embarrassing tidbit about me. When it comes to celebrities (or anyone of remote fame), I become a bumbling, babbling, clumsy fool. It’s like my entire body shuts down, and all of my senses are replaced with giggle fits. Let’s give a few examples from my celebrity meeting history. In middle school, I met a Backstreet Boy (I know, right?!). Rather than speaking any actual words, I just giggled like the middle school girl I was and vowed to never wash the hand he shook again. In high school, I met Andy Davis. When I stumbled my way through asking him to sign my cd, I dropped the pen as I went to hand it to him, and then fumbled around like an idiot. In college, I met Dave Barnes. By this point, I knew my limits, and therefore asked a friend to come with me to talk with him. I’m pretty sure I got too nervous to actually speak, and instead stood there with my enormous “oh-my-goodness-you-are-so-cool” smile plastered across me face.
So, as you can guess, when Eric mentioned we were just feet away from Nickel Creek, my heart started pounding, I started sweating, and I immediately lost control of my speech. We walked around the entire store, constantly glancing out the doors to see if the band was still there (my apologies to the person working in the store that day, who probably thought we were trying to shoplift with the way we kept nervously glancing towards the exit). Eric finally convinced me that we should go talk to them, but we wanted to make it look like we were just bumping into them (and not like we’d been creeping on them from inside a store for the past few minutes). So we walk behind them and head to the end of the street. When we get to the end of the street, I see that they are starting to get up to leave, so we casually rush back over (maybe “casually” is a stretch with me repeating “They’re leaving! They’re leaving!” over and over). I think we had determined that Eric would do the talking, since I would probably be a blubbering fool, but for some reason, we both started talking to them at the same time, which was probably a bit confusing (and made us look super cool and collected, I’m sure). I asked if I could get my picture taken with them, and they graciously accepted, although you can tell from this photo that I was really excited, and they were really not.
After we snapped the photo, I tried to play it cool and just thank them, grab my purse, and go, but ended up kind of awkwardly throwing myself in between Sara and the chair, and mumbling some sort of incoherent comment about reaching for my purse. Cool points for me.
Eventually, my heart rate returned to normal, I regained normal speech patterns, and we returned to our exploration of Portland.
We had a pretty tasty dinner at Casa Del Matador in the Northwest District, and ate pretty inexpensively with happy hour tacos. We kept our dinner light so we could enjoy enormous ice cream cones from Salt & Straw down the street, which we enjoyed on our long walk back downtown to the Crystal Ballroom for the concert.
Here’s a little concert-going advice for you that we didn’t really think about. If you are going to attend a concert where you will have to stand for approximately 5 hours, perhaps it is not a good idea to spend the entire day leading up to the show walking around town. Your legs are going to be tired. And if you didn’t wear excellent walking footwear, your feet are going to hate you. Lesson learned.
Despite our aching feet and legs, the concert was spectacular. The Secret Sisters opened for Nickel Creek, and put on a great show. But my goodness. Nickel Creek. They have to be three of the most talented people in the world (four, if you include the spectacular and hilarious bassist, who played that stand up bass like a boss and even danced a jig at the end of the show). I have no idea how they move their fingers so quickly, write these incredible songs, and sing so beautifully. They are awesome. And pretty darn funny.
We spent the night (read: crashed into bed with complete exhaustion) in town and spent Saturday eating awesome food and checking out some other neighborhoods. We had breakfast at Tasty n Sons in the northeast (we have no pictures because we don’t have smartphones, and it’s too awkward to hold up an iPad to take photos when you are literally 2 inches from a stranger and across from the bartender). But know that the griddled bacon wrapped date with maple syrup and almond; the bambino plate with scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuit with honey butter; and the fried egg and cheddar biscuit with bacon were all spectacular.
And since our breakfast held us over pretty well, we ended up eating ice cream for lunch (we did a lot of walking, so this is totally justified in my mind) at What’s the Scoop?, where the bourbon toffee ice cream rocked our world.
So here’s to a spectacular few days in Portland, full of perfect weather, delicious food, and awkward encounters with with my favorite bluegrass band.