One of my first memories of food and our first-born son is of him sitting a high chair munching on one of those meat sticks that came in a baby food jar.
I don’t remember if it was actually beef, chicken or turkey, but I do know he ate those with gusto.
Fast forward to one night this week when Lori and I dropped in for dinner at the Northeast Portland restaurant where he recently began working as a chef. There he was, visible through a cut-out panel behind the register, gathering ingredients for the next dishes to go out to a table.
It was clear that Nathan was in his element at Bang Bang PDX. Casually dressed in T-shirt and long shorts, confident in his culinary skills and concentrating on producing another plate or bowl of Thai food to please the senses. (Check out the menu here.)
With pride, we marveled at the sight. Who could have imagined this lover of lil’ wieners would someday be in the restaurant business, pursuing one of his twin passions? If you’re going to be a foodie in Portland, why not go big and be a cook rather than just a consumer?
The other passion is music. We’re equally proud that our oldest child has found a niche as a much-in-demand DJ who plays at clubs, house parties and wedding receptions all over the Northwest.
This weekend, in fact, you’ll find Nathan Detroit in the lineup at the What The Festival 2016 in little Dufur, Oregon. It’s a four-day festival bringing together live acts and DJs on multiple stages. It’s the biggest venue yet for our son, with an estimated 10,000 people expected to attend, according to our favorite DJ.
As a young boy, I remember my father telling me often that all he wanted for each of three children was for them to be happy, healthy and financially independent. I’ve taken the same approach with our trio of kids and it’s nice to see each of them checking off those three items.
In Nathan’s case, his dual pursuit of food and music has been all the sweeter knowing it wasn’t a straight path from high school to college to the present. There was a big hiccup between starting at the University of Oregon and finishing years later at Portland State University. But the maturing that took place in those years was both significant and necessary, I’m sure he’d agree. Now he’s putting those business and marketing degrees to good use as he navigates his way in the restaurant industry while branding himself in the music world.
Closing the loop here, I’ve gotta say it’s pretty cool to go out for a meal of kung pao sticky rice cakes, green papaya salad with blue crab, and a pineapple curry bowl and delight in the knowledge that the professional cook who just blew away your taste buds is that once-chubby little guy with fistfuls of meat sticks. You might even call it magical.
Note: If our first visit was any indication, Nathan works with some very nice people. Enjoyed talking to the owner, Alex, and our server, Steph.