It’s All About Atmosphere

Saturday, around 2:26 PM as I was frolicking in a fitting room at Urban Outfitters, struggling to decide whether it was worth it to drop $69 on a completely Oregon-impractical yet absolutely darling and delicate micro-dot silk backless dress, I received a Blackberry buzz from Hallie…

Would I be interested in sipping and dishing at Fenouil, a landmark French restaurant in the heart of the Pearl District for their final night of service before closing down for good due to recession-induced lack of business?


Anything involving a classy Pearl District eatery and some small plates and smooth buzzes is always of interest, especially in the company of someone I could banter alongside with for hours.

Alors, I purchased the dress along with an exquisite Helmut Lang white tissue tee at Saks and about 3 kg worth of Fage 2% from Whole Foods and headed on home to spritz a little Parisienne and change into something a little more suitable for the frigid temperatures.

Once at Fenouil, we were escorted to the bar seating by a well-coiffed hostess in the typical uniform of classy: Pencil skirt, clean beige top (probably by Theory or Vince), a neutral yet elegant cardigan and some 3-inch pumps. Love it already. The location is absolutely perfect, a large restaurant which could easily seat over two hundred guests, two floors, multiple seating areas, lights shining through the windows and reflecting on the glassware- a marble staircase and chandeliers. Evocative of classic old money…love the atmosphere.

Playing “Classy Adult,” is a fantasy I have been attracted by since early childhood; being perched on a bar stool in pearls ordering $12 glasses of Pinot Gris, grasped by my cocktail ring accessorized fingers. Hallie and I chatted and dished about everything from our theses to our post-graduation plans to the curious speculation of whether we would be doing this same thing fifteen years from now: Except as single power women married to their careers. Oh dear…well the atmosphere and clientele at Fenouil does evoke that sort of speculation.

We did order a small plate of candied garlic chicken wings with shallots and sriracha aioli (The combination of a glass of wine, a teensy little eating plate and a fork and a knife made consumption of the wings a very difficult and laborious process…well worth it though.)

Gazing around at our fellow Fenouil closing-night patrons, it was more than apparent that Hallie and I were BY A LONG SHOT the youngest people there- however there’s something so nice and romantic about such an atmosphere. I suppose I’m a sucker for that- as much as I do love hole-in-the-wall Anthony Bourdain-esque absolutely satisfying local jaunts, it’s all about what mood you’re in and sometimes you just want to dress up a little and sip something imported.

Two hours of my Saturday evening well spent, I hope that whatever replaces Fenouil will be do justice to this gorgeous space.


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