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Archive for the ‘meanderings’ Category

I know.  It’s February 20th.  But in spite of what the calendar would have you believe, today everything in Portland is screaming SPRING!

The warm sun and bright sky (and the fact that we have been staying at a downtown hotel all week during some home renovations) drew us out for a walk after breakfast this morning.  I’ve wanted to show S the Eastbank Esplanade walk along the Willamette River for months now so we headed down to the river and across the Hawthorne Bridge.

It’s always cooler on the east side of the river and much nosier, too, as you make your way alongside and under the freeway.  Even the incessant roar of traffic couldn’t keep us from enjoying the sights along the way — from the natural

to the industrial.

I’m not sure if it’s good for the bridge, but all the rust on the Steel Bridge is remarkably photogenic.  This shot reminds me of a map.

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I am not the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions; instead I hope I can live up to my ideals every day without making a formal commitment to them.

One commitment I have been able to stick to since coming to Portland is to patronize local businesses whenever possible.  I will admit to an occasional stop at a national retailer (Whole Foods comes to mind) or a traditional mall, but most of my shopping is done at locally owned groceries (New Seasons and the Portland Farmers Market get most of my food dollars), bookstores (Powell’s and Annie Bloom’s Books are my two current local favorites) and knitting stores (Knit Purl, Northwest Wools and Twisted are a few of the places I like here).

In addition to these places, I have really enjoyed exploring the many eclectic Portland shops that feature local products or handmade goods.  One store that I have fallen in love with is The Meadow on North Mississippi Avenue.

This tiny (really tiny) shop features all kinds of wonderful treats for eaters and cooks.  The first thing you might notice when you arrive (if you can focus on any one thing) are the floor to ceiling shelves packed with salts (and a few select other spices).

Once inside you will find a similar set of shelves stocked with chocolate from around the world,

a table crowded with local flowers ready to be arranged in one of the perfect vases displayed behind the counter, a small but carefully chosen collection of wines and a selection of local and imported bitters, perfect for augmenting that fancy cocktail or flavoring your San Pellegrino.

If you are in the mood for something more permanent, maybe a salt or pepper mill will fill the bill.

Places like this make shopping locally easy and fun.

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It rained hard on Thanksgiving here in Portland.  In fact, it was a decidedly un-Portland-like rain that drummed on the skylights and on the deck all day long.

That made it all the more wonderful to wake up the next morning to blue skies and sun.  The weather was so remarkable that we quickly scrapped our plans to visit the Portland Art Museum (we’ll do that another day) and decided to head to the Columbia River Gorge (“the gorge” to people from around here) instead.

Our first stop, and oddly, the only one where I took any pictures, was the Vista House at Crown Point.

Even though the sun had been shining in Portland (really!) the skies above the gorge were grey.  Of course, it was still beautiful.

The rest of the day was equally lovely, with stops at Bridal Veil and Multnomah Falls on the way to Hood River.  Our Maine visitors were delighted to have been able to see a part of Oregon they had not seen before and we were happy to be with them as they saw it.

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Seattle for a day

A spur of the moment decision found us in the car and heading for Seattle for the weekend.  No plans except a little exploration and, ideally, some good food.  And of course we found it all.

For breakfast we started at Lola

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one of Tom Douglas’s many Seattle restaurants.  The food was great (I had the basic breakfast and S had the pancakes) and the coffee was plentiful, hot and strong.

After eating we set out to walk around.  We made a few stops (all of which were hard on my pocketbook but good for my wardrobe) and I documented our excursion with sidewalk photos like this

sidewalkand this

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and this.

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Of course we had to visit Pike Place Market (here’s proof) even if only for a few minutes.

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We also stopped at Byrnie Utz’s hats, and even though I tried to get S to buy something, we left empty-handed.

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hats

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After the hat store we headed over to the Elliott Bay Book Company the only book store I like as much as Powells in Portland.

We ended the day at with a memorable meal at Spring Hill (sorry, no pictures).  The meal was superb and we got great advice on menu choices and wine from Andy, our waiter.  We started with a selection of 4 varieties of raw oysters (each with a specific,  delectable and perfectly selected garnish).  We followed that with the raw kampachi with salmon roe, kauai sea salt, coriander and lime and the citrus cured king clam with lemon peel relish.  Our third course included the duck egg yolk raviolo and the roasted chanterelles and our final course was the roasted pekin duck breast with cranberry beans, confit, maple chestnuts and baby leeks.  I am still reeling with delight at the perfection of each course.  I can only say that we  plan to return as soon as we are back in Seattle.

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Odds and ends

As you may have guessed the term has started and I am spending more time in my office, preparing for classes and doing other work-related things.  I am determined not to let work “interfere” with blogging too much; I almost brought my camera into work today but at the last minute I left it hanging in its usual spot at home.

I plan to get out this weekend and take some new pictures, but in the meantime here are a few of the photographs I have taken in the past couple of weeks that I haven’t found another place to post.

These incredibly-colored heirloom Roma tomatoes insisted that I buy them.  When combined with caramelized onions and fresh herbs and cooked down a bit in a saute pan they made a wonderful quick pasta sauce for Sunday dinner.

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This sign (photographed at the downtown Farmer’s Market) has been waiting to be posted for weeks.

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And these lilies are just too lovely to hide in a desktop folder any longer.

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lilies

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Today we decided to explore the Thirteenth Annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival being held at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby.  It was a perfect fall day, sunny with enough of a cool breeze to keep it from becoming too hot.

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After breakfast downtown at Mother’s Bistro we drove south to the festival; a combination fiber and craft sale,

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thickyarnatOFFF

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livestock judging,

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and workshop and demonstration site.

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Local artist, John Beard demonstrated Ravenstail weaving in one booth,

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African baskets were piled on the lawn,

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and yarn was everywhere.

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It probably won’t surprise anyone who reads this that I came away with some yarn myself

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and even started a new project in the car on the way home.

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cabbage

Finally, after about a month of life interfering with what should be our weekly trip to the Portland Farmer’s Market, we made it back today.  And what a day it was.  The market was overflowing with late summer and early fall colors and flavors.

There were peaches

peaches

and grapes.

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Pumpkins

pumpkins

and beans.

beans

Beets

beets

and brussels sprouts.

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There are always flowers at the market, but this week they seemed particularly riotous.

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And the artichokes put on a particularly good show as well.

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artichokes

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