my Portlandia

June 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m closing in on two weeks visiting a few friends and my daughter and her husband in Portland, OR. It’s my kind of place–lovely green spaces in the city, residences with beautiful ornamental and edible gardens, lots of good eateries and bakeries and an almost over the top local food and wine culture. Of course, you need to work off all those accessible and delicious calories, so there’s plenty of opportunity for walking, biking and other outdoor activities as long as the weather cooperates. Sigh, that’s where Portland falls short in terms of “a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”. Last weekend provided the only two warm sunny days on the whole trip; that’s an average of one sunny day per week.

On approach to Portland you can see the Willamette (rhymes with “dammit”) River bisect the city from north to south. The airport isn’t busy at all even on a Friday when I walked by the passenger pickup zone and parking structure to catch a MAX train into town, part of Portland’s good bus and train public transportation system.

My daughter Laurel and I went to farmers’ markets on both Saturdays I was in town. Of course we had to go to the big central market on the PSU college campus which has EVERYTHING, but she usually shops at the small Hollywood neighborhood farmers’ market which is less of a zoo and has most of the local produce, baked goods and prepared foods.

Here’s a couple of items I can’t get from any Colorado farms, big porcini mushrooms (we bought one that fed all three of us) and sea beans, a unique crunchy salty vegetable that grows in salt marsh conditions.

I turned the porcini and sea beans into a Portlandia Salad with the addition of spring onions, fresh garlic and hazelnuts on greens (no, the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper were not local). The rest of our almost local meal were DIY fava bean purée, Oregon hard cheese and radish bruschetta and some king salmon (alas, from Alaska) son-in-law Alex grilled in The Big Green Egg (see previous post).

Avid bread baker Laurel made beautiful sesame semolina loaves. While they baked she enjoyed a plateful of local strawberries made even better with cake and whipped cream!

Of course, not all of our meals were at home. Portland definitely gives you that “so many restaurants, bakeries and food carts, so little time” feeling. We enjoyed an excellent Japanese bento lunch at Chef Naoko’s and an artful and delicious Mediterranean dinner at Tabla.

Here’s the Oaxacan pork tamale from Porque No taqueria and a scene from Ping, sister restaurant to the now well-known Thai-influenced Pok Pok.

I took many neighborhood walks, trying to work off those yummy calories. The lush growth in many front yards proved that you don’t need a green thumb to successfully garden in Portland. Here’s some of what’s growing and flowering in June–

…white dogwood tree, simple magenta peony…

…pink rhododendron, though I saw more white ones, and a climbing rose…

…leaf patterns including one of my favorites, Japanese maple…

…Japanese maples grow in almost every yard to majestic stature…

…even the less cared for curbsides were blooming profusely, lilies and passionfruit…

…gardens, both whimsical and elegant…

…and homes, traditional and whimsical…

…good bye for now, Portlandia…

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§ 2 Responses to my Portlandia

  • […] lymphoma returned in the form of a brain tumor earlier this year. One of my reasons to travel to Portland in June was to see him. He had just had surgery but some of the tumor remained. He contemplated a […]

  • Sunshinex2 says:

    I bake with you on TWD and somehow I got onto this post of yours…I live in Portland and loved seeing what you saw and did while visiting here. Outside perspective is always welcome. Sorry you came in June-uary… come back some time in September; you’ll never leave.

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