In Portland, supporting local businesses (including farms, artists, artisan bakers, artisan anything really…) seems to be a huge part of the culture. In Philadelphia, it was sort of like that – I mean we all had our favorite “corner store” or “corner deli” or barbershop, hair dresser, etc., within very short walking distance from our homes. Plus, those of us in Mayfair had “The Ave.”, and when I was growing up, that was still the hot spot for produce, gift shops, bakeries, candy shops, etc. Maybe we were hip before it was hip to shop local? Yep. Let’s go with that, fellow Mayfairians (? Mayfairers? Mayfairites? Whatevs. You know where I am going there.)
However, in Portland, it’s a bit different – maybe there’s more of an emphasis on not only buying local, but also buying homemade or home-grown? I think that’s it. Here it seems as though every neighborhood or town has its own ‘farmers market’ – chock full of local organic produce, dairy and meats from nearby farms in addition to more specialized goods like home-harvested honey, handmade nut butters, freshly thrown pottery, etc. The whole ‘farmer’s market’ phenomenon was just taking off in Jenkintown before we moved out here, so, in fairness, maybe it is a thing back home now – lol!
I typically like this sort of thing, and especially love fresh produce, so I suckered the whole family into venturing to the Beaverton Farmers Market for an inaugural visit last weekend. It was good. Definitely a ton of fresh produce.
I bought the most delicious tomatoes I’ve had since moving here – I believe they were from Spring Hill Organic Farm. They were called Cosmonauts. Apparently, the are an heirloom tomato that originated in the Ukraine, just like good old Grandmom Riznychok. Their gorgeous deep red color and heavy weight, the fact about the Ukraine origins, and the description that read something along the lines of full, sweet, tangy tomato taste had me sold. They were every bit as amazing as I imagined – so amazing, in fact, that I returned to the market this past Saturday to scoop up some more. They remind me a lot of Jersey tomatoes. Maybe a bit softer. But every bit as tasty and succulent. I prepared them one of our favorite ways – seasoned and topped with breadcrumbs, parmesan and olive oil, then broiled until crispy. We had them with grilled chicken and pasta – awesome summer dish. Kind of like poser chicken parm.
Did the family like the market? Yes. The only point where I thought I’d lose Kenny was when we stumbled upon some performance art which involved a gal climbing up and down some prop stairs…most of the time on her hands and knees while wearing a short dress. He didn’t make us immediately leave, so that’s a win – hahaha. But he also didn’t offer to hop in the car this past Saturday for the return visit – hahaha. 🙂
Kenny getting the lay of the land / deciding if he wants to bail.
I had a funny realization last weekend at a potluck.
Side note: This was my first-ever “potluck”. Technically. I think back home, we’d have called it a barbeque. Maybe not though, since there wasn’t grilling involved. But it felt like a barbeque to me – haha. Either way, it was fun.
My best friend’s mom always made cannoli dip at parties and I always loved it. I thought this would be a fun thing to bring to the potluck, so I found a recipe and whipped up a batch to take with me.
I set it out along with graham crackers and one of the potluck-goers commented that it looked good. Her daughter asked her what it was. I was still standing there so I said, “Cannoli dip.” and smiled. Polite blank stares. Hmmmm. I quickly followed up with, “I just realized that maybe cannolis aren’t a thing here.” and giggled. I then went into a long explanation about being from Philadelphia and cannolis are a coveted dessert item for many (if not all! haha) East Coasters and this was a deconstructed version of them.
I then took an informal poll of some other potluck-goers and it seems that cannolis are perhaps offered in some authentic Italian eateries, but they aren’t really a Portland thing per se. Leave it me to bring a dessert that people never heard of – hahaha.
I was fascinated by this new found difference in the East and West Coast dessert scenes. You know I Googled ‘cannolis in portland oregon‘ when I got home. Hahaha. Turns out, they are available in some bakeries, most notably DiPrima Dolci. And – of course – there’s a food cart that serves them. I would have been disappointed if this were not the case. Haha.
I am not sure I converted any believers over to me and Kenny’s ‘We heart cannolis’ fan club, but there’s always the July 4th block party, right? I fully expect the West Coast chapter to take off then. 😉
I know I really can’t complain much about the West Coast heat considering my friends and family back East have been melting in a muggy heat wave – some even doing so without power due to some crazy summer storms. The mugginess is one thing I do not miss. AT ALL. There really is nothing worse than showering, feeling fresh and clean, and then walking outside to be enveloped by a wall of steamy air. For those of you unfamiliar with mugginess, it’s like a natural sauna you can’t escape if you want to be outdoors. Or like walking around a heated indoor pool without the chlorine smell. Your skin feels sticky and if you have any semblance of curl in your hair, it will immediately spring to life amplifying your previously sleek hair to at a minimum, three times the size it was when you left your house. (Obviously, I have fond memories of being on the St. Matt’s swim team where I spent countless hours at Lincoln’s indoor pool for practice and Albert Morris across from Archbishop Ryan H.S. for meets and clearly skip the sauna whenever I am lucky enough to be in a spa.)
My point is, I hate to be hot. So when I heard Sunday’s forecast here in Portland was calling for high 80s / low 90s), I knew we had to come up with a plan that saved Kenny and I from sweltering out front while the kids played outside. It’s a “drier” heat here – but it’s still heat.
We decided to head to the beach. We’ve been to Cannon Beach a few times, so we decided to go a few minutes north to Ecola State Park and Indian Beach. I’ll share some more pictures from our day there over the next few days, but, in this post, I wanted to show you just how effective our plan to escape the heat was. Literally, there was a point as we were driving through Oregon’s Coast Range where you could almost visibly see the temperature drop. Gone were the sunny blue skies and in were grayish / blue-ish / foggy skies. We didn’t look at the temperature gauge at this point, however, when we arrived at Ecola State Park – we took notice and cracked up:
59 degrees at the beach in July. For us East Coasters, that’s like a visit to Ocean City in early November! Good thing I packed long sleeves for everyone, because we definitely achieved our goal of finding something “cool” to do. My word. Good news is, it didn’t damper our fun and we had an amazing time.
Once I saw how cold it was on the coast, I decided to entertain myself on the way home and document the temperature change on our trip back to Portland. I also realized two things: 1) that we really need to dust our console in the car, and 2) just how jealous you were all going to be when you got a load of the music Kenny and I listen to in the car. That’s right: Kids Place Live on SiriusXM. Woo hoooooo!
Anyway, all told, there was a 34 degree difference between our house and the Oregon Coast. Isn’t that crazy?
Finally, here’s a little something extra, so you, too, can experience the Hamster Dance in 2012 like Kenny and I:
I did it. I went hiking. And liked it. It was just like a walk. Only up a hill. And then back down. Hahaha. I did, however, draw the line once the trail stopped having a rail / fence on the mountain side. I know, with 99% certainty, that had I gone past that point, I would have tripped and spilled down the side of the mountain on the way back down to the bottom. And this is real life – no safety nets! This disappointed Gavin and Kenny, but I have to be honest with myself here – nothing good would have come from me going up the path. You had to step the side to let people pass because the pathway was so thin. Yea, no.
But I made it. And it was fun. A lot of it probably had to do with the fact that Gavin was delighted the entire time. He had a blast. Checking out everything. Climbing rocks in a “cave.” Walking across a log over a creek with Kenny. Collecting leaves and rocks. Petting moss. All the things boys like to do.
Grace…not so much. She liked running around. But she is definitely a girl for modern amenities. “Too cold.” “Too tired.” “Carry me.” “Did we bring the coach?” “I’m getting wet.” “Is it snack time?” And, of course she had to go to the bathroom when there were none around. This was about 15 minutes past when we were at an actual bathroom – which she used! – and drove to another part of the park to check out other things. And, yes, I let her pee behind a tree. It took her 20 minutes because she was scared. This was AFTER 10 minutes of whining “Moooooom. I really ‘tant’ hold it in.” coupled with a little wiggly dance.
I’m not going to lie. As I sat on the log with Grace in my lap and watched Kenny and Gavin carefully navigating to the other side of the river, I thought “I think I could do camping.” Hahaha. It was so peaceful. Silent other than the creek bubbling by and my family’s giggling. Seriously though, I am not really sure I could go camping – but I am *pretty* sure I could hang in the forest or a park all day with my family and like it. A lot. You know, pack a lunch and plan to stay awhile… That might be a better first step. Hahaha. Maybe the better way to sum up how I felt is that I understand *why* people like to go camping. Sitting in a forest with no one else around other than the people you went with is really relaxing and you feel very free. It’s kinda nice to feel disconnected from the world.
I talked to one of my brothers the day after I went hiking. After his laughter died down when I shared what I did the day prior – he said, “The real question is how you felt this morning when you woke up.” And hilariously – I actually felt BETTER waking up that day than I do on most normal days where I sit on my rear and type all day the day prior (i.e. work). Interesting, right?
We saw about 1% of what the area has to offer – so we’ll definitely go back!