Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Sometimes, I’m filled with so much love for where I live. This afternoon, I rode my bike up Clinton Street, beneath tall trees with leaves falling in colors of every shade of fire—red, yellow, orange. It was sunny, cold and crisp, and piles of them were accumulating beside curbs, under tree trunks, and anywhere the fall gusts couldn’t completely sweep them away. As I rode I saw a family with two little kids, stomping around in the piles and throwing them over their heads with a laugh (just the way I only saw this kind of thing in the movies when I was a kid).

The beauty of the changing leaves in autumn is one of those things in nature that truly belies description. I’ve stood beneath a few trees in the past few days, gawking in awe of their majesty, and the vibrancy of their color (at the same time trying to take pictures of this with my cell phone, of course with no success). I love color, especially the deep ones, so for me this season is by far my favorite.

I headed up to the grocery store (New Seasons to be specific), 10 blocks up from my apartment. I’m especially lucky living so close to the best supermarket I’ve ever known (I’ll argue with a die-hard Whole-Foods shopper any day—well wait, us lucky Portlanders are the only ones who have New Seasons), and almost the same distance from the People’s Food Co-op, one of Portland’s favorite health food stores (with a weekly farmers market outside, I might add). So, anyway, it’s Sunday evening, always a fun time to go to the market—people are shopping for the week, all the samples are out, recipes are being discussed, and one of the workers even let me taste the black bean hummus I was asking about before I bought it. Their slogan is “The Friendliest Store in Town.” Oh, AND there are piles of pumpkins, squash and apples outside the front entrance of the store right now. I think that truly, the greatest thing about that store is their commitment to local products—so much in there is, and all of the produce is labeled as to its origin. Rarely is there ever any foreign produce, and most of it comes from the Northwest. One thing that I needed to get was rosemary, but I was reluctant to buy it, since I know I’ve seen it growing in my neighborhood.

After I left the store, I walked my bike as I keenly eyed every yard for that aromatic plant. I saw a couple, but they’d either been pruned or were too much a part of lawn decoration for me to steal any. I doubted that I’d find any as I turned the corner to my block and saw two huge plants, basically growing wild, and just went and helped myself. I felt like an urban forager, and very proud for it too. These days I’m so into saving money on things that I can get for free (side note: walking to work this morning, I had to kick myself when I saw that my neighbors had a pile of “free stuff” outside, amongst which was a brand-new, plastic wrapped scrabble game, when just two days ago I bought myself one...).

Back gushing about the wonders of Portland and it’s local food supply...So, I’m making this bean dip with pita chips tonight for a snack, and bought the most authentically Greek looking pitas I could find. When I brought them home, I checked out the package, and their made HERE by a Greek family—even better! And, you know, the Nancy’s organic yogurt that I eat every day (and I did living in Hawaii too), which is possibly my favorite food, is so fresh here that when I buy it in the store, it doesn’t have an expiration date for about a month or something. It’s amazing how much better it is here too, which is saying a lot. Okay, enough about family’s coming to visit tonight and I have to cook and clean. But I can’t wait to show THEM all of the local delicacies of the Northwest!

*If anyone’s a little jealous about all this fab food, here’s a leveler: it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and getting dark already!

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