Oregon, Portland

Portland, July 17, 2022

After a leisurely Sunday morning, we took an Uber to Cargo, a fun import store on Yamhill St. Cargo has a mix of antiques, gifty stuff, art supplies, clothing, and Japanese food. Right after I discovered this cabinet of old Japanese books and papers, I had to sit down. I was blown away. We decided to go get lunch and come back.

Around the block was a highly rated restaurant named Shalom Y’all. I was intrigued with how they might combine Mediterranean and U.S. Southern cuisine, but that wasn’t the deal at all. We ordered takeout and it was brought to us at a covered picnic table on the street. It was one of the best meals we had, and it was vegetarian. Roasted beet tahina spread, hot puffy pita bread, fried cauliflower atop a salad with hazelnuts, olives, and fresh mint tea. If I ever go back, I will definitely go here again.

I realized the potential for me to go completely nuts over these Japanese papers so I limited myself to a $30 budget. I picked out three small books, and two of them had bookworm holes and tunnels, which made me ecstatically happy. The holes in the accordion book looked like snowflake or paper doll cutting. The open book on the right bottom is full of illustrations and maps on very thin paper with lots of fold-outs.

We noshed on the leftover olives and Japanese snacks with ciders in the side garden that afternoon, then wandered back over to Mississippi Ave. to figure out where to eat our last meal in that area, since we’d be leaving for the Crystal Hotel across the river in the morning. During our wandering, we happened on Mama & Hapa’s Zero Waste Shop. I am fascinated with the idea of zero waste, although I’ve given up on the effort to achieve it personally. Our local food coop is working toward the goal of bulk bins with zero waste. Anyway, I could not leave without buying something so I bought this dental floss and two refills.

Dinner that night was inside for a change, but we felt safe enough. We had a small pizza and a green risotto at Lovely Fifty Fifty and I swear to you, the vegetarian food last few days in Portland made me seriously consider going pescetarian. I won’t give up seafood until it is unavailable to me but I could eat a lot more vegetables and be happy. Then we decided to share one scoop of salted caramel ice cream, and that scoop was grand. I wish I could remember what was in the risotto. Basil and umami, for sure.

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