Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a two-bit tour of portland

My niece and sister in law had expressed interest in seeing a bit of Portland while they were here, so we went downtown one afternoon to check out a few points of interest. Our first stop was Laughing Planet Cafe, a new age burrito joint on our way. As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a burrito purist...I don't generally go in for organic brown rice and tofu, or organic, non-GMO beans cooked in canola oil in my burritos. Nope. I want carne asada (grilled steak), flavorful, spicy rice and refried beans cooked with lard, baby. Throw on some fresh pico de gallo and sour cream, and that's my idea of comfort food.

But since my guests were both vegetarian and health conscious, I thought this would be a good place to have lunch. Hey, gracious hostess that I am, I was willing to lower my standards sacrifice a little flavor for my guests' well being.

Boy was I wrong about this place! The menu was amazing, if a bit weird-they offer tofu and tempeh, along with something they call "vegan sour cream" (that made me shudder), but you can also get fresh, organic salsa, locally produced sour cream and cheeses, and naturally raised chicken along with all the crazy combinations. Everything was fresh and delicious.

I had the "Che Guevara" burrito, with plantains, black beans, sweet potatoes, brown rice, spicy barbecue sauce and really really fresh pico de gallo. It was so good, I never even noticed it was vegan.

How to use your PND (portable nutrition device - aka burrito)

I'm definitely going back again soon, if only to hang out at this shrine to THE MAN and try the Zappatista salad!

Powell's front door
(photo borrowed from this site)

After lunch we tooled over to our local monument to the written word, Powell's City of Books, a giant bookstore where thousands of both new and used books mingle on the shelves, and the uninitiated need a map to get around.

After a couple of well-spent hours browsing and buying way too many books (and worrying about getting all that heavy cargo back to California), we stopped to window shop across the street at Anthropologie, a favorite place to get inspiration for weird and wonderful displays and merchandising. Peering in the windows, I saw something that sucked me right in through the open door:

Two crazy, gigantic wasp nests made from recycled magazines and newspapers, that appeared to be hanging from a large birch branch hovering above the sales floor. The only thing missing was the hum of a gazillion wasps. But perhaps that would be a bit too over the top, even for this wacky place.

Then it was time to stop and smell the roses at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park, high up in the hills above downtown.

My niece Lily rolled around in the grass to get the best angle for her photograph, while Martha and I checked out the views of downtown and Mt. Hood in the distance.

(above photo borrowed from this site)

Tune in tomorrow for some cheap thrills photos of X-rated sandcastles in Pioneer Courthouse Square!


mo.stoneskin said...

That burrito doesn't look that similar to Che. Was it something Che woul have eaten or something!?

Lisa Paul said...

I'm with you on burrito purist. But that Che burrito sure sounded good.

Rick Hamell said...

Thanks for linking back to my site, most people don't so it's very much appreciated.

cactus petunia said...

I think the burrito is an homage to Che's role in the overthrow of the Batista regime in Cuba by Fidel Castro...the black beans and plantains are definitely more Cuban/Caribbean than Mexican.

Viva la revolution!


BOSSY said...

This was a lovely post Bossy is sure, but it was very difficult to concentrate on books and grass and such after the mention of a burrito.

foolery said...

I've never met a burrito I didn't like. Well, almost never. That said, I am rather old school and usually prefer carne asada, too. And by the time I read fresh pico de gallo I was a puddle of hunger on the floor.

Burritos tonight FOR SURE. : )