January 5, 2009
Peter Gabriel sang our way to Oregon as we took the famous 'I-5' to Portland Saturday morning. Peter Gabriel, a musician I was shamefully not-so familiar with, has an array of music in which people have been enjoying for decades. Sneaking a peek into this sensory experience, realizing how much I've been missing, and how much I still don't know, was like what a weekend of having no sense of taste and honing my other senses was like. Many things in my daily routine went unnoticed before because of my foodie-obsession, always concerned with taste and good food. Now I, too, understand and appreciate the beauty of the roar of the ocean, the vibrant colors of salt water taffy, the calming brush of a gentle breeze, the solace of a cashmere sweater, the beauty of a well-worn old book, the elegance of antique jewelry, the silkiness of rice noodles, the rarity of substantial conversation, the angst of Portland's hipsters, the picturesque cottages in Oregon's forests and parks, and the hilarity of old hair-dyers in hotels.
I know it seems as though this record has already been played, lamenting on and on about how much it sucks that I lost my sense of taste. But, hey, this is a food blog. And it takes two to tango. But this record is almost over as the flavor of a whole package of grapefruit Halls coughdrops I sucked down at Powell's bookstore faded in and out, and I can faintly smell the Carmex smothered over the bridge between my nose and lip, which is trying to reverse the damage the Kleenex has done. Sorry for the imagery. Let's talk Oregon and food, shall we?
There are many notable things but I must keep it short (mostly due to the average person's attention span, the stack of postcards that are screaming my name, and the window-of-opportunity for a bath today that is slowly diminishing). So I will do it like David Letterman, the man who my dad can strangely resemble so much when he puts on a pair of small glasses.
Here's the 'Top 10 Reasons to Visit NW Oregon'
1. Seaside Candyman - One can find 170 flavors of salt water taffy, hear 'Candyman' continuously, and feed candy to the seagulls outside.
2. The Astoria Bridge- It will dwarf any notion you ever had about a big bridge.
3. Mainstream? - You can walk around the beach with your pant legs rolled up, followed by a stroll around town with completely forgetting about rolling them down, and nobody will bat an eye.
4. Seaside, OR - Oregon's answer to Coney Island. A marvelously ridiculous town. (See cheezy video here.)
5. Highway 101 - Driving this along the Oregon coastline is one of the top rated sights in the States.
6. State Parks - (namely, Ecola and Forest) Blackberry bushes grow like weeds, moss grows on houses, the ferns make you think you're in a rainforest, huge root systems, towering trees, and you may come across a random purple surfboard shack. Roads are fairly windy, not for the faint of stomach.
7. Quirky Houses - Portland is home to some of the most eclectic, progressive, and artistic people our country contains. This is reflected in the style of their houses, which can be viewed for free-of-charge from the interstates and highways. Equally as entertaining and inspiring as visiting an art museum.
8. Powell's - Located in Portland, it's the world's largest new and used independent bookstore, where I bought a James Beard and MFK Fisher book.
9. People Watching - Most interesting at Powell's. (see no. 8)
10. Being Dirty -When visiting Portland, you don't have to change clothes, bathe, shower, or eat to outwardly fit in. In fact, if you do these things, you may stick out like a sore-thumb.
(and, because the west coast mentality has gotten the best of me and I can't help but diverging from convention)
11. Pho - The appreciation and abundance of this Vietnamese rice noodle soup is astonishing. It was the silkiest, most comforting bowl of broth, vegetables, and noodles I've ever had. And it forced me to hone my chopstick skills.
Posted by Melinda at 9:00 AM