Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Afternoon in NW Portland

It’s Monday but Sunday is already missed so here’s a brief recap of why it was such a lovely day for me.

I went to see my hair stylist in NW Portland. She’s 7 months pregnant, this is her second child and she’s not coming back after the baby is born. I’m not going to dwell on the shocking selfishness of this decision but, really? Do you know how hard it is to find a good stylist? That you like to talk to? She knows enough about me at this point to turn me over to the Feds and now she’s jumping ship. Rude.

OK, we’re not going there. NW is an older neighborhood full of charming tree lined streets and lovely little surprises like this tree which looks like a combination of bonsai and flower arrangement. 23 Avenue is the main shopping street; chock full of all sorts of delights.  I initially wrote about it when my friend visited and we spent an afternoon exploring. Yesterday I went to a bookstore I’d heard a lot about called the New Renaissance Bookshop. It is a new age spiritual store with everything you can imagine for your emotional and spiritual well being; one of those places where you walk in and immediately feel relaxed. In fact, I began looking around for some small hidden nook where I could live for the next several months.

I just re-watched the Ram Dass documentary Fierce Grace and remembered how much I loved his works so was looking for his first book Be Here Now. It was published in 1978 so I thought the odds were against me but I found it. Found it and decided it was a bit too out there for me (sorry, I’m just not evolved enough yet). Instead I settled on a set of CDs called A Spiritual Journey also by Ram Dass. Having found what I wanted I wandered, ambled, took notes and explored. This is an amazing store and I can’t believe I’d not visited before. It reminded me of the time in my life when I was more attuned to my inner self and made me realize I need to find that center again as the path I’m on is not a healthful one.

Mission accomplished (and soothed on chimes and incense), I was headed back to my car when I spied a shop called Salt & Straw. No clue what they sold but it looked foodie so I went in. Another venture guided by the universe because they make homemade baked goods and…wait for it…ice cream. Ice cream that makes Baskin-Robbins look like the chemical slop it is. All natural and freshly made with flavors like Blu Cheese and Pear and Honey Lemon w/ Ricotta this is not ice cream for the faint of heart but for those willing to step out of their comfort zone it’s a revelation.

I immediately decided that despite having had no breakfast this was going to be my lunch (because I’m mature that way). I opted for a scoop of sea salt ice cream w/ caramel ribbons and another of chocolate w/ gooey brownies (a bit more classic but chocolate cannot be refused). I paid, I left, I tasted, I swooned. How can the mind be wrapped around the taste of sweet ice cream while at the same time there is unapologetic salt? It doesn’t compute and unless you’re a savant like me your head will probably explode. This is what ice cream should be: fresh, rich without being overwhelming or cloying, and an unexpected explosion of flavor- flavor that confuses your mind because it doesn’t equate to ice cream. If you’re within 200 miles of Portland you need to visit these people.

An idyllic Sunday.

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