Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I've Missed You

I've been delinquent in posting of late, but rather than make excuses, here are some links to noteworthy news in and around North Portland.

1. St. John's is considering a Farmer's Market? I say Yes Yes Yes! Give your comments/feedback here: http://www.portlandsentinel.com/?q=node/270

2. A shooting in McCoy Park last Saturday evening, in the New Columbia complex. Violence there seems to have calmed for the most part over the past year, but of course this doesn't help to quell anxieties.

3. The El Burrito Loco/Boulevard Tacos feud rages on. Protesters outside BT are still going strong, claiming that BT evicted EBL and then recruited cooks from the the other EBL on 82nd offering better wages, then recreated the recipes. Or at least that is the EBL side of the story. The first burrito I ever ate in Portland was at El Burrito Loco, and it has a very special place in my heart. The burritos may not have been the best ever, but the people were delightful and I really lurved their chorizo burrito. Although I am really not a fan of this quote about EBL owner Alberta Canales:
She feels that by opening a new Mexican restaurant, Boulevard Taco, at the same location, Mr Lofti is “raping my business.”
I know we probably have English as a Second Language in play here, but I *really* hate it when people use this expression. There are a million other phrases to use. What he is doing may be sleazy, contemptuous, unfair, or predatory. But in no way is it sexually violating you.

More here from the Sentinel:

4. North Portland continues to be one of the safest real estate bets in the Portland Metro area. In December, NoPo posted a 12-month price appreciation of 8.5% (2nd only to Columbia County's 11.6% and far above West Portland, Tigard, Tualatin and many other areas). NoPo inventory (Days on Market) was the lowest of all 14 areas measured, at 55 days.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mi Cumpleanos

Today is my 32nd birthday. So Happy Birthday to me! I had a lovely day. Played hooky from work, had a wonderful lunch with my husband at Cafe Castagna (their burger really IS delicious), then went and sat at Little Red Bike for coffee, then bought myself my very own dragonboat paddle, went to the gym, and came home for a light supper. And now we're about to start re-watching the last few episodes of last season's Lost so I can be all set for the start of the 4th season.

All in all, a wonderful birthday. My horoscope says I am in for a productive and creative year that will be financially tight but lay the groundwork for bearing fruit in years to come. I hope that is true!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Yes, I have resolved to do this every-day blogging thing for 2008. And here I sit, devoid of inspiration for an interesting blog post. So this is probably a good time to start in on my Best-Places-in-North-Portland-You're-Probably-Not-Visiting. I'll just do a couple tonight.

1. La Tienda Santa Cruz. Crazy good & cheap Mexican food in the back of a Mexican grocery store in St. John's. Please skip the Cha Cha Cha! next door & head to the rear room for a $4 pollo burrito that you will love. Also recommended: asada tacos (or any tacos). And if you want something sweet to finish off your meal, help yourself to the giant pastry case in the back of the store. 2 giant Mexican pastries for $1. AND on Saturdays, they do special tamales, which I've heard are excellent but I haven't been able to try yet.
8630 N Lombard in downtown St. Js

2. Lark Press. Okay, I know the Mississippi area is barely even eligible to be called North Portland anymore, since I can barely keep up with all the latest condos & shops going in. But Lark Press is just off the beaten path on N. Williams, next to Pix. It has beautifully letterpressed cards, stationery, and paper asundries. AND it houses the wares of Lark Baby, which are adorable (a bit pricey) baby/toddler clothes that make wonderful shower gifts.
Apparently they've also started using their patterns for grown-up clothes too, like this gorgeous shirt below.
3901 N. Williams

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Good Dog

I have to rave about the magic dog treats I've discovered. Our puppy, Lucy, is wonderful, sweet and delightful. But as she's still a puppy, sometimes getting her to do things she doesn't want to do (like come inside when it's pouring rain and 5 am and all I want to do is go back to bed) is challenging. For awhile, we had a squeaky toy that she would come for, but that lost its charm after about a week. Bones, treats, food, getting excited - none of this would work.

Then I bought these:

I bought the pink one, which is peanut-butter-and-jelly. Other flavors are chicken pot pie, apple dumpling, and blueberry cobbler. They are shaped like tiny little bones, and are made of all natural ingredients (no wheat or corn). And she goes CRAZY for them. It's been 3 weeks now, and she's not tired of them yet. All I have to do is shake the box at the door and she comes booking inside, desperate for a treat. The only place so far I've found them is at Tres Bone, the new pet shop in St. John's, but I'm sure they are elsewhere. At $6.50 per box, they're not cheap. But I think a box will last a long time.

Lucy says: Tres Yeah!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Out with the Old (a wee bit late)

Stolen adapted from Fleur de Lisa, a new Portland Midwest blog that I just found and love (wow...batting 0-for-2 so far):

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Tried dragonboating and outriggers, and eventually joined a dragonboating team.
Got a puppy.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for 2008?
My 2007 resolution was to have a better relationship with my mother. That was...less than successful. But I admit to not trying very hard. My 2008 resolution is to walk the 2008 Portland Marathon, and I've roped my dad into it, so I have someone to be accountable to.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Physically close to me? No, thank goodness. But one of my best friends in San Fran gave birth to a beautiful little girl named in Lindsay, and my cousin K. is the proud new mama of Daphne.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, yes. My wonderful, hilarious, generous Aunt Carolyn died after her 4th go-round with cancer. She was a nun for 40 years and taught me more about how to enjoy life than almost anyone. Also, she danced the polka at my wedding with my husband 2 1/2 years ago, so how cool is that? She is dearly, greatly missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
None but this one, I'm sad to say. Didn't even make it up to Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A new dishwasher. Is that petty? Also, a new fondness for vegetables.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning to live within increased financial constraints without resentment or bitterness.

8. What was your biggest failure?
See: 2007 New Year's Resolution

9. What was the best thing you bought?
Splurged on a laptop that I am currently using and loving

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband's, for accomplishing a full year back in school as a full-time student and kicking the sh!t out of all his classes.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My mom's.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, student loans

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All the fun new stuff opening up in St. Johns and Portsmouth! LRB, Tres Bone, James John, etc...

14. Compared to this time last year, are you...
a) happier or sadder? Happier, so so much happier
b) thinner or fatter? Heavier, but a little bit fitter
c) richer or poorer? poorer, probably

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish we'd been able to take more weekend trips around the Northwest.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?

17. How did you spend Christmas?
With my husband - going to see Juno, going up to Council Crest Park to have a snowball fight and glory in the fresh snow, having a fantastic home-cooked dinner and curling up to a glass of wine, a puppy and a fat black cat

18. How did you ring in 2007?
Annual dinner party & wine tasting with friends

19. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Yes! Her name is Lucy, she is black and furry, and is 5 months old.

20. What was your favorite TV program?
Surprisingly, Battlestar Galactica

21. What was the best book you read?
New England White by Stephen Carter

22. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Anais Mitchell

23. What was your favorite film of this year?
Children of Men

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31, and went to Pix for dessert with my husband

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Clive Owen (tie) Jon Stewart (tie) Jenna Fischer

26. Who was the best new person you met?
M, my new co-worker.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Congrats Barack

Although I am a hard-core John (and Elizabeth) Edwards supporter, I offer my hearty congratulations to Barack Obama for his commanding win tonight in Iowa. I do feel that Edwards is the more truly progressive candidate, but I'm afraid he's doomed. And I would MUCH rather have Obama over Clinton as a Democratic nominee. And Michelle Obama would be a kick-ass first lady. So hats off B.O. Here's hoping it's the beginning of the road to the presidency.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Miscellaneous Roundup

1. Ask & You Shall Receive
I outlined my wish for a NoPo venue that serves affordable dinner, something besides Thai, pizza, fast food or diner food. In today's WWeek review of Little Red Bike:
Jepson and Dohrmann are taking their bike-friendly cafe one spoke at a time, but they hope to branch into dinner by way of housemade pot pies in upcoming months. When asked about the pot pie prospectus, Dohrmann rattles off a few ideas that include meaty as well as veggie and vegan options.
Hallelujah! LRB + pot-pie = Delicious.

2. Congratulations to the St. John's Sentinel, now just "The Sentinel", for their fab new web site and newspaper layout. Check it out at www.portlandsentinel.com. Maybe possibly they are considering moving to two papers per month? That would be great.

3. Portland Public Schools is hosting some forums around Portland in January to talk about the future of school buildings in need of repair or remodeling. Even if you don't have kids in school (I don't), I think this is a valuable opportunity to give input on how our community is shaped. I know that Clarendon-Portsmouth, since going to a K-8 school is crammed and in desperate need of some help to accommodate all the extra students. I'm also interested in what PPS is planning to do with the old Clarendon school.
Anyway, for more info, go here:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wishes & Hopes for 08

I am intrigued by this crazy 365 blogging (hat tip to Lelo). I am not yet fully committed, but I may give it a shot.

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone. 2007 was a hell of a year, and I'm expecting 2008 to bring a whole new round of surprises. At the very least, when the year is over, we will know who our new president will be, and it will NOT be someone in the Bush family.

Since this blog is really supposed to be about North Portland, I was thinking about some hopes I have for North Portland in 2008. Consider this my fantasy wishlist:

1. Less of this
2. And this
3. Some actual resolution of the Interstate/Chavez debacle that gives each side some sense of fairness. I think this is going to have to get uglier before it gets better, as lots of people feel shut down, and all that resentment isn't just going to disappear. Personally, I would like to see the conversation move beyond a street name and into the realm of making a significant recognition of the growing Latino presence and influence in NoPo. Mayor Potter's role in this whole fiasco was unprofessional (who can forget him walking out of a City Council meeting like a teenager storming off to his room after a fight with his parents) and naive. The less involved he is here, the better. I can only hope that City Council tackles this and doesn't shy away from the fact that it is a politically sensitive issue. Let's do away with the racist accusations on all sides, ok?
4. That Walgreens NOT go into the vacant Honda dealership in St. John's. I guess this classifies me as a St J transplant, but I would much rather see some restaurants, a Trader Joes, or small businesses go in there. Or maybe some live/work space. We already have Freddys and Safeway in the village, and there is both a Rite Aid and a Walgreens within 3 miles and Trimet accessible.
5. I would love for a few nice-but-reasonably-priced restaurants that serve DINNER to go in North Portland somewhere north of Rosa Parks Way/Portland Blvd. We have been incredibly lucky over the past year-plus to see an influx of coffee/pastry/breakfast places like Little Red Bike, James John and LadyBug. But aside from take-out and diners, there are very few options. I've been disappointed by Encanto, and you have to mosey on down to Alberta or Mississippi for some better options. So c'mon all you enterprising Pacific Northwest chefs looking for some cheaper rent to start your own place: come on up to 97203! I am thinking along the lines of Country Cat in Montavilla (I would settle for something half as good), Equinox or even Mississippi Station on Mississippi.
6. Some increased security at the N. Lombard Transit Center, especially the one on the North side of the street. It is the only bus stop in Portland where I have witnessed or been the target of repeated harassment, and can get a scary mob-like vibe at times. I'm not sure what the answer is, but it needs some better scrutiny.
7. That Tulip Pastry open on Sundays. What better time to enjoy a delightful marionberry fritter than Sunday morning?

Happy New Year, NoPo. Let's make 2008 the best one yet.