Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mississippi Avenue: One block at a time!

Good morning! I promised you I would describe Mississippi Avenue and so I shall, one block at a time.

I am going to start at Skidmore and Mississippi and work my way down to where the road dives under a mass of freeway interchanges. There are so many dynamics to this little street I now call home. It is the epitome of Portland in so many ways, in all of its many little nooks and crannies. This city is made up of "Mississippi Avenues" all over, each with its own interesting flare. Ask any Portlander to describe their area, be it Hawthorne or Belmont, Alberta or Mississippi, NW 21st or Hollywood, Pearl, and Alphabet districts. They will be quick to tell you of their favorite beer on tap, book store, and Batista with free wi-fi and local market. There are so many great little corners here and I have the privilege of living and exploring one of these many delightful attractions. There are as many great characters here as there are places. I don't remember names well but I will do my best to give you a feel for the service that goes along with place.

First is what I have dubbed "the food carts." They are located in what would be Prost's parking lot, a small German Pub that has the feel of any small tavern in Gerberau...but I am getting ahead of myself. I visit the food carts every Saturday morning for a cup of Organic coffee from DOGFATHER, a cart that is run by a man and woman who by today's standard would be considered the "local hippy's of yesteryear." He loves Buddy because he had a dog like him once and being a very "dog friendly and peace loving" decor cart he always has treats on hand. Today though, since it is Sunday so a break in tradition is always warranted, I decided to go for the fresh squeezed juice instead. Apple carrot pear orange, was my flavor though you could add pineapple, blueberry, cranberry, or ginger for free. Mix and match any combo you like, he says you can't go wrong! Next door is THE BIG EGG which always has a line and smells heavenly. Everything on the menu of course, has an egg in it thus I am unable to taste it's goods without negative side effects but if it's consistent line says anything about it, I'm sure it's a local favorite. Next is the NATIVE BOWL which I ordered their Alberta Bowl today, Grilled tofu, fire breathing dragon sauce, jasmine rice, shredded cabbage, carrots and scallions. Awesome! They have other selections themed appropriate to their name and sloggan "think global, eat local" like Couch Bowl (chinese flare) and Mississippi Bowl (BBQ twist.) Both sounded awesome and I will have to go back to taste the other flares of this husband wife run food cart. I had such a hard time choosing that she let me taste the different sauces which made it even harder then since they were all delicious! She also gave Buddy some "cookies." The SUSHI TREE was closed up so I will have to explore it another time and you know I will! Next door was a interesting twist as it's pouring rain outside and there is just a tent without warmth to it yet they serve you like you are sitting in a warm Chinese restaurant, with tea cups and glass tea pot on a bamboo tray while waiting for your cuisine! There is also the option "to-go" and the RUBY DRAGON sounded delightful. Their board boasted in colorful chalk of Abbot with Yammies and the Grandmaster with Yam, spinach, pepper and Tofu. Yes, this description left me curiously in the dark but still wanting a taste of the obscure. Unfortunately I had already made my order and it was ready "to-go." The last three food carts were also closed up so SUGAR CUBE, SOUTH WESTERN PIZZA COMPANY and NUEVO MEXICO will have to wait to be sleuthed at a different moment in time. I have driven by in the evening when all of the carts were open and wished I could stop. So come out of the parking lot and into the pub where the folks are friendly and the bar tender greets the regulars by name and they come and go. You're welcome to bring food cart purchases in as long as your drinking.

Drink often enough at this place and you get your own bar stool you can kick people off when you visit. I don't remember how many cards it takes (more than 20?) but it's 50 beers per card...quite a feat I must say. The food is AMAZING!!! and the tables long and cozy, very much like Europe, come in find yourself a "SEAT" get to know your neighbors. I love it! I wish I could remember the menu, it was all in German anyway, so I asked my neighbor from Jersey to pick something for me. Both beers were amazing and the food was to die for. He wrote his address on a coaster and said there were plenty of great beer spots around if I cared for a tour...and so I shall take him up on that offer soon as there are spots on his list right here on Mississippi! Moving along across the street is an old place housing Thai Cuisine and a Laundromat! Interesting, didn't go in, looks a little scary not to mention the combination seems gastronomically lethal.

Next door is a building with lots of space for rent and one very European style grocery store called PASTAWORKS. I am going to be a regular here for fresh baked bread, exotic cheese and wine selection, fresh pasta cut to whatever width you like, local veggies, sauces, meats and sausages, olive oils and other random canned goods. I walked in and asked the woman at the counter to give me "the tour." I'm so glad she did too cause she pointed out all kinds of stuff I would have missed at first glance. She also gave Buddy a doggie biscuit! Other than that there are only two other interesting places on the block other than houses and empty spaces for let. CASA NARANJA is a tapas bar, with weird small plates of food (the steak bites are stellar!) and drinks I didn't try yet AND last but not least, Vintage Real estate which appears to be a billboard more than anything but I haven't explored it too much yet. And now we have arrived at the corner of Mason and Mississippi. Don't mind me as I'm going to escape the pouring rain now by running home to enjoy my juice and Albert Bowl and a pot of hot apple tea.

No comments:

Post a Comment