Portland – Part 2

by groove on April 4, 2013

portland_2

Food and Travel Part 2

Welcome to the second installment of our recent trip to Portland, Oregon. As you can see from the above picture the flowers were already in bloom in mid march.

Nirvana_Pearl Jam

As we walked around the city and into the many different districts we would come across some really cool stuff. I loved this old church with the beautiful red door but what I thought was so cool was the Nirvana Pearl Jam Liturgy poster. “Come as you are to feed Portland’s hungry …”. Genius!

Sweet Pea Baking Company

One morning we walked from our downtown hotel to the vegan strip mall. It was so worth the walk. As soon as we arrived we treated ourselves to the goodies above from Sweetpea Baking Company, an all vegan bakery. It’s hard to tell from the photo but these treats were so big we couldn’t finish them and trust me, I tried very hard.

Native Bowl

We also headed over to the Mississippi District so I could have lunch at the Native Bowl an all vegan food cart. I cannot say enough how good the food was. I ordered the Mississippi of course. It’s jasmine rice, house-made ranch sauce, barbecue soy curls, two kinds of barbecue sauce, fresh crisp slaw, and scallions. Need I say more other than I’m now obsessed with soy curls and it’s really hard to find them in Canada.

Voodoo Doughnut

Now, lets talk doughnuts. Around town we kept seeing people caring big pink doughnut boxes and couldn’t figure out what the deal was. Finally we saw the sign for Voodoo Doughnut with a very long line up that went down the street. We had to check it out.

voodoo Menu

Once we made it through the line and inside and I was so happy that on the menu they had a vegan section.

VD Doughnut

Good things really do come in pink boxes. This is definitely the best doughnut I’ve ever had.

Sonny Bowl

And finally, I want to mention the Sonny Bowl. I ate lunch at this fabulous food cart on our last day in Portland. This bowl is called “the One” and it was full of black beans, mixed veggies, corn, cilantro-lemon sauce, roasted red pepper-cashew cheese and fresh salsa all on top of brown rice – super healthy. Again it’s an all vegan cart that offers fresh bowls of very good food. They also make thick and delicious smoothies. Definitely worth checking out.

Music and Record Shops Part 2

Lately, our collecting focus has taken a turn to jazz, notably the Blue Note label. The main reasons for this are quality, economy and selection. Quality in that the recordings are among the best recorded and mixed pieces of music with attention to the unique details each instrument demands in capturing sound on vinyl (does that make sense?). Economy in that the Blue Note albums are reissued on high quality mid-weight vinyl with crisp, simple packaging at a reasonable price. Each Blue Note album we have purchased has been under $20.00, a rarity for new vinyl today. Selection in the fact that the label focused on the hard bop style of blending bebop and other music styles such as r&b, soul and blues which widens the range of music to audiences who are fans of those other genres. The range of artists works represented on the label is vast and it was common to have a session of “the best of the best”…supergroups of jazz musicians essentially. This record is one of those beautiful sessions.

Sonny Clark

“Sonny’s Crib” features none other than Donald Byrd on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, John Coltrane on tenor sax, Sonny Clark on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor on bass. This roster may well be one of the most talented and prolific groups of players in jazz history, when considering their individual contributions and collaborations with many great artists of the time. What we appreciate most is that the record highlights the gifts of each of it’s contributors without one single musician stealing the show. With 5 cuts on the album, the listener is given the opportunity to absorb the talents of each musician fully without feeling shorted.

An interesting observation about jazz music……unlike current popular music which has a certain shelf-life and time in the spotlight, jazz never gets old and never expires. It never feels outdated or out of fashion. Take any of the current music on the charts and chances are we won’t be listening to much of it 10 years from now. Sonny’s Crib was recorded 56 years ago, yet sounds like it could have been recorded last week.
Purchased in Portland at Jackpot Records downtown, the album features a tune called “Come Rain Or Come Shine” – and we did. The forecast for our trip was mainly rain through the week, but that didn’t stop us from packing our bags and going to the city that has turned us into fans….the food, the drink and, of course, the music.

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