Monthly Archives: March 2009

Longwinded rambles about the farmers’ market

The farmers’ market today was awesome. It is raining steadily, and the crowds were just as thick as they always are, which makes me happy. Brian was astonished that I would think fewer people would go – it’s Portland, he said. Very few people with umbrellas either, heh. Both of us had rain-proof jackets. I had my rain hat on (a cabbie hat) and he has had a headache for three days, so the rain felt wonderful on his skull (crew cut again).

The best thing we bought today was a bag of nettles. Katie, Brian and I were talking about nettles over dinner at Lucca one night.

To date, after surgeries, and injured ankles and back and neck pains, and pulled teeth, burns and cat attacks, nothing stands out as pain quite like an Oregonian nettle sting does. When I think about pain, that’s the pain I picture, and if I focus on what it felt like that day, the hair on my arm actually rises. I remember what my mouth felt like (dry) and my face felt like (tight – the first time that happened) and exactly how it burned and burned. I think I was 13, we were staying in a cabin in the mountains, no clue where. I remember that I was bored and went for a walk and came back just perfectly to brush by that plant.

Our farmshare in Madison (Harmony Valley) would include them in the early boxes, so I’ve cooked with them before, adding them to pasta dishes. Gingerly, suspiciously.

Tonight, I am making pizza dough and we are going to have a nettle, garlic and olive oil pizza. I will also probably make a cilantro pesto pizza as we have left over pesto from last night. Brian is thinking about stinging himself with a nettle before I boil them, just to see what the deal is. I’m recommending against that.

The nettles were my last $2 in the farmers’ market budget. We got them from the mushroom people who are right up there with Groundwork Organics as my favorite vendors at the PSU farmers’ market. The mushroom people sold us the awesomely good dried shiitakes last year that we are still working on using up (a 5 pound bag, awesome to have), and the wild huckleberries that I gorged on and froze and make huckleberry pancakes with, and last week’s seabeans.

The mushroom people are great, because they are happy to sit and talk about how to prepare any of the unusual things they carry. They are going to have seabeans again next week, and she said I really have to get some for sushi since we didn’t use them that way last week. Cool, I can do that.

The person I liked the most today was an elderly woman — I’m guessing mid 80s. She was tiny, and dressed for the rain, but properly, very elegant. She had a good sized traditional black umbrella and she was talking to the oyster fisherman about which was the best type of oyster at this time of year. She was trying to decide which to get for her meal that night. I don’t know why that pleased me so much. She was clearly there on her own, in the rain with the rest of us, connected with the world and happy. That’s probably it, that’s my goal, that’s what I’m trying to achieve and maintain. Neat.

Warm water orcas

Orca Mural on Alaska Way in Seattle.

Orca mural on Alaskan Way in Seattle.

I’m pretty interested in the orca pods they found in the Gulf of Mexico. They were a myth to some people, and others swore they existed. Four pods were documented recently (they feed on tuna rather than on seals) and they think there may be 500 or so whales in total. Orcas generally prefer cold waters, such as Puget Sound and other places in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s a nice change to hear good things about whales rather than all the awful things we’ve been doing to them lately.

Last weekend

Bagdad sign at night

The Bagdad sign at night.

I’m quiet because I’ve not been doing very much that I felt like writing on here. Quick notes of interest –

Katie bought a house in Milwaukie! The one with the “ie” rather than the “ee.” She doesn’t like the cold anymore than I do. Heh. Congrats Katie, I’ve started lifting weights again in preparation for slogging boxes. hehe

The Bagdad

The Bagdad on Hawthorne

Thursday night, Brian and I went to the Bagdad theater for the first time. We had dinner and watched everyone on Hawthorne totally loving spring.

The Bagdad is a McMenamins like Kennedy School. The Bagdad is where the premiere of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “My Own Private Idaho” was held. Neat. We were there to see “The Black Hole” which I’ve not seen since I was a little kid, and holy cow, I’m surprised that ending didn’t stay with me. We also got to try a McMenamins beer that we hadn’t had yet – Bagdad Ale.

Here’s a mural from next to the table.


Detail of mural at the Bagdad


Farmers’ Market at PSU – first of the year
In other news, the Farmers’ market at PSU opened for the season – so exciting. I may have gone a little overboard with my joy. I got three types of mushrooms, freshly caught salmon (which reminds me that I need to finish it today), carrots, garlic, garlic greens, pastries, oh, and a lot of other things.

My strange vegetable to try was sea beans, also known as samphire or sea asparagus. The farmer told me I could just eat them, which I have been, or grill fish with a layer of them on top, which I also did. The other farmer sad they are awesome in sushi, but since that’s not on the list for this week, I’ll probably need another bag of them before I can use them. They taste like the ocean (makes sense, they are harvested from the tides of Oregon) and a little like cucumbers. I really like them, and will be adding them to our repertoire.

Nothing else much going on – I miss the arrow keys on my laptop but am learning to live without them, so I think I will wait to replace the keyboard. I’m hoping to get some hikes in this week, and if so, should have some pretty pictures to post to flickr.

Organ Grinder

This won’t mean anything to someone who didn’t live in the Portland area in the 70s and 80s, but today when I was driving down 82nd, I realized that the Asian restaurant Super King is in the old Organ Grinder building. They took down the awesome front entrance I remember but it’s the same building, and still stands out as interesting. I will need to go get pictures. I probably have pictures from when it was the Organ Grinder.

Here’s a good page with pictures of it back in the day. They had great pizza, and I remember being there with my mom and my sister. I have no idea why we’d go there, but I remember loving the huge pipe organ. It’s one of those memories that are so strong that I could have drawn a picture of the inside without seeing those pictures.

I’m curious to go to Super King and just check out the inside of it.