Archive for October, 2011

October 25, 2011

What I Love… St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park

I had been across the St. Johns Bridge several times and had already decided it is my favorite bridge in Portland. It does not surprise me that many of my friends that I have talked to about it recently have agreed that it is their favorite bridge too. After all, it is the most photographed bridge in Portland for a reason – it is stunning. Set against the hills of Forest Park and Cathedral Park, the tall suspensions make the bridge look graceful and even peaceful as it floats above the river. Even with the rush hour traffic crossing the bridge, the hustle and bustle of the day doesn’t seem to taint the serenity of the bridge. When the sun set over the bridge, it took my breath away. If you walk across the bridge you will see people walking, biking, or running across it, but you can also see those who stop to take the moment in and reflect there. It is an inspiring place to think.

My favorite part of walking across the bridge was looking down into the park below and watching friends, lovers, and people walk through it. I had never spent any time at Cathedral Park, which is just below the bridge and when I walked through it, I realized how beautiful it was. I plan to go back there sometime soon for another stroll. I could stop and take a breath while I was there and immediately feel relaxed. Walking down to the water was wonderful and not what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be industrial near the water, but  the park extends out to the boat dock. I even managed to make a friend while I was watching the sunset. He lived nearby and was sitting watching the sunset smoking his pipe, reflecting about his long distance girlfriend and how much he missed her. He talked about the Blues & Jazz festival they had at the park this past summer and how every Saturday he saw a wedding there. I decided that when I meet the right one to marry and have children with, that is where I want to get married.

Needless to say, I finally found my “mountain”. It’s not on the bridge, while beautiful to walk across and with an amazing view of the hills and even beyond, it’s not it. My mountain is somewhere in that park. I won’t say where it is, but I finally found my place to get inspired and to sit, think, reflect, plan, plot and scheme about my life.

October 24, 2011

What I Love… Mum’s Kitchen

I’ve been wanting to eat at the Mum’s Kitchen food cart off of Fremont and Vancouver all summer since it’s just a few blocks from where I work, but I only managed to make my way over there today. I saw my chance to take advantage of a sunny, gorgeous autumn lunch and knowing there won’t be many more of them left, I strolled over there early to make sure I got back before a noon meeting.

I first saw Mum’s a couple years ago after I moved to NE Portland and had caught myself wondering what kind of food it was, but I never stopped since I was always on my way somewhere else, usually to work or to head downtown. Even though, over the past couple years I have heard great reviews for Mum’s, I was still pleasantly surprised by not only great food but a pleasant welcome by the owner. We talked for several minutes about where she was from and why she was here, we both talked about our families and how sometimes we miss our friends and family who now live far away from us. I realized how lucky that I am to be able to travel back home to see those that I love easily.

She gave me samples of what she had been cooking and what was ready for lunch and I was torn between two options, but finally committed on a pork curry that was delicious and spicy. For $7.50 I received a plateful of food that I could not even finish. I’m excited to have enough leftovers to enjoy round two of this amazing food.

I haven’t eaten much Indian food, in fact this was only my second time eating genuine Indian food, albeit from a cart whose owner hails from South Africa and not India – the world is such a small, yet large place. After my first experience of Indian at a buffet, which was good, but not amazing, I wasn’t in a rush to go back for seconds, but after this experience and the hopes of eating fresh pumpkin before it’s out of season, I will be back at Mum’s Kitchen soon.

October 17, 2011

What I Love…. The Smell of Fall

Today was a beautiful fall day. Somehow fall finally seemed to arrive over the weekend. The leaves, which have been hinting at changing colors the last couple weeks have finally started to change and even fall. I can hear the fallen leaves shuffle as people walk by my closed bedroom window. This morning was even brisk, I caught myself shivering in my car turning the heat up to high – something I haven’t really needed to do yet. My favorite part though was walking outside my office this morning to grab coffee from across the street and I could smell chai mixed with brisk, fresh autumn air. I loved it. While I had a wonderful summer, one of the best in Portland, I’m ready for the seasons to change and even rain.

I think every season has a distinct smell. My favorites being fall and late spring. The autumn smell brings back memories of Halloweens past, my favorite holiday. The smell of chili reminds me of the chili bread bowls my mom used to make growing up. The smell of pumpkin spice lattes remind me of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and the amazing pumpkin bread that my mom makes. It was one of my favorite things to have pumpkin bread for breakfast before school. I suppose my favorite smells of the season are cinnamon, nutmeg, chai, and pumpkin. Even now I find myself wanting to add cinnamon to my coffee in the morning. Something I don’t typically do, but I love the taste in the fall.

I love fall. It’s strange to think about that now. I used to not love it because it meant the pending icy, cold weather was coming and I could no longer sit and bask in the sun, but now I get to drink my porters and my stouts, my hot chai tea, cuddle up with a book on the couch without feeling guilty, snuggle under my covers to keep warm, wear cute boots, hats and my favorite jackets. I have a feeling that fall is going to be as amazing as this past summer, but possibly even better.