Friday, March 19, 2010

Vegan Chinese. Or, how I learned to love the atomic bomb.

Once upon a time, when my sister and I were little, we would get to go to these large family get-togethers at the only Chinese place near our rural home, Silver Dragon in good ole Battle Ground. The group would get the family dinners and my sister and I would dare each other to dip our food in the spicy mustard. I may have dreamed of working there. I also have fond memories of eating Chinese after my first move out of my mother's house, sitting in the middle of the floor, surrounded by boxes and good friends.

Beings as this is Portland, vegan Chinese isn't hard to get. We have Vegetarian House in Chinatown, the place that I first learned that Orange Chicken, one of my most favorite foods in the world, was possible in a vegetarian state. However, if I'm not in the middle of my once a week paper route, I'm not going downtown. When I moved to SW, I swore that I would visit Green Wok, a mere mile from my house.

And visit we did. Jeff and I hit up the lunch buffet, a smorgasboard of all-you-can-eat starchy goodness for $6.50 on weekdays. If I were still working a full time day job, I wouldn't be able to try it out. LUCKY ME, I'm underemployed and my school is so very close AND I have ample to time to stop in and have lunch.....

Behold, visual stylings of a buffet Chinese lunch:

"Egg" roll, chow mein (my 2nd most favorite Chinese dish) and fried rice hiding in the back

Cute l'il bok choy, some kind of tofu-mushroom dish

Beef deliciousness, tempura broccoli

As Gwen Stefani regrettably sang "this sh*t is bananas" and so, so worth the very low price tag. I couldn't help dipping my "egg" roll in spicy mustard. Y'know, it's not so spicy when you're an adult.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Market of Surprise

Moving to a new neighborhood isn't always easy. Well, the moving part sucks, of course, but sometime you don't feel like you connect to the neighborhood. Such is the case with me.

Don't get me wrong. I love our new apartment (maybe not as much as our old rickety duplex) and I love how relatively quiet it is. Oh, and how it only takes me 4 minutes to get to school. But now, if we want to go out, we can't just step outside of our door. There's no produce market across the street or a coffee place down the block. It's been a tough transition. I was incredibly spoiled in SE Portland.

To relieve boredom and feelings of isolation, this morning Jeff and I went on an early morning photo adventure and decided we would find a cafe in our new neighborhood for breakfast. A friend of mine had told me Marco's Cafe had a tofu scramble, so we headed that way. The options for the scramble were sparse - tofu with either Tandoori veggies or BBQ veggies. I wasn't feeling BBQ that early, so I went with Tandoori and hazelnut toast.

The tofu was bland, but the veggies were quite delicious. That pile of potatoes? Apparently they're roasted reds. They tasted like boiled, slightly mashed reds. I think Marco's is taking a step in the right direction, but there is so much room for improvement!

Little did we know, something magic was to be found across the street....

Originally we only went in for a Sunday paper. Jeff started to wander to the back and that's where we discovered what is now our favorite place in SW Portland.

How often do you see this many beers from Norway?!

Beer as far as the eye can see! Local beer (including Upright Brewing, who don't even have a storefront!!), international beer, small beers, big was amazing. I managed to find the beer I've been searching out since I first had it at The Horse Brass, Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice. Jeffrey chose some Irish reds and then we decided it was time to leave, NOW. I mean, it was still 9am on a Sunday!

Oh, John's Marketplace, we WILL be back.