Chaz had some business to do on Sunday around town. I decided I would keep him company on his journey. What was supposed to be a two stop, 15 minutes each location, 30 minute total working trip, ended up a passport of culinary bliss.
Our first stop took place during the witching hour, somewhere between breakfast and lunch. Chaz was rumbling for something dim-sum-ish and we hadn’t yet ventured into Beaverton’s one-stop Asian superstore, Uwajimaya. http://www.uwajimaya.com/index.html So we decided to check it out.
We did what we always do when we step into an Asian grocery store, we looked for Chaz’s grape drink.* I didn’t think it actually existed until Sunday when we found the elusive drink, in a box of twelve, for $8 and some change. Besides the Korean grape drink, Chaz scored himself a steamed pork bun. I walked away with some tasty Japanese candy and some shrimp chips, (which I am wishing I bought several bags of right now, cuz I could really go for some). We paid for our loot, stamped our passports: Korea, Japan, and China and headed to our next destination.
“All aboard, train heading Southwest; get your sombrero on to block the rays of the jalapeno sun!”
The next stop was a 30 + tasting of salsas. From Pico de Gallo to roasted tomatillo, I have never tasted so many salsas in one place. There were jarred varieties and freshly prepared. Green, red, fire roasted, mango, pineapple, olive, black bean, mild, medium and hot… “Ole” you say? Although we didn’t purchase any we added another notch to our world tour belt and moved on…..
Right across the street. Yup, right across from the Salsa fest 2006 was a porthole to the Russian motherland. Pyccku Magazine. (Russian market). We were greeted with a warm, round-faced, glowing smile.
“May I hcelp ewe?”
“Chaz would you like to get some cabbage rolls?” A nod and perusal of the pickled fish, exotic jams and tea, we were leaving with two home-made cabbage rolls, just like my babushka used to make! I gave her a big thanks in Russian. She asked if I was Russian and I replied, in Russian by the way, that my great grandmother and grandfather were. She gave me a knowing look and said “Ewe are Ukrainian, no?” “DA.” How did she know that?
Passports full, exotic food dazed we contemplated where to head for lunch. Each of us was craving a bubble tea, a regular hamburger wouldn’t do after such a world-wind of an afternoon.
“How about FuBon Super Center? We can check to see if the bubble tea shop is open and get some Vietnamese food.”
And there you have it. One afternoon took us all the way around the world, and we didn’t even have to leave the state! I love Portland. I love that it is a small town and yet so damn diverse. Who wants to take a trip with me this weekend?
*Chaz used to live in New York. He has two stories he tells about New York. One of the stories is about a vegetarian duck dish he had ALL THE TIME at a restaurant called Planet Thailand. The other story is about a Korean grape drink he always drank with one of his roommates, who was Korean. The grape drink had actual grapes in it. Every time Chaz and I hit an Asian grocery store, WE WOULD LOOK FOR THIS MYSTICAL DRINK.