Eating

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Our bedroom looks east, and when there is sunshine, either blessedly clear or like the photo, striving to burn a frothy layer of clouds, it fills our eyes upon waking. We are enjoying having a very pared down space, with precious little art (my favorite Goodwill find of the sea!), a few trinkets, and all new furniture from Room & Board. It’s called Calvin and was made in Oregon, of all places. The ties that bind. The wall color is a pale and icy blue, and while we are most definitely in need of a new layer of paint, the shade will remain the same.

The heavens had a riotous pillow fight and the feathers fell as snow. We bundled and braved below zero wind chill to walk to the library and market in the bright white of it, dropping off movies that were too terrible to mention, buying an onion, a jar of pickles, and a 9-volt battery. It is a bummer to be awakened by a chirping fire alarm. It really is.

The onion was for green chile (recipe here – it’s been a while, Paris in the sweet hereafter, me a Pittsburgher, and the Powell Food 4 Less long gone!). This was¬†definitely one of the best batches EVER. I made pinto beans and margaritas, too. The hubster made guacamole. Everything was marvelous and gave our cheeks a rosy-pink glow.

Boy howdy, was it ever good to feel the sadness of December and January finally lift. So many tears, dear readers, so very many. We celebrated our surfeit of joy by making more, of course, with a stellar weekend of adventure and fun, starting at The Double Wide Friday night. They have TV Dinners! Compartmentalized food rocks! Grits! Portobello mushrooms! Brisket! Sweet potato fries! Shoestring fries! Cornbread! Coleslaw! Eeeek!

Surf Pittsburgh? Maybe I will.

This chest was made in 1760!

An afternoon at The Frick. A scrumptious lunch at the cafe, beautiful art, and positively heady conservatory air. Happiness!

Jason Walker

Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor

Finished the day in The Strip District, with stops at Wigle (pronounced like wiggle) for Sassafras Whiskey and aromatic bitters (organic and delicious), Italian provisions at Penn Mac, and marvelous art at Contemporary Craft. No chemicals were purchased in the making of this last photograph.

Sunset over the Heinz Lofts. Home we go…

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Progression

Saturday night’s supper, beginning to end: super soft sharp cheddar polenta and roasted green beans with almonds and orange balsamic vinaigrette. Tasty.

The living room, entirely unpacked and cozy, though not entirely finished. The walls need fresh paint, some shade of white, and the foot stool needs to be recovered, maybe the chairs, too? The jury, for the time being, is still out.

The local laundromat, the nicest we’ve ever seen, our every other week hangout until our washer and dryer arrive in mid-January. Who knew there would be such a run on them at holiday time.

I am reminded of how life is a progression – idea or thought, need or desire, the steps to attainment, so very many beginnings. I am hoping to have more endings soon, the end of boxes and disorder, the end of being in transition. Which brings me to this last photo, the Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, my beautiful local branch. I am pleased as punch to announce that I got my library card today. And, wonder of wonders, they had a copy of A Christmas Story, the holy grail of holiday films. Beginner’s luck, maybe, but I’ll take it!

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Andy Warhol and Andrew Carnegie get dolled up. I love it!

At long last, for those who have been asking, pictures of Pittsburgh! Now that my computer has been unearthed, though it remains completely surrounded by other boxes of things I probably don’t really need but still desperately need to unpack, there will be more photos. I shall do my damnedest to keep yinz in the photo loop. Yinz? Yeah, using a little Pittsburghese, recently voted the ugliest accent in America. I kid you not. Anyhoo, yinz means you, and our best guess to the origin is that it’s an abbreviation of Pennsylvanian? Yin? Plural Yinz? Search me.

But, I digress. Pittsburgh, goll-ee how, is a beauty! We chose well, my friends, very well. There is spectacular art and architecture, a preponderance of it, all around the city. The city of neighborhoods, but more specifically (and why), the city of…H I L L S, mega-super hills that are difficult to fathom until witnessed live and in-person, the variety of which children draw when asked to render a rolling countryside, though maybe a little steeper, a lot steeper in many cases. It makes a grid system virtually impossible, on the whole, save in the pockets nestled in between. I am grateful to have made purchase in one of those pockets, on a generally flat stretch of land, though from the windows at the top of the house I can spy other hills and towers and observe the most glorious of sunrises and sunsets with very little obstruction. A win, win.

People love the Steelers here, as would be expected, but maybe not quite as I expected, with entire families kitted out in head-to-toe Steelers gear nearly everywhere I turn. The shoes aren’t an anomaly, just the churchy version of fandom. It’s a different world.

And, yet, it isn’t. It’s cloudy and a river city. People here are much like Portlanders, super crafty (The Handmade Arcade!), and go-out-of-your-way friendly. There are many beards and fine restaurants and tattoos, though Portland has infinitely more of the latter, and Pittsburgh has a heck of a lot more diners. The coffee here is not at all like Stumptown, which saddens me some, but with an actual Stumptown coming soon, I shan’t have to worry about that for long.

Eric, the Primanti’s photo is just for you, so everyone else, avert your eyes. You saw nothing! Ha. Primanti’s is famous for a sandwich that is piled high with coleslaw and fries. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s actually quite tasty and convenient. The burrito of sandwiches, maybe?

Oh, and this final photo? This is primarily for my Colorado peeps, but anyone who understands food nostalgia will appreciate it, too. This Grinch pastry is a dead ringer, flavor wise, for the frogs the King Soopers bakery made when I was a kid – a white cake with white frosting of the shortening, not butter, variety, glazed with fondant. It will make your teeth hurt in a good way. I have been wishing for something like it since they ceased production when I was ten. These were the ultimate store bought treat for a child of little means. I would search the day old shelf (the only shelf we we ever bought from, as it was half price) and be positively giddy when the neon frosting showed itself. My ebullience at today’s discovery, I am certain, was an exact match to those childhood days when there were exactly four frogs, and I didn’t have to share one with my siblings. “Buddy! These are like the frogs! Oh my goodness, I haven’t had one since I was ten!” Now, I know when others are chuckling at my expense, but I was happy to oblige both the hubster and the woman behind the counter. That my friends, is the power of food.

 

 

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Columbia River

Multnomah Falls

Holla!

Bonneville Dam

Block + Tackle

Pepe le Moko

L O V E: Forever and All Ways.

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

A 1930′s Vintage Chevrolet. Beautiful!

Interurban – yumm…

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! I hope it is lovely where you are. We are in full autumn here in Stumptown, with cool mornings, rain, and golden sun from time to time. We are also in full “Oh my goodness, we are selling the house!” mode. Packing, planning, and getting G I A N T holes dug to repair the 83 year-old sewer in the time it took us to get a single large shrub in the ground. The wonder of backhoes!

Back when we decided to move, the hubster and I only fretted over telling one person, my Uncle Chris. He loves Portland dearly and has been our most frequent guest room occupant. He was disappointed, most definitely, but cool cat that he is, very understanding, too. New chapters are exciting! Then, much to our delight, he made arrangements to be our final visitor.

We could not have had a better time or better weather, either, warmth, sunshine, the best of good-byes.

The highlights:

We visited Bonneville Dam, which was truly fascinating. The giant grey object with rust drips is a turbine that had been in use for some 60 years, the wonders of engineering, and, quite likely, Pittsburgh Steel. Then there were the fish, heaps and tons doing their darndest, working their tails off (in some cases nearly literally) to make it through the rough waters of the ladder. Extraordinary! The previous day had a count of 30,000, and that is after running the gauntlet of fishing boats. Nature is bad ass!

A long walk to Block + Tackle, which, if you are a seafood and fish lover, get ye there! Everything pleases, fresh oysters, perfect calamari, a smoked mackerel sandwich, fish and chips, shrimp cocktail, oh my. The service was pretty spectacular, too. With nearly full bellies, we introduced him to the wonders of Salt & Straw (minus the line, what luck!), a  slow, sweet saunter down Division in the light of the setting sun.

A most marvelous time was had by all. Next stop Pittsburgh, mon oncle!

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