All about bread

Have you ever thought about bread? I mean really thought about it? Before my pregnancy, I rarely ate bread. Occasionally we would have some at a restaurant, or at someone’s house, but generally speaking we did not have bread in the house. I have always (and still do) feel like bread is a filler food. I am one that believes that we should always fill our bodies with food that is fuel. Such as vegetables and fruit.

Until being pregnant. Now I cannot get enough bread. I have had a few cravings. Nothing too exciting. Chex-Mix, animal crackers, and for the entire pregnancy I have wanted bread. In the form of toast, sandwiches, and pizza. It is the only thing that ever sounds good. My OB said that my appetite would come back in the second trimester. It has not. Nothing ever sounds good. I never really am interested in eating. Except I know when I need to. When I start to get nausea (although I never had morning sickness) I know it is time for a snack or a meal. When that happens I only want bread.

It is comfort food. If you think about it, we have the option for bread in many different meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in different cultures (roti, naan, flatbread, to name a few). Now we even have gluten-free. You can have it plain, or toppings galore. I remember as a young child when I did not feel well, or when I wanted a treat, my grandma would make me toast with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. My dad loved peanut butter on his toast, my mom loved apple butter. At the moment, in the middle of this pregnancy, I want jelly. There have been times though when all I wanted on my toast was melted butter.

Now bread has become a phenomenon via the not so new culinary concept of “toast.” In San Francisco and New York you can find menu items such as buttered toast for $4. Yes. Maybe it is on high quality brioche, but still. I might sound like my grandma but I can almost get a loaf for that amount. In any case, bread, toast, what have you, it is my comfort food of choice as I ease into my third trimester.

What if you became invisible?

I am not going to lie, I shed a tear. Well a few throughout this video. It hits your emotional core. It makes you think what if that were me? Well at least that is what I thought. See I remember a time as a kid when we almost became homeless. My mom was sick and did not have a job, our house was foreclosed on, and we did not know what would happen next. In the end we never lived on the streets, or in a homeless shelter. My sister stayed with a family friend, my mom went into a nursing home, and I stayed with my grandma. So we were split up, but we had a place to live. I am saying all this because I should have compassion for the homeless, and yet I walk on by like many do.

Which maybe is why this video had such an emotional twist for me. It is a video I found on Fast Company about how we usually walk by the homeless. I have to admit with the magnitude of homeless individuals we have in Portland it is easy to walk by without noticing. Maybe it is because you never know if you can trust whether or not the panhandling is legitimate or not. This video, however, makes you look at it in a different way.

First, a bit of context. The New York City Recuse Mission set out to show folks the invisibility of homeless in New York. They approached a few individuals to pose as homeless people and then had them on the street as their family walked down that same street. Their family each walked by without recognizing them. It was all caught on video, and the family was later shown how they walk right past their loved ones. It is all part of their campaign: “Have the Homeless Become Invisible?” I love the idea. I could use my own waking up on interacting with the homeless in Portland.

What did you think? Any change of thought? A bit of a mind shift? What if that was you?

Some SF + OAK lovin…

I promised you a blog about San Francisco. We spent every waking hour either walking or eating. Why not? It is San Francisco. We spent one day playing in the city, and the second day in Oakland. I had a few favorite places I wanted to revisit on Saturday, and I was happily surprised and inspired by a neighborhood we found in the Mission that did not disappoint.

We ventured to Skunkfunk, and Synergy Clothing – both places I wanted to visit. On the way and in between, we found many other boutiques and design stores that did not hesitate to inspire. I love to see how different neighborhoods and cities showcase their current design tastes. On our way to finding a sweet treat, we stopped at Muji. My all time favorite Japanese pen shop with newer locations in New York and San Francisco. I have a passion for fine tip pens. The ones I purchase from Muji are .38. Hard to find in many places in the states.

Next stop: Kara’s Cupcakes.

Chris and I are cupcake fiends. Whenever we travel, we are always on the lookout for the best tasting cupcake. I really do not care what it looks like, it has everything to do with the flavor. We have our favorite in Portland, but by far the best cupcakes we have found in the states is Kara’s Cupcakes. They were a bit snooty with us, but the cupcakes did not disappoint. I found out on their website that they are opening a location in Monterey, CA this summer. As you can see they did not last long. Favorites of the day? Red velvet, Banana Caramel, and Lemon. Yum. If you are ever in San Francisco, be sure to go to the Marina District and try Kara’s.

On Sunday in Oakland, we made sure to visit one of our favorite coffee roasters, Blue Bottle Coffee. Yes, I know I am boring by purchasing decaf. Leave me alone. Their beans rock. If you want to try them from the middle of the country, you can purchase beans right from their website. They also now have locations in San Francisco and New York City.

We spent a few hours on Sunday walking outside in Oakland. It was overcast, and at times chilly and other times warm and sunny. While out for our long stroll, we saw this biker-come-kayaker. Quite the workout he must have had on Sunday!

While taking a break to rest our feet and get a warm drink, I found this fancy door. While I do not have a place for it in my home, it inspired me. A wine rack/barn/door. A very clever design idea.

A great trip. We are both a bit sunburnt, but had a wonderful weekend, strolling, talking, eating, catching up, and feeling inspired.

Bay area we will see you soon.

Have you had a cronut?

I am intrigued. A colleague at work told me the other day about cronuts. They are a cross between croissants and doughnuts, or more specifically croissant dough fried like a doughnut. I do not have a sweet tooth. If there is such a thing as a salt tooth, that would be me. However, the cronut interests me. I would at least like to see if the craze is worth all the hype.

On different blogs and news sites, I found that they are selling for $5 a piece and Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City is limiting the amount they can sell per customer. Another site says that Craigslist is selling them on the black market for 8 times the value – can you believe it? $40 a cronut. Dominique Ansel is now on the map as a bakery. I am sure they cannot keep up with the business they have acquired through their new invention. They will be what Magnolia Bakery was to cupcakes.

I even found that this blogger has come up with a recipe that takes Trader Joe’s croissants or chocolate croissants and turns them into a cronut at home concoction. While Dominique Ansel has only been selling them since May 10, if you do an Internet search you will see there is quite a bit of excitement in just the few weeks since they launched. There is even a website dedicated to cronuts.

I do not have plans to go to New York City anytime soon (although I would love to) so if anyone is going that way and then immediately coming back to Portland bring some back for me. Yum!

Have you heard of “City Target?”

On Sunday we were driving in downtown Portland and I saw a sign for a “City Target.” Have you heard of them? Upon researching further, it looks like there are City Targets in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, that opened in 2012. The store in Portland is set to open in July 2013. At the moment the windows are wrapped with “City” and the Target bullseye logo.

I know many people have mixed opinions when big box stores come into urban areas (even if it is with a smaller footprint). I am not a huge fan of Walmart, so I am part of that mixed bag of differing ideas. I do, however, have a spot in my heart for Target. Maybe it was because I grew up going to Target. I try not to go often because it is too easy for me to leave with too many items. Their specifically designed furniture, housewares, and sometimes even clothes are more my taste than a comparable item at Walmart.

I do not live in downtown Portland, so going to City Target will not be a big deal to me, but when I lived near downtown Portland, I would have been thrilled to see it open up. It means for so many that they do not have to find transportation, use their gas and drive out to the suburbs just to stock up on items. Take a peek online and see if one is opening up in your area.

#excitedforurbanPDXers