Friday, December 14, 2007

Portland relocation nation

Last week I hauled three large bags and shipped eight boxes via UPS to my new pad in Portland, Oregon. Here I am, in a lovely apartment downtown, feeling "metropolitan" for the first time in what feels like years. It's briskly cold and gray outside, but I'm kind of in love with the city again.

This is my third (!!) beginning in Portland, the last two being in early 2002 and summer 2003 respectively. Saying that still sounds shocking. What will I do differently this time around?

Well, for starters, I've already made it a point to try to get out as much as possible. I'm determined that the winter isn't going to slow me down, and even though I'm having difficulty convincing some of my friends to come out of hibernation, I'm making an effort to be comfortable with going to movies, shows and meals on my own, not to mention living by myself. There's something to said for being able to enjoy something solo.

I live in an area of Portland that is easily accessible to most anything in Portland proper. My building is straddled by the eastbound and westbound MAX trains, and I can't say enough about the bus system. Many Portland residents would agree that not having to rely on a car is one of the best things about this city, and I must say it does feel truly freeing.

With this freedom to roam comes what feels like an obligation to explore. I'm well overdue for a new Hungry Cupboard-related discussion, and the harriedness of moving and unpacking and shopping for the household basics is leaving me a little drained these days. But I've already ventured to some of the nearby eateries, and I'm just going to call it now: My neighborhood is pretty much awesome.

Right before I got to Portland, I spend a week and a half in sunny Los Angeles. Part of any trip to LA for me involves partaking in many a libation and eating like a monster, and this one was no different. My easy access to excellent pho, banh mi, ramen and tacos in LA has left me simply craving these foods in Portland. It's going to take a few more bus trips to find the goods to satisfy these cravings, but a little hunting around Citysearch, Yelp and Portland food blogs has resulted in a handy (and growing) list of places to try out. Pho Hung, Binh Minh, Pho Oregon and a slew of food carts downtown top the list right now.

My only honest worry and serious doubt is finding a Portland ramen shop worthy of remembrance. I'll venture to Beaverton or Gresham if I have to, but the ramen pickings seem slim... any suggestions appreciated.

The hunt begins!