Sunday, July 24, 2011

Speedboat Coffee.

I may have mentioned here--or to you in person, if you're unfortunate enough, because this is probably one of the boringest things I talk about--that inspired by Clare, I've been in the habit for about a year now of making myself lists of monthly goals. These goals make me feel inspired and productive and/or really guilty and crappy about myself. Since these goals are usually so dorky and boring I've been writing about them in LiveJournal--you know, where people used to write before they became "bloggers"--since I know only approximately five people read that. (Thanks, sister!) However, I keep getting a crapload of annoying spam comments from LJ recently, which has been really irking me, and makes me wonder if I should start writing about my goals here instead.

1. YES
2. NO

** They probably will not be.

Anyway, so I pretentiously made a goal this month of attempting to visit a coffee shop for a few hours once a week to "write." This has been the only week so far where I haven't made this happen, mainly because I am insanely busy this week. Of course, this "writing" has mainly just amounted to "writing blog entries." However, even just writing blog entries, but writing them IN A COFFEESHOP, makes you feel infinitely cooler than typing on an old desktop PC on a desk completely full of crap. Crap which your cat constantly jumps up on and then knocks over everywhere, causing things to crash and paper to fly every which way, which makes you mad EVERY TIME, even though if you just cleaned your crap up, and/or trained your cat better, this wouldn't happen. 

Right. Essentially, while this exercise has not made me feel any closer to being a "real writer," as I hoped, it has mostly made me evaluate the experience of writing in a coffee shop. Firstly, in Portland, there's such a plethora of coffee shops to try, which is thrilling, but also overwhelming. I've come to ask myself: what type of coffee shop do I really need? After reading enough author bios on book jackets which read, "Blahblah lives in blahblahgreatplace where she/he writes in a coffeeshop everyday!" (alternately, they have some awesome farmhouse in Vermont--I get jealously angry of either scenario), one would assume that one can just walk into any coffeeshop, open a laptop, and BAM, be the Most Productive and Creative Writer There Ever Was!

Alas. This does not happen (for me).

Hence, I bring you my Finding the Right Coffee Shop For You! experience. There are coffee shops which are REALLY NICE and fancy-ish, and while these make me feel fancy-ish and often productive, I also don't completely feel like my sarcastic, self-deprecating self sometimes in them, and you know what you write when you don't feel like yourself? Bad stuff. Maybe it won't sound bad to other people, but it'll sound sort of bad to you.

Then there are the coffee shops that make you feel SO comfortable that you'd rather veg on one of their comfortable couches and stare out the window at people walking down the street  with a vacant expression on your face, getting lost in the inexplicably cool music the barista is playing, for hours on end instead of doing anything else. I love these coffee shops! But, you know. Maybe something in between is what one needs.

Last week I tried Speedboat, and while I still want to get around to even more coffee shops, I think Speedboat might work for me. OH MY GOD, WE'VE REACHED THE POINT OF THIS ENTRY!

This coffee shop isn't new to us; we actually visit it frequently, I had just never actually sat down and written there. There are many things which are awesome about Speedboat:

1) It's in our neighborhood, and supporting small businesses in our neighborhood is pretty much my favorite thing to do. Hurrah Foster-Powell!
2) It serves bagels from Gabriel's Bakery, which are our favorite local bagels: so soft and dough-y and good. (You can also buy Gabriel's bagels at New Seasons, or at the farmer's market downtown, or of course at the source itself--I think there are two Gabriel's Bakery locations, although I actually haven't been to either of them.) Our favorite is the Herb & Cheese bagel. You can pretend it's good for you, because there are HERBS in it, RIGHT? (There is also a whole bunch of greasy melted cheddar cheese.)
3) The whole inside is surprisingly adorable and comfortable, and it also has a little play area nook for kiddos, if, you know, you're one of those Portland hipsters with kids. And yes, there are a shocking number of these. It really weirds me out. At 6 years old, these children are always dressed cooler than I will ever dress. And the parents always look super hip AND wholesome all at the same time, which is confounding. People ask us, and other friends our age, if we have kids like ALL THE TIME. IT IS SO WEIRD. No one ever asked us this in Boston.

Quick Table:

4) Oh, right, I was talking about the interior of Speedboat. So: it's full of retro memorabilia concerning speedboats (shocker!) and waterskiing and the like. I get a surprising amount of satisfaction from this decor. While I don't think I've ever successfully waterskiied, I've tried to, and it all makes me feel nostalgic for my lake-centered hometown, which was abundant with marinas and speedboats and waterskis. Anything that makes you wax nostalgic for your hometown is comforting when you're thousands of miles away from it.

5) There's a drive-through! So you can be LAZY!
6) They serve Stumptown coffee if you're into that, and Dragonfly Chai if you're into that. Speaking of which, as a big chai person, after drinking Dragonfly and other great locally made chais, I discovered this week that I can no longer drink chai from Starbucks--it tastes sickeningly sweet. I thought Portland had just made me into a beer snob, but apparently it's made me into a chai snob, too. Who knew there could be such a thing! My annoying snob factor increases by the minute! Anyway--and if you're into iced tea as I am, they have some new varieties of that too--I really like their sassafras black tea.
7) Their punch card! Who doesn't love a good punch card!

In conclusion, I like it. You should go.

And hopefully I will keep writing in coffeeshops. And maybe I will write about a few more. And maybe, sometime, I'll actually write something meaningful in one of those coffeeshops! Instead of, just, you know, writing ABOUT coffeeshops! But, I wouldn't bet on it. Yet. And maybe someday I'll be able to write about things like Norway without just sounding like I'm crazy. That would be good. Too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter.

While Kathy and I are similar in a weird number of ways, I do feel badly sometimes about the strikingly different ways we deal with Big Emotions. While she wants to talk a lot, I am always entombed in a blanket of quietness in the moment which I have no control over, absorbing and feeling and not being able to articulate anything in such foreign ideas as words and sentences. This contrast--her talking a lot, me being weird and silent--occurs during times such as:

1) Fights;
2) Watching TV coverage of upsetting political and world events;
3) The 20 minutes after seeing a movie.

Hence, two nights ago at 2:30 AM as we walked to the car and then drove home after seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the conversation went as thus:

Kathy: "Ashjksfhdjkfhdilasjdalsndaskndsjdbsodisdiosjdsklndskndsidohsdoisahdsbdas!"
Me: - silence - - nods - - silence -

All I knew was that I was feeling Big Things, and that I felt infinitely happy and infinitely sad. Also, I kept crying. As I drove home, a mess of inarticulate emotion, I thought, Well, maybe I'll be able to write a blog entry in a few days and work it out then. But the idea of writing about the experience of Harry Potter over a decade of reading and viewing still seems almost impossible. 

Lazy Halloween costumes; October 2005

However, Manda wrote a great entry today, and it inspired me to just do it. So. Deep breath. Let's do this! (And go read her entry, I can already tell it is much more coherent and well-written than this will be!)

This is a jumble of my favorite things about Harry Potter: books, movies, overall experience. Starting with:

Getting angry about people who don't like Harry Potter.
I have a feeling if you're not a Potterite, you're not even reading this. You saw the title on your Google Reader, rolled your eyes, felt angsty about how many damn people are talking about Harry Potter on the Internet right now, and skipped it. Well! I'm going to get self righteous anyway, because that's what you do when you really love something!

There is one group of anti-Harry people who I do not have an issue with, and it is those who are naturally averse to fantasy as a genre. My sister is one of those people. She's smart and motivated; she reads a lot of nonfiction. I'm weird and lazy; I read Harry Potter and various other children's books. It works out. It's fine. These people generally are neutral and don't get that upset about other Potterites; it's just not their thing.

There are two other groups of people I've encountered, however, that really inspire some good griping in my self righteous soul:
1) Those who used to read the books when younger but "grew out of it." WHAT? My brain does not process this, but all I know is that I'm super glad I'm not a boring grown up like you.
2) Those who I KNOW would love Harry Potter, but refuse to admit it because it's too popular and they're convinced nothing so popular can be meaningful or good. A lot of these people have read at least parts of the books but classify them as just "all right" or "not well written." These people are often the most vocal about their opposition. To them I say:


Reading the first few books in my bedroom in my house in Pennsylvania.
I read the first few books back in high school, before any movies came out, curled up on my bed in the house where I grew up. I had a whole idea of all the characters in my head, an idea which of course has been wiped out to obscurity by the movies. (I have gotten over this, though, since I am so dearly attached to the movie characters and think the casting was in fact wonderful.) Reading books as a kid curled up on my bed in the house where I grew up will always be the most magical reading experience of my life. I could read for hours and not feel guilty about anything. I was transported to so many different wonderful lands and events. Every book seemed magical. But Harry Potter seemed REALLY magical.

Waiting for the 7th book at midnight, Borders in Downtown Crossing, Boston, July 2007

When the last book came out in 2007, we picked it up at midnight, watched and participated with all the other nerds who opened it up and started reading on the last subway home. And then we kept reading. We'd asked for the day off from work, and Kathy and I read all day. I was no longer in my world, but in theirs. It was the closest I'd felt to the magic of reading in my bed in the house where I grew up in years.

Here it is, the thing I really want to say: Harry Potter has been the most important reading experience of my life. (The only other thing which may be tied with it would be reading Roald Dahl books as a small child, the act which really made me a reader and a lover of imagination from an early age.) Harry Potter has reaffirmed to me that reading is magical and that reading is important. It confirmed that a book is a powerful, wonderful thing. You see, even to people that LOVE reading, I think we can all be honest in saying that reading ISN'T always magical or even important; a lot of the time it seems more like a chore than you want it to. But Harry is different. It's meaningful, and funny, and exciting, and tragic and real.

Even though you're aware that millions of other humans on this earth have experienced the same thing, every time you open a Harry Potter book, you enter something that seems special, and yours, and yours alone. And thank god for it.

Visiting Platform 9 3/4 in King's Cross Station.
Sam and I giggled the whole way into the station when we were in London in 2004. And there it was, a sign discreetly placed on the wall, not cheesy at all, just there, oh you Brits! We took a picture and then heard a scary announcement over the loudspeaker about how flash photography on the platforms is illegal and dangerous. We ran, continuing to giggle the whole way out of the station.

I didn't even have a digital camera in 2004, and a bunch of my film got messed up in flights, hence the bad quality.

The Harry Potter fan community.
I've already expressed my love of fandom in here, but the Harry Potter fandom is really something else. I haven't delved too much into the fandom world myself, but all I know is that I am super happy every time I've gone to a midnight showing, and I was particularly happy this time.

Waiting outside Clackamas Town Center, two nights ago.

Usually at a midnight showing there's at least a spattering of people who are obnoxious, but this night, as Kathy said, "It was like watching the movie with a whole bunch of me's!" Everyone was deathly silent from the first moment, everyone laughed together, everyone cried together, everyone respectively stifled their laughter at everyone crying. And OH - MY - GOD - GUYS, were there people crying at this one. When the camera panned over the victims from the Battle for Hogwarts--like, open SOBBING! And like, noisy blowing of noses into tissues! Holy crap. I have never heard anything like it in a movie theater. Oh man. It was so hilarious and amazing all at once. 

As Manda said: There’s a lot of pent up energy. This time, more than usual because we all have a sense that this is the final time we’ll be in a group like this, sharing our love for a group of people that we’ve come to know as family and a story we’ve come to feel as our own.

The people sitting in front of us, who we of course watched and listened to for at least two hours while we waited, had brought their own bottled butter beer and discussed these things at various points in the night: 1) Neil Gaiman, 2) Terry Pratchett, 3) Bone, 4) their "first anime," 5) so much other nerdy stuff! Oh man it made me so happy. At one point the guy in the group dropped his wand behind his chair, and without thinking I said, "Oh no, your wand!," picked it up and gave it back to him. LIKE IT WAS NORMAL! IT WAS SO AWESOME! 

Tired, but ready.

I mean come on. Not to mention the websites, the fanfic, and the book, this is a group of people who created a musical genre called wizard rock, which allows nerdy boys to be worshipped by nerdy girls around the country. What a dream! How can you not like these people? 

The story about that time Kathy got a free set of Harry Potter books from Scholastic.

She is amazing.

Once upon a time, also known as the year 2005, Kathy wrote an ode about Scholastic Book Orders. I had to do a lot of digging through old LiveJournal posts of hers to find this, but I did.

I am going to now post the full details of the events of this story for the world to see, since it's my blog and I can.

Scholastastic: On Unorthodox Ode to Scholastic Book Orders
by Kathy

A few times a year,
You were there.
So many choices,
Made me pull my hair.
A few thin sheets of paper held my fate.
With all my friends,
I would debate.
Cleary? Blume? What to buy?
Even all the lame series, I will not lie,
I was excited each time I flipped through it.
For me, it was like a loser how-to kit.
Bring it home, show it to mom.
I would circle all my favorites,
Full House books are the bomb.
A free gift of a poster,
All you needed were a few items.
One of Vanilla Ice, or kittens on a toaster.
Together, a tally was made
Of all my favorite books,
My smile would not fade.
Months and months passed, all but forgotten.
School subjects came and went,
More bored than I had ever been.
Then suddenly, out of the mists of desperation,
Our teacher would announce a great declaration.
There they were! My books! What a revelation!
Tied up and bound with a band all around,
I ran home and read, until I nearly fell down.
Every few months like this, I would get so enthusiastic.
Because they never failed me, that company Scholastic.
Now many years have passed, and many suns have set.
But here is one last thing that I will always bet.
You think of them too, those bound piles of delight.
You think of them too, when you cuddle together at night.
To have the ability to choose was an amazing feat.
An ability that now, our schools no longer meet.
So with fondness and happiness, we look back at you, Scholastic.
You were no less than amazing, the best, and fantastic.

I know. Amazing. So Kathy wrote this while we were in college. Because these are the kinds of things you do when you're in college. Or, at least, at Emerson College. She decided to send it to Scholastic, just for kicks. This is what she received in reply:
Thank you so much for sending us your Ode to Scholastic Book Orders. I've sent it around to our editors and marketing people here in the New York Corporate offices. I know they will enjoy your poem as much as I did.
If you would tell me a bit about yourself, including age and grade, I'd love to send a gift to thank you for your creative expression of book club appreciation. Please include a postal address.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda Schenker

AGE AND GRADE, PEOPLE. So, not that surprisingly really, the editors at Scholastic assumed Kathy was a LITTLE GIRL. (Although after reading the ode again, this does seem a little strange--what fourth grader these days knows who Vanilla Ice is?)

This was one of the most amazing things that had ever happened to any of us. But after we finished laughing, Kathy was presented with a dilemma: Do I tell them I'm in my early 20's? Because, like, you know, they want to give me a present. If I tell the truth, will they take away my present? Because she's an honest person, she eventually decided to 'fess up and tell Ms. Schenker the truth.
Thanks so much for your lovely response.  We're just delighted that you had so many happy memories of our book clubs.  I certainly would love to send a gift, despite your mature years!  Have you read the Harry Potter books?  They certainly are for all ages.  I'd be happy to send you a pack of the first 5 if you haven't gotten to them yet.
Let me know.

THEY CERTAINLY ARE FOR ALL AGES! OH MAN. I still can't get over this. I have never been so proud of my girlfriend. And also, so impressed with a publishing company. Thank you, Linda!

The set now rests next to our Narnia box set, beneath a Faulkner box set. Yeah, it makes sense.

The secondary characters.
The trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron doesn't even need to be touched upon. All I need to do is post this video Kathy found.

If you don't start tearing up the moment Helena Bonham Carter starts tearing up, just wait for the trio to HUG EACH OTHER WHILE BAWLING AT THE END. If you don't start tearing up, YOU HAVE NO SOUL. Sorry, it's true.

But beyond the trio, there are too many amazing secondary characters in this series to count.

Luna Lovegood. The only character in any book ever who has spoken the truth, and seen the truth, in every second of the day. Obviously, she is a freak, and she is wonderful. The most perfect casting in the movies, as well.

All of the professors are great, but Professor McGonagall was SO FREAKING AMAZING AND BADASS IN THIS LAST MOVIE. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. SO BADASS.

Hagrid. Just seeing him in the Forbidden Forest in the film caused the whole theater to gasp and then cry. He is one of the most intensely lovable characters ever created.

I love the flaws of some of the most important characters, which start to really be developed in the later books and movies: Dumbledore, Sirius, Harry's dad, Harry himself. Who DIDN'T hate Harry in the fifth book? The complexity to Dumbledore and Harry's dad still blows my mind. Such well crafted and fascinating story telling.

And there are two characters I love so much they deserve their own bolded topics:

Neville Longbottom.
Neville was the complete hero of the Battle for Hogwarts, as he completely should have been. Watching him in this movie was just absolute, pure joy. 

I still also can't get over this picture Manda found:


Oh Snape. Snape. Snape. I don't even know what to say. Except for the scene where Harry looks into your memories in Dumbledore's pensieve? One of the most wonderful scenes of the entire series. 




The score/Hedwig's Theme.
John Williams sprinkles magic dust on everything he creates. Chills every time I hear it. Chills!

"Dumbledore, is this real? Or is it all in my head?"
"Of course it's in your head, Harry. But that doesn't mean it isn't real."

So now, we all ask ourselves: what's next? There has always been a "next." Even with the last book, we knew we had the movies to look forward to. But now what?

Well, there's still the dream of visiting Florida, or attending this some day. Oh, and we'll be going to see the movie again this week, thank you very much.

And, of course. There's always re-reading the books. And re-reading. And sinking back into the magic, each time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cake v. Pie: Cake.

If you're like me, you often find yourself thinking about the "What's better? Cake or pie?" debate.

If you're not like me, you're probably a healthier person. Although I would argue, I might be a happier person.

You may also debate greater things, like, how offensive CAN these female Republican presidential hopefuls be to America AND feminism all at once? Or, how does anyone think that fracking or mountain-top-removal mining or tar sands are good ideas for energy supply? Or, what the hell is going on with DADT? Or, who knew so many people on your Facebook/Twitter feed cared so much about Casey Anthony? Or, have we made any progress in more equitable education in the last 30 years, at all? 

HOWEVER, cake v. pie is much more fun, so this is what I'm going with.

I have always been squarely in the pie camp with this, for many reasons I will outline when I get to talking about pie. But, my dear friends, this does NOT mean that I am anti-cake. No siree! In particular, there are two kinds of cake which really TAKE THE CAKE, if you will--HAHAHA!--which I will now devote the following paragraphs to. Because I can. 

1. The Funfetti.

The Funfetti, accompanied, OF COURSE, by the Funfetti Confetti frosting--is the most artificial cake OF ALL TIME. The Funfetti is the ultimate cake for trashy white people, AND IT IS DELICIOUS! Oh, what, a light and fluffy vanilla cake accompanied by sugary frosting with BALLS OF RAINBOW INSIDE? Uh, yes please! I don't care what you say, Michael Pollan, I know it's all derived from corn and fossil fuels, and I AM GOING TO EAT IT UNTIL I DIE!

Carrot cake slice

2. The Carrot.

I think I've only recently fully realized my deep love of carrot cake. I mean, I always liked it, but now I understand that I actually LOVE IT. Since we've been on the West Coast and have spent most holidays by ourselves or with friends--meaning, we've actually had to fend for ourselves food-wise instead of automatically being fed ridiculous treats made by family members--most years for Easter I've made a homemade carrot cake which is AMAZING (if I do say so myself). Although I think I wimped out on making it last year. Because let's be honest, grating carrots is a pain in the ass. Grating carrots is, in fact, the worst.

But, everything else about making it is great--so many delicious spices all at once--I'll take your cinnamon AND your nutmeg AND your ginger, thankyouverymuch--and the CREAM CHEESE FROSTING, so easy to whip up and then it makes everything perfect. I'll say it again in case you missed it: cream cheese frosting makes everything perfect. If I had to add another cake to this list, it'd probably be red velvet, and you know why? The cream cheese frosting. That's really what it's all about, people.

(Also, in my carrot-cake-baking, I've learned that the key to a really good, moist cake is pineapple. Pineapple juice with bits of ripped up pineapple shreds in it. I actually don't normally love pineapple as a plain fruit, but it fits in perfectly.)

In conclusion, the Marriott where we're having our wedding reception is providing us with a cake. OH, and when I say "providing us with a cake," I mean, it's included in the ridiculous amount of money we're going to pay them. BUT, it's also kind of a fancy place. SO, my question is, they might have a problem with my suggestion of an alternated-layer funfetti/carrot cake wedding cake. Right? Right. Sigh. It's really too bad.

Any favorite cakes you think I should add as honorable mentions?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Pacific Northwest: The Bucket List.

At Crater Lake last summer.

We all know Jill loves lists, and the Bucket List is pretty much the ultimate in lists. Or, you know, at least relatively more important than my Grocery List (if I made a grocery list, instead of wildly grabbing whatever looks yummy on the shelves in New Seasons like a madwoman), or my CDs I Would Buy If Cds Were In My Budget list, and infinitely less stressful than my Overdue Bills I Still Have to Pay list, or Things We Have to Do (And Pay For) Before Our Wedding list, or my never-ending Books To Read List. I've never really made a bucket list in an official manner before--meaning, writing it down in my inconsequential blog--but I have in my head a hundred times.

But being that our eventual departure from Portland has been looming large in our minds recently, I thought it would be good for myself to document it now, and then hopefully cross out--and then write about!--each thing we accomplish. While we had been planning for a long time to move back to the East Coast next summer, after some extensive discussion, and after finally realizing that planning a big move for the same time you're planning a wedding might not be the best idea, it feels more up-in-the-air at the moment. In either case, while it may be one year, or it may be two years, that we have left in this place, there is still a whole heck of a lot I want to do and see. Don't worry though, hopefully this list won't make you cry as much as Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did! AND COME ON IF YOU SAW THAT YOU MOVIE YOU KNOW YOU CRIED, JUST ADMIT IT.

This is adjusted from an original list that has been hanging on our fridge for a long time, as I mentioned in this surprisingly popular entry. I'm including ones from the original list which we've already accomplished, in order to make me feel good about myself. And to remind myself that ones that we've accomplished which I haven't written about, I want to get on, pronto.

Jill's Pacific Northwest Bucket List

- Participate in the Portland Bridge Pedal
- Have a fancy dinner at Portland City Grill
- Visit Crater Lake (wrote about it, a little sappily, because national parks make me sappy, here)
- Visit Olympic National Park
- Visit North Cascades National Park
- Visit Vancouver (BC)
- Take a trip to the southern Oregon coast/the Rogue/Redwoods National Park in California
- Bike around Sauvie Island
- See the Vaux's Swifts every year (so far, so good on this one!)
- Go to a concert at McMenamin's Edgefield (Avett Brothers last year)
- Visit wine country
- Visit every second-run/art-y movie theater in Portland (pretty close to this one--still haven't been to Hollywood)
- Go to a Rose City Rollers match
- Visit Silver Falls State Park
- Go to Wordstock
- Attend Mt. Angel Oktoberfest
- Visit the San Juan Islands
- Eat/drink at as many brewpubs as physically possible (doing not shabby on this one)
- Re-visit Bend and take a hike in central Oregon
- Attend at least two more plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- For the love of God, see the Decemberists in concert
- Take a hike somewhere in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helens
- Read Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion
- Attend Sasquatch

That's it for now, although it can be amended at any time. If any Northwest folks have any suggestions of Things I Must Add On, I am always all ears. Actually accomplishing all of these things is dreaming big, I know, but, I've never really seen the harm in dreaming big.

Friday, July 1, 2011

J & K (&mom!) Do Portland Food Carts: Month 6.

June was a pretty financially awful month for the J & K, so the only time we were able to afford food carts was when my mom was in town, and she bought lots of meals for us. Thanks, mom! 

We decided to head somewhere new, and finally went to Cartopia, the pod at the corner of Hawthorne and SE 12th. I'd only driven by this pod, and heard about it, about a million times. Our first stop was obviously Perierra Creperie, as seen on Portlandia, the New York Times, on and on.


Perierra also has an amazing selection of both savory and sweet options. We went the savory route, and all shared a gorgonzola, pear, walnut, and honey crepe ($7). I mean, with that combo of ingredients, you really can't go wrong. The crepes are also a decent size, and so worth the money. They also had an amazing looking selection of smoothies.

And then, to be a little less classy, we went right next door to the famous Potato Champion, and got this: 

That is pulled pork, on top of white cheddar cheese curds, on top of french fries. YEP. AGAIN, HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG WITH THAT COMBINATION? Really, you can't go wrong with a cart that specializes in FRENCH FRIES, in the first place. They have all sorts of fancy dressings and shtuff you can get on top of the fries (other than, you know, pulled pork and cheese curds, but we thought, why not do it up right).

Overall, I was actually a little disappointed with the Cartopia food cart pod as a whole. While there were five or six carts, this actually seemed like a pretty small selection when one's gotten used to A La Carts and Good Food Here, each of which offer at LEAST ten carts at a time. Cartopia's also on a pretty busy intersection and I wasn't quite sure where to park, and while there's covered seating which is also nice, again, the space in general felt a little more cramped.

That all said, the thing that these carts--Potato Champion in particular--are known for is that they're open late, and within distance of many a Hawthorne bar, meaning, if you are driz-unk at 1AM and want some really good french fries, or some really good crepes, along with a bunch of other driz-unk hipsters eating french fries and crepes, 12th and Hawthorne is your jam. Which, you know, I can understand. This sounds like fun. But we are sleepy and can't really afford the amount of drinks which would make you drunk at 1AM out on the town, so, you know. Maybe one day. (Maybe.)

But still, the endless variety of crepes at Perierra alone that all looked SO GOOD would have me back there in a second. Oh my god, I want them all in my mouth right now. Why do I write these things?! They make me so HUNGRYYYYYYY. Someone should pay me to write about carts, so I can afford to eat at more carts. I mean, I think this happens. People write about cool stuff like food carts and are paid for it. I even think that a lot of the time, these people don't even write particularly well. How does this happen? I want this to happen. But I am lazy. So, someone make that happen for me, please. K, thanks.