Dateline: Portland, OR 3/28/08
Stumptown is a nickname for Portland, a volunteer at the convention center told me. In the 19th century, when trees were cut to make way for roads, the stumps were left standing. Stumptown is also the name of a coffee roaster that I visited today. I read about it as an anti-Starbucks; when Starbucks recently started to use a fancy type of espresso machine, Stumptown announced that they would stop using the same machine. I thought Stumptown's coffee was good, but usually local roasters don't have the nice, oily French roast that is my favorite type of coffee.
I got to Stumptown by taking the light rail from the convention center. Public transit is free in the whole downtown area. While at Stumptown, I realized that I was right near Voodoo Doughnuts, an unusual doughnut store which Mary Beth told me about. But I couldn't eat a doughnut right after having a chewy chocolate cookie at Stumptown, could I? That would just be wrong! I went to look at Voodoo; the door was locked and a sign said that doughnuts were sold out until 3 o'clock.
On to Knit and Purl, a downtown yarn store that has a good stock of Kauni, an Estonian variegated yarn that is hard to find in the U.S. The lower floor contains sale yarns and a room labeled "Knitchen". After a walk through downtown in an unsuccessful search for a bead store that had moved, I found that it was 3:00 -- doughnut time! -- and I was only a few blocks from Voodoo. There was now a line going out the door.
On Voodoo's website they say they have a wedding chapel; a legal wedding is $175 including coffee and doughnuts for 10. They also offer Swahili lessons. I'm not sure I believe any of this, because it's such a small place. They feature a "Tex-ass challenge" -- a doughnut about 10 inches in diameter; if you eat it within 80 seconds it's free. They also have vegan doughnuts and ones with unusual toppings such as marshmallows. I opted for a chocolate doughnut with vanilla drizzle and chocolate sprinkles.
I just made it back to the light rail, eating my doughnut, when a big hailstorm started. It was snowing this morning, but by the time I got out of class the snow had ended and it was almost sunny. The hail was quickly over, but the weather is still much too cold for what I'm now used to after living in California for 14 years. I was glad to get back to the warmth of the convention center.
Yesterday, between bead classes and the market preview, I had a quick dinner at the food court at Lloyd Center, a mall that features the ice skating rink where Tanya Harding learned to skate.
I'll post soon about my classes, which I'm really enjoying.