The morning begins with a heavy layer of deep white cloud cover. Overcast isn’t what I’ve experienced since I’ve come here, but everyone tells me that the last five days have been atypical, that I’ve brought California weather with me, and that heavy clouds and rain are what to be expected this time of year.
It won’t make a difference to my plans for the day: I want to “get steps” for exercise, to see what’s new out here, take some pictures, and generally tire myself out with un-work. Tomorrow will be another office day, with more office adventures, but today is greenbelt and suburbia, strip malls and disappearing sidewalks, tall trees and flowering dandelions.
As soon as I head north from my place I come across greenbelt, cutting diagonally through a housing development, providing water drainage, a bird sanctuary, a playground, and a relaxing bit of nature for humans.
I stroll by Burgerville, marveling in the last-century vibe this 1950s-style burger joint evokes. The thin lines of neon, the pre-computer logo; it all works (for me). Nostalgia for a place I’ve never been.
One place I have been is MianYang 绵阳 & ChengDu 成都, Sichuan 四川省, China 中国, the home of the pandas, so this lineup of delivery cars made me smile. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see a fortune cookie my entire time there.
Indian Connection supermarket, dessert store, & buffet
I would give Indian Connection four stars if it was just a well-stocked ethnic grocery store, or a dessert shop, or a standalone Indian buffet. But it’s all three, rolled up in one! So, twelve stars?
The grocery store has fresh stock and many enthusiastic Indian customers and their families roaming the aisles.
The dessert shop has a wide selection of sweets, which are not my forte, but I can tell you they’re colorful and plentiful.
The buffet is a bit of a mixed bag. Smells great, looks like it could use a bit of freshing up; not the prettiest buffet I’ve seen. Granted, it was between mealtimes, but still… (That having been said, I’d happily return for a meal.)
This is a griller’s paradise! A cornucopia of goat, lamb, chicken, fish and other seafood, both plain and marinated.
My favorites are the tikka marsala and tandoori chicken, both marinated in their rich-colored sauces; good both for pan-frying and a grill.
The three staff members with whom I interacted were lovely. Aroma Meats will be seeing more of my business!
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
Okay, a bit of back-story here: the hunnybunny lives right near to the Menchie’s in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Over the years we’ve used it as a sample tasting excuse, a place to host small parties, and as a celebration station. It’s clean, well lit, and welcoming.
The Canadian flavors all feature local milk, and it never occurred to me that the US flavors would be different. But as I investigated the Hillsboro, Oregon, flavors I saw that only a few overlapped, and some similar flavors had different names.
No matter. The DIY sample bar allowed me to taste them, and all were exactly as advertised. Even the flavors I probably wouldn’t buy by the pint tasted just as described, and I’m sure there are fans for each flavor. Try the tart varieties, and the chocolate, and my favorite, cake batter.
Yet another Trader Joe’s! Being as I live by the Alameda, California, TJ’s, and that it’s the source for many of my #keto staples, I’m always happy to venture into another outpost. This is Easter weekend, and featured in the tasting bar is something I’ve never sampled before: the pecan Kringle by O&H Danish Bakery of Racine Wisconsin.
I sampled! OMG! Sweet, creamy, crunchy, and heated by Mitch, who was part of the team that built the Alameda TJ’s thirty years ago. Interesting stories, and a great help with some of that store’s layout. I’m grateful for TJ’s, again.
In a town that’s got Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyers, Safeway has an uphill battle to be enticing.
This Easter weekend they fought that battle with a tasting table loaded with all sorts of cheese, including several wine-based, savory cheddar, blue cheese, a garlic and a jalapeño offering, some traditional ones, and even Manchego, upon request.
I want to make a special shout out for their choice to carry the Tine Brunost collection of cheeses, made by boiling whey to “prim” and adding cream results in a soft, sweet, brown cheese. Safeway has there variants, Ski Queen, Ekte Geistost, and the Caramore (which is like a dessert caramel cheese); the hunnybunny loves the Caramore.
These special events are essential to bringing eyeballs back from the specialty purveyors, and it worked for me. I explored the rest of the store: clean, well-laid-out, with helpful staff. Win!
U-Need Asian Market
The U-Need Asian Market is yet another ethnic grocery, this one chock-a-block with everything from the Far East, from sauces to snacks, rice to condiments.
Families strolled through while I was taking photos, the kids happily selecting sweets, the mothers picking up and chatting about staples, whilst the fathers hung by the front door, managing the mayhem.
It’s great to know there are all these cornucopia scattered about Beaverton, waiting to fill your every ethnic cooking need. U-Need Asian Market does a good job of helping out.
Welcome India Food
Back in Aloha, Oregon, at that same food truck pod at which we found @La’s, stands Welcome India Food. It’d been a long day of walking, and I was too hungry to cook for myself. I love Indian / Pakistani food, and will partake anywhere in the world that I find it, so this was a happy moment.
First I want to mention the team manning Welcome India Food; they were terribly happy to be sharing their creations, mindfully and carefully preparing step by step. By the time they handed it over I was very excited to stretch out my hands.
The first time at most Indian / Pakistani places I always order the same thing, for the same reason I listen to vocals to judge a music system, to judge the cookery. Basmati rice, chicken tikka marsala, garlic naan.
What immediately jumps out is that it’s prepared and served at the proper temperature: HOT! I whip the container over to the picnic table shielded by an olive drab tarp, peeling open the lids and the foil, and am greeted by wafts of steam and a delightful smell from the rice, the marsala, and the naan. I struggle with mouths of hot food; so delicious and so demanding of consumption.
The taste is more tomato, nutty, and sweet than I expected; a little bit korma. Deeply satisfying, and the perfect ending to a cold, rainy day.