Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Portland
I'm back in Phnom Penh, still jetlagged and spinning from nearly four weeks of time with my family and friends - and Ethan's family, too. Last night, menacing thunderstorms kept me up in the wee hours of the morning and my thoughts raced immediately to my time back home. Admittedly, I cannot really pin down "home": I was born and raised for several years abroad; I grew up in Los Angeles and my family is there; I lived in the gem that is Portland for 6 years; I now reside in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Ethan and I are contemplating our next move. I have never considered myself a "nomad," as I really like to plant myself somewhere for an extended period of time, but gazing at the previous sentence makes me pause.
At any rate, my thoughts centered on the idea of "home" and "community." Having spent some time reconnecting with friends on this trip, I am reminded of the calibre of my friends. They are an incredible bunch of people.
And then, my mind wandered to gatherings with these people, often against the setting of food and consumption. On this trip, I followed friends and family around to their favorite restaurants. Here are a few favorites:
La Moscata Bakery (Los Angeles, California): I've never actually stepped foot in this bakery. I only know that my dad, a retired City of Los Angeles worker, frequented this bakery for what he claims are some of the best tamales in town. Apparently, it's a City workers' haunt. The morning I left for Denver, Colorado, I awoke to find several dozen tamales n our family kitchen. My parents made the 6:00AM morning drive to stand in line at this Los Angeles bakery. They wanted to send Ethan and his family a few vegetarian and sweet tamales.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery (Fort Collins, Colorado): I ordered the eggs benedict, topped with tomato ragu, kale, white beans, squash and cream cheese hollandaise. I, however, also sampled the buttermilk pancakes topped with pumpkin cream, candied pumpkin seeds and chili-infused syrup and the red velvet pancakes with the espresso-infused maple syrup.
Del INTI (Portland, Oregon): I really, really enjoy a non-fusion, simple lomo saltado, the kind you find at hole-in-the-wall Peruvian eateries, tucked away in bland stripmalls in Southern California. This restaurant was certainly not in a stripmall and the food was a little fusion, but it was one of the best Peruvian meals I've had in Portland.
Tabernash Tavern (Tabernash, Colorado): This is a small restaurant in the mountains of Colorado, near Winter Park. All I remember is that the buffalo stroganoff was yum.