Local Choice Market

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

I decided it was finally time to take Eric to Madrid. I studied abroad there — and he’d patiently take my calls at all hours because of the time difference — but he’d never walked the streets I loved, tasted the tapas, drank the wine and strolled through the Puerta del Sol.

For a week, we wandered. I walked him past the apartment I lived in, the school I attended and the spots where I used to meet my friends for dinner and drinks. And then, once the trip down memory lane concluded, we went off in a new direction, looking for a spot we could call our own. We found it in Chueca — a large, four-story gourmet grocery store with a restaurant on the top floor. We walked past fresher-than-fresh seafood onto an entire floor lined with small stalls. One sold hamburgers, another traditional tapas. Twice we ate dinner there, relishing the food, the view and the experience.

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

I hadn’t seen anything quite like this grocery store in Portland until I happened on Local Choice Market. They offer seasonal veggies and high-quality meats, then have a special area for wines and beer (pull up a stool and taste something!) a deli section and an area with an espresso bar and fresh-squeezed juice selections. Pull up a chair and make some new Portland memories.

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

Local Choice Market is located at 830 NW Everett St. in Portland’s Pearl District. Do your shopping, or stop in for a juice, lunch, coffee or wine tasting. Follow their blog for more.

Sip Juice Cart

Sip Juice Cart, Portland, Oregon

We set up shop with a card table, a piece of recycled cardboard and some Country Time lemonade. There were at least four of us, between my sister Emily and the neighbor girls. We went three blocks away to the nearest intersection in our Beaverton suburb, to maximize traffic and therefore, profits. Then we used our impressive marketing acumen and I crossed the street from our awesome lemonade stand to lure in customers.

A big moving truck pulled up to the stop sign, and the man in the passenger seat rolled down his window and asked how much lemonade cost.

“25 cents!” I said, in my most salesmanlike tone. He seemed impressed with the value, and asked me to come closer to the truck so he could hand me his quarter.

Freshly primed on stranger danger videos, I panicked. Absolutely convinced that he was about to abduct me and out of sight from my friends and sister across the street from the massive truck, I froze for a second and then I went into fight-or-flight mode. I dropped my sign and I ran as fast as I could toward home. I turned the corner just as the truck moved, and my friends and sister saw, where I had been standing, just my sign on the ground. No sign of me.

So much for summer fun.

Sip Juice Cart, Portland, Oregon

It’s tough work selling juice from a stand, but that’s what they do at Sip Juice Cart.

On a very friendly personalized recommendation, I ordered the Sweet Greens juice, which has four kinds of greens plus apple juice for sweetness and ginger for a nice kick. It was delicately flavored and the satisfying color of the flesh of a perfectly ripe avocado. They also offer smoothies and vegan milkshakes, which looked pretty decadent. I think my favorite part about grabbing a quick afternoon juice here is the design of the place — in the back window of the trailer, you can see piles of fresh oranges, pineapples and other fruit just waiting to be juiced. You can sit on the picnic table and enjoy a moment of zen and it’s lovely.

Sip Juice Cart, Portland, Oregon

Sip, located at 2210 NE Alberta St. in NE Portland’s Alberta Arts District, is actually the second location of this fine cart. You can find the first one at 3029 SE 21st Ave. Follow them on Twitter, too!

Canteen

Canteen, Portland, Oregon

October, 2010. It was our fourth wedding anniversary, and we wanted to go out and celebrate with a nice meal. Not hard here in this city — so I donned a dress and some lipstick and put on my nicest heels and we headed out. We went to a restaurant with a James Beard award. Silly me for assuming that people would get fancy. What was I thinking?

In order to watch the celebrated chef cook our meal, we specially requested to sit up at the counter, where we could keep tabs on the food and take in the action of the kitchen. As my rabbit was prepared in front of my eyes, two dudes sidled up to the bar next to us, just out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and, for just a second, thought, “Are those guys homeless?”

They weren’t homeless at all — they probably lived in fancy houses in the Hawthorne neighborhood. But that’s our hipsters for you. This incident spurred a game that we play sometimes, guessing whether someone is a hipster or a hobo. As I sat there, in my high heels, ordering a fancy anniversary dinner, our hipster friends sipped at their tall boys of Miller High Life and ate their impeccably cooked burgers. Long live the Portland hipster.

Canteen, Portland, Oregon

Canteen feels like hipster ground zero. The juice, fresh pressed in front of your eyes by burly raw food enthusiasts, is great. It’s a place where our beloved hipsters with face tattoos feed their three-year-olds walnut taco crumbles and fresh pressed ginger juice. It might be indie Portland heaven.

In the summer, there’s no better place. The people-watching on Stark is good, the chairs are comfy (or try the long old-growth timber bench running the length of the restaurant) and you can kick back and drink fresh juice while you people watch and play my favorite game. Highly recommended: The Walnut Taco salad and Super Veggie juice.

Canteen, Portland, Oregon

Canteen is at 2816 SE Stark St. in the Sunnyside neighborhood – just watch out for hipsters. Follow them on Twitter for even more juice.