Back to my original plan to take you on a stroll along Mississippi Avenue in North Portland, but first I suggest that you visit Digging to see Pam’s tour of the greatest fall display I have ever encountered.
This is one of those areas that has been in transition for a number of years. Unlike the urban renewal model, the process has been organic, leaving old houses like this one, complete with a yard full of roses, to cozy up next to a brand new building housing shops and businesses.
New housing complexes raise the density along the street,
complete with a bamboo-lined pedestrian alley that extends the storefront shopping experience.
Many of the storefronts have a funky, reclaimed quality about them, like this Mexican restaurant.
A few remnants of the old neighborhood remain untouched.
Food carts are a big deal in Portland. Since this one is on private property, it can build some covered seating for its customers without running afoul of city ordinances.
Art on the street runs the gamut, from this minimalist gallery presentation
to these farm animals strutting their stuff on the sidewalk.
SunLan carries nothing but light bulbs. You never saw so many light bulbs…of every size, shape and description. It almost resembles a curio shop.
While across the street a new building sports this sleek entry
with modern, sophisticated planters. You wouldn’t think that the disparity of styles would work, but it all seems to hold together and exude personality in a way that monocultures like malls try so hard for and miss by a mile.
This brand new covered portal would seem to suggest something coming soon to this currently almost vacant lot, but on Mississippi you never can tell. It may have been built entirely for its own sake.
Most of a block is lined with new shops fronted by a courtyard punctuated by these large stone orbs.
One of the shops is emblematic of the quirky nature of the street. The Meadow is devoted almost exclusively to the world of salt. A selmelier is to salt what a sommelier is to wine. They have one.
Yep, that’s a wall of salt, all right. There are tester jars of each variety, and little cups of water to clean the palate between tastes.
Those handsome slabs in the foreground are Himalayan salt blocks. They can be heated or chilled to serve a variety of foods while imparting a delicate hint of salt.
To round out a true gourmet shopping splurge you can pick from a nice selection of flowers (while I was there last summer, a biker type in studded leathers chose a perfect, small red rose, had it beautifully wrapped in tissue, tied with a ribbon and off he roared…presumably to his lady love, but it might have been his mom (there was that tattoo). The Meadow also has a selection of high end chocolates, wines and bitters.
Having guided me through a tasting session, this delightful young woman is bagging up my purchases: smoked Malton finishing salt, truffle sea salt and a tiny silver spoon (suspicious if I am ever in a drug bust). The salts are expensive, but potent. They are used at the end of cooking or at the table, and the tiniest bit packs a wallop. So you see, Wendy, I did wind my way around to a little bit in this post that justifies linking to your Garden to Table Challenge. I guarantee you these salts will bring out the best in anything from your garden or farmers’ market.