Wednesday, June 6, 2007

stay on track

Now, before you think that I'm 100% healthy over here with organic fresh food and all that, let me make note of some new junk food purveyors that make it as hard to stay healthy as the farmers' markets make it easy. A. and I stumbled upon these places while being kind to ourselves (right, Bec?), but we just can't go back! They're too tasty, too tempting, and thoroughly maddening. It's not fair!

* Burgerville milkshakes. The burgers at Burgerville aren't spectacular (although apparently they're all-natural and local and stuff), but the shakes are yummy soft-serve with a straw. Okay, so I've had two of them, but in our last desperation-hunger trip to Burgerville, I had unsweetened iced tea! So there!

* Sheridan's Frozen Custard. You know how good the Rita's custard is? Yeah, take it and make a zillion sundae combinations with it, and you have this place. I almost went here again, but I realized I didn't need it! group hug.

* Wienerschnitzel. The first and most funny thing about this place is that it doesn't even sell Wienerschnitzel. Oh-kaaay. It sells hot dogs and burgers and pastrami sandwiches, or the most evil and delicious of all, hot dogs and burgers smothered in pastrami!! We had to try one of each, and after realizing it was the best food ever, and it was killing us with each bite, we vowed never to return.

I have SUCH self-control here people. If you are naturally thin, say a little thank you prayer each day, and then go stuff your face at Wienerschnitzel for me. I'll be here soaking my chickpeas and steaming my asparagus. *glum*

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Fred Meyer

Arvonn and I found the best Fred Meyer ever! (It is by 164th and McGillivray, for anyone reading in Vancouver.)

But before we get to that, let me explain the concept. Fred Meyer is this half grocery store, half Kmart type of place. But no, it's not exactly like Kmart, and it doesn't feel as trashy/cheapy/blue-wavelengths-of-fluorescent-lights-are-blinding-me as Wal-Mart. It has a lot of different things, from kitchen stuff and vaccuum cleaners, to clothes and jewellery. I don't know, the way it's laid out it's like a small, self-contained, partially-useful mall. The grocery store is tacked on one end, where if you entered on that side you might not see all the other consumer opportunities that await you. The entrances are marked, "Entrance A: FOOD" and so on. Very odd!

Well, I've heard that other "Freddy's" (as they're locally called) stores can be pretty run-down. The first one we went to was as described above, not bad at all, really. BUT, this new one we found is HUGE! It's like a grocery store+Whole Foods+Canadian Tire+Sur La Table+like everything else under the sun. We were amazed! Oh, and all these Freddy's sell affordable LeSportsac knockoff bags! Sigh, as much as I am tempted, they really are cheap and look like they'll fall right apart. oh, well!

My, how you've grown!

I have to say that I am impressed with the Vancouver Farmers' Market! It has tripled (at least) in size since the first time A. and I went! Must be the summer season heating up. I mean, it was nice before, but I admit to being a little confused as to why it was such a big deal. But this past weekend, it had expanded out onto the area formerly known as the parking area, and all around in an L shape with more vendors, more crafts, more fun! Still not as big as Portland, but hey, I am impressed. And it's closer! :)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

city comparison

As looked on city-data.com (the best website ever, with FORUMS!), here is why "out West" seems so fronkin' big to me (and adds up the miles on the odometer):

Boston land area (sq mi): 48.4
Pittsburgh land area: 55.6
Portland land area: 134.3

Yeah okay, that refreshes the ol' memory! Vancouver is 42.8 sq mi . . . . more like home, I guess, but Boston would kill for all this empty and sprawled :( space! Boston squeezes more population than Portland into 1/3 the space. Aw, I miss it!

weird wacky West

Random observations, new to the East Coast gal:

* They have Rite Aid out here -- and Rite Aid sells plants! Like hanging baskets, herbs, and tomato plants for your backyard. How odd! Walgreens has plants, too. I guess there's more nature here to go around or something?

* Stores here (at least so far) don't use AC! One semi-hot day recently, I knew I'd be indoors shopping most of the time, so I thought, "well, I'll wear pants instead of shorts, or I'll probably freeze." Every store I went into was the same temp. as outside, so of course I was sweating! Now I have learned the pleasant fact that summer outside = summer inside! Of course, the flip side is that when it's really hot out, you get no relief when you walk into, say, Home Depot or a coffee shop. But I think I really like the no AC thing! :)

* I will do another post later about all the lovely lovely and ridiculously omnipresent coffee out here, but I'll save it till after Rebecca is done going off caffeine for a month. ;)

* I have met fewer vegetarians here than I knew in Pittsburgh! This is odd to me, since I thought of "the Portland type" as perhaps being vegetarian. But, thankfully, Maggie and her friends are all about meat! Amazingly, *I* was the one checking to make sure she ate meat when she first invited me over -- she didn't even give it a thought! Nice! Now maybe (since everyone at the BBQ was chowing down on burgers, sausages, etc.) I can go back to not giving it a thought. Sweet! (Most meat at the BBQ *was* organic, however, so that is more the stereotype I was thinking about I guess. Works for me!)

* Mysteriously, the Corolla is getting C-R-A-P-P-Y gas mileage out here (hovering at 30 MPG instead of 40). Still unsure why this is the case (it's just not happy out here? it heard us talking about getting a different car?) . . . but ugh, between that and the larger land area we cruise in out here (it is so misleading, you don't think you're going far but it's really spread out, even Portland!!), we've had to fill up probably more in 1 month here than in 3 months in Pgh.

* Also gas is crazy expensive, $3.25-$3.50/ gallon! When we move to downtown (Vancouver, that is), I'm all about pulling a David and getting a bike! :) From there it's about 10 miles to downtown Portland. I've biked maybe . . . 6 miles at one time (in NS) and not gotten too tired . . . hmm. Arvonn wants a tandem recumbent tricycle, ha!