"Scrumptious gluten-free baked goods" is not a phrase I have a lot of practice saying, as much as I wish I did. Too often, GF goodies range from so-so to downright upsetting. Among other specialties, Piece of Cake has a variety of gluten-free cake options. Unfortunately, I was only able to try one, as the others use a garbanzo-bean-based flour, to which I am also allergic. But to someone who hadn't had a piece of cake in recent memory, the lemon cake I got was actually moist and sweet and notably less dense than drywall, which is not true of many wheat-alternative products.
I've never actually bought anything here, but my experience at this store is one of the things that made me want to move to Portland. On a trip up from California, we stopped in here shortly before heading back to the airport. I somehow managed to trip in such a way that I didn't just fall forward, but managed to fly halfway around one of the Christmas trees. I don't know how many of their delicate glass ornaments I took out in the process, but as I stood up I had visions of one salesperson locking the door while another got the Louisville Slugger from under the counter. Nothing could have been further from the truth. They were only concerned that I was okay. I was genuinely touched by how forgiving they were, and that was the cherry on top of a delightful trip that convinced us to make our home here.
Portland has quite a few bookstores; some of them are actually not owned by Mr. Powell. If you want books in French and need recommendations, talk to Maggie at Annie Bloom's.
I enjoy all the McMenamins locations, but I have never seen another venue like the Kennedy School. It's the perfect place for rainy Portland you can have dinner, a movie, and go bar-hopping without having to step outside.
The produce at Whole Foods doesn't hold up to what New Seasons has to offer, but Whole Foods is still a good general-purpose store for the organically-inclined who find themselves in the vicinity of the Pearl District. Sometimes I go for convenience, sometimes I am drawn by the siren song of the delicious Chile Morita salsa, which I have not found anywhere else. Even though it's not my favorite store, it's worth an occasional trip just for this salsa. Sometimes I buy it by the case.
I admit it. I'm hairy. Hairier than my wife might like. I decided to give my wife a surprise in the form of some bare skin on my body. I wasn't sure how far I wanted to take this experiment, both because of the pain factor and the, um, invasion of privacy. Waxer Heidi made me feel so comfortable (if not painless) that by the time I ws done I had what is known in the trade as a "back, crack, and sack wax." I don't have the money or inclination to maintain this state, but if I were to have this done again, I would trust my tender tissues to Heidi.
I shop at all the big "natural" supermarkets in town, but I keep coming back to New Seasons. I like that it's locally owned, and the staff always makes me feel welcome. What really sets it apart for me is the quality of the produce. Every time I go to one of the bigger national chains, I buy organic fruit, but when I serve it to my wife she makes a face and says "did you get this at ______?" New Seasons just always gets the best produce.
I haven't been back to Inner City Hot Tubs since I got my own hot tub, but my wife and I used to love the ocassional visit to ICHT. The tubs are delightfully hot, the fresh air is, well, refreshing, and the pervasive nudity enhances the relaxation by underlining just how far you have stepped away from the stressors of everyday life.
I was ambivalent when Goodwill started pretending to be a bookstore. I had always relied on thrift stores to score cheap paperbacks and the occasional hardcover. I thought Goodwill was putting on airs. The books are more expensive than it used to be, but the aassortment is broad and varied, and the books are actually sorted into categories. It takes a little bit of the sport out of hunting for treasures, but it makes it that much easier to walk away with more books than one had intended to buy.
But just because I'm a graduate student without gainful employment doesn't mean that I don't want a decent haircut. I've always had good luck at CCU. The students are professional and skilled and the atmosphere is welcoming.