so I made a quesodilla before calling the gas company. Thankfully, it was just a high concentration of petrochemicals (read: paint and floor varnish) in the air from the apartments below and adjacent to me that were burning off in the pilot lights. New neighbors are coming. They have to paint over the water damage.

In other news, I’m recently back from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon. Even more detailed – Corvallis, OR. Corvallis is a small university town of approximately 55,000 people located in the heart of Oregon wine country. The local population seems to be a thriving, generally happy lot. I keep reading that renting is an issue there – the rent is too damn high – but an in depth study of their Craigslist would make a Chicagoan laugh. It is disconcerting to see so many places intolerant to both cats and smoking though. The latter can be worked around. The pussy, however, is non-negotiable.

While there, I was reminded that the Chicago food scene truly is its own little bubble. While Corvallis is a small town, it is not a dead town. The same desire for and interest in good food that has put Portland (1 1/2 hour drive north) in competition with other U.S. foody locations is palpable in Corvallis. We may roll our eyes at the local, sustainable idea. It has certainly become a more of a marketing tool than a methodology. However, Corvallis is dedicated to it. Of the restaurants I visited, all of them serve local beer and wine at the very least. On the higher end, seafood and vegetables are sourced from Newport and, even better, Corvallis’s own farmer’s market. It seems that Corvallis’s farmer’s market is big enough and sufficiently economical to supply local restaurants. It also has enough demand that it runs twice a week – Wednesday and Saturday – from April until the end of November. Take note and weep.

This was one of three large vegetable stalls.  There were at least a dozen smaller ones.

This was one of three large vegetable stalls. There were at least a dozen smaller ones.

Another thing I noticed while I was there was the taste of the food. Actually, my scholarly gentleman suitor was the first to point it out. The overall style of Oregon food is very balanced. It lacks the double punch to the fat/salt addiction centers of the brain that seems to be Chicago’s gestalt. Yet, it doesn’t lack salt entirely like the restos on the lake side of Rogers Park (Bop’n’Grill excluded). I never sat there wishing the food had more depth of taste. Nor did I sit there with all my pleasure centers reeling while I slipped further into food addiction. Similarly, my scholarly gentleman suitor did not have to suffer inevitable indigestion after every enjoyable meal. We gorged on pizza like Romans, twice, and still felt okay. We even ate copious amounts of gelato three times in a twenty-four hour period and were just fine.

Well, the cat is calling. He’s pressing his head with increasing pressure into my forearm, which means we should bid you all adieu.

Ciao for now, readers.