Portland to Boston.

4.37 – 4.45 am, PST: Driving around, looking for gas.

4.50 am: Returning rental car.

5.00 – 5.25 am: Check in, security. I’m pulled out of line by a very nice man to go through what he calls “the puffer.” He takes my belongings and places them on the conveyor, and leads me to an enclosed box. I’m instructed to step in and stand still, and suddenly air shoots out from all directions, including up my shirt. It’s totally bizarre.

6.16 am: At the gate after eating a ridiculous breakfast hot dog. Surrounded by superfit people who have just completed the Olympic track and field try-outs in Eugene. Makes me want a Creamsicle. And a plate of waffles.

6.22 am: I don’t know how I’m not a bleary-eyed mess right about now, especially as I’ve only had about three and a half hours sleep last night after Lydia and Andy’s wedding, which was a lot of fun, incidentally.

6.25 pm: The track and field athlete sitting across from me, who is wearing work out gear even though she’s not working out, is lying across three chairs and getting fanned by someone who I can only guess is her mother. I want to hire her.

6.40 am: Boarding.

6.45 am: There is some oddness afoot with a spectacularly strange British man who as an accent in the vein of Michael Caine. Apparently he decided to have a seat in the exit row, and when he saw a large and tall man across the aisle in another exit row seat with slightly less leg room, he offered to exchange. Then, a third man appeared, indicating that the Brit was in his exit row seat. So then the Brit stood up and walked to wear his wife was sitting, three rows up. Turns out the Brit just figured he would sit down and see if he could keep the exit row seat… just by being there.

6.55: We haven’t taken off yet, but I think I’ll try to sleep anyway. I’m suddenly exhausted.

9.00 am: Wake up to the passengers behind me discussing chiropractors. I am bored back to sleep.

10.30 am: Wake up again; the passengers behind me, who I spy on and see are in their early sixties, are now discussing grandchildren. One of them, from what I can gather based on what I can hear, one of them has pulled out photographs; the other one says, “What a beautiful girl!” After a pause, the picture-holder says, “It’s a boy.”

10.50 am: Even though I love my kitchen, which Keith and I remodeled last summer, I can’t help but think about what I’d like in my next kitchen: open shelving for my cookbooks, a slate-look tiled floor and a place for visitors to site while I puttered around.

10.53 am: I have really been wanted to make the following for a while now, but have been holding off since it’s really not possible, I don’t think, to make small quantities: mayonnaise, ketchup and jelly.

11.08 am: Apparently we will be starting our descent in about forty-five minutes. The flight attendant on the loudspeaker has a very pleasant voice, the kind that should be reading books on tape.

11.24 am: Why do we call cantaloupes cantaloupes if they are really called muskmelons?

11.30 am: Currently we are flying over Toronto, which is a city I wouldn’t mind re-visiting, as long as it doesn’t involve driving from New England again. That was terrible.

11.42 am: I really want an ice cream maker.

11.47 am: The passengers behind me are on speaking terms again. They’re now sharing cookie recipes and baking tips.

11.50 am: Oooh my gosh, I have so much to do when I get home tonight, but I just want to sit on the sofa and not move and think about ice cream.

11.57 am: M.F.K. Fisher writes about pristine memory, and of not wanting to revisit a place so that the original recollection remains, not the new impressions. I can see what she means by this, but at the same time I whole-heartedly disagree. My remembrances of Singapore, let’s say, are so purely visual that I can’t wait to go back. What I recall of San Francisco are so colored in my perspective as a twenty-one-year-old that I’m eager to see what I’d think of it now (or if I’d be tempted to get another tattoo). Just because I’ve got memories about a place doesn’t mean that I don’t have room for new ones.

12.00 pm: I always have wondered what it is you fly over as your plane approaches Logan — who lives in these sunny little cottages across the water from the airport?

3.05 pm, EST: Home.


Breakfast at Arleta Library Café.

The one spot I was really looking forward to going for breakfast was Arjon’s favorite place, Arleta Library Café. It sounded so very interesting to me because, like Arjon’s other breakfast suggestion of Bread and Ink, its name is made up of two things I like very much: libraries and cafés. The Sunday of our friends’ wedding, Keith, Marcella and I drove over from Troutdale to check things out at the café.

Again — or should I say, as usual — I found myself riding the seesaw between two choices: the Florentine (with its melange of basil, ricotta, beans and Parmesan) and the Grand Torino (a frittata of salmon, scallions, potatoes and Brie under a squiggle of truffle oil). I opted for the latter ($9.50) since Marcella decided to order the former; she promised me a taste.

As with my so-called frittata at Bread and Ink, Arleta’s wasn’t quite one accurate. I don’t know how evident it is in the photo, but what looks like a solid wedge of eggy cake is actually multiple layers of thin omelet stacked atop one another like a gâteau de crêpes. Like that other ersatz frittata, terminology shouldn’t get in the way of something that tastes good, as was the case here. If anything, the one thing I would change of the Grand Torino would be the number of omelet crêpes; one or two less, and this would have been plate-licking good. Instead, I had to leave a good portion of it behind.

Arleta comes highly recommended from me, but only to those of you who have a great deal of patience.  We lost track of how long it took for the line cook to prepare our three meals, but suffice it to say that I went through three cups of coffee.  (Have I mentioned that I’m a slow sipper?)  The end results were worth the wait, particularly Marcella’s lemon-coconut scone, but still — a little speedier service would have been nice.

Arleta Library Café
5513 SE 72nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97206

Arleta Library Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon