Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Gratitude for some neighborhood favorites

I had an early morning meeting and breakfast with a colleague today. She trekked all the way to my part of town, something I'm doing with plenty of folks to share in my neighborhood wonder, Ladybug Organic Cafe. It is the perfect spot for a meeting, with enough room between the tables to have private conversations, the food is made from scratch (hello homemade biscuits and jam), and the commitment to sustainability is stellar. Having once lived just a block from the spot, we used to dream of having something like Ladybug in our neighborhood, and I just want to pinch myself every time I'm in there. And hello, I even heard a little Nick Drake there this morning. Ladybug is offering breakfast and lunch service, and can I just say thank you for the option of braised greens instead of potatoes? Thank you.

At least twice a month we find ourselves at Pizza Fino, a neighborhood restaurant but worthy of a larger city recognition due to their stellar quality, commitment to seasonal food, and love of a good cocktail. The servers recognize us now, and we have never had a bad experience. In fact, I've been known to say the words "the best ravioli I've ever had" about a dish there. I don't use those words lightly. The not so secret secret? They have a super happy hour.

We found ourselves at Pizza Fino recently and the main restaurant was full, so we pulled up a stool in the bar at the front window, and watched the streetscape at night. Kenton is a neighborhood in transition, with new businesses slowly appearing in formerly vacant spots, and an exciting new green streetscape going in to mitigate water run-off. Just down the street from us, we've kept our fingers crossed for this neighborhood for over ten years, and each little change or opening is a good thing.

But what we watched as we sipped our whiskey cocktail and locally made root beer, were people walking the sidewalks as the full moon came in and out from behind the clouds. Just to see people out and about was great, but then we realized we were sitting directly across the street from the soon-to-open Kenton Library. In this day and age of cutbacks and closings, we're used to saying goodbye to things instead of welcoming new. But we have a new library opening! It's not huge, but it's new, and in a neighborhood who wants it so badly. How badly? We watched person after person stop as they walked by the new site, peer into the windows, test out the book return, and read the opening information posted on the door. They chatted with their fellow pedestrians, and moved down to get more views. One after another after another on this Saturday night. I am so valuing this moment of gratitude of good change and hopefulness.

So kudos to Ladybug Organic Cafe, to Pizza Fino, and to our soon-to-open Kenton Library. North Portland is lucky to have you here. Take a tour of the new Kenton Library with Commissioner Cogen....

7 comments:

Mitch said...

Good video. Great features for the new library. Good showcase for efforts of both Coggen and Multnomah Library to finally show a lil luv for poor ole NoPo. Win / win / win all around. And thanks for bringing this to us. Good to visit your blog again after a long absence. The only downside is the late great Portland Sentinel won't be here to cover this! :(

A Lewis said...

I swear, Portland is FILLED with neighborhoods which are then FILLED with small independent places to eat. I love it here!

danger garden said...

I just heard an ad on the radio for Pizza Fino this morning. Then I decide to click on over to your blog (thank you for commenting on mine!) and here you are talking about Pizza Fino. That does it; I've got to check it out! We lived on Detriot Ave just off Portland (Rosa Parks) when we fist moved to town...it will be good to head over and see what the ol'hood is up to! Thanks!

Cher said...

Ah, Fino. The good stuff, for sure!
And I can't even begin to think about Ladybug and how I miss Angel...sigh.

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Lelo~~ I was trying to figure out where the Kenton district is but I'm not familiar with North Portland so that would explain that. Kudos to the folks who see the merits of beautification. And congrats on the library, always a good thing.

Downtown Corvallis is very similar. There are always pedestrians during the day--no surprise. But recently I was in town during the evening and was happy to see so many patrons out and about.

MaryJo @ reSPACEd said...

Posies Cafe, which is just about across the street from Pizza Fino, is also amazing. I'm able to get a lot of work done for my organizing business using their Wi-Fi while my preschooler plays in their play space with other kids. Good coffee and good treats too.

Johnice said...

What a fabulous branch library! I'm going to save this post for the future as we happen to be at the beginning of an expansion project for my library. We're also about 20,000 volumes. Man do I love that ceiling! Once our expansion is done I'm going to try to figure out how we can reclaim the tin ceiling our building has, but has been covered up by a drop ceiling. It was cheeper to do that years ago, but if we can figure out a way for it work with the accustics that would be fabulous! Love the tables too!!!