Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 Coffeeneuring Challenge 1: Tin Shed

Today was the first official day of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, a fun little event that is now in its sixth year (this is my fifth year out of six; I skipped a year a couple years back due to illness).

I decided to keep it simple and add my coffee stop to other errands and some scavenging around the neighborhood. I also decided that this year I would try to visit coffee shops I had not visited in past years of the Challenge; at the rate that restaurants and coffee houses open and shut in this town I figured finding new places wouldn't be too hard.
Another possible angle on this year's edition: the Twee-i-fication of Portland (or, For Heaven's Sake How Many Stupefyingly Cute Coffeeshops Does One Town Need?) I will try to rein in my cynycism when I consider this angle, but frankly Fred and Carrie -- and all the Californians offering 20% above asking for houses (and payiing CASH, dammit) -- have made it really, really hard for anyone who grew up here. Like me.


Today's stop: Tin Shed, at NE 14th and Alberta Streets.

Tin Shed is better known for their food, especially their breakfasts. If you go here for breakfast or brunch, do it on a weekday, when the wait for a table isn't as long; or go very early on the weekend (like 15 minutes before they open) so you can get a seat before lunchtime. Breakfast specialties I'm fond of include Sin, a french toast plate with such good flavor and mouth feel that it will make you weep. Or, try one of their generous omelettes which are made with local eggs and fresh ingredients. Most egg dishes come with sides of potatoes, fruit and toast or a fresh-baked biscuit.  Go with the biscuit and enjoy it warm with butter and jam. SO good.
Food here is not cheap but it's good. A nice place to show off to the outta-towners.

The coffee is provided by Portland Roasting, a local company I'm not normally a huge fan of; but whatever I had today was surprisingly tasty and not over-roasted. Maybe I need to reconsider my previous assessment. I enjoyed people-watching from the bench outside their front door and made friends with a few passing dogs. Incidentally, leashed and well-behaved dogs are welcome on their weather-enclosed outdoor deck, a practice I'm not especially comfortable with when food service is involved but half of Portland's most adorable coffee places are doing it anymore.

After my coffee I enjoyed a nice loop around residential Alberta and Sabin neighborhoods, peeking in the occasional "Free" box left out in the rain and picking through a pile of cast-off bicycle parts. Today was the kind of Fall day here where it was a little too cool for a t-shirt, but almost too warm for a sweater, with damp air and lots of beautiful color in the trees.

Several miles later, after riding beneath one beautiful urban canopy after another, I headed for home to prepare for Shabbat.

When I got home, I looked over my treasures: besides a few useful parts for future refugee bike repairs, I scored a slightly worn tire and a couple of metal belt buckles. I decided to see if I could whip up a new belt for myself. I trimmed away the badly-cracked sidewalls, punched a few holes for the buckle and screws, and filed down the hardware so it wouldn't catch on my clothes. I may add a little "keeper" strip, or I may not. We'll see. But within twenty minutes I had made myself a new-to-me and totally free belt. Once I wipe it down with some mildly soapy water and let it air dry, it'll be nice enough to wear to services.

Pretty pleased with both the ride and the finds. And happy to have begun another season of Coffeeneuring! Happy riding!

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