my head is reeling from good food. we just came back from dinner at pambiche, a wonderful little cuban place with sidewalk dining and to-die-for desserts. started off with maduros (fried plantains, coated with dark caramelised sweetness) with fantastic cabbage salad, and corn and chicken empanadas adorned with beets and roasted red peppers. niknak and i shared this awesome cuban stew loaded with chunks of yuca, and a plateful of stewed oxtail, with corn fritters on the side. south american beers (xingu + negra modelo) on the table, and we all shared a 'torte domino' for dessert, a chockablock of chocolate nutty, kahlua-soaked cake dusted with coconut and cream and topped with a white chocolate domino (with pips!). i wish i could have tried everything on the menu! i love cuban food, with its mix of fresh and meaty flavors. drop the lime, indeed.
we embarked this morning out to the salmon river area, where you can drive along and then poke down some trails to reach the water. the trail was relatively tame, and the forest itself was an amazing scene in which to traverse. the trees are immense and the ferns are lush, but my favorite element was the moss. it covers everything with a quiet, furry skin... it's as if the trees are all wearing their own sweaters! the low, extended branches looked as if the trees were offering a furry green corndog, or roasting their soft green marshmallows. everything looked so cozy, and nothing (in my opinion) is as happy as cozy trees.
after a bit of driving and hiking, we set out to lake trillium (yes, sounds like the nom of the instant messenger client, i thought that too) for a picnic. from the edge of the lake, mt. hood looms so crystal clear from the horizon. everything, from the air to the light to the water, is incredibly clean and bright. sandwiches and cheetos and farmstand-fresh strawberries (they were unbelievably sweet... take that, starmarket, ye of triple-headed tasteless mutantberries!) became our lunch, as inquisitive chipmunks surrounded us with their little striped selves.
we clamored up the mountain higher and higher until we reached timberline lodge, a fancy ski lodge perched on mt. hood right where the trees end and the snow begins (i.e. the 'timberline'). the view in both directions are majestic--the vista below (pictured here), and the immenent white peak above. apparently the movie 'the shining' was filmed at the lodge, and it's all very woody inside. i especially liked the woven dried leather chairs, which were creepy and fantastic at once. coincidentally, there's this humongous race going on called hood to coast in which runners complete a relay from the timberline lodge on mt. hood all the way to the pacific ocean. 200 miles! so, not only did we see a lot of trees, we also witnessed a gazillion runners with their silly decorated minivans, the waiting teams preparing up at the lodge and the ongoing teams running literally along the side of the highway.
should get some rest tonight since tomorrow will be a spectacular day at the oregon coast. scenic beach walks + a meal at the pelican brewery await. i'm so happy to be here.