The Kingdom of New Seasons

February 24, 2009

The ladyfriend and I spend too much money at New Seasons. Considering our locale in the hip-neighborhood-in-waiting (yeah, right!) in North Portland, maybe this isn’t all that surprising. With no viable grocery store in walking distance and only King Burrito for nearby sustenance, we usually opt to hop in the car and head to the "friendliest store in town."

This in itself is a challenge. Do we know who designed the New Seasons parking lots? Because if you do please let me know so I can march up to them and kick them in the groin. (Unless of course they are a large person or a girl. So I guess only tell me if they are a man of medium build who would still likely lay me out.) Have you tried maneuvering these aneurism-inducing mazes? The lanes are too narrow to allow for two-way traffic, the parking spots are made for Matchbox cars, backing out usually requires some sort of backwards 18-point turn, and the one-way-only design relies on the ability of a questionable populace to actually read traffic signs.

Rarely does this end without something pounding the steering wheel, flipping the bird, or eating a bullet.

And another thing…get off my lawn. (Sorry, I am only 35 but have the capacity to rant about nonsense like a 77 year old.)

Anyway, believe it or not, my point is not that the New Seasons parking lot is a complete cluster-eff. This is about the little joys of living in Portland. Because that night I’m standing in the salad bar line, compiling my by-memory melange of leafs and vegetables (and lots and lots of croutons) when out of nowhere I catch glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Madrigal Dinner, a couple in their early 30s who were apparently time travelers from another dimension.

Was there a Medieval Fair in town and I missed it? And even still, if there was, was it totally necessary to wear your garb out to hit up the New Seasons wok on a Thursday night?

And this was indeed some intense period garb. The guy (we’ll call him Little John) had knee length fold-over boots, a frilly vest, green stockings, a leather skort, and a tunic which complimented his brown ponytail. His lady (Maid Marley?) was not quite period-appropriate…with a mix of cavernous skirts, flowing robes, hemp shawl, and giant stocking caps she was stuck somewhere between Camelot and Peter Tosh’s House of Bongs.

And then I heard Little John talk. "Dear Baker," he said with some god awful fake British accent, "may I ask you about procuring some of your finest pastries for my lady love?"

I am totally serious. This. Was. Rich.

And I couldn’t stop watching. Gawking even. I just followed them for a good ten minutes. The ladyfriend’s ribs and arms were bruised from my constant giddy elbowing.

So what am I saying? Honestly I haven’t a clue. Except that if you’re looking for freaks on a slow weeknight in Portland, you could do a lot worse than New Seasons. Just, ya know, ride your bike over.


  • We just received word that local duo Viva Voce will be releasing a new album on May 26. Expect a review in the May issue of Portland Monthly.
  • Joel McHale, the lovable smart-ass (and Seattle native) from E’s "Talk Soup" will be doing his stand-up thing on April 17th at the Schnitzer.
  • Oh, and welcome to the world Owen Chesser Smith. I’m so happy to have you in my tribe.
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