No, this did not occur to me in the moment, but pretty much everything in my life happens on 10th Avenue, west side edition. It just seems to be the street where I get offered jobs, decide to move to Portland, meet future spouses (well, just the one), do heavy research and/or waste time (Central Library), eat sandwiches at places sadly defunct (Martinottis’, Half & Half, you’re missed), get married (sorry about the noise complaints circa 2004, Pearl District ... well, sorry/not sorry, right?). And the good folks at Food Koma know they will see me soon, like it or not. When I worked at Willamette Week, that paper then joyously raked its muck at SW 10th and Taylor. These days I journalize from an office high above SW 10th and Stark.
Let it suffice to say this is a place where stuff happens to me. Tenth contains several spots where so many episodes of my life overlap—interviews conducted, stories written, personal and professional conversations tense or delightful, anxieties endured, afternoons happily idled—that I start to feel I should either move already or run for mayor. Of this one street.
Our cover story this month ruminates on the concept of “home,” specifically as food can evoke it. It’s a beautiful feature, full of delicious dishes and awesome Portlanders with roots around the world. Their stories testify that there are, indeed, many ways to claim and champion where you live.
So I was, in some sense, “home” when I crashed my bike at NW 10th and Lovejoy one wet January afternoon, done in by the streetcar tracks. (The streetcar! Which I’ve defended in print so many times!) A fractured elbow consigned me to a brief spell at my actual, literal home. At midday during my convalescence, the doorbell rang: the service Caviar, delivering a meal dispatched by some sweet colleagues in the 10th Avenue editorial aerie.
This meal, barbecue, contained several journalist-type visual puns re: my injury, such as elbow macaroni and bendy baby-back ribs. It contained an insane amount of meat. But its real substance was the reminder that “home” is not where you pay rent or even your city or town of residence. It’s all the spaces that welcome you and the spaces you carve out for yourself and your people, and the connections you forge along the way.
Editor in Chief