Pazookie….this foe is beyond any of you.

Well….that might be debatable.

Before I begin, let me introduce to you a conqueror of meals, a destroyer of dinner, and a demand-er of deliciousness. Ladies and Gentlemen, Cecilia E.

As I’m sure you can tell, this lovely example of foodie-ness at its best is a pro. At eating. Delicious things.

I blame Cecilia for what you are about to experience. Viewer discretion is advised.

“In this corner we have Cecilia, Stephanie, Amanda, and Lauren! And in this corner, a foe so terrible, so delicious, so artery clogging that it’s name should only be uttered in a whisper for fear of throwing the earth itself off her axis….pazookie.

Take 1 chocolate chip cookie with the consistency of cake, multiply it by the dimensions of a large pizza, pile high with vanilla ice cream, and enjoy.

Real chocolate cardiac arrest. But here’s a disclaimer. You will not enjoy the entire consumption process. Sure it’s all fun and games. That is until you hit…the wall.

The wall: A dark place deep inside of each of us when we start to doubt our ability to keep going. This wall is the same, whether you’re a marathon runner or a pazookie eater. Yes I just made that comparison. Try to eat one, I dare you!

Pre-pazookie we were all giggles and smiles, congratulating ourselves on the exceptional idea of eating a giant cookie covered in ice cream at a sports-themed restaurant (BJs to be specific). Our waiter, a balding British man, was only slightly judgmental when the four of us opted to share a party pazookie instead of sissy miniature sized everyday pazookies. (The table next to us – a family of 8- were all sharing one such sissy pazookie…amateurs, why did they even bother showing up?)

Continuing on, the excitement built as the waiter approached…and then the judgement rained down upon us. Hardcore. Everyone in the vicinity stared. Jealous much? That was what I wanted to shout back at them. Haters gonna hate.

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war!! The eating began. And continued. And continued.

“DON’T STOP EATING!” Cecilia practically yelled it at us. “You guys better not disappoint me.”

With such encouragement, I had to keep going. It had become my quest, my purpose, this was no longer a fun night out with the girls. It was a desperate attempt to stay alive, to not disappoint my friend, and to disregard any respect I ever had for abdominal capacity.

Stephanie (the smallest) was the first to fall. She was soon followed by Amanda.

With almost a half a pazookie left, Cecilia looked at me. It was the same intensity Sam had when he was holding on to Frodo and pleaded, “Don’t you let go!” I could see it in her eyes, but could feel my own weakness.

I took my leave minutes later, but like the champion she is, Cecilia would not be defeated. The waiter came to us during a period of rest and tried to rescue what was left of the pazookie. “Oh no,” I murmured, “she’s not done.” Never in my life have I witnessed so much judgement.

“Alright guys,” Cecilia said, “everyone has to take one more bite.”

One more bite. The idea both fascinated and repulsed me.

We made a pazookie toast (something to the tune of “Only the good die young”), and took the final bite. We walked the plank of the dessert world. I would not have the strength to repeat this culinary quest. Mentally and physically exhausted, we paid for our victory in more than just cash. We sold our souls to the sugar satan, eventually recovering, but forever changed.

Thus ends the tale of the party pazookie.

Arbor Lodge and Radio Room

Today, we feasted.

Under the rolling thunder of Portland’s torrential downpour, I sat with my books and friends spread around me, happy for shelter from the storm. We found ourselves at Arbor Lodge in North East Portland on this fine day doing what an average summer school captive might do: study, and consume ungodly amounts of caffeine. I am quite particular about my coffee: nothing too acidic, black to the point of chew-ability, and aromatic enough to make me believe that I’m buried deep within the Earth somewhere beneath Colombia or Nicaragua. With the weather being as extreme as it would be, my coffee choice took on a more “demure” nature, that of the soy latte. I was impressed with the quality. Local coffee roasters, a staff that looks like it fell out of a Jack London novel, and tables big enough to encompass all of the nursing books on the planet, and my dinosaur laptop? I think I could settle here for awhile. Well done North East, well done.

It even has the classic design. Lovely.

It even has the classic design. Lovely.

This place was seriously quaint.

This place was seriously quaint.

Mountain high with a dash of Portland oddity

Mountain high with a dash of Portland oddity

And of course...sustainable.

And of course…sustainable.

We then ventured off to dinner to catch up with some graduated friends. Let me tell you….5 women, all with fairly developed palates, can often run into trouble when choosing a suitable restaurant. We, however, did reach a conclusion.

Radio Room. American Food. The title given to restaurants when everything and its mother is on the menu.

Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious. But perhaps we shouldn’t give me too much credit, I was ravenously hungry. So hungry, in fact, that I was eating relish on a celery stalk as a snack. But let us not delve too deep into the realm of college cooking on a budget. Back to Radio Room.

The decor was very compelling. A collection of works from local artists. The place itself was dark, but the walls were alive with color and with shapes! I ordered polenta cakes with mahi mahi tacos (it was happy hour, A.K.A. cheap food! How could I resist ordering two separate meals?). Well, keeping this short and to the point, the place was pretty darn good. The atmosphere was inviting, I imagine if we had arrived two hours later, the place would have been packed, even for a Thursday. If you’re in Portland, give it a go (or any place on Alberta St. for that matter, I’ve never been let down. Pine State Biscuit, Grilled Cheese Grill, Salt & Straw, Petite Provence, all wonderful).

To hope and madness, Lauren.

“We’ll always have…Moonstruck.”

“I find myself stargazing, mostly finding you amazing, by the moon.” -Joshua Payne

Moonstruck that is, and the introduction to the “Mint Tingle.”

Dear reader,

There comes a time in everyone’s life when he/she makes…the face.
You know of what I speak: that look, that ray of sunshine, that starry-eyed “I have not lived until this day,” look of enlightenment!! If you have not experienced this, be patient. When it happens, you’ll know.

Brace yourself.

My moment, which I have the privilege of sharing with many others, came in a quaint local workshop of the gods called Moonstruck. Moonstruck…even the word brings to mind some sort of celestial awakening, a night of endless stars, endless wonder, and…endless chocolate?

Well, perhaps not. But once you’ve entered Moonstruck, located in the Alphabet district on NW 23rd ST, you’ll be thinking the moon is made of chocolate despite popular belief in cheese. (Total respect for cheese BTW, but we’ll save that for a later post).
Let me set the scene for you. My first experience with Moonstruck was in the Fall of 2010. The smell of rain lingered for only a second as the door opened onto a scene from a chocolate lover’s fantasy land. Decorated walls of chocolate leaves, little Frankenstein caricatures, and all manner of creepy, crawling chocolate monsters practically demanded consumption as my lovely friends and I filed into the little shop. I despise spiders, but chocolate spiders? Ok, exceptions can be made. It’s funny how candy and chocolate makes you feel like a kid again, and pressed up against the glass case full of wonderful little truffles immediately transported me to a time when consuming copious amounts of chocolate would not be coupled with weight gain…sigh. Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. The star, the one, the only, the direct cause of the face: ladies and gentlemen, the Mint Tingle.
People, resistance IS futile. Let me break it down for you.

A milkshake that is minty, chocolatey, with crunchy bits of honeycomb. Fresh, rich, heavenly, slap you in the face good…this milkshake will always be good to you.

If that doesn’t sound delicious to you, you might not have a soul. This milkshake is the best I have ever tasted and I’m pretty sure cannot be improved upon. A Portland classic, you (yes YOU) should experience it at least once. And then, like any good friend, return frequently to visit it. The Mint Tingle, it even sounds a bit sinful. Indulge, please. Do yourself the favor.
Happy milkshake consuming!
Your faithful dining companion,
Lauren
(I hope you enjoy the Casablanca reference as well. As a side note, if you didn’t catch it, please rent the movie and watch it immediately as repentance)