Friday, February 8, 2008

Blue Plate

I am currently dreaming of spring.

Last April I walked under a perfect canopy of cherry blossoms on the trees that line the road to my house. I photographed them with my cell phone camera, trying anything not to let that moment of early April go. I long for spring to burst forth with her bright yellow daffodils and pale pink tulips. She may come slowly to Portland but Spring never disappoints--strawberries are picked at their peak, minor league baseball begins and weekly festivals at the waterfront start to queue up. More importantly, spring holds the promise of warmth after a long Portland winter.

But for now, it is early February and not only does it feel like it's going to rain every day from now until April, it probably will ... and no, I'm not kidding. Warmth needs to be found elsewhere and not just any kind of warmth, but the kind that gives you the cozy feeling of sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire when you're curled up with a good book. When I just can't take the rainy day grays any more and my boss looks at me strangely for suggesting a hot cocoa/reading hour, I head over to Blue Plate for lunch.

Blue Plate is a teeny little place tucked away on Washington St. in downtown Portland. Blink and you may miss it, come back and they might be closed. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday Blue Plate caters to the downtown lunch crowd and serves up diner favorites like meatloaf and pot roast. My favorite? The grilled cheese sandwich and cream of tomato soup--a rainy day classic. I don't know if it's the Dum Dum suckers on the tables, the old wood bar or the homemade milkshakes that make this place a bright spot during the dark Northwest winters. Whatever it is, I don't care. Just hand over the chocolate and peanut butter milkshake ... no wait, make that strawberry--sweet, pale pink and perhaps ... a new kind of bliss while I wait for spring to bloom.