Welcome to the FIFTH edition of A Walk On the Weird Side – An Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Fabric of Portland. – By Anna Alexander
In 2008, Forbes Magazine named the Rose City Park Neighborhood the 9th most overpriced neighborhood in the country. This comfortable neighborhood of mid-century homes plays host to plentiful bars, coffee shops, restaurants and a historic golf course. It is a warm and welcoming neighborhood to visit with plenty of iconic businesses and quirky finds.
You will have to take the Barbie convertible out storage, change the oil and check the tire pressure because have a lot of ground to cover and walking is right out.
Our first stop is Cosmic Monkey. This new and back-issued comic book/graphic novel store is a comic nerd’s dream. I could feel my debit card jumping in my purse when we entered as the manga section alone is drool-worthy and the shelves of international comics and graphic novels wanted to come home with me. The kid’s section is quite impressive and there are plenty of toys and Bunko-Pops for all flavors of nerds. I found a couple of books I absolutely HAD to have and while I was waiting in line to pay, I joked with the woman in front of me about spending the mortgage here. She looked at me like she had done it more than once. As we were leaving my husband, the comic book nerd, noted this was the best comic BOOK store he’s ever been too. That’s because they organize the stores contents by author and not publisher. Of course their are special sections for legends like Neil Gaiman and Wil Eisner but that’s expected.
I could go on and on about this shop, but we need to get some sustenance before we move on. As you leave Cosmic Monkey, turn to your right and walk down hill to the Rose City Food Park. This cozy food park is very Portland with its quirky wall art, food carts and covered eating area. There are plenty of options at this sunny food cart pod, but if you can’t find anything you like, then head to the Barley Pod. There’s excellent ramen, fried chicken and Venezuelan fair. Grab a beer from Baerlic Brewing and you’re all set.
A couple of blocks down the street from the food carts is Cuddle Up to Me. This studio offers professional cuddling and support for those who need a hug, a cuddle or just someone to talk to. I interviewed the owner Sam about what she does and you can read the interview here.
After a serious cuddle session, you might need a little whimsey in your life, so let’s go to NE 52nd and Tillamook Street to check out the elf village. This cute little village spreads from the front yard of a home to a nearby tree with elf homes, a mall, carousel and a string ladder leading up a tree. I wanted to stay and have a tea party.
For more whimsey, head to NE 47th and Euclid and you will find the 47th Problem of Euclid hiding in the boulevard. The common name is Pythagorean’s Theron and it represents the three-square symbol you see on Masonic jewelry. You will have to do a little hunting on both sides of the street to find it, but it’s worth it when you do.
With all this traipsing around, you might need a snack, meal or strong drink.. so head to the iconic Clyde’s Prime Rib. This Portland institution has served the public since 1955 and is the place Don Draper took his clients with his fancy business expense account. The leather chairs, velour booths and dark bar are offer the perfect ambiance for date night or a secret tryst. It’s also place to take your grandparents or out-of-state guests who want prime rib. In addition to it’s solid menu and drinks, Clyde’s has a thriving jazz and soul music lineup. We enjoyed a strong cocktail in the bar that had us buzzing for hours.
Now that you’re sated, drunk and have enough reading material for the rest of the year, it’s time to head home and go into a food coma. In my next Walk on the Weird Side, we’re headed to NoPo to say hi to Paul Bunyan and look for ghosts. You can put the Barbie Corvette back into storage now.