A Morning on Top of the World (and in the loving arms of Gouda cheeze)
Well little did I know what delightful adventure awaited me the day before yesterday when I woke up at 5am! (cat walking on me, demanding breakfast.)
Saturday was the opening day of the Portland Farmer's Market near Portland State University. It was a beautfiul morning after weeks of rain, and I was planning on visiting my friend Dave Adamshick, social networking guru of the Market. Dave wanted to introduce me to one of the market's newest vendors "Heidi Ho Organics" a local vegan food company that reportedly made a delicious vegan cheeze. This challenging assertion intrigued me -- would their product stand up to my taste test? They must have pleased the Market taste testers in order to become a vendor, but I'm really picky.
Dave had asked me to write a profile on this new vendor for the market's website, understanding that I might have a special passion and interest in this difficult vegan undertaking, and might have a better perspective than a dairy-enthusiast.
I eat vegan cheeze every day. However, the only vegan cheeze I like is the "Follow Your Heart" cheddar. I've heard that Daiya makes a great cheeze, but it's so expensive, and only comes in shreds! I like the block cheeze so I can cut it as Iike.And until now I haven't had much choice.
Let's face it, during the beginnings of vegan dairy alternatives, cheeze was often, well... terrible. No real cheese-eater would convert based on taste, that's for sure.
But these days the most WONDERFUL vegan alternatives are coming from dedicated young chefs, and it seems every week there is some new delicious faux meat or
ice cream, or baked good, so this new vendor had me excited to try their wares!
But before I could get to any of that I had to first, of course, choose my "Going to the Opening Day of the Farmer's Market" outfit, and get Faye the dog leashed up, because we were going to take this opportunity to explore some of southwest Portland at the same time!
After some consideration I wore: dark jeans tucked into boots (so sick of the jeans/boots combo by now, but it's still freezing cold and I am going to walk the dog, fancy flats just won't do... see my other blog "A-line" for further analysis of this issue). As a nod to the advent of SPRING (!), and the fact that it's a farmer's market...
I needed something sort of sweet, folksy, as a nod to the market, but not too folksy, god knows, we left that behind in Eugene (!), definitely modern, urban, but not too "done" because for God's sake it is a Saturday morning.
So, I decided on an orange silk floral blouse from Anthropologie, with a cream-colored short-sleeve cardigan over it. I wore my hair down, and an eastern- looking pendant at the last minute. Reddish lips and my thigh-length army coat over it all, soft orange inifinity scarf in the bag, just in case, and I was ready to start the day's adventure!
I've taken stairs like these in northwest Portland, they are public and rigorous to climb and always result in astounding views of the city and mountains beyond. You also get interesting glimpses into hillside backyard areas, unseen by most. There is wildlife, and overgrown flowering bushes, and did I mention moss? It's often breathtakingly beautiful! Like a secret world above the city.
It was absolutely lovely at the market. Clean, uncrowded, and the sky such a fresh, bright blue. Bunches of beautiful flowers, booths of delicious baked goods, cheeses, jams, beeswax, it was very pretty. I purchased vegan pastries and a beeswax candle for Cora (oops! not vegan!). Then it was time to meet Dave, and I caught up with him filming a segment at the Sassafras booth. We then ambled over to meet Lyssa Story, manager of Heidi Ho Organics.
Poor vegan cheeze, always the hopeless rival. When asked to try vegan cheeze, real cheese eaters are often scoff. And it's true, there really is no substitution for the best dairy cheeses, (especially if they're French.) However.... we CAN get awesome flavor and texture and a delicious daily substitute, one that does not oppress animals and that actually promotes health rather than clogging our hearts vital arteries, and after trying their samples I am thrilled to announce that Heidi Ho Organics has proved it!!!!!
I was astounded by the sudden and fierce flavor of their Feta Cheeze samples, followed by the delicious Chipotle Cheddar and then the amazing Smoked Gouda. Here is how they describe the Gouda:
Rich, buttery, and slightly sweet, this cheeze is an uplifting shade of yellow and has a smooth, creamy texture that develops with a mild smoky aroma and finishes with a uniquely intense flavor that is reminiscent of caramelized butterscotch and smoldering hickory embers.
I couldn't agree more, it was kick-ass and I bought some!
Arms filled with purchases, energized by my hillside walk and super-fun chat with Dave, not to mention a tired dog waiting to return home, I set off to my car, smiling to myself. The capper? A friendly stranger said to me while passing, "Your hair has a nice bounce to it!"