Sunday, February 19, 2006

Concrete Cabin Fever

Ok, so I'm sick for a few days, and now it's a three day weekend. It'd be nice to get out of the house (or ultra-mod concrete pod in the sky, in my case), but it seems like we're on day Gamma_0 of a nasty cold+windy snap, so going outside is just unreasonable. It's beautiful outside, barely a cloud in the sky, and you'll need a spacesuit if you want to go out in it.

I popped outside to get some groceries a few hours ago, and I'm still thawing out. So I think I'll do a bit of aimless blogging, instead of trying that again anytime soon.

In honor of our Arctic-ish weather, today's cute animal is an Atlantic Puffin, chomping on some tasty fish. Fish has always seemed especially tasty in cold weather (to me, anyway). I'm not sure why that would be. It's probably just my opinion, not a product of evolutionary biology, since the colder it is, the more dangerous it is to go fishing, and anybody who instinctively craved fish in midwinter would be rapidly removed from the gene pool. It stands to reason, anyway.

When I was at the grocery store earlier, I picked up a chocolate bar with a photo of puffins on the wrapper, put out by the "Endangered Species Chocolate Co.". Yes, it was yet another one of those feel-good upscale "liberal" products, where what you're really buying is a temporary warm fuzzy feeling that your money's going to a good cause. And yes, it's organic chocolate, with organic sugar added. And no, it's not actually very good chocolate, but that's not really the point, is it? If you criticize the product, you must be some kind of diabolical Cheney clone who's against puffins. Not just puffins, but baby puffins. And the Baby Puffin Bar is just one product in a line of candy bars featuring a variety of charismatic megafauna. Never mind that actual puffin chicks look nothing like what's on the label. What's more, although the company's based right here in Oregon, they don't seem to be aware that puffins live along the Pacific coast as well as the Atlantic. And even the Atlantic ones are not actually endangered.

But all is not lost for local fans of actual quality chocolate. Now that Valentine's Day is over, I can mention a couple of local favorites without endangering my supply. My current favorite is Sahagun Chocolates, a tiny hole-in-the-wall storefront on NW 16th just north of Burnside downtown. The main website is more gloss than info, but the owner also has a blog here. This chocolate is amazing, wonderful stuff, but don't just take my word for it. Here's another rave about it.

Another big favorite of mine is Arioso Chocolates. They don't have a year-round store, but in warmer months they're available at local farmers' markets. Mmmm.... chocolate....

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