I said YES! It was the best decision ever!
He asked me out to dinner on a school night! “Are you available Tuesday night at 7:00 for dinner at a new place with another couple?” It wasn’t just a date but a double date to a place we’d never visited.
On a Tuesday, in March 1983 we’d gone out to dinner and a movie with with friends. My dad needed to be convinced that staying out late on a school night wouldn’t negatively influence my grades. This Tuesday in June, my son was the one asking questions about my hot date. “Are you sure you can wait that late to eat?” and “Have you been drinking? Why are you smiling so much?” upon our return. Clearly, we had a good time!
Portland, Oregon has many amazing food carts. We live in the suburbs west of Portland. While food carts pop up for special events in Washington County (like at wineries on weekends for perfect pairings) having so many in one spot so close with FREE ample parking in Beaverton is new.
BG’s Food Cartel at the Round is off Milikan Way between Cedar Hills Blvd. and Watson Ave. Just about a block from the Max Light Rail line, it’s easy to get to and offers so many choices that it’s a great place to meet up with friends!
Though school is in session until mid-June, it felt like a summer night with kids running barefoot on the green space reserved for humans. One of my former students, now a 6th grader, played a game of 500 (football toss game) with a crowd of younger kids. Ot
her kids cartwheeled around the perimeter while adults sat in the shade of umbrellas at nearby tables. The feeling tone on this particular night was inclusive and friendly. Leashed dogs sat with owners. Indoor restrooms were clearly marked. The only thing missing was a map to help me know where to begin.
Our friends had secured a table so my date and I slowly walked around the perimeter of the area reading each of the menus posted on the exterior of the building. The range of foods offered so was amazing. Our first decision was to NOT read the menu at places that were closed. This was the only easy decision of the night.
As we roamed, other former students greeted me with hugs and news of how they are doing in middle school or high school. By this time, my date was getting impatient. Being married to an educator for several decades has led him to believe that I’d be engaged in conversation for at least a few minutes. He left to explore on his own while I caught up with kids. A parent of former students stopped by as well. She is organizing Beaverton’s first LGBTQA Pride Parade and was celebrating a decision that had just been made a city hall (just across the street from the food carts).
By the time I met up with my husband, our double date had grown to a group of 11. A new grandpa shared pictures of his grandson. A friend shared about her recent trip to Manilla. Friends from Hawaii caught up with young men they hadn’t seen for a while. This was a place for connecting!
While we could have been overwhelmed by decisions, eating so much later than we were accustomed to made it easy for my husband to pick the cart with the shortest line. My son had been right about being concerned about our late meet up time. We got The Phil with fries and bottled water. It didn’t disappoint. Others enjoyed Pad Thai, Greek Salad, Indian food and Bubble Tea. We sat close to a crepe stand and every time food was passed to a customer my mouth watered.
The biggest surprise of all was that we closed the place down. ON A TUESDAY night, we were among the last out. We were given a 30 minute warning as carts closed and the grounds were cleaned up (this was a very tidy place).
Oregon is the perfect place to spend the summer. It was warm enough for a sleeveless shirt and shorts but as the sun started to set, I had a light jacket just in case. The after party seemed to be happening in the parking lot as conversations continued. Like us, the middle aged couples near cars seemed to be giddy in staying out so late on a school night. We were still smiling when we got home. This raised suspicion in our almost 33 year old who is staying with us. He had the same “what have you been up to look” that my dad had so long ago.
As I drifted off to sleep, I decided to print a map and make myself a Passport to Cartel Adventure so I can systematically explore this area over the next few months.