Here are two reasons we have found to love it here so far:
Reason #1: WinCo Foods
The coolest grocery store ever! It's cheaper than most other grocery stores because they only accept cash or debit cards, and they make you bag your own groceries. And they have an AMAZING bulk foods section. You can buy the typical bulk items such as nuts, dried fruit, and candy. But do they stop there? Oh no! They have dry ingredients like flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, sugar, cocoa, etc. They have muffin mixes, brownie mix, cereal, granola, snack mixes, popcorn, goldfish crackers, pasta, rice in many varieties, wasabi peas, and many more! They have a station that will crush peanuts or almonds right before your eyes and make fresh peanut butter or almond butter. They have a honey station that claimed there were even bees inside it making honey right there. I think they were joking, though...maybe. You can even buy fructose! I didn't know you could actually buy that stuff. It's so cool to be able to buy as little or as much as you want, and it's way cheaper than buying the packaged stuff.
Anyway, Paul and I did our shopping there last night, and we got a week's worth of groceries for 58 dollars! That's a big deal for us! (It helps that Oregon doesn't have any sales tax. :) )
WinCo actually stands for Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Oregon, but I hear it's biggest here in Oregon.
Reason #2: Uwajimaya (Try saying that three times fast! Or even once! ;) )
Yes, Paul experienced heaven today. It's a humongous Japanese grocery store! Huge! Paul said it feels just like being in a grocery store in Japan. On top of all the food that Paul is bursting to make me try, it has things that even excite me! They have Japanese dishes, artwork (though I wish they had more than they do), candy, and, well, pretty much everything. There's a Japanese bookstore inside! It's a bookstore company actually from Japan. They even have a great selection of children's books in Japanese. Paul was like a kid in a candy store. It was great fun.
He's going to start making Japanese food more often. The store has a website with authentic recipes, and that's exciting for Paul because he's been wanting to make things, but he doesn't have recipes. This week's Japanese dinner will be hayashi rice. Paul's been craving it. I'll let you know what I think. ;)
Other things that we purchased this time included my favorite Botan rice candy (yum!), a Japanese sports drink called Pocari Sweat (yes, it has the word 'Sweat' in the name...don't worry, it doesn't taste like sweat), edamame, natto, gyoza, melon bread (SO good!), another drink called Calpico (they call it carupisu water), mochi ice cream (little balls of ice cream wrapped in smashed rice), thinly sliced beef (Paul's stoked about that one), and nori maki arare crackers. I will not be trying that last one...nori means seaweed, and seaweed is most definitely not my favorite thing. I'm sure we'll be visiting that store quite often in the future!
Yes, there are many non-food related reasons to love it in the Pacific Northwest, too, but we like food!