With its brown and white walls, and sparse décor, CoCopelli Chocolatier
is tidy, but it feels a little one-dimensional, common. Only when I talk
to the owner, Lauren Roybal, does it open up, revealing hidden chambers
like a set of matryoshka dolls.
Food is a widespread cultural obsession concerned with a return to place, transforming the locavores’ demand for regionally derived ingredients into experimental, sociohistorical experiences on the plate.
The menu disclaims, “It’s not Portlandia, It’s just coffee,” but the crowd says otherwise. Betterday Coffee, a new joint by La Montañita Food Co-op, caters to Bhakti Chai bikers, health-concerned co-operants, coffee connoisseurs and cool kids—in short, the many Portlandia archetypes.
Americans can’t just wake up on any random day of the year and resolve to do things a little differently. But the ritual of using birthdays and the new year to effect change in our lives appears to be locked in the pomp and circumstance of being a curious consumer creature in the cornucopia of Western culture.