Picnic Spot: Cowen Park, 5849 15th Ave. N.E. U DISTRICT
Picnic Supplies: Beef roti and appetizer from Pam’s Kitchen, 5000 University Way N.E., 696-7010.
Walking It Out: The crowd at Cowen Park, which is connected to Ravenna Park, is an odd mix of hippies with their dogs and toddlers with their parents. Other than the shirtless middle-aged guy doing what I can only guess were half-ups, in which he neither laid fully back nor sat fully up, dreads and drool were all I could see. But I put on my urban goggles (like beer goggles, except the city becomes prettier and the people invisible) and looked past them to the gorgeous, bigger-than-it-seems park that was being warmed by the long-absent sun and settled in for some tasty Trinidadan cooking.
After discovering the hard way that the grass was not fully dry, we found some steps to sit on and dug in. As usual, Pam’s Kitchen did not fail to satisfy and was surprisingly easy to consume outdoors. If you haven’t been to Pam’s Kitchen yet, well, I just don’t what to do with you. The roti, which is a curried meat that comes with a curried potato chickpea side, is to die for. The accompanying flatbread is what every other bread should strive to become. Put the meat in the bread, add some potatoes and ask yourself, what have I been doing putting other food into my mouth all this time?We also tried one of their appetizers, which were little bread pockets filled with some kind of wonderful curried filling, accompanied by a sweet-spicy sauce that complements them perfectly. As we ate, we were treated to a view of a squirrel eating some rice in the middle of a perfect circle of crows. It was a odd sight, but still not quite as strange as the shirtless guy, who was still doing his sit-almost-ups when we cleaned up.
Walking It Off: After lunch is the perfect time to explore Cowen and Ravenna Park’s wooded paths. Though my companion described them as “rapey,” I would think they are perfectly safe during the day for some carb burn-off.