The diner doubled as a gift shop, but I didn’t see anything that piqued my curiosity enough to get up from the booth and have a closer look. There was nothing but dollar-store crap, indistinguishable from what could be found up and down Mission Street back home.

I turned my attention back toward my food, which wasn’t much better. It was not terrible, just not all that exciting. With enough ketchup on the hash browns and enough green Tabasco on the omelet, I was able to shovel it all down my gullet without complaint.

Becca tossed a big snotwad of Swiss cheese on my plate. She prefers cheddar, but Swiss was what came with her Philly cheesesteak omelet. I like big snotwads of cheese so I stabbed it with my fork and shoved it in my mouth.

Outside, the main drag of St. Johns was quiet. It was late Saturday morning on Thanksgiving weekend. People had already recovered from Thursday’s turkey, but Friday’s alcohol was another matter. We had managed to brave the outdoors, but we’re troopers.

I had found the diner on Yelp back at the Palms earlier that morning. Reviews were mixed and I zeroed in on the bad ones. If enough whiny and entitled people pan a place of business, I’ll want to go there out of spite. One reviewer was shocked and appalled that a waitress touched her hair and didn’t immediately wash her hands afterward. I was sold.

Actually, it was enough that the place was located in St Johns. After doing some research (I read the Wikipedia page), I got the impression that the neighborhood had lots of quirky charm even by Portland standards. Becca and I both want weirdness in our environs so we planned to scope the area out.

The St. Johns neighborhood of Portland sits on the east side of the Willamette River and northwest of downtown. A winding waterway can create such a geographical curiosity as it has where Canada is the nearest foreign country due south from Detroit.

St. Johns is accessible via bridge across the Willamette or surface streets through neighborhoods to the east. Our motel was southeast so we took the light rail up to Lombard Street and got on a connecting bus from there. It was a short walk from the bus stop to the diner.

Despite the mediocrity of the food, I managed to clean my plate. It’s an old habit of mine, a holdover from when I didn’t make much money and felt compelled to get my money’s worth from every meal.

Becca, despite being no stranger to a tight budget, did not share my compulsion to devour every morsel whether she liked it or not. A piece of omelet remained on her plate, a silent suggestion to the kitchen staff to try harder next time.

After paying at the register, we headed in the direction of Cathedral Park. My stomach felt a little queasy. The omelet had some role in that, but so did our behavior over the past day and a half.

As soon as we got checked into the Palms that Thursday, our first order of business was finding a bar open on Thanksgiving. Most were, but not until 7pm. That would not do. We found a place in SE Portland to drink and kill time. When it got past seven, we took an Uber to Sandy Hut where we had Thanksgiving dinner (bacon cheeseburger topped with an egg and served with fries) washed down with copious PBRs.

We wanted to go to St. Johns the next day, but the chicken-fried steak and eggs we had for breakfast at the Roxy left us in no condition to do anything that afternoon other than have an extended nap. When we finally got out of bed, it was time for dinner at Miss Delta’s followed by more drinking at the Alibi.

This kind of boozing and gluttony is standard every time we come up here and now I felt the full weight of the excess as we trudged toward the park to look at the pretty St. Johns Bridge.

“We can’t be doing this shit after we move up here,” I said.

“Tell me about it,” she said.

Our conversation then turned to whether we should spend the afternoon in a bar.