Greetings and salutations--
We've moved back to the left coast after a 8 year stint in Chicago and our kitchen has not quite recovered from the trauma (the horror of throwing out those salt packed anchovies because no one would take them). We're enthusiastic cooks, you see. There are a few things I haven't found and I'm hoping for chowhound help.
The first is kaffir lime leaves. Our first forage was at Pacific Supermarket to restock all the essentials. The Singaporean partner doesn't feel settled until there is a fifty lb bag of rice in the kitchen. We couldn't find kaffir lime leaves there or our favorite fish sauce or belecan or preserved black beans or broad bean paste, so we went next to Nam Phuong Market. Found the fish sauce, didn't find the black beans, bean paste, belecan or lime leaves. Had a chat with the owner, who was very nice (we'll probably just go back there even though it's smaller) and he tells me there is a ban on lime leaves in Portland?!?! He said they come and confiscate them and any tricks to get around this haven't worked. How can this be true? I can't find any info online about it but we also can't find any lime leaves. Anybody know anything about this? I assume for the rest I'll be able to find them at uwajimaya? Are there Thai or Chinese groceries we haven't been able to sniff out?
The second thing is a good Italian grocery. I know they're out there, I'm wondering which are people's favorites. We were very spoiled by a nice working class southern Italian family run grocery. Great prices and beautiful seasonal stuff (suckling lamb at Easter, muscato grapes, chestnuts, olives to cure yourself, wine making supplies etc). I'm wondering if anything here comes close. I gulp at paying 2.29/lb for de Cecco at New Seasons when I'm used to paying 1.79. Yes it's only 50 cents, but we eat a lot of pasta.
Lastly for now, I'm wondering about meat people. I like to buy it from the people that grow it and I like my beasts to have nicer life than grocery store meat before they end up on my plate. I noticed at the farmer's market there is a beef farm stand, but does anyone have leads on pork and lamb? Maybe out of Portland, but drivable?
Ok, just one more question, are there any fishmongers in Portland? If not, then where do you like to buy your creatures from the sea?