Laker Notes

Editor’s Note: Lake Oswego High School senior Amy Chen is the Review’s first new student columnist to kick off the 2013-14 school year. She is the founder and president of her high school’s literary club and editor-in-chief of “Reflections,” the arts and literary magazine of LOHS.

After leaving an improv comedy show not so long ago, my brother and a few of our friends drove for several minutes, parked, walked the wrong way down a street for several blocks in the late night winter chill of Portland, walked several blocks the right way and found our destination: Salt & Straw.Amy Chen

In a line rivaling the out-of-the-door-around-the-block queue of Voodoo Doughnuts, we breathed into our hands until we finally entered the magical world of gourmet ice cream.

Fro-yo has been the dominating frozen treat in Lake Oswego since the unfortunate demise of Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin-Robbins and the uprising of UU Yogurt, YoDelish and YoTown.

Although the Salt & Straw cart here in Lake Oswego doesn’t generate quite as much buzz as its Portland counterparts — though it does come pretty close — it is doing us a favor, bringing back a beacon of ice cream hope to our fro-yo plague.

“But Amy, frozen yogurt is better for you!” you might say. And maybe it is. But if you’re like me and enjoy slathering a mix of chocolate chips, Kit Kats, hot fudge, maraschino cherries and whipped cream onto your excuse of “my frozen yogurt is nonfat!”, you might want to reconsider the choice. With gourmet ice cream like Salt & Straw, the product is fine by itself.

Not saying, of course, that fro-yo is bad. I lack the culinary skill to determine the subtle qualities of frozen treats. There’s good, good, and then the “wow, this is really good” of Salt & Straw.

One difference between Salt & Straw and our nearby frozen treat joints is the social aspect, which is especially evident in downtown Lake Oswego. Plenty of people go to UU yogurt, Tillamook and Salt & Straw to socialize, but I wouldn’t go to UU or Tillamook by myself. If I did, I would be ashamed of my loneliness and feel obligated to get the healthiest options possible so as to not look like I’m eating my sadness.

On the other hand, I can go to Salt & Straw by myself and order whatever I like. What? I’m not lonely. This ice cream is delicious.

Yet, despite the large amount of business brought by self-pity, the crowd for Salt & Straw is not entirely due to lonely ice-cream lovers. Each frozen treat restaurant has its own charm.

Cold Stone had the option of creativity and the service aspect of having freshly mixed ice cream. Baskin-Robbins and Tillamook had and have the classic vibe and security of, well, Baskin-Robbins and Tillamook.

Then, with the onset of self-serve frozen yogurt places, the option of choice returned, along with the feel-good pretension of “healthy choices.” Now that Salt & Straw is here, the security-based charm of Baskin-Robbins is back, but with the aid of Portland-area worship and locally made love instead of the classic chain restaurant feel.

Maybe there’s a pattern here. We seem to be moving forward and backward at the same time. Personally, I’ve caught myself reminiscing back to the good old days of Cold Stone and Baskin-Robbins while taking a bite of my fro-yo or even my “sea salt and caramel ribbons” scoop of Salt & Straw.

While we can’t expect every store to be here forever, we should appreciate them before they melt away.

Amy Chen is a senior at Lake Oswego High School, and she writes a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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