One of my favorite aspects of living in Portland was the fabulous food. Huge Farmer's Market, lots of seafood, a love of the artisanal, and a diversity of restaurants all converged to keep me fat and happy.
For a time, I was in love with Caffe Mingo. Small, crowded, understaffed - despite it's flaws it was my preferred destination for an early dinner or late night repast. Caffe Mingo gave me my first taste of Caprese Salad. A basic mix of tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil, Caprese makes my taste buds sing and makes me feel like Spring is truly here.
There's no single recipe for Caprese. I make it with thick slices of cheese, or chop them into bits - but it's always best if the moz is fresh. My preferred tomatoes run the gamut of Roma, homegrown, or grape. Chiffonade some basil, add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Enjoy this delicate repast while bathed in the light of the setting sun reflected off the lapping waves of Lake Como. Or dig into a bowlful while being serenaded by SpongeBob and the chortles of a slightly manic two year old. Both are delightful.