Hello Portland, the city of “weird” (seriously, their slogan is “keeping Portland weird”). First up was brunch at Lardo, a funky restaurant all about bringing back good fats. I knew I was in heaven the moment I walked through the door. Heating plus scrumptious food plus excellent branding = I’m home.
With a belly full of sausage and egg delightfulness, we hit the shops in Portland’s West End. It was a hipster’s paradise. Handmade, high quality leather goods, body products, bags, shoes, clothes, books and more lined the meticulous shelves of well designed stores. Trendy sushi bars and coffee shops weren’t hard to find. One of the highlights was visiting Powell’s City of Books, an epic full-city-block for bookworms. It was mind-blowing. I bought 2 books I can’t wait to read, and Justin found one as well. It was very, very difficult for me to restrain myself from buying more. What a gem of a store.
All our book shopping had us ready for a coffee at local Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Yesterday we had some stuff to work on at the hotel, like the blog and photo editing, so we had a quiet hermit day, but today was a little more interesting. The famous Saturday Market was on down by the river so we ventured out for some market madness after a yummy breakfast at a diner-cross-restaurant they call a “dinerant”. It was freezing cold out but the market still drew a crowd. The stalls were great and there were definitely a few things that tickled my fancy. The live music was fun, too.
I wanted to try Voodoo Doughnut because I’d heard they make amazing doughnuts, but the line was crazy long, going out the door and down the street. Even though I was really in the mood for a doughnut, I didn’t want one that much, so we moved along with the promise of coming back when they weren’t so busy.
We tried a great local pizza joint for dinner called Pizzicato, but I was still hungry when we got back to the hotel so I ordered room service like the greedy guts I’ve become on this trip. I hope my pants still fit me when I get home.
Mum’s friend, Bev, lives in Portland so I wanted to catch up with her while we were here. Mum and Bev used to live together when Mum was in her early twenties and it was through Bev that my parents met. Bev picked us up in the morning from our hotel and took us for a drive to where they used to live together so I could see their old house. Afterwards, we drove south through wine country and made a stop at one of Bev’s favourite wineries. We walked through the vineyard and did a tasting as well. Bev brought a photo album along with photos from when she and her family came to visit us in Australia in 1995. It brought back fun memories of playing with her kids, Dexter and Jonas, at the beach as young whippersnappers.
We drove to Dexter’s house in Corvallis and met his wife, Lauren, and their 5 year old daughter, Jaiden. They also had a beautiful dog named Willow. We sat around chatting for a while, then had lunch and went for a walk around their neighbourhood. We walked past a frisbee golf course and a few people were out playing. I had no idea frisbee golf is a real thing, I just thought it was a game on the Nintendo Wii! Apparently some people take it really seriously though, buying expensive frisbees and training really hard! After a nice afternoon, Bev drove us back to our hotel. It was really great seeing them after so long and we hope they come visit us again soon in Queensland!
Portland has an amazing food scene. I have been super impressed. This morning we tried a place called Tasty n Alder for brunch and their menu was pleasantly surprising and sophisticated, bringing in Korean and other Asian influences. I tried fried chicken and rice with egg, cucumber and kimchi. Justin had a dish with rice, bacon, kimchi and carrot salad. Both were delicious!
We walked breakfast off around the Pearl District which is north of Downtown. The shopping was great and reminded me of Chestnut Street in San Francisco- trendy and interesting. I made the mistake of going into a home wares store and fell in love with all the soft warm fluffy things – pillows, blankets, bath robes – so I just walked around touching them all. Soooo soft and cuddly! So sad not to have room in my bag for anything.
On Bev and Dexter’s recommendation we hunted down an ice cream shop called Salt and Straw. They made sensational ice cream in all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours, like Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing, but we stuck to salted caramel and coffee with bourbon. Shepherds pie was on the menu for dinner at an Irish pub around the corner from our hotel, and we decided to try Voodoo Doughnut again. The line was short so we bought a few treats and retired to our hotel room with plans for a sugar-induced coma.
Our final day in Portland was a lazy one. We spent some time making plans for December and swung by The Original Dinerant for fried chicken and waffles. After a mosey around Downtown, we headed back to the hotel and I put in a superstar effort to bring the blog up to date.