Thursday, September 13, 2012

between the raindrops



i headed up to portland a few weekends ago to hang out with hipsters eat my way through the town and consume lots and lots of coffee. it was quite the trip.

i had less than 48 hours there and DEFINITELY made the most of every second i had. i sure am getting pretty damn good at fitting a week's worth of stuff to do in about 2 days worth of time.

here's a recap of what i did/ate/saw!


i flew into PDX at about 3:30 in the afternoon, and after a quick stop at the hotel to check in, drop off my stuff, and change (it was 80 degrees in portland, whereas i was dressed for 60 degree san francisco weather), i was ready to go at about 4:45. first stop: the international rose test garden. this was the city of roses, after all.

it was quite a sight. i was amazed by all the different varietals of roses - who knew there were so many? i spent about an hour walking around, taking it all in and snapping tons of photos. so pretty.

i then walked up the hill to the japanese gardens.


apparently, it is considered the "most authentic japanese garden outside of japan." it reminded me a lot of being in kyoto exactly a year ago. it was gorgeous - very lush and tranquil. and it was huge!

i made my way back towards downtown, ready for my first cup of coffee in portland.


i actually had stumptown while in seattle, but since it originated in portland, i had to stop there first of course. it was probably my favorite of all the different coffee that i had in portland (which means, by comparison, that  vivace in seattle is still my favorite coffee, EVER). i had a nice conversation with the barista there about coffee - he asked if i worked in coffee since i told him i was in town to sample all the different offerings, and apparently that's what you do when you work in the industry. he gave me suggestions for other places to hit up in town - which all ended up being on my list (sadly, i ran out of time and didn't get to all of them. but close enough).

popped into the ace hotel lobby. 


the ace was my first choice for lodging in portland, but by the time i was ready to book, it was sold out. grrrr. will definitely have to stay there next time because i stayed at the ace in seattle and quite enjoyed it, and seriously - isn't that the coolest lobby ever?!?!?!

i popped into the photo booth too, of course. i already scrapped my photo strip:


then popped into clyde common for dinner.


three things i can say about portland, and clyde common: 1) communal-style dining is big here (which made for a little bit of awkwardness as i was traveling by myself); 2) it's super hipster; and 3) hipsters make the best cocktails. EVER. i had the kingston club to drink (Drambuie, pineapple, lime, Fernet, Angostura, orange peel) and a dungeness crab tagliarini to eat. good stuff.

walked over to cacao for some drinking chocolate.


picked up a couple of bars too. you know, research for work (i may not work in the coffee biz but i DO work in the chocolate biz). they have TONSSS of bars. i ended up buying the most bizarre bar i came across - a bar with foie gras. it was not the best choice on my part, but it was...uh...interesting.

then walked over to powell's.


HOLY CRAP. this was by far my favorite thing that i did in portland. it was AMAZING - it takes up an entire city block and is four stories high and is filled to the brim with books!!! they even give you a map to help you navigate inside. so awesome. i had gone in expecting to kill maybe a half hour to an hour there, then had to kick myself out after 2 1/2 hours so i could cross off the rest of my to-do list for the day. but i could've spent all day in there (and could've probably bought out the whole store. i settled for four).

headed back to the hotel to drop my newly purchased books off and then headed to biwa.


i don't know what it is about ramen, but i can eat it all day long. they also had other izakaya-style food and their cocktails were tasty.

i then ended the night with a drink at dig a pony. super hipster bar. which meant that my drink was DELICIOUS.

i started off day two with a stop at extracto for coffee, then headed over to beast for a super epic brunch.


everything was amazing. the only negative was that i was seated at a communal table (very portland-esque) by myself and i felt super awkward - especially because i kept pulling out my camera to take pictures of my food. apparently no one does that in portland, pffft. the first course was a summer berry claufoutis (a french pancake sort of thing) with bacon (YUM), followed by a lamb hash as the main. SO GOOD. that was followed by a cheese plate (which i forgot to photograph), then an amazing chocolate truffle cake.

needless to say, i was stuffed, so the next order of business to walk around the neighborhood.


i quite enjoyed the alberta neighborhood a lot. it was kind of funky, lots of color, and LOTS of cute + fun shops. some notable ones: ampersand, troolie, redbird studio, and billygoat vintage.

had to stop off at salt & straw for ice cream even though my stomach wasn't quite ready for it...


i had the sea salt with caramel ribbons. deliciousness.

made my way towards downtown again, and stopped into barista for coffee.


ended up strolling through chinatown...


walked past the "keep portland weird" sign...


tried to get in line for voodoo doughnuts but it was insane. overheard someone talk about a second location and looked it up on my phone. turns out it was in a neighborhood i was planning to head to later that day anyway, so i promptly got out of line and headed over to the saturday market (which also goes on on sundays as well).

finally got myself my donut fix. i would definitely recommend the other location - no line!!!


i got the maple bacon bar, but was definitely impressed by the fruit loop one.

strolled around east burnside for a bit. stopped into nationale, which is a cute little store that my coworker recommended. ended up at heart coffee.


that was something like my fifth cup of coffee that day. yep, i'm also surprised my heart didn't pop oout of my chest, either.

ended up on the burnside bridge, and snapped some pictures of the willamette and the other surrounding bridges in the city.


then headed to pok pok for dinner.


again, communal-style dining is big in portland. these plates are made for sharing. not ideal for me, but that was okay, because everything was delicioud. i had the kai yaang (the stuffed hen - their signature), and yam tuna (a thai-style tuna salad). i also had a drink which was basically an alcoholic mango lassi. SO GOOD.

one of the things on my portland to-do list was to go to a show. of course, all the bands i wanted to see were either playing right before or right after my trip. i came across the band animal kingdom after scouring a bunch of show listings and decided i liked them enough, so i went to see them.


the show was at the doug fir lounge, which was actually a pretty awesome venue. would definitely see a show there again.

was getting hungry (again), so the last stop of the night was at the cartopia pod for a late night food cart fix.


i had a fried chicken pot pie from whiffies and a crepe from perierra creperie. i wanted to try the wood-fired pizza too, but my stomach couldn't handle it.

side note: cartopia is the food truck pod that's featured in portlandia. i started watching that show again after i came back, and went "I WAS THERE!!!!" also, that show is doubly hilarious (it was already hilarious before but even more so now!) now that i've actually been to portland.

anyhow. i woke up bright and early the next morning to maximize the few hours i had left until i had to head to the airport. first order of business: the aerial tram.


ok, this was pretty awesome. sometimes i wish san francisco had one of these to help us with some of the hills :P while being on the tram was cool, the best part was the amazing views of the city you get from the top of the hill. on a clear day, you are supposed to have amazing views of mt. hood, but it was a bit overcast. come to think of it, i did not see mt. hood at all that weekend!

it was time for coffee and breakfast, so i headed over to oui presse.

CUTEST CAFE EVER. seriously, i wish i took more pictures. i want to go back to take more pictures of it. but the coffee was tasty and their coffee cake was fresh out of the oven and super delicious.

decided i had time for one more stop. i had to choose wisely. i ended up going with pine state biscuits.

biscuits, fried chicken, gravy and cheese? YES PLEASE.

and thus ended my adventure in portland. til we meet again...

(p.s. a lot of my planning was based on places that were in the rather: portland guide. the rather, or hunt, series of guidebooks focus on food and shopping - my kinda guides, and is very photo-heavy. i now want one for every city.)

2 comments:

Trude said...

Wow you really crammed a lot in! So jealous, Portland has been at the top of my to-visit list for a while. I think eventually I'll just suck it up and go by myself like you! Gorgeous photos! :)

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