Dan and I decided to take (another) mini vacation. Hey, we deserve it. Instead of just saying we were going to Portland, we actually went. Despite the fact that we drove (which equals misery for me since I get VERY car sick) and Dan got a speeding ticket in Weed(83 mph in a 65 zone), it was good times. Next time, a plane ride is in our future--in my mind, it's not a bona fide vacation without one.
We stayed in Downtown Portland at the Hotel Lucia. Modern Decor with excellent photography on display. Nice hotel in the middle of everywhere we were planning on checking out. Plus fresh green apples ripe for the taking.
We arrived around 5pm on Friday and apparently everyone was getting out of work. From our vantage point, we had arrived in Hipster Mecca. Men in capris, handlebar mustaches and neon framed glasses. Women vintage looking dresses, torn tights and thrifted cardigans. It was almost painful. Fortunately, the tragic hipster vibe mellowed out the longer we stayed.
The trip in short: Naps, food comas, cool places and boozy drinks.
Dan and I ate at the Original Dinerant (Diner/Restaurant) when we arrived in Portland. As luck had it, we made it in time for Happy Hour. Score. On top of that, it's Dine Downtown in Portland, so we each opted for a Three-Course menu for $25.
Me: Appetizers: Scotch egg + Pimiento Cheese + Arugula Salad. Delish! Pretzel Bites filled with Cheese Curd + Tomato Bacon Relish. Yum! Entree: Farmer's Pasta. Some of the best noodles ever. Booze: Barb Daly Cocktail (Vodka + Rhubard & Meyer Lemon Soda + Meyer Lemon. Refreshing. Dessert: Sour Cream Peach Cake. Very moist and tasty, but I was hoping for a little tart kick. Booze II: Tom Collins (Gin + Citrus Lemongrass Soda + Amarena Cherry). Tasted a little like soap, but I drank it anyway.
Dan: Appetizers: Beef Wagyu Hot Pockets. Tasted like an upscale version of the original. House Smoked Baby Back Ribs. Dan ate it all. Entree: Braised Pork Shank + Apple Bacon Fritters + Brown Butter Sherry Sauce. Seriously, those apple bacon fritters were amazing! Booze: The Copa (Flor de Caña + Rum +Velvet Falermum+ Zwack + Grapefruit + Absinthe). Dan drank it all. Dessert: Nutter Butter Pie. Tasted like Peanut Butter Heaven. I wanted to steal it. Booze II: Heminingway (White Rum + Ginger Tarragon + Lime + Soda + Star Anise. Very tasty!
We came back again for a late night snack Saturday night. We had the Poutine (Fries+Gravy+Cheesecurds) and Buffalo Wings. The devoured the Poutine, which was delicious in that guilty sort of way. The buffalo wings were good, but nothing to write home about. I opted for a Boozy Milkshake called the Salty Jim (Bourbon + Salted Caramel + Vanilla Ice Cream) and Dan ordered another Hemingway. We switched drinks midway through. We ordered a Nutter Butter Pie(!) and Dulce de Leche Brownie to go, so we can eat in shame without others looking on at our gluttony.
Portland Japanese Gardens. We've been to other Japanese Gardens before, so I wasn't expecting much. Shame on me. I will venture to say that the Portland Japanese gardens were BETTER than the SF version. It was well laid-out, with secluded pathways and benches all throughout. Gorgeous and peaceful.
Dan also bought me an anniversary gift there for me:
It's yellow and ochre and I love it. Plus no sales tax!
Powell's Books. A haiku about Powell's City of Books:
So many books here
Treasures are easily found
Money, quickly lost
Seriously, there were aisles and aisles, rooms and rooms, levels and levels of books. Dan & I dropped over $100 here. This place is dangerous.
Food Carts. If there's one thing I'll miss most, it's the food carts. So many options in a compact space. Korean? Thai? Ethiopian? South Carolina BBQ? Cuban? Mexican? Euro-Fusion? It's all there. I'll look at empty parking lots more wistfully after visiting Portland. Sacramento, get on the boat.
Voodoo Doughnuts: One place we knew we were going to visit. I was expecting more kitsch than actual deliciousness, but I was wrong. Maple Bacon Doughnuts forever! The Mexican Hot Chocolate, Grape Kool-Aid, and Butterfinger were also good.
Portland in review: Great city. Felt like a bigger Midtown Sacramento, cleaner San Francisco. The food was good. The shops were cool. Downside: Annoying street kids with a huge sense of entitlement, but I'll forgive you on that front Portland. Maybe you'll be in my revised 5 year plan. We'll see.
Until next time,