Tuesday, June 14, 2022

3 Days in Portland, Oregon

In early May I visited my best friend for a long weekend in Portland, Oregon. I have been before, so a lot of the classic "things to do in Portland" didn't apply to me. But, she planned an incredible itinerary and showed me some of the adorable neighborhoods that the City of Roses has to offer. What's your favorite thing to do in Portland?
Begin with an early morning coffee stop into Barista for a hot latte. They take their coffee seriously in this eclectic shop — think floral wallpaper paired with steer horns and old-school boxing posters.
Walk just down the road to this French restaurant & bakery. We got croissants and goodies to-go (we were both working two of the days I visited). Next time I would love to eat at the cafe, it feels super Nancy-Meyers meets Coastal Grandma.

Rollin' Fresh

For lunch order a sushi burrito from one of Portland's best food trucks. They have a few locations around the city, including the Alberta neighborhood. They have regular sushi options but a killer vegan menu as well — I got the Veggie Crunch (tempura squash, tempura asparagus, tempura carrot, tempura sweet potato, pico, blazing salsa) and loved it.
Highly recommend visiting Portland in early May, everything will be blooming!
With towering trees, a pond full of waterfowl and the potential to see a bald eagle. Laurelhurst is a beaut. When it was donated to be a park in 1912, they decided to go with the Olmsted-vision and it just feels so lush and natural. Take an afternoon stroll before...
...grabbing a beer! Over in the Boise neighborhood, StormBreaker has a huge outdoor patio ideal for sipping a clear Kolsch.

Eem

 Walk a few blocks over to Eem for incredible drinks (in glasses that will bring out your inner kelpto...do not steal them) and spicy curries. The green curry comes with crispy pork and roasted veggies and I loved it! Definitely order the "Drugs" cocktail, it's frozen and tastes like a dreamsicle/Dole whip. We did not get there super early on a Thursday night and got in to sit at the bar immediately. But if you have a bigger group or are going on a weekend I highly recommend going early.
End your day with a scoop of Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from the West Coast's most famous ice creamery.

Day 2


Pine State Biscuits

Biscuit restaurants seem to be the 2022 version of 2012's cupcake shops. Head over to Pine State for The Chatfield (fried chicken, bacon, cheese, apple butter). It hits the spot on a chilly, rainy, Portland day.

Get your morning cafe fix at the Hawthorne location of Coava, a coffee roaster that is intense about making your drink right.
Probably my favorite thing we did, Mt. Tabor is an incredible city park located on an ancient volcano. I'm a big public park girlie and even the bathrooms were a delight (don't they look like they're out of a storybook???). We parked at the visitors center and walked up to the top. I will admit I got winded at one point because there are two options — a trail that slowly makes its way around or the stairs straight up — and the stairs were rough. The view at the top is impeccable as well.
 
 Once you've gotten your cardio in, change into something a little bit dressier and pop over to Wilder. We just went for drinks and sat out in the street under their massive tent. I liked the Tamarind Fuego with Serrano infused tequila, tamarind puree, honey and lime. 
Gabbiano's
Just down the street, have dinner on the beautiful patio at Gabbiano's. The pasta was delicious but if I'm being honest the thing I think about the most at this meal was the cocktail. It might be the best I've had in years...basically it's a frozen Bellini (white wine, white peach puree, lemon, orange flower water, prosecco and a peach ring). Incredible.


McMenamins

The bestie is obsessed with the McMenamins chain, a wild group of pubs that began in the 1980s and has everything from restaurants to bars to hotels. They like taking historic buildings and making them new again and they even have a passport so you can visit all of them. We visited the Kennedy School location for drinks with a friend, but we also walked around the whole thing (there was an 80s prom happening) and I was into the garden with its picnic tables and lush green plants. It's 100 percent worth a visit.
Named in Yelp's recent "Top 100 Donut Shops, 2022", Pip's is an icon. They serve up chai and mini donuts most mornings. Now...I do not want to be a downer. I loved the vibe. I loved their Oregon pride. And I loved their chai. Like the chai is incredible and worth a visit. Do I think the donuts were worth waiting in line for? Not particularly. They are just little fried things with icing on top to make them the different flavors. But, they do make for a cute photo. Go for the chai, grab some donuts while you're there.
One of the things I did when I visited back in high school was go to Washington Park to see the rose garden, and we went back but for a different reason. But, how I remembered this park is exactly the same. Just downright beautiful. It showcases views of downtown and Mt. Hood in a verdant setting.

A former Japanese ambassador to the U.S., said that this garden was “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside Japan.” You walk up a hill and into this beauty, with its individual gardens and little pockets of peace. I've never been to Japan so I can't say exactly what it feels like, but this garden feels authentic and not like it's playing at being Japanese. It's the ideal last activity for your Portland trip.

HunnyMilk

Once you've been outside all morning, head downtown for Hunnymilk for your last meal. This restaurant combines things I've always wanted — a savory option and a sweet option in one entree. When you walk in, head to the counter to order, then you'll sit on benches and wait until your number is called. They sit you once your food is ready, which is such a cool concept. I had the Popcorn Chicken and Waffle Donuts with the Strawberry Shortcake Bars. I loved it. 10/10.
Just kidding about your last meal! If you get stuck in Portland's airport, grab an insane grilled cheese from the Tillamook Market.

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