As much as I love to travel internationally, there are SO many places in the US that I have yet to visit. For awhile now, I’ve been telling my husband about how much I want to visit certain cities in the Pacific Northwest. And with that, he set plans into motion when I returned from my work stint in India to make it happen. First stop, Portland. Portland’s been on my list since I read an article in a food magazine about its food scene a few years back. That plus anyone who’s been to Portland always tell me how much they loved visiting. After reading travel blogs and getting recommendations from our friends, here’s my list of Portland faves.
Immediately after landing and picking up our car, we headed straight for Voodoo Doughnut. It was actually the best idea we had. Since it was late and a bit rainy, there was barely a line. We got three donuts to share (a chocolate crueller, an apple fritter and a fruit loops donut). The doughnuts were decent (not the BEST I’ve ever had), but it’s defn worth going for the experience.
On our first morning in Portland, we hit up the Saturday Market (which is also open on Sundays). When visiting different cities, I enjoy going to local markets. It’s a great way to check out locally made goods and mix in with the locals. We lucked out with the weather, so it was a beautiful day to be outside.
With clear skies in the forecast, we made our way to the Japanese Garden. With the foliage, the garden was magnificent. For a moment, we felt like we were back in Kyoto. The garden was a short drive outside of the city center.
From the garden, we drove over to Pittock Mansion. The mansion was built in the early 1900’s for the Pittock family, who was one of the influential families in Oregon’s history. We took a tour of the mansion and walked its grounds. From the backside of the mansion, we got a beautiful view of Mt. Hood.
Here’s a view of the city as well as Mt. Hood in the distance. This was one of the main reasons we visited the mansion – Dan wanted the view!
We explored the Nob Hill neighborhood which is lined with coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants. We made a pit stop at Barista to pick up an afternoon coffee.
Although we already have a Warby Parker in Boston, I love visiting other locations as each store is always different than the other. This WP annex has old school arcade games – this was a plus for Dan. Dan picked up a pair of sunglasses and I ordered new glasses.
A cool thing about Portland is its food truck scene. There are pods of food trucks throughout the city. Dan and I wen to the one located at SW 10th and Alder and indulged on Korean food. Because we had such a late lunch, we weren’t super hungry for dinner. So, we ended up ordering a charcuterie plate from Olympia Provisions to go. We kinda wished we were hungry enough to sit in for dinner. The atmosphere was really cool and the food that was coming out of the kitchen looked amazing.
The next morning, we decided to brunch at Screen Door. We arrived at 10AM and there was already a one hour wait. But it was SO WORTH IT. While we waited, we wandered into a tiny coffee shop next door.
Kopi Coffee has coffee flavors that are inspired by East Asia. I had the Moka Madu (house honey mocha) and Dan had the Ca Phe Bombon (vietnamese) – both were delicious. So glad we accidentally discovered this little gem.
So back to breakfast. I had two biscuits with sausage gravy and a side of cheddar grits. Dan had a pimento cheese & sausage biscuit sandwich. Four thumbs up on this meal!
I had my heart set on shopping at Menagerie, a natural beauty and body shop. The cool thing about this place is that it’s in an air streamer located in the food / store truck pod located at SE Division and SE 28th. However, we arrived before it was open. We did find out that it was participating in a pop-up over at Boys Fort, which is a collection of locally made products. We did end up stopping there and I was able to pick up a few beauty goodies.
When traveling, I like to find things that are made locally. I think it makes the souvenirs that much more special. Made Here PDX focuses on just that – goods made in Portland.
My favorite part of the store was the jewelry section (duh!). I was lucky enough that the hubs gifted me a beautiful ring made by Upper Metal Class.
Here’s another shot of the store. Definitely a must-visit if you are in Portland and looking to bring back a gift for family, friends, or yourself!
Another shop we visited was Tender Loving Empire. It’s yet another store that focuses on handmade goods (are you spotting a trend here?). It’s a very happy and whimsical store filled with all sorts of knick knacks. We picked up a sweet little gift for our friends’ newborn.
We swung by Tanner Goods, a store that features high quality leather goods that are crafted in Portland. However, what caught my attention were all the other goods and wares in the store. It was a bit pricier than I had hoped, but it was great to browse.
I stopped into Vintalier because I loved the store’s aesthetic – clean lines and simple decor. The store has a mix of vintage and modern clothing so the price points range from low to high.
On the only rainy day we had (so lucky it was only ONE day), we decided to visit the Portland Art Museum. And we were ecstatic to find out upon arrival that there was an Andy Warhol exhibit. It was an amazing (and colorful) experience to see so much of his work in one place. The exhibit runs until January 1.
When in Portland: Powell’s Books. It’s the world’s largest independent book store. And when they say largest, they aren’t joking. You could literally get lost in there! I picked up The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up. I want to know what all they hype is about 🙂
I’d have to say, my favorite meal in Portland was at Pok Pok. The food served here is what would be found on the streets of South East Asia, with a focus on Thailand. The pic above does not do the food any justice. We started off with Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings – excellent. Our meal consisted of Yam Makheua Yao and Cha Ca La Vong. We left very satisfied.
Following dinner, we went to Salt & Straw which is THE place for ice cream. Be ready to wait in line. They have a lot of funky flavors and I went with the cookies and cream with raspberry swirl. We sprung for the homemade waffle cone – worth the extra $1.
So that’s a wrap for Portland. Next up, Seattle.