Wow, who knew I would have such fun on our road trip and after enjoying Boise we were so excited to get to Portland. We had driven a long way that day along the Columbia River Gorge, Billy and I have never been to this part of the country and it was beautiful. It was rainy and windy but when we hit the gorge the sun came out and we couldn't have been happier to experience the water and all the windmills with a little sunshine along this truly scenic drive into Portland.
Well we've arrived in Portland and I am so happy to get out of the car. We stayed at Hotel Monaco which was located in the heart of downtown, which I thought was perfect because the best way to see a new city is by walking it. So we parked the Prius and headed out. It's Friday night and we are starving but first we wanted to walk around to get the lay of the land. There was this huge plaza where all these people were sitting in lawn chairs and eating picnic food they had brought with them. Come to find out this outdoor plaza was showing an outdoor movie on a big screen, which is apparently a weekly gig on Friday nights in the summer, pretty cool. What a great way to spent a evening down town there was so much energy.
Dinner: The staff at our hotel was so helpful and one of the places they recommended was Pazzo, Italian food, perfect. I have to say the whole meal was awesome but my starters were the best thing I think I ate in Portland. It was a plate of local heirloom tomatoes and garlic sauted spinach. The great thing about Portland is that all the restaurant's are doing the locally grown organic thing, awesome! Oh a slight mention to the homemade hazelnut carmel gelato we had for dessert. This and my starters were the highlight of this meal, so good we went back the next night for a repeat of those two dishes, even after we had already had dinner at another location.
The next morning we headed to the Farmers Market, I mean come on I have to check out other cities markets right? Prior to the market we went to breakfast at local favorite called Mother's, this place came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint, we split some warm wholesome oatmeal and a lox and bagel plate. My favorite part of this meal however was the mint tea, it came in a tea pot that had fresh mint leaves along with a peppermint tea bag, it was just so warm and comforting that I'm making it at home now all the time. (lucky for me I can get fresh mint at the farmer's market) Now, on to the Market. The Portland Farmer's Market on Saturday's is held on the Portland University campus. It was shaded by all the wonderful trees and the smells and sounds are familiar to any farmer's market, but it was fun to see how they do some things differently from ours here in Salt Lake. They only sell food, meaning they didn't have of the arts and jewelry booths like they do here at our market, and oh did I mention, they had one thing we don't have here, wine booths! Hello, AWESOME, I bought two bottles from an local area winery to take up to the coast with us. I also grabbed some tomatoes, artichokes, basil and green beans in order to stock up for the next leg of the trip. The other note worthy thing we did that day was we went to a charity jean sale. I know WHAT? There's an organization called Denim for Charity, and they sell designer jeans at the fraction of the cost for charity. Ofcourse I had to help and do my part, I got a great pair of jeans and was happy to get a great deal. Denim for Charity is actually based here in Utah.
The rest of the day we spent in the Pearl District, it's a fun and hip area of downtown with lots of great shops, awesome restaurants, design studios, etc. etc, all in a previosly industrial area that's been revitalized into a trendy upscale part of tow. There are a ton of really nicely done condo developments and great outdoor green spaces, including a natural wet lands park right off of the river front walk, just a really energized part of town that we loved spending the day in.
After walking and exploring all day we were starving so we ate at a place called Henry's Tavern, I had the best veggie burger of my life there. We sat, relaxed, had a few drinks and just soaked up the city night life, what a great town.
Thanx Portland you were awesome, see you next time.
Up next Manzanita.