The morning before Joy and I got back on a plane from Portland to Long Beach I booked a photographer to take some maternity photos for us. Originally I thought I would just do them, but after thinking about it I figured it was probably best that somebody else take care of it, and went with Colleen Sparks. It also helped that the she’s also was Aziz’s neighbor.
It was beneficial since she was able to pick us up and bring us to Cathedral Park which sits underneath St. John’s Bridge which gives plenty of things to take pictures by. We spent about an hour shooting around the parks in various places and I think they came out pretty well.
We had lots of places on our list before heading up to Portland, but were only able to visit a couple due to being too full to eat, or too far to get to without a car at the moment. We initially thought of going to Pok Pok, but just couldn’t convince ourselves to spending a lot of money on Thai food. This is my list of my favorite places that we got to eat at.
Joy’s favorite place for breakfast each morning was at Nuvrei in the Pearl District. I really like their Bacon & Cheddar Biscuit sandwich with eggs, and bacon, and should’ve gotten another one both days. Their plain croissants were also very flakey, and the almond croissants were full of flavor.
We started off with 4 donuts, and after eating two, we had to get four more when we saw that they brought out even more types of donuts. I realy liked the Blueberry, Bourbon & Basil donut, and the Passionfruit, Cocoa nib donut. They’ve got their own version of a maple bacon donut which i appreciate that it was bits of bacon vs. a strip of bacon on top of the donut.
The very tasty Thai style Chicken and Rice served with some soup. Its a bit difficult to eat while standing up so you have to make sure you have a place to sit down and eat.
You can never go wrong with some porky action, and The People’s Pig does the Porchetta right. Its really flavorful that sits in between arugula and a bread that holds up well to the juices that comes out of the pork.
Andina is a Peruivan restaurant that came recommended by a friend and is highly rated on TripAdvisor so I made rsvp on Open Table for a Sunday night dinner. The place was packed and we actually got seated at a poor place because it was close to the entrance, and the kitchen ventilation needs some work. The food for the most part was delicious, particularly the shrimp and mango ceviche, scallop with fried onions, and the stuffed piquillos peppers. Probably wouldn’t get the lomo saltado as it was good, but didn’t necessarily much different from the versions i get close to home.
Park Kitchen was a restaurant that i wanted to try since it seemed to have a more unique menu, but sadly it just couldn’t pull it together in my opinion. The best dish we had was the fried green beans, with bits of fried bacon mixed in.
Saturday night i left dinner plans open, and had some thoughts of going to Apizza Scholls or Tasty N Sons but ended up getting some of our comfort food, of wonton soup, and pan fried noodles in Chinatown. Not quite located at the best area, and has a pretty sad looking store, but at least the food was tasty enough.
Cool Moon was the first ice cream shop we found in Portland while wandering around the Pearl District, and left the most impressionable flavor to our memories. We got a Lemon Lavender flavor which i don’t know because of just eating lunch was very refreshing. It also seemed to be the most down home place that we visited.
Salt & Straw was another recommendation from multiple friends and looks like everyone has friends because the line was out the door and around the corner. Salt & Straw goes a little farther with their flavors and here i tried out their beer flavored ice cream, getting a half scoop of Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout and Hopped Farmhouse Ale in a fresh waffle cone. Both were really good.
Ruby Jewel was probably the least memorable ice cream we had. It happen to be National Ice Cream Sandwich day, so they were offering up ice cream sandwiches for half off. I got a strawberry ice cream between some lemon cookie, but nothing wrong with it, i just didn’t want to finish it.
I really wanted to try more biscuits, but most of places were beyond walking distance or took too long via public transportation. We made it out to the Alberta area of Portland our final night out there, and even though i was full from dinner i wanted to try a biscuit at Pine State Biscuits, and they had a Fruit and Whip version which i thought could be a good dessert, but sadly not. I really should’ve just gotten it with jam, or honey. Next time for sure i’ll make it out for breakfast, so i can get some gravy.
We decided against going to a traditional bar so that i could try some local brews and went to the Departure which is at the top of the Nines Hotel. They’ve got a relatively peaceful patio compared to the loud bar inside, and the views are pretty amazing from the bridges and rivers on the east to the hills to the west.
We got to the airport a little early so i had time to grab one last Portland beer before heading back to California. I wanted a Guiness type beer and got a Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout which was very good. The food didn’t look that appetizing so i was find sticking to my beer.
Sunday morning we woke up early and walked over to Dollar Rent a Car to pick up our rental. We saw all the Subaru Outbacks on the lot and thought it would be a good idea to try one out since we’re thinking of getting one for our next car. (It was a very fun car, but obviously not as fancy as our Acura)
Our first plan for the day was to head 30 minutes east to Multnomah Falls. We got a handy guide from our rental office that there are actually many more falls than just Multnomah and you can take various trails to see them all. We couldn’t the 6-8 mile hikes so we stuck to the 1 mile hike up to the top of Multnomah Falls.
From the parking lot you can see the base of the waterfall, and we figured a one mile hike wouldn’t be too bad. We quickly realized that the incline was much steeper than expected. Joy saw another pregnant woman coming down, so she figured that she could finish it too. It took about an hour to get up to the top with frequent rest stops, but it was worth it once you get to see the view. You can see the perspective by the bridge in both pictures.
The bigger plan for the day was to meet up with my old college buddy Aziz who moved up to Portland three years ago. I’ve knew once he moved up there that i would go visit him, it just took three years, and a child for him to finally get me up there. I finally met his son Jordan, and got to check out his house and garden too.
When I told Aziz when i was coming up, he invited me to his Courthouse’s summer BBQ at a former judge’s Hops Farm out in the countryside. It was a really nice event with lots of food, beer/wine, music, and horses. It was a great place just to hang out and catch up after all these years.
Portland is known by many names and all have a distinct reasoning behind them, which makes Portland a mixture of different social groups. This creates a very unique town which has a mix of San Francisco, New York, and maybe even a little Paris. There’s even a term that people used “Keep Portland Weird” which is attributed to its intense following of bicycles, craft beers, recycling, and food carts.
The first two days in Portland Joy and I kept close to the city center and explored where ever the TriMet would take us. We started off of course by grabbing some lunch at the various food carts setup near our hotel (Westin). We found the incresingly famous Nong’s Khao Man Gai cart which sells what else, Thai Chicken and Rice served in wax paper just like in Thailand. It was a really good version of the dish and a great start to our trip after our flight fiasco (we also got some thick skinned dumplings from the Dump Truck which were meh) . We even got it again the afternoon before our flight back home. Saturday we got a porchetta sandwich of The People’s Pig food cart which was delicious and a good Lamb Gyro from Aybla Grill.
Saturday morning we took a bus to the base of Arlington Heights and walked the rest of the way up to the International Rose Test Garden, which has a huge varietal of types of roses, with so many colors that i didn’t know they could come in.
We also stopped by the Portland Saturday Market which is your typical crafts fair type of event with lots of portland-centric t-shirts, holistic body treatments, and other hippy artwork for sale. I thought they would have more interesting things, but didn’t find one thing worth buying. Although there was one weird live puppet performance piece if you can’t tell whats happening in the picture above.
Around the Saturday Market we bumped into the 45 minute line for Voodoo Doughnuts, and we always said we would come back, but we never did. I don’t think their presentation does it any justice if they are any good, because their donuts and shop just looks like a hot mess (especially compared to Blue Star Donut which we did try).
One of the more unique attraction that the city center has is Powell’s Books which is a book store that takes up an entire city block with multiple floors and every book imaginable. I could spend hours there just looking for rare and odd books. After a day and of half in the city center we got through the Pearl District, 23rd St. and the various surrounding areas and knew we had to rent a car for Sunday.
For our last hurrah before the kid pops out, I decided to take Joy out to Portland since its pretty close, they’ve a good food scene, and its got a nice relaxed vibe to the place. I went there some eight or nine years ago and found the place quite relaxing so it was a good place to just take it easy and spend sometime with each other before all hell breaks loose.
I bought some really cheap tickets on Jetblue a few months ago, but when we got to the Long Beach Airport we found out that i accidentally booked the opposite trip, meaning i booked a weekend in LA instead of PDX. It was really early in the morning so the staff was able to help us out without having us have to buy full priced tickets to make our trip.
It was a four fun filled days with lots of food and even some time with an old friend. We got to try out some famous spots, travelled to see some waterfalls and even got to enjoy a summer bbq out at a hops farm. I’ll explain in detail as i go through a couple hundred photos.