+ Josh now does a fair bit of travel for his work which has its ups and downs, and this trip was definitely one of the ups. We flew out west a few days earlier than his coworkers to spend the weekend exploring the city together and my oh my was it fabulous!
+ As a Northern Californian who loves visiting Seattle, I'm embarrassed to say that before this trip, I had not spent any significant amount of time in Portland. I believe that I'd driven over a bridge and through the city "just to look" on our way up to Seattle, but I'd never actually stepped foot onto Portland soil. Or asphalt.
+ It's been a little bit since we've been to San Francisco, but I think Portland may have replaced it as my favorite city. I'm not even going to apologize. Or try to explain that to my parents.
+ Of course, like with any trip, my favorite part was the food. But this food beat the food of any other city of food I've ever been to.
Yes, I've been to NYC. Don't interrupt.
There were quite a few restaurants I had followed from afar for a long time, so I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to try their fare. I've learned to not set my expectations too high, just in case that insanely popular no-reservations restaurant is packed and we can't get in or that the eatery really wasn't worth the hype. Lowered expectations simply make travel much more fun.
But EVERY. SINGLE. RESTAURANT. blew. my. mind.
Not once did we finish eating and say "That was alright" or "I guess we should've gone to that other place instead" or "We need to go back to the hotel IMMEDIATELY so I can use the bathroom" (don't pretend that's never happened to you).
+ VooDoo Doughnuts is DEFINITELY worth the hype. We got in to PDX pretty late so we went to the closest location to grab a box for breakfast the next morning so we could sleep in. I didn't realize just how long lines could get until we drove by their original location the next [Saturday] morning. Go to their second location at midnight. And then if you really want to be like us, do the exact same thing the next night. It will be worth it. Also get the Mango Tango. I still dream about it.
+ Pok Pok. I just. I loved. I told Josh that I was pretty open when it came to restaurants we should try (since there were too many good ones to choose from) but I NEEDED to try Pok Pok. Even if it was packed and we couldn't make it in we still had to try. So we walked up at 6pm on a Saturday night expecting at least a 30 minute wait. We immediately got a table. A quiet table upstairs. With an excellent waitress who made great recommendations and kindly explained EVERYTHING. The limeade is delicious. The vinegar sodas are strange but also delicious (don't let Josh tell you otherwise). The wings BLEW MY MIND. I know I keep saying that. Leave me alone.
+ I will now share with you all of the other food we ate because it was all amazing and deserves mention, but I understand that the food I ate is only interesting to me so I will keep it short.
Nong's Khao Man Gai (never has chicken & rice been so, dare I say, mindblowing)
Boba drinks everywhere (Portland, you are my kinda city)
The Dump Truck (excellent name for a fusion dumpling truck)
Salt & Straw (now THAT is unique ice cream)
Lovely's Fifty Fifty (wood-fired pizza & housemade ice cream, but the side dishes were the real winners)
ChaChaCha! (to be honest the most disappointing food of the trip, but that's only because everything else was so amazing & Red Iguana has ruined all other mexican food for us)
Toadstool Cupcakes (the most unique cupcakes I have ever partaken of)
Other foods from food carts that has since slipped my mind....
+ We generally do a fair amount of shopping when we travel, but my favorite shopping experience to date has been the Saturday Market. Such a cool venue, so many unique (but actually cool) products, and delicious food to keep you going. That is shopping even Josh will love. It didn't hurt that there was a dog walkathon that ended right just up the river walk, so there were loads of adorable pups to ogle at while we shopped. First thing we found a jewelry maker who made etched brass necklaces and bracelets. I had to have the California bear pendant with waves etched onto it. Best souvenir ever (even if it represents CA not OR).
+ Best (affordable) boutique shopping I've experienced! I loved Tender Loving Empire, a unique gift shop + record label/store with loads of Portland themed goods. Their design aesthetic is on point. And thankfully they have a location at the airport because I regretted not purchasing a "West Coast" pin earlier in the trip but I was able to rectify the situation before flying home.
+ Green. Everywhere. I think that is why west coast cities will always delight me more than east coast cities- they embrace the green. Our hotel was north of the city and it was so cool to drive south along the river and look at the rolling hills of green trees. And the view heading south across the Columbia River and Government Island toward the airport literally took my breath away (momentarily, don't worry). I don't think a view had actually ever done that to me before then. Oh and "green" as in environmentally friendly is very cool too.
+ And last but certainly not least: Powell's. Of course we went to Powell's. We went to their main hub downtown on a Saturday afternoon and it was a claustrophobic nightmare. It was also a book lover's dream so I was very conflicted. They have an excellent selection and great prices for their used books and so many cool gifts and so many people taking selfies and standing around and not looking at books? I loved their Hawthorne location much more. It was smaller and more carefully curated and much less stressful and much less people and parking was significantly better so.... I won't apologize. Next time I'll try to make time for the Powell's hub on a quieter weekday. Either way, Powell's is amazing.
+ Portland, I love you. Most ardently. I will return to you and we will be together forever, if not in body then in soul.