Monday, May 5, 2014

Portland Weekend Recap

A few weeks ago we did an awesome weekend trip to Portland and all I can say is, I'm both lucky and sad Portland is a few hours away.  That town has some of the best food I've ever tasted and that's coming from someone who lives 20 min away from Seattle. Portland is what I would describe as Seattle's weird angst-y foodie-type artsy-fartsy Birkenstock-wearing younger sibling (in the most endearing way possible).

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Here's a rundown of the places we hit that I would DE-FI-NITE-LY recommend:

Multnomah Falls - Truly spectacular waterfall a quick ride outside Portland.  You can also see several other falls on the drive out to Multnomah.  We also saw Vista House on our way there and will try to go back when it reopens.  Just seeing it from the highway it looked pretty amazing.

Voodoo Donuts - The downtown location was literally A block away from our hotel but the line stretched around the block almost all day (and they're open 24/7 and cash only).  We actually stumbled across the Davis St. location and were thankful we didn't have to stand in line to get our maple bacon donut.  PS: Gabe actually ordered the lemon chiffon, which, I welcome your pot shots.

Stumptown Coffee - The line is long but that's for a damn good reason!  This place has pretty amazing coffee.  There are places to get Stumptown in the Puget Sound area but the downtown Portland cafe is a must.

Syun Izakaya - Featured in a local food magazine (thanks Karen!) touting Portland's best sushi - we had to see for ourselves.  Yes, it was amazing.  Be prepared for a bit of a drive outside downtown (it's totally in suburbia Portland) but it's well worth it.  The absolute best octopus salad, sashimi platter and unagi we've ever had.  The dining room is pretty cozy so expect be prepared for merciless eavesdropping from patrons at the table next to you who can't help it.  You won't care anyway because you'll be eating orgasmic sushi.

The Sudra - To my surprise Gabe actually agreed to go to this place for lunch and may or may not have admitted to liking it despite the fact that it is vegetarian (maybe vegan even?).  Keep in mind we were mere steps from this (what can only be an) amazing place with happens to have a sandwich counter, another place I'm dying to try.  I don't know if he was under the impression the calorie count would be low, less the animal fat/protein we would be consuming but he was lured in to getting an $8 spiked hot cocoa which, I have to admit, it was absolutely adorable watching him trying to not make a face when sipping.  There was definitely more whiskey in it than any other substance and I had a few sips and was immediately drunk. Interestingly, I don't think Gabe realized there was no real cow dairy in this drink because the coconut milk was sorta perfuming the whole thing which I love and he hates coconut.  He was a stranger in a strange land.  I ate almost the entire Calabacitas Kofta plate (drool) despite not being particularly hungry and Gabe thoroughly enjoyed his Pakora Plate.  Portions don't seem huge but were very filling - even the half ones.

Calabacitas Kofta Plate - The Sudra

Ken's Artisan Pizza - Read about this place in the same food magazine that suggested the sushi place, didn't disappoint.  Reviews warned of the notorious lines so our strategy (yes, we strategize meals in this family) to wait until about 9:30p for dinner and it was clearing out so go later if you can because I hear the lines are brutal.  He had the fennel sausage and onion and I got the anchovy with a side of arugula salad.  Yes, I wanted it all to myself but also b/c I actually DO love anchovy pizza - again, strategy.  By the time we were done and the server came by to see if we wanted dessert (after a scant slice was missing from each pie) we had to admit we weren't even hungry when we stepped through the door but we just had to see what all the ruckus was about.  I'm not a huge thin crust pizza place, but this place could make me change my mind.


Budd + Finn - Such an adorable little shop filled with really cute stuff.  Seemed like I could find a gift for just about all my friends here.  Funny story: this is the 2nd bird plate purchased from that store.  First one met a grizzly end on the floor of Powell's Bookstore after someone unceremoniously dropped it smashing it into 7 pieces.  The store owner was kind enough to wrap this one in enough bubble wrap and tape it could have probably made it back to China where it came from completely unharmed.

Bird plate - Budd + Finn

Bella Casa - A great home furnishings store.  I'll have these people decorate my future mansion.

Powell's Books - Independent bookstore (taking up a whole city block) with tons of new/used books.  We could've spent hours in there.

Saturday Market - Where I could have spent hours browsing all the local wares but was happy with the hour we did have to browse while getting free smells from all the local food vendors.  I managed to escape with only a pair of beautiful leaf earrings from this vendor that look similar to this but not exactly.  That's what I love about small businesses like that, my earrings are so unique.

Portland's Chinatown
I will also admit to stopping by Lulu and Sur la Table.  I'm a creature of comfort, what can I say?  Plus, shopping is tax free in Oregon so I had to help the local economy out and at least look.  Besides, since Kuen was enjoying the fruits of my mother's misguided attempts at spoiling her by giving her any/everything she wants wasn't with us, I had to take advantage of unencumbered retail therapy whereas normally I'm a millisecond away from a 2 year-old thrashing about wildly in a stroller completely derailing a shopping trip altogether.

If you're looking for a hotel, we stayed at the Embassy Suites on Pine - right in the middle of the action downtown.  As stated above, super close to several great eateries and coffee shops.  They had a pretty impressive hot breakfast buffet that included an omelet bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, oatmeal bar, etc.  Almost a crime to eat there considering the caliber of places around (none of which I've actually tried but vow to do so in the near future: Lauretta Jean's, Pine State Biscuits, Mother's) but it's hard to pass up the egg-cellent smells of bacon and other obligatory breakfast foods wafting from Arcadian Gardens (yes, that's really the name of the room).  The same room has a nightly hosted happy hour with light snacks that is also included with your stay.  We were so impressed w/ breakfast we went to see if the happy hour was the same caliber but the booze were meh (yes, even if they were free).  I say skip that and find a local place for happy hour instead.  I was dying to try Portland City Grill but we just couldn't get over feeling like our tummies were going to pop for most of the trip so we had a momentary stroke of abstinence in an otherwise gluttonous weekend and, much to my stomach's relief, decided to skip it.  Parking was a bit spendy at $27/day (add $5 if you want to use valet) but that did, at least, include in/out privileges.

Can't wait to go back with our sweet little rug rat in tow.  Not only did we miss her like crazy, it would be an awesome family trip she would love - homegirl loves to eat too.
A particularly hilarious meltdown where the photo taking only agitated further unfortunately.

Promise an actual recipe is coming later this week...this is still a food blog if all I talk about is eating, right?

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