A weekend in Portland, Oregon


Portland, Oregon is a city that gets a lot of publicity... and for good reason! We took a little weekend trip there at the end of April, and enjoyed exploring the city and eating lots of delicious food. We flew into Vancouver, where our friends Ronan and Amy live, and from there drove the five-ish hours to Portland, arriving in the late afternoon. The sun was shining and people seemed to be in amazing spirits, and we wasted no time in going to Por qué no for delicious tacos and margaritas. I was happy to see that they had a great non-alcoholic option - fresh aquas frescas. It was a fun place to people-watch and get a sense of the city. 

After tacos it was time to check into our airbnb, which was gorgeous! It was a spacious two-bedroom condo with great views of the city, located in the tree-lined North East area. We discovered that the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts had a location only a stones throw from our place, and we had to try a few before the weekend was over. (They were not my fave.)

As soon as we told people we were going to Portland, we were told we HAD to go to Toro Bravo, but also advised to be prepared for a lengthy wait. We ubered over to the restaurant around 7:30, and sure enough were faced with a hour/hour-and-a-half wait. We happily snagged a standup table in the bar area where we could order drinks and appies. Pretty much the entire menu is small plates or tapas meant to share, so it was easy to pick a few things off the menu. Again, I was happy to have the bartender create me a lovely non-alcoholic cocktail - cheers! 

We tried a LOT off the menu, and my favourite by far was the octopus. It was so good that I ordered a second dish of it later, when we were seated at our dinner table. Other favourites were the 'kisses', the patatas bravas, the house made coppa steak, and a manicotti that I was too full to even attempt a bite of.

On Saturday morning we woke up and walked a few blocks to Screen Door, another highly recommended restaurant that serves traditional southern cooking combined with northwest elements. Once again, we were faced with a lengthy wait, so we took advantage of the time to pop into a cute coffee shop - Heart - and walk around the neighbourhood. I loved the architecture combined with the abundance of greenery... around every corner we found a cute house and more pink blooms.

Brunch did not disappoint - Tyler's chicken and waffles was HUGE and really good. He said it tasted like 'vintage' KFC from the 1980's:) After brunch we headed downtown to Powells Books, the world's largest independent bookstore. I was surprised at how big Portland's downtown was. There were tons of great stores and lots and lots of breweries. I found some cute second-hand books for the kids, and a dress from Madewell that's non-maternity and fits well over the bump.

We didn't have firm dinner plans for saturday night, and came across Davenport on some review sites. Surprisingly, they took reservations, so we booked a table for later in the evening and headed back to our airbnb for a drink before dinner. The dinner turned out to be delicious, and was walkable from where we were staying - always a plus. I headed home afterwards, but the guys went to meet up with some friends. They ended up having quite the night... stumbling in during the early hours of Sunday morning:) I would list their bar/lounge recommendations but I'm not sure they would remember!

Sunday morning dawned rainy and cool, and the male members of our group were a little hungover. We slowly gathered up our stuff, and I had a bath - something that felt luxurious as the rain pounded down on the big windows. After checking out we thought about going to Jam on Hawthorne for brunch, but the line was around the block and we weren't in the mood to wait. Instead, we parked the car and took our chances with a place to eat - stumbling across a waffle house/diner that was surprisingly good. The shopping on Hawthorne was great - lots of boutiques and thrift stores.

The rain was picking up a little, so we jumped in the car and headed back downtown to one of Portlands farmers markets. We leisurely explored - walking along the waterfront for a bit and then finding our way back downtown. All of a sudden it started raining - but I could tell a full-on storm was about to hit so we ducked into the nearest building, which happened to be the Pine Street Market. It was a beautiful food hall in an old historic building with sooo many delicious food options. I started with a small ice cream from Salt and Straw, while Tyler had a piece of pizza. With the rain pouring down we had no desire to leave, so we shared a bowl of ramen from Marukin Ramen which was sooo good on a chilly day.

Finally, we came to a group consensus that we were not making the five-hour drive back to Vancouver that night. Instead, we found great hotel deals on hotwire for Seattle, and jumped in the car to make the three hour drive. It was a good decision, and allowed me to see a little bit of another city I had never been to before. If you go to Portland be prepared to eat! I feel like we barely scratched the surface on all the places we wanted to try, yet also ate pretty much non-stop.



Amazing pictures!! It looks like you had a fun!! It must be a wonderful place!
Mónica Sors

Sybil said...

aaahh i miss the PNW!!! Portland was such a memorable experience for me! :D