July 14 – 16, 2017 3 days
I was in Portland this weekend for a friend’s “bachelorette party”. Quotes because this wasn’t a traditional bachelorette party at all (ask me why). We spent three days in the city, mostly exploring the food scene and urban landscape. This was my second trip to Portland, and this time I could strongly feel the laid-back vibe the city has. People really love their lunches and dinners and leisurely coffees and local markets. This is a great contrast from San Francisco. That said, Portland is also strange because I got the sense that it misses a lot of the cultural density found in San Francisco. Either way, it’s a good place to visit for a weekend and have a good time.
Since this was a trip I took for personal reasons, most of its value for me derives from the company and conversations. The following contains highlights that would serve anyone looking to spend a weekend in the city.
Most of us arrived on Friday morning. After lunch, we checked into our AirBnb in the King neighborhood of northeast Portland. This is a generally nice area with several fancy shops and restaurants within walking distance. Part of the group went to Multnomah Falls, but I didn’t join given it was a Friday, and a work day for me.
¿Por Qué No? - Taqueria with delicious tacos and tamales. The margaritas were good and large too, and readily got us tipsy in minutes.
Cheese & Crack Snack Shop – I’ve never been a fan of cheese plates, but this place changed my opinion. Their offerings also looked very pretty.
Lechon – We treated our friend to a fancy dinner at Lechon, which is a tapas place and Latin American restaurant. While I question the authenticity of the Latin American part of the description, the food was extremely good, as were the cocktails. The price was ridiculously low which was a pleasant surprise.
It appears as if the people of Portland (affluent ones anyway) love their brunch. Most good brunch places can have waits anywhere from a few minutes to over ninety. Part of our day was made extra pleasant by magic candy, as we ate a lot of food, and then retired early to our AirBnb to watch videos and play card games.
Hunnymilk – We had to wait for our brunch here, but not too long. The food was good and the portions large, though their coffee and tea could be better. We also find a bucket of crayons and some paper to color while we waited for our order to arrive.
Portland Saturday Market – A good stop to shop for gifts and maybe street food. I heard there’s a famous farmers market too on Saturdays, but we didn’t go there.
Portland Japanese Garden – I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty and greenery here. It was also probably the only Japanese garden I’ve been to that’s built on a hillside, which adds to the charm.
Tidbit Food Farm and Garden – Collection of fancy food trucks in an outdoor setting. Most of what we ate here was good.
Bollywood Theater – I don’t know how I feel about Indian food places that try extra hard to appear authentic but don’t employ a single brown person. The food here tasted good while we had endlessly funny conversations among the “Horn OK Please” plates and extra orders of chai.
Salt & Straw – Good ice cream with an awfully long line. We skipped the line by buying a pint instead, and they were kind enough to sell us a cone separately.
This was supposed to be a more relaxed day after the previous intense one. We checked out of our AirBnb and headed to the city for some leisurely exploration.
Courier Coffee – Have I mentioned how much coffee is liked in Portland?
Powell’s City of Books – It’ll probably take at least five visits to cover the entirety of this bookstore. I found some good books on poetry and theater here. Their collection is impressively complete, from mainstream bestsellers to more obscure literature, and rigorous cataloging for easy search.
Pok Pok – Such good food, I swear. I am going to get their vegetarian noodle soup and drinking vinegars every single time I visit Portland.
We didn’t try to use public transport, but I’m willing to guess it isn’t very good in Portland. Most of our getting around was done via walking or ride sharing services. We also got perfect weather for our entire stay, which is always lucky when you’re in the Pacific Northwest. As a result, we got a clear view of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens on our way to the airport on the last day.
Portland does have much more to offer, including breweries and outdoor activities which we skipped during this trip. I am going back there next month to see the solar eclipse, so there will be an opportunity to do other things.- nRT