Hello friends and greetings from some massive altitude above the western side of the USA! I’m en route from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, CA almost at the midway point of my pleasure-work-pleasure west coast travels. Since I suck at sleeping on airplanes (you’d think the 5am wakeup would have been sufficient to knock me out!) I thought I’d take this time to tell you all about why Portland is an awesome place to visit.
1) Portland is awesome because OMG the food.
Recently I’ve noticed Portland popping up all over as an “it” restaurant city. This is not a lie. The food in Portland was so tasty and I consumed so much that I worried Delta was going to slap a “HEAVY” sticker on me as I boarded this morning’s flight to LA (where I assume I’ll eat nothing for the week, as most LA women do). Where did we eat you ask?
Locally sourced/farm to table is kinda the vibe of all of Portland, and this restaurant did it really well. Dimly lit with an open kitchen and industrial chic vibe, Clyde Common served up an impeccable charcuterie board and several unique share plates of the octopus, lamb, pork belly and pasta variety. I also discovered that “share plate” meals are way more affordable when you’re not in NYC. NICE.
I selected this spot in Portland’s Division neighborhood because Joanna of CupofJo fame called it one of the best meals of her life. High expectations officially met. This meal was DELICIOUS (and not just because we were starving and drunk off 2 tasting flights from Deschutes Brewery.) We ate SO much at this meal and one item was better than the next from the fresh salads and small plate appetizers (Dr. H declared the chicken liver toast one of the “top 7 foods I’ve ever eaten in my life”) to the fresh pasta in shapes and sauces too tasty for me to coherently remember. If you go to Portland, go to Ava Genes.
The fried chicken with gravy biscuit sandwich (with egg!) to the right was so good it almost made me forget that calories are I thing I care about. Almost.
This place started as a food truck and became a brick and mortar restaurant likely because the sandwiches are just that damn good. Dr. H and I worked yesterday from a picnic table outside using Lardo’s free wifi while enjoying amazing fresh tuna melt and pork shoulder sandwiches. The bread was crispy and perfect, the insides were flavorful and unique. Gotta love a good sandwich AmIRight!?
2) Portland is awesome because DONUTS (and coffee)
Turns out this city has a thing for donuts and that’s a thing that’s a-ok with me. We started our adventure with “Voodoo Doughnuts” and ended it with “Blue Star Donuts” which are for two distinctly different types of donut lovers (and I’m not just referring to the spelling). Voodoo is ridiculous… decadent, silly, excessive are just a few words that came to mind over the 3 days it took Dr. H and I to polish off our box of 4 insane doughnuts. As opposed to Blue Star which was simply the tastiest glazed donut I’ve ever eaten (in one sitting. While Dr. H watched. Because he has respect for his body and I do not.)
Also, the original Stumptown Roasters is located in Portland and is just one of the many many small(ish) coffee shops in town (peace out Starbucks!) Stumptown has a serious "to go" selection which included chocolate milk chilled coffee. Be still my heart.
3) Portland is awesome because NATURE!
This place knows a thing or two about keeping it clean, green and beautiful. Not only is Portland itself a generally clean place with a river in the middle and lovely, simple architecture, but just outside the city limits are some amazing hikes, mountains, forests and waterfalls. Dr. H and I spent Sunday driving around the scenic byway, hiking Multnomah Falls (we went all the way to the top and I have the quad/ass-ache to prove it!) and generally appreciating how beautiful the Pacific Northwest is. I only wish we’d had more time there (possibly during summer weather) so we could have done more hiking, river floating and site seeing
4) Portland is awesome because SPORTS!
One of the unusual things Dr. H and I have done for 4 years running is visit a random college with a great football team and attend one of their games. It’s probably some sort of subconscious way of making up for the fact that our college (GDUB!) didn’t even have a football team. This year we drove about 90 minutes from Portland to Eugene to watch the Oregon Ducks take on the Utah Utes (it's a Native American tribe). This game did not pan out well for the Ducks, but I’ll take any excuse to drink beer, watch football in the mountains and be represented by a mascot that’s essentially Donald Duck’s football loving brother.
5) Portland is awesome because it’s a little WEIRD
The slogan is “keep Portland Weird” and the show Portlandia pokes fun of its weirdness with pride… I would agree – Portland is a little weird. Portland has funky food truck communes, a great weekend market (check out the “Saturday Market” and Saturday or Sunday!), super friendly people and a bizarre lack of bustle even on weekdays. The stores all sell the unique sorts of home goods you want but don’t need and people drink beer with every meal, even on Mondays. Portland is great and you should definitely visit.
Now off to LaLa Land!!!