I get serious jetlag on cross country trips, but that didn’t stop me from trekking to Portland, Oregon! A friend of mine moved there and asked me to come visit. When a friend asks you to get on a plane, folks, you get on a plane. Especially, when they live somewhere cool and they want to take you around and show you their new city! So Portland.
Let me tell you this: Portland is its own planet. On the last day, I saw this bus drive by. It pretty much summed up my visit and gave me the distinct feeling I needed to get on a plane immediately back to South Carolina.
Everyone and everything is welcome in Portland. Even pot and sparkle boots. Strip clubs are everywhere! I was so tempted. Especially by the one that had a taco restaurant on the front side of it. No, that is not a joke. A taco joint. And a strip club. It’s apparently a cultural thing there like going out for beer with friends after work. Or getting a cup of coffee…
Okay, so this was a funny exchange. I had no idea that Starbucks is sort of a dirty word in Portland. It IS big business and corporate and all. So off I go to board the plane with my brown vintage Starbucks logo hooded sweatshirt. I tell my friend I am hitting up the Starbucks in the airport to load up on mugs to ship back home. “Once you leave the airport, don’t say that word,” she says.
What? Starbucks? Oh, then I guess I shouldn’t sport my hooded sweatshirt ALL WEEK then, either?! You know me. Who cares? I totally did anyway. And so we’re on this hike to this AMAZING waterfall and I see this kid with a to go cup. A STARBUCKS to go cup balanced on one of the rock ledges. He’s snapping photos, re positioning, snapping photos. His dad says, ” Nice sweatshirt!” I died laughing. Apparently they weren’t from Portland.
Vintage is HUGE in Portland. So are paper crafting products. So is art. I came home with a crazy stack of cards and a weird assortment of buttons and accessories for my terrariums. And chocolate.
Doughnuts are also huge there. I hit up three doughnut shops. Blue Star, Donut Byte Labs, and Voodoo Doughnuts. All totally different. Blue Star was more cakey and reminded me of Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts in Charleston (but Glazed is much better). The doughnuts at Donut Byte Lab food cart were tiny, two biters, but were total heaven.
And Voodoo was like Krispy Kreme on crack. I brought home half a dozen for my family, and flew all the way across the US with the protectively nestled in my lap. #ilovemyfamily
Food carts are EVERYWHERE in Portland. Even in the airport there were at least five! I’d be walking along in the city or the outskirts of town and all of the sudden come on a city blog that was nothing but food carts! This happened multiple times. You could get hot dogs, Thai noodles, sushi, Scandinavian food, burritos, vegan fare, sandwiches, pizza, BBQ, stuff on a stick. Anything you can imagine!
I almost got lost in Powell’s Books, the World’s Largest Independent Bookstore! Three stories of books and books and more books. Thank God for color coded areas! And big windows. I did happen upon the romance section. Okay, I went there on purpose. And found their HUGE selection of Robyn Carr books. She’s my favorite series author of late, and I had totally forgotten that her books were based on the Oregon Coast!
I walked almost 5 miles around downtown, breaking once to eat a big juicy burger with bacon tots at Tilt Portland. A much needed refuel.
I had heard of Salt and Straw ice cream from my friends who have traveled through Portland. My friend and I stood in line for 15 minutes. I was sort of dubious that it would be worth the wait. SO worth the wait! I got a split scoop of Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and Stumptown Coffee and Burnside Bourbon. They had several Halloween flavors, too. Even one with bugs. This was the description: a light and fresh green-grass ice cream that hides swarms of real grasshoppers, ants and other insects, trapped in fragments of hard candy amber. Would YOU eat that?! This is not an episode of Goosebumps. And I wanted to make it out of Portland alive.
OMG! I almost forgot to talk about the wine! So in the wine section, I tackled my hesitance with Pinot Noir head on. We whipped out the trusty Vivino App and scanned away until we found some great deals on some highly rated local wine. I also wandered around wide-eyed up and down all the isles at every grocery store we visited before my friend would drag me out by my toes. I LOVE a good grocery store.
I found a new product. I am totally obsessed with this Honey Mama’s Chocolate. I hope to heck I can find it in Greenville eventually, or someone’s gonna have to do some ordering online.
I think that pretty much covers my trip. Huge thank you to Ximena for having me! I can check Portland (and Voodoo Doughnuts) off my bucket list!
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