At the beginning of June, I got to go to Portland with work for a snack fair. Yes, a snack fair! The convention center was filled with stalls featuring different vendors' snacks and drinks, and we walked around sampling to explore new options for Box. It was hard work. Best stalls: anything with ice cream. Worst stalls: anything with organic, natural, gluten-free, energizing bars (hint: this was all bars).
Our hosts even took us to Portland City Grill for a fancy dinner, complete with sushi, steaks, and fine wine. They successfully wooed us.
On Friday, Brittany flew up to join me so we could spend the rest of the weekend exploring Portland. We stayed at an Airbnb in the Northwest, and our whole weekend ended up revolving around three things: food, flowers, and folk.
We started with the most obligatory tourist stop: Voodoo Doughnut. Covered in kitchy, colorful decor, this place has every kind of wacky doughnut creation you could imagine. Our two most interesting orders were the one with Cap'n Crunch toppings, and the chocolate voodoo doll, complete with a pretzel stabbed in his side.
We basically restaurant-hopped the whole trip, one night even getting a pasta app at Grassa before moving on to tapas at Tasty N Alder. We joked that for a successful restaurant/bar/boutique in Portland it needed only be named "______ &/And/N _______". Another restaurant we were eager to try was Pok Pok, an authentic-meets-inventive Thai place covered in twinkle lights and fish sauce. The most interesting thing about the place was that they also own the bar across the street so that while you're waiting, you can have a drink and an app, and then your waitress at the bar will let you know when your table is ready at Pok Pok. Amazing way to capitalize on wait times!
For Sunday brunch, we walked a couple blocks from our place to Besaw's, an adorable cafe I could've moved into, that had killer delicious food, plus views of dogs and babies.
After food, our visit was dominated by gardens and flowers. We visited the Chinese Gardens, the Japanese Gardens, and the Rose Garden in Washington Park. My favorite was surprisingly the Chinese Gardens, which was condensed into a single city block, provided a beautiful pamphlet describing all the elements of the gardens, and had a lovely little tea house for us to enjoy.
City of Roses indeed! We saw them everywhere we went, and more than I could imagine at the Rose Gardens. The flowers were incredibly fragrant, and the names of the roses were so unique, often sounding more like ice cream flavors.
One of our favorite nights was spent in the SE part of the city, and after dinner we headed to Landmark Saloon, which had a great folk/blues/Americana band playing, and lots of people swing dancing. We enjoyed our sweet tea vodkas in between being asked to dance by the locals. It was such fun, and we commented on the fact that in San Juan we salsa danced, in North Carolina we square danced, and in Portland we tried our foot at swing. So many travels, so many kinds of dancing. What's next?!
Finally, the quintessential "Keep Portland Weird" photo, with supplementary evidence.