Thursday, November 7, 2013

journey to...portland

Two weeks ago, I took a girls weekend up to Portland, Oregon.  It was my second visit to the Beaver State, and honestly what I was most excited for was an opportunity to experience the true fall season.  Colored leaves and brisk air.  Portland did not disappoint.  We stayed at the Paramount Hotel in the middle of downtown and enjoyed being surrounded by brick buildings and leaf covered sidewalks.

We arrived on Saturday at noon, and went straight from the airport to a private food cart walking tour.  Our guide, Brett, was an amazing resource about the history of food carts in Portland and their influence on the trend that we see in cities around the world.  During the tour, we had tasting from 4 different carts.  4 different dumplings from the Dump Truck, a panucho at El Taco Yucateco {a perfect blend of soft/hard tacos with black beans baked in between the layers...try with the habenero salsa!}, gourmet waffles at The Gaufre Gourmet and truffle mushroom pizza from Pulehu Pizza.    

After all the tasty treats, we headed over to Deschutes Brewery for a beer sampler.  Ending the night, similar to how we started, by heading to a late dinner and cocktails at Oven and Shaker, enjoying spicy salami pizza (with honey!) and root beer floats.
On Sunday, I was up early for a misty run along the river front.  Portland has a beautiful running trail that follows the riverfront and crosses over several of the bridges between the east and west sides.  Even in the light rain, I enjoyed the trees full of color and the thin fog lingering at the tops of bridges. 
As soon as I got back to the hotel, we were off to the famous Voodoo Donuts to attempt to beat the line.  Living only blocks from San Francisco's artisanal donuts, Dynamo Donuts, I really did not know what to expect or what the hype was about.  The line was SIGNIFICANTLY shorter than when we walked by the afternoon before, but we still waited outside for about 15 minutes before even getting into the pink building.  Once inside though, there was a donut for whatever you could possibly imagine.  Complete with creative names and a full turntable display for the sugary goodies.  We ended up with a variety pack of 9 different donuts, everything from cream-filled to froot-loop topped glaze.  
After a day and a half full of eating, we headed 30 minutes outside of Portland to visit Multnomah Falls.  I will say that this waterfall is a must-see when visiting Portland.  The land around Portland is incredibly lush and makes for a stunning drive even in the rain.  Once there, you are overtaken with a 611 foot waterfall.  The trek to the top counts down the switchbacks (all 11 of them), but with the fall season, it was an amazing paved hike up and the perfect way to hike off all the donuts.  The maple trees at the falls had leaves that were bigger than my entire face, which is not something easily experienced in SF.
The rest of the afternoon, we spent wandering through the International Rose Garden and Powell Books, which I could have spent the entire weekend wandering through the endless selection of books.  It was my own personal heaven.  Finishing off the day at Living Room Theaters to enjoy a hummus plate, deviled eggs and an indie film.
On our final day, we took advantage of the sales tax-free shopping before heading back to the airport for the flight home.                    

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