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Our Journey In: Oregon

Once we booked our trip to Washington, we knew we wanted to see new things since we had already been there before.  Life’s all about new adventures, right?  We noticed that a lot of people that go to Seattle tend to visit Portland too, so we figured that must be the plan for this trip.  We’re going to get a taste of Oregon!

I had actually mapped out places to stop from Washington to Oregon, but we decided to just make the straight trip to Portland to check into our hotel and settle in.  I get pretty Type A when it comes to planning vacations, but I’m also enough Type B that allows for flexibility when it comes to the actual execution.  It’s weird.  You would think after spending so much time researching and planning things that I would need to squeeze the square peg into the circle, but I just don’t.  My “life’s too short” mentality kicks in.

Once we were settled into our hotel, we looked up places that we had bookmarked to go for a walk outdoors.  It seems like the ideal thing to do nowadays with a baby – go for walks.  It’s oddly refreshing, but I won’t bore you with that.  If you’re a parent, you get it.  Anyway, we decided to check out the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park.  Once you make it to the park, you weave around and around until you finally find the destination.  The park has many smaller gardens to visit, but we just chose to see the rose garden.  The flowers were just starting to bloom, and they smelled amazing!  There were a decent amount of flowers opening up, but I saw a friend who visited a month after me, and her photos showed everything in full bloom.  I feel like we JUST missed it, but it was worthwhile to stop and smell the flowers (literally) for a bit.

 

 

After our stroll, we headed out to the ever-so-famous ice cream spot Salt & Straw.  They recently opened up a shop in Los Angeles, but I knew one day we were going to go Portland, so I made the conscious decision to wait.  I’d rather have the real thing!  It’s like how I feel about waiting to go to France for Ladurée rather than go to the one in New York (ha, in my dreams).  I was limiting my dairy intake, so I had this Spring Flower sorbet – sweet and refreshing with real flowers!  Now I can say I’ve eaten flowers.  I sampled a few other flavors which were all delicious.  My husband loved the Almond Brittle and Salted Ganache.

 

Soon enough, we found ourselves heading to Pok Pok for dinner.  I reached out to friends for suggestions on what to eat, and Pok Pok was oddly popular.  It was a like a blend of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.  We made it our mission to go.  It’s not really a family-friendly spot as we got plenty of odd looks from other customers, but hey – we’ll never see them again.  We’re here for the food!  The famous item on the menu is the Vietnamese chicken wings.  Sweet, tangy, spicy and crispy – it was like a party in our mouths! We ordered a plate of 6 with each of us eating 3 with a side of white rice.  The flavor of the wings was actually ridiculously strong, so having just 3 and the white rice to tone down the flavors was perfect.  Some people eat the wings alone, but I don’t think I could’ve handled it.  We also got the pork belly stew which was also delicious.  Oh, and the water?  It’s infused with pandan – a light coconutty (is that a word?) flavor.  We loved it.  The couple sitting next to us weren’t fans. Haha.  It’s a matter of preference.

The next day we did a quick trip down the Oregon coast.  Cheese, trees and ocean breeze is what they say, and it was definitely that and then some.  The views on the drive were just breathtaking. (more here!)

When we got back, we had to figure out what to do for dinner.  A friend asked if I could pick up some gin and whiskey for him from Rogue, so I decided to look up the place and check out the menu.  It looked pretty good, so we decided to eat here and try some of their beers.  Neither of us had tried any Rogue beers, but for people who rarely drink beer, we were pretty impressed.  I mean, I’m not a beer connoisseur, but they had some great options.  I’m under the impression that many breweries in Portland would impress any craft beer lover.  My husband had a flight of 4, and I just had the cider.  I got to try it all, and the flavors were each strong and very unique.  I kinda wish I got the flight.

After some more wandering, we decided to end the night with dessert at – where else – Voodoo Doughnuts!  We were on the fence about this place.  The lines are constantly a mile long, and, well, they sell doughnuts.  How different can doughnuts be?  We weren’t sure if we were willing to wait 30 minutes to an hour for fried dough, but we got lucky!  When we arrived at the location, there was NO line.  We only got 3 doughnuts – the bacon maple, the blueberry, and the Portland cream.  I wanted to try something different and ended up picking the Portland cream because a portion of each Portland cream purchase went to the Nepal relief (the earthquake had just recently happened, and I’m also a sucker for donating at the register).  I guess it was a win-win, because that doughnut was oddly delicious.  It’s worth the stop.  Still not sure if it’s worth an hour wait though, but you go to these places for the pride of being a true tourist.  If you have the time, definitely try it out.

Our final full day in the PNW, we took a short drive out to see Multnomah Falls.  Pretty much everyone we know that went to Portland also went to check out these falls, and it’s actually quite beautiful.  We’ve been to Hawaii and seen so many falls, but this one was a little different.  Maybe it was the surprising location?  We did the easy hike up to the bridge and felt the mist surround us, but we didn’t go beyond that since we had our munchkin.  It was enough to get the feel.

We ventured off to the popular food carts after this, but oddly enough, I have no photos.  My husband has them, and he’s updating his computer, so I’m just going to say that it was fun browsing around all the carts and finding something to eat!  It’s overwhelming how many options there are!  I had a chicken sandwich at one cart and vegan Thai food at another cart.  Both were delicious.  Oh, the Thai tea at that cart was probably the best Thai tea I’ve ever had.  I wish I remembered the names of the carts, but I was hesitating to take photos of everything because it had started to rain a bit.  It was actually nice to see the rain, but obviously not good for our cameras.

After that, we hunted.  You know that “Keep Portland Weird” sign that everyone takes a picture with?  We went hunting for it.  You know what?  We failed.  I thoroughly blame Yelp.  There’s 2 different addresses on there that took us in circles, and neither address took us to the sign.  YES!  I know.  Face palm.  It was right across the street from the main Voodoo Doughnuts, but we didn’t realize it until we got home and our cousins took a picture there.  So, for all of you checking Yelp for the address of the “Keep Portland Weird” sign, just don’t.  Stop.  Go to Voodoo Doughnuts and just… turn around.  This is all we found from one of the Yelp addresses.  What a tease…

For our last stop, I found out about a water reservoir up in the hills.  It was a spur of the moment thing because we were in the mood to – you guessed it – go for a walk.  By this point we’ve probably gained 4 pounds each from all of the good food.  Anyway, you could see Portland from a distance which I thought was pretty cool.  Yes, I found this on Yelp.  We were skeptical at this point but figured we really had no other plans, so we just headed on over.  We were winding around on this hill over and over worried it would lead to nowhere, but eventually, we made it.

 

That pretty much sums it up!  Oh, before heading home, we ate a spot called Elmer’s.  Apparently, it’s a favorite in the Northwest and excellent for a hearty breakfast. Check out this German pancake.  I have never seen one before, but it was pretty yummy and fun to eat!  It sounds like all we did was eat here, huh?  Well, it’s okay.  It was GOOD!

I have to say for my second time up in the PNW, it’s been quite a treat.  The air is refreshing and the vibe is relaxed.  We’re hoping to go every few years and hope to discover new things to do each time!  It’s too close for us to forego.  Perhaps a good road trip is in order in the future.  I’m sure the sights along the coast would be worth the drive.
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