Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Portland Travel Guide | Eating Your Way Through The Rose City

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

It's funny being back in Oregon, Portland has changed so much from when I was a teenager, but at the same time it feels like I never left. Different but the same, making no sense and complete sense at the same time. Like the time I saw a man in a business suit riding a unicycle to work while texting on his iPhone, literally the day after we moved here. Back when I was 17, that guy would have been wearing flannel, cut-offs, and birkenstocks with socks, but he still would have been riding that damned unicycle around town. Where am I going with this? I have no idea. But I can tell you that it feels good to be home. My forested, weird, hippie home.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Comparing Portland now to Portland then, I think that one of the things that's changed the most has been the food scene. Up until recently, the most popular foodie destination in the northwest has been the sprawling Pike Place market in Seattle, but there’s a little hidden gem a few hours south that's become less and less hidden lately. A place where the importance of fresh and local ingredients is valued above all else, where even the pizza shop on the corner’s menu is bursting with creativity, where you can take a butchering class for fun, and where the craft beers at the local microbrewery are only $4 a pint. That place is Portland, Oregon.
            
For a foodie, the eating and drinking options in this city are almost endless, but there are a few must-tries that I recommend checking out. They may not be the most recognized places (there is no voodoo donuts on this list), but they are delicious, and from a Portland foodie’s perspective, that is all that matters.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

If you find yourself hurrying through the city needing a quick bite but looking for something substantial in flavor, try stopping at one of the city’s many food cart pods. These are miniature villages taking up whole city blocks that are filled to the brim with authentic, affordable, and delicious food stands. Here you’ll find a diversity of food (ever seen a Transylvanian food cart? Come to Portland.) that you just can’t find in most cities, and at unbeatable prices. Some recommended carts are Burrasca, Cackalack’s, Potato Champion (as amazing as it sounds), and PBJ’s Grilled. If you’re willing to go a bit outside the city limits and venture into Gresham, another non-sit down foodie stop to make is Babushka’s, a small family-run Russian bakery and deli whose cabbage and mushroom peroshkis will fill a hole in your heart you didn't even know existed, along with their fresh-baked sweet rolls.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide + Steven Smith Teamaker | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

If you have more a sit-down restaurant feel in mind, there’s a plethora of places overflowing with tasty local eats. Try Screen Door for amazing fried chicken, Olympic Provisions for in-house cured meats and sausages, Ken’s Artisan Bakery for the best bread of your life, Smallwares for deliciously affordable Asian fusion, Ava Gene’s for house made pasta filled with local ingredients, St. Jack for high-end provincial French food with a northwestern flair, Pok Pok for deliciously traditional Thai food, Khao San for authentic Thai street food with an uptown twist, Langbaan for one of the city’s many pop-up restaurants, Lardo for some international and meaty sandwiches, Meat Cheese Bread for sandwiches with a more local ingredient emphasis, Kachka for richly flavored eastern European eats, Verde Cocina for healthy and incredibly tasty Mexican food, Tanuki for Japanese and Korean drinking foods, and Cheese and Crack for a delightful assemblage of snacks and appetizers whose flavors and presentation will continually blow your mind.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland is also a coffee-lover’s paradise, with coffee roasters appearing on nearly every corner and coffee snobs roaming streets everywhere. For a particularly pleasant roast, try Coava, Stumptown, Heart, Ristretto Roasters, or Water Avenue Coffee. For those of you who have more of an affinity for the delicious range of flavors that come with hand crafted artisanal tea, Steven Smith Teamaker is a must-stop. He’s been blending teas for over forty years and if you order a flight of tea from their tasting room in NW Portland, you'll taste all those years of experience in every drop.
            
Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

If you’ve got a sweet tooth that needs itching, try Blue Star Donuts or Pip’s Original for some of the tastiest and most creative donuts of your life. If you’re looking for incredible ice cream, Salt and Straw is a popular (and deservedly so) ice cream parlor with locally sourced flavors that often rotate with the seasons.

For those looking to partake in some of the delicious craft beers that Portland has to offer, try, Hair of the Dog, Hopworks, Breakside Brewing, Migration Brewing, The Hedge House (Lompoc Brewery), or one of McMenamin’s two popular Portland locations. There’s McMenamin’s Kennedy School, an old elementary school that has been converted into a restaurant/brewery, complete with soaking room, boiler room, and cigar lounge. And then there’s McMenamin’s Edgefield, a farm that’s been converted to a restaurant, bar, and hotel that sits right next to the Columbia River Gorge, one of the areas most scenic landmarks. You get a pretty stellar view of Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens driving up I-84 east to get out to Edgefield, too.

If you’re looking for something a wee bit stronger than beer, try Whiskey Soda Lounge for hand-crafted cocktails, Modern Man for a Barbershop Speak Easy vibe, Rum Club for some of the tastiest rum drinks this side of the Mississippi, Expatriate for delicious drinks with a great snack menu, Hale Pele for a fun tiki bar, Landmark Saloon for a country western hipster bar (yes, that is a thing here), Reel’M Inn for a dive bar feel with tasty fried chicken, and Enso Winery to end the night with a bright and full-bodied glass of wine.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

To pick up some quality serveware while you’re in town, definitely check out Alder & Co. for some gorgeous ceramics and hand-carved wooden measuring spoons, Canoe for more gorgeous ceramics and sleek servewares, Schoolhouse Electric for lovely mugs and glasses, Woonwinkel for some fun and funky brightly-colored pieces, Smut for fun assorted vintage finds, and Grand Marketplace for a more finely curated vintage shop.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

If you want to do something that’s a bit more activity-oriented, go on one of the city’s many bar crawls (a good start is Oso -> Triffecta Tavern -> Voicebox SE -> Dig a Pony -> Morrison Hotel Bar). You can also take a class on butchery at the Portland Meat Collective. In the summer berry-picking on Sauvie’s Island (a large farming island a bit west of the city) is a beautiful and delicious afternoon trip. There are also underground tours of the city, whose old suspicious tunnels have a decidedly murky history. If after the dark tour you want something with more daylight and color, stop at the Portland International Rose Test Garden in the hills overlooking the city for amazing views and fine popsicles. To capture the moment, head to the Ace Hotel’s photobooth for an old-fashioned photobooth strip.

And if after all that eating you’re looking to burn off some of those calories, the Eagle Creek trail just outside of the city walks along several waterfalls, one of which becomes a nice little private swimming hole. Triple Falls also has a good trail, as well as Opal Creek. To sweat the calories off, there's also Bagby Hot Springs just an hour east of the city where you can lay in hollowed out logs filled with piping hot natural spring water. If you're looking for a cooler water retreat, Savuie’s Island has some pretty nice beaches (including a lone nude one) on the opposite side of the island from the berry-picking.

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking
Big thanks to my friend Melanie Johnson for helping reacquaint me with the plethora of Portland activities.

Well there you have it. A magnum opus of things to do in the beautiful Rose City. While attempting all of these activities would leave you spending a lot of time in these parts, I can’t recommend it enough, as the more time you spend in Portland the happier you (and your stomach) will be.



32 comments:

  1. Your photos are just so, so stunning! You capture the city so wonderfully.

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle!! I only wish I had more time to go out and shoot more of it, such a beautiful town we live in :)

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  2. Portland has always been at the top of my list of places to visit/be. These photos did absolutely nothing to help my wanderlust, but I am definitely not complaining! Beautifully captured and detailed, as always.

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    1. Awww thank you Meghan!! Definitely come visit, the food & drink scene here is insanely good.

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  3. Just returned from Central Oregon, first visit, via half a day in Portland. Sadly we only had half a day in Portland but we did manage to eat as many meals as possible in half a day there! Including Pok Pok, Blue Star, Roman Candle Baking Co., Salt & Straw and Pine Street Biscuits. Mostly it was one meal and lots of snacks and walking. I've bookmarked your wonderful post, love the gorgeous photographs, and will definitely make use of it on our next trip from L.A. to Portland !

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    1. Thank you so much!! It sounds like you hit up a ton of great places for only having a half day, so good job! I've heard great things about Pine Street Biscuits, too and they're definitely next on my list of places in Portland to check out.

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  4. Oh we are so going to visit Portland very soon.. Love these pictures and all the insight.
    :)

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    1. Yay!!!! Let me know when you end up coming, definitely have to take you around the city :D You will love it!!

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  5. Pinned!! Would LOVE to visit...

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    1. Thank you Aimee! Portland welcomes you anytime! :)

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  6. Eva, photos are adorable! So real, like I am standing right in the middle of those cute places.))

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  7. Your photos of these spaces are breathtaking! I love this enormous, expansive list of places to go. I can't wait to visit my sister-in-law someday and hit up some of these spots.

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    1. You will have the greatest time, Brianne!! I could show you all the fun spots, there's so many good places to eat and drink around here, and you would just love the rose garden with all the bees buzzing around :)

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  8. I want to visit Portland and the upper U.S. West Coast in general so badly! I am huge craft beer drinker and foodie so I think it's pretty much the perfect destination for me. haha Plus I love the outdoors and it looks so beautiful there too. Looks like you a had a great time going back for a visit and you took some absolutely gorgeous photos as well! Love your photography and this blog so much.

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    1. Oh man, you would absolutely love it here! The food and rink scene is indeed incredible here, but all the outdoor activities are just as amazing. You'd have such a great time! And thank you so much for your sweet words about my blog and photography :) It means a lot!

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  9. im so jealous that you live in this city..its on my must visit list so this guide will be incredible helpful.

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    1. Awwww awesome, well I hope you make it here soon! :)

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  10. We moved to Portland from New Hampshire in July and have been eating our way through the city. You are so, so right about the food scene. Lardo, Blue Star Donuts, and McMenamins have been crossed off the list, along with a few others, but I bookmarked this page so we can try all of your recommendations. Great post, beautiful photos!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sarah!! I hope this helps you find some treasures, there's so many new restaurants popping up all the time it can be a bit overwhelming haha :)

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  11. The donuts look amazing and I love all the gorgeous shots!

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  12. In other words Portland is exactly MY TYPE OF CITY! The food, the coffee, everything....I can't wait to visit someday. :D And if you don't mind my honest opinion, you should totally do this kind of post more often, hehe. More personal life and travels related, even if it's somewhere just a mile away from you. Have a beautiful weekend!

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    1. That makes me very happy to hear, Ellie! I am definitely going to start doing more city guides, they're so much fun to put together :) You'd have a blast here, so much good food to eat and incredible beverages to drink. Hope you had a beautiful weekend, as well!

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  13. This post is great! I'm from the Olympia area and every time I go to Portland I can't think of any places to grab a bite to eat or drinks. Next trip there I am totally checking out some of these places! :D

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    1. Oh awesome, yes this will be a great guide for you! I just came back from a trip to Washington recently, such a beautiful state!

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  14. You nailed it. Those are all of my favorite this in Portland. It never stops. So many good things popping up all the time.

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    1. Thanks, lady! It was just really fun to get to try out all the places :)

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  15. Oh! how mush I'd love to visit Portland! So hipster city!!
    Love xx

    debsbug.blogspot.com

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  16. This is wonderful! I enjoyed reading through your travel guide so much, and I can't wait to actually be in Portland and experience these places myself.

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