Portland, Oregon

First trip of 2017!

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Travel/Lodging:
We grabbed some tickets from Southwest during one of their sales. Our flight landed around 12:30AM on Friday morning. We stayed at the Staybridge Suites – Portland Airport. It was a 10-minute/$15 Lyft ride from the airport, and a 20-minute/$25 Lyft ride to downtown. The hotel is close to a MAX station if you prefer to take public transportation.

Our room was a studio queen suite with a kitchenette. Nothing fancy although this was more than enough for us as we were hardly in the room. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, but who would choose a hotel breakfast over Portland brunch?

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Day One (Friday)
We started our first full day at Broder Nord for breakfast. I ordered the Lefse, a Norwegian potato crepe which was filled with ricotta cheese, apples, and caramelized onions (preparation changes daily), served with two soft baked eggs. My boyfriend ordered the baked egg scramble with trout which included walnut toast and a griddle cake. We also got a half order of Aebleskivers, delicious Danish pancake balls, with lemon curd and lingonberry dipping sauces.

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We definitely wanted to hit up a bunch of coffee shops, so we went to Either/Or to try their espresso flight. We may have over-hyped this place for ourselves. The espresso flight is two shots of espresso, a mini dessert, and a cup of sparkling water. Aesthetically and conceptually, it’s cute- but we would have been more satisfied if we had just gotten regular drinks.

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By this time there was crazy wind and rain so we decided to hide out at OMSI. It’s a really interactive museum that’s better suited for kids, but we still enjoyed ourselves (and stayed dry). There was this neat Lego art exhibit… but I didn’t feel it was worth the extra admission fee.

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The rain let up when we left OMSI so we walked to Coava for a cup of their Bella Aurora coffee. It was just what we needed to warm ourselves up. Coava is spacious but there aren’t that many seats/tables.

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We decided to test our luck with the weather and walk over the Hawthorne Bridge to check out Mill Ends Park – the smallest park in the world. Quite Portland if you ask me!

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After roaming around downtown a little bit, we stopped by Powell’s, a huuuuge bookstore. I don’t buy books anymore (libraries ftw), but this is truly a bibliophile’s heaven.

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Even though it was late afternoon we decided to walk by a Blue Star Donuts. As I predicted, it was already closed because they had sold out. If you really want those donuts, go early in the morning.

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We ended our night with some cocktails at Pepe Le Moko, which is around the corner from the Ace Hotel. This place is super dark and tiny, so I wouldn’t come here with a group bigger than 4 people. Their cocktails are really tasty and refreshing, but not very strong. I had my first Amaretto Sour and it was awesome- just the right amount of sourness and the frothy egg white was on point.

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Day Two
Saturday was another early morning so we went to Screen Door for breakfast. We got there 20 minutes before opening and there was already a long line. Thankfully we were part of the first wave of customers to be seated- around 9:10AM. We went a little overboard with our ordering, but I’m glad we did because everything was sooooo delicious.

Our main dishes were the Chicken & Waffles and Eggs Sardou with Cheddar Grits. As “sides” we ordered the Praline Bacon and a half order of Bananas Foster French Toast. There are a myriad of brunch places in Portland, but I’m so, so glad we chose to come here.

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Next to Screen Door is an Indonesian coffee store called Kopi Coffee. I could barely move and was feeling a little nauseous due to how much I ate, so I got some Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea to help digest. My boyfriend ordered the Kopi Jahe, which is Indonesian Ginger Tea.

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After Kopi we decided to walk to another coffee place (I mean, when in Portland…). Since the weather was so much better than the day before, we enjoyed a mile stroll through some neighborhoods. My boyfriend was amazed at all the moss that grows in Portland and how nice everyone’s front yard is. Guess that’s an upside to Portland’s weather.

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Tov is actually a double-decker bus. Due to some horrendous winds the day before, the seating section on the second level was messed up so we sat downstairs (there’s only 4 chairs total downstairs, but there are also tables and benches outside). They have a menu full of Egyptian coffee items as well as more common drinks. Their cortado was delicious.

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As a basketball fan I had to stop by the Moda Center to take a picture of the Rip City sign.

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Our next stop was the Portland Japanese Garden. I hear it’s one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. I honestly thought it would be bigger than it is, but it’s still gorgeous.

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Their Umami Cafe does free tea tastings and is a great place to sit after exploring.

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More coffee. Finally hit up Stumptown Coffee for their Nitro Cold Brew. I’ve had better, but theirs was pretty good.

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After hanging out at Stumptown, we walked to Pok Pok. The wait would be an hour and a half for 2 people on a Saturday night. Yikes! On the way to Pok Pok we noticed the SE Wine Collective and treated ourselves to some tastings to pass the time.

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Just as we were finishing our flights, Pok Pok texted us that our table was ready and we had 10 minutes to get back to the restaurant. Let me be brief and say that Pok Pok (at least their Vietnamese Chicken Wings) is overrated, and a little pricey for what you’re getting. The Khao Soi was good, but needed chili flakes for some extra flavor. Maybe their other menu items are good?

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We had an early flight the next morning so went back to the hotel after dinner.

Day Three
Got to the airport around 6:15AM. The airport has a Blue Star Donuts before security! And since we were so early, there was no wait. We tried a Blueberry Bourbon Basil and Maple Bacon donut and paired it with a Stumptown cold brew.  

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Portland is a really chill place with great food and plenty to do, no matter the weather. I would recommend coming in the summer, when the weather seems to be a bit more stable and enjoyable.