West Coast Recap: Food and Fun in Portland, OR

….And I’m back!

If you follow along on Instagram, you got a few glimpses into our awesome trip to Portland and San Francisco, but now it’s (finally) time for a full recap!

We ate far too much delicious food and saw way too many great places for me to recap ALL of it, so consider this more of a highlight reel. And highlights they are — I swear, I’ve never eaten more than I did during the 9 days of this trip. Multi-course meals turned into the norm, and dessert was almost a constant. Good thing we were getting an average of 14 miles of walking per day! (Not kidding). All of that walking probably saved my waistline and my sanity, and I truly believe that walking is the best way to see a new city, no matter how much you’re eating.

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Stepping madness! No wonder my legs were tired by day 8! 

The City

If I had to describe Portland in 3 words, I would say Chill, Vintage, and Roses. I know, I know, strange choice of words, but they all fit. The vibe in Portland is so chill that I felt instantly relaxed and at home there. In fact, it was in such a stark contrast to the uppity nature of New England (a place I love, and have lived all my life), I couldn’t help but fall in love instantly.

Vintage, because it seems that everything new in Portland is actually old, and everything old is new again. There are vintage shops pretty much everywhere, many restaurants/bars have a  very vintage vibe, and the general aesthetic was that of days past. Again, this plays into the chill factor.

And now for the roses. Portland is the Rose City, something I never knew until visiting. There are gorgeous varieties of roses everywhere, in most front yards, in parks, even along the highway. They are everywhere, and they are beautiful! And not only were there roses everywhere, but there is so much beautiful vegetation as well. Most people’s front yards were overflowing with beautiful jungles of plants, vines, flowers, and greenery– I was having so much yard envy it wasn’t even funny.

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Bottom line is, I loved it and I felt at home in a place that combined my love of the city and also beautiful nature scenery all in one place. I don’t think there are many cities that can combine both so seamlessly!

The Food  

Now for what most of you are interested in, right? Food. Let me tell you — food was abundant in Portland, and all of it was delicious. We ate at a mix of different types of places in all different neighborhoods, trying to get a feel for as much of the city that we could. Ready for some of my favorites?

SweedeedeeThis was an amazing little breakfast/lunch spot on the Northeast side of the city. We actually walked 4 miles there for breakfast the first day — not a bad way to work up an appetite, huh? Everything on the menu looked delicious, so I ended up ordering a couple of what I thought would be smaller breakfast dishes. Boy was I wrong! I got the house-made yogurt and granola, along with a breakfast sandwich. Both were out of this world, but the breakfast sandwich was served on what was some of the best bread I’ve ever had — house made molasses bread. It had the slightest hint of sweet, but was so soft and pillowy it made the perfect base for an egg sandwich.

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Seriously, this breakfast was so good, at the end of the trip we got mad at ourselves that we didn’t go back there a second time! If you are in the Portland area, I HIGHLY recommend this for breakfast or lunch.

Donuts. We knew going into the trip that donuts were going to be a must in Portland. With the famous Voodoo Doughnuts as well as Blue Star Donuts in the city, we knew we had to hit up both. And they didn’t disappoint! Voodoo is definitely more about the experience and the weirdness/”wow”-factor of the donuts, while Blue Star is more about gourmet flavors and ingredients. At Voodoo, I had a “no-name”, which is smothered with chocolate, rice crispies, and peanut butter sauce. It was ridiculous, and also ridiculously filling. At Blue Star I ended up choosing the Coffee Coconut Cheesecake and Will had the Blueberry Bourbon Basil. Both were delicious, but I must say I preferred Will’s over mine, and I’d probably try something different next time!

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Doughnuts from Voodoo and Blue Star (description). Bottom left is Will and his Voodoo “doughnut” that was actually bigger than his head.. 

Le Pigeon. One of the best dinners we ate on the trip was at Le Pigeon. We sat up at the chef’s counter, which I love doing because I love watching everything that goes down in the kitchen. Anyway, the highlight of that meal was actually the pigeon breast starter that we ordered — I had never had pigeon before, and never intended to, but it was absolutely wonderful! Not too gamey, in fact to me it tasted more like filet mignon than poultry, which was a pleasant surprise. I also ordered lamb shoulder for my entree, and we finished with a decadent flourless chocolate cake for dessert. We left stuffed and happy that night for sure!

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Food Trucks. The food truck/cart scene in Portland is out of this world. Sure, in Boston the food truck world is growing, but it Portland it just seems to be a part of their culture. We happened upon so many little “villages” of food cards with open seating areas, they were just everywhere, and they all serve amazing food! It was often hard to choose between them, and we definitely made some good choices when we chose to hit up the food carts instead of traditional restaurants for a few meals. One of my favorites (and one of my favorite things we ate in Portland overall!) was Fried Egg I’m In Love. All I had was a breakfast sandwich, but it was a darn good breakfast sandwich, probably one of the best I’ve ever had.

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My FEIIL breakfast sandwich, and another food cart “village”, with some delicious Korean/Mexican fusion. 

Salt And Straw. I’m a bit of an ice cream fanatic, so whenever we travel we try to find the best ice cream in the city. We found it here, and we loved it so much we came back a second time before we left (and we were only there for 4 days, so that should tell you something)! Salt and Straw makes gourmet, unique ice cream flavors with local organic ingredients. If you go there, expect a line down the block, but don’t let that deter you because it is well worth the wait!

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SaltandStraw

Everything Else

As I’ve said a thousand times already, I fell in love with Portland instantly. We stayed on the southeast side of the city, in the Buckman neighborhood, and it was perfect. Wandering through our neighborhood and others, and venturing into downtown, I felt comfortable and at home everywhere we went.

Home to an amazing array of coffee roasters and breweries, Portland also had something to offer no matter what mood we were in. We made it to about 1297 coffee houses (give or take a few), two breweries, two cider houses, and the coolest little smoothie shack where I blended the smoothie using the pedal power of a bike. How cool is that?

The city was extremely walkable, in fact we only ended up taking public transportation once the entire time. The rest of the time we walked (and boy, did we walk!). It was an amazing city over all, and I would go back there in a heart beat. In fact, we both agreed that it is somewhere we could definitely move — it’s just that whole pesky moving clear across the country thing that would stop us.

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Samplers from Reverend Nats (If you like cider and you visit Portland…GO HERE!!!), Storm Breaker Brewery and Deschutes Brewery 

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A delicious meal at Pok Pok, an incredible and authentic  little Thai restaurant. 

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Probably the weirdest thing we ate on the trip. Sea Urchin Creme Brûlée at Bamboo Sushi. Dinner here was amazing… this dessert… not so much. Will loved it, but I couldn’t get past the first bite! 

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And the coffee… There was a LOT of coffee. 🙂 

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A few scenes from our hike to Multnomah Falls, and a little bit of the hiking trail beyond the falls, which was breathtakingly gorgeous. 

Readers: Have you ever been to Portland, OR? If you live in Portland or have been there, what are some of your favorite restaurants? And most importantly, Blue Star or Voodoo?

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5 thoughts on “West Coast Recap: Food and Fun in Portland, OR

  1. …and now I want to go on a west coast adventure! Looks like an awesome trip and the food sounds amazing. We, too, ate dessert with every meal when in Italy.. it’s been rough getting back to “real” eating life!

  2. OMG all that food looks amazing. And the scenery isn’t so bad too haha I’ve been hanging out with a friend who wears a Fit Bit and apparently I walk at least 10 miles every day. I had no idea!

    • Wow that’s a lot to average every day, good for you!! We always walk a ton on vacation, that’s usually how we prefer to get around cities so it was funny to finally have it quantified, because I’ve never known before how far we actually go!

  3. Pingback: West Coast Recap 2: San Francisco | I Train Therefore I Eat.

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