Since I have lived in this town for most of my life, I thought this would be a great place to start on writing a travel guide.
Portland, Oregon- City of Roses
Portland is a wonderful city complete with it quirks. I may be partial, but I find cities filled with charm very endearing. I like a little history a little character- dare I say it- a little weird. Food & drink culture reigns supreme in this city. You can find the best bites you have ever tasted here & the most interesting cocktail to follow. Portland is also green in all aspects of the word. Very environmentally friendly place as well as trees as far as the eyes can see. You can do just about any outdoor activity within an hour- beach- mountain-river-high desert. It’s a pretty great place to visit or in my case- live.
Best ways to get around:
Public transportation is great in the city ( from the airport) and close suburbs- but if you are trying to head to the beach or mountains, you’ll need to rent a car or zip car for the day. The TriMet website is perfect for all public transportation needs. Biking is a great way to see the city as well- “most bike friendly city in the country”
My Breakfast choices:
Isabel Pearl- Quite the fusions of food. Healthy meets Mexican/Latin meets Asian flavors. You can satisfy just about any palette here. The interior is also a fusion of it’s own. Coffee & bar meets industrial meets modern decor. Very inviting and comfortable.
My menu favorites :
COCONUT FRENCH TOAST(Homemade coconut bread grilled with coconut ﬂakes with raspberry puree & powdered sugar). You won’t be disappointed here. SO tasty and not too filling.
Also try Avocado Scramble (Scrambled eggs with avocado & cheese, served with a ﬂour tortilla, black beans & rosemary potatoes topped with tomatoes, jalapenos & green onion)
Isabel Pearl Website
Pine State Biscuits- This place is a Portland mainstay. Usually a line out the door after 9am so get there early! They started out a food cart in the Portland State Farmer’s Market. Word caught on and now they have two storefronts serving delicious biscuits. Eaters beware- this food is amazing but very filling. Good way to start a day filled with walking/running/biking/ something to work off all that food.
My menu favorites:
The Reggie: Can’t go wrong here- it is the most ordered item on the menu. (Fried chicken, bacon, cheese, gravy- between two famous biscuits)
Also try Biscuits and Gravy- Classic and tastes amazing.
Pine State Website
Want something lighter? Try Stumptown Coffee Roasters! Best Coffee this side of the Mississippi and grab a pastry out of the case. Focus on direct-free trade coffees. Brew each cup individually. Amazing stuff.
Now- Portland is known for it’s weather. You have to be able to be flexible. The weather changes at the drop of a hat. I will help give you some rain or shine things to do- but true locals don’t let the rain ruin any fun-filled day.
My favorites (on a rainy day):
Living Room Theater– The cinema has come to it’s senses with this place. The theaters are filled with plush lazy boys and intimate rooms- about 40 seats only. The place also has a full bar and food menu they bring to your seat. Great food and fun cocktail drinks! You can also waltz over to Powell’s books- another Portland must!
Living Room Theater Website
Powell’s Books Website
Portland Art Museum– Always a treat. Very interesting and eclectic collections. Always a surprise at what you will get. Be wary- if there is a big exhibit in town, the lines will be long! Worth it. Portland Art Museum does a great job.
Portland Art Museum Website
My favorites (when it’s niceeee out):
Lan- Su Chinese Gardens– In a 5- block area of the center of downtown is this – dare I say it- magical retreat. You enter the gardens which are surrounded by 7ft walls and feel like you are no longer in the middle of a bustling city, but a calm quiet garden in rural China. It is such a treasure- I was so mad it took me so long to go. They have events every week. Going during the lantern celebration is amazing. Don’t miss out on this. Also- go into the tea house for an authentic tea ceremony.
Lan Su Website
The Portland Farmer’s Market– One of the best Farmers Markets I’ve ever been too. Local farmers and food makers galore. Also the most b-e-a-util flowers. The market operates for 8 weeks spring-fall so check the website first! Whether you are looking for fresh produce, prepared cheeses and meats or food carts- you can find it all here.
Portland Farmer’s Market Website
You might also try these!
Portland Japanese Gardens– perfect day trip. Lovely gardens. In Forest Park- home of the Zoo and International Rose Garden. Perfect for families and a day outside.
Pittock Mansion– 1000 ft above the city sits an old mansion turned museum. Beautiful grounds and architecture.
Now that you have exhausted yourselves with all that- it’s time to eat again! Here are some of my favorite dinner/lunch spots.
My Dinner/Lunch Choices:
Toro Bravo- This Spanish tapas inspired restaurant is filled with smaller plates that pack delicious flavor into every one. Combined with local ingredients and a seasonal menu this dimly lit- intimate place is perfect for a date or dinner with close friends.
My menu favorites- (note this menu changes seasonally) You must try- Bacon wrapped dates. Did I say MUST? Octopus a la Plancha (octopus on toast) I hadn’t ever had octopus until this- great way to jump into this seafood item. Harira Moroccan lamb & lentil stew with house buttermilk cheese…need I say anymore? About 4 small plates will fill you- so get 7-8 and split them. Also try in the big plates…hand cut noodles with clams, bacon & vodka cream sauce. INCREDIBLE.
Toro Bravo Website
Fire on the Mountain- We are going to get a little casual here. I hadn’t ever had wings (!!!) until this place. Game changer. Best sauces ever. I have taken a few “wing experts” here and the conclusions are the same. Get to this place for great wings and local brews!
My menu favorites- Spicy peanut sauce, sweet bbq sauce, and the fries! and well…wings duh!
Fire on the Mountain Website
Looking for something fancy? Try these:
Portland City Grill– food is pretty good, but atmosphere is king here. Locations atop the tallest building in downtown the glass floor to ceiling windows through offer an unbeatable view. All day Happy Hour on Sundays too!
Andina– PHENOMENAL food. Located in the Pearl which is walking distance to cool bars for one more drink. Peruvian food served here.
Portland Cocktail Hour(s):
Gilt Club– Swanky but fun. Try Tracy’s First Love- House infused cucumber vodka, muddled cucumber, basil & fresh lime. Or Tracy’s First Breakup- Same as above but with serrano vodka.
Secret Society– My personal favorite Portland Drink comes from here- Just go ahead and order the Moscow Mule. Did I mention this is next door to Toro Bravo (see above). Great night out.
Portland has so much to offer. This list could go on forever! Try these and check back for more and updated Portland travel guides!
Love, from the roots xxo