It’s not every day we plan a solo R&D trip to Portland and wind up having a good friend from Maui join us for the ride. This also meant dining plans would change because more people equals more food and we LOVE that. It was our first time visiting Portland and it did NOT disappoint. The escape from winter was exactly what we needed and my friend Janice needed to hit the “mainland” for some Christmas shopping. This was the perfect weekend in Portland…This could be an annual girls’ weekend in the future.
STAY: We got smokin’ great deal on hotel at Hotel Rose, a StayPineapple property. Known for their fun and cheeky brand and amenities, find pineapple shaped cookies and coffee in the lobby almost 24/7 and a very friendly staff ready to assist with suggestions on local sights to take up. Located across from the waterfront and just a few minutes from downtown Portland – there was excellent shopping just steps away. Super clean and roomy, large bathrooms and cozy bathrobes…Don’t need much more than that for a quick weekend getaway, right?
EAT: Portland has a reputation for having an incredibly culinary scene and did not disappoint. After dropping off our bags – we headed straight for a food truck pod (Prost Marketplace) and hit some delicious southern BBQ from Matt’s BBQ and Persian street food from Caspian Kabob and every morsel was finger lickin’ good. We shared a Whole Shebang at Matt’s and the Combo Kabob at Caspian…All was washed down with a pint of local brew, sitting outside on picnic tables. That’s right…Sitting outside in December. It was awesome. Ava Genes is where we enjoyed Roman-style dishes made with local ingredients. We opted for the $85 pp set menu available only when seated at their bustling kitchen bar and added wine pairings for $40pp which turned out to be incredible value. While in town, we had to visit Delores – the restaurant by BJ Smith, BravoTV Top Chef season 14 alum (which was also the season Janice’s husband Sheldon was a finalist in) and since Janice had never had Polish or Ukrainian food, we were so excited to share this meal with her. BJ didn’t pull any punches…Pierogies topped with caviar, the most delicious cabbage rolls, parker house buns, veal cutlets the size of the plates…WOW.
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We stopped at the Smith Teamaker factory to pick up some of their seasonal blends for Christmas gifts which happened to be steps away from our lunch at Olympia Provisions, Oregon’s first USDA-approved salumeria. We indulged in Blue Star Donuts (don’t be tempted by people walking around with pink boxes from Voodoo Donuts – Blue Star is the superior one!) and our last dinner in Portland was a showstopper…the set menu at Han Oak. The random door in a parking lot opened into an oasis of Korean smells, charming lights and tables surrounded by old school chairs and benches. Pure magic. We took down this dinner like it was the last meal we were going to have EVER and it was pure joy. The $59pp chef’s choice family-style set menu was no doubt Han Oak’s greatest hits (Banchan, Korean fried chicken wings, Bo Ssam, dumplings) and we were absolutely charmed by the ambiance and attentive service.
SHOP: Oh, we SHOPPED. We quickly became obsessed with plants with stops at Pistils Nursery and Thicket but sadly, couldn’t take plants home to Canada so it was more like lusting than shopping. We hit the Portland Night Market where we picked up a lot of Christmas gifts from local makers and small boutique shops. Of course, we stopped in at the iconic Powell’s Books, the world’s largest independently owned book shop where the cookbook section was three aisles long and tucked into an antique, vintage and everything in-between shop called Urbanite. There is no shortage of shopping in Portland…Next time we might be driving here.
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