Portland: Beer, Beards, Street Meat, and Environmental Consciousness

A reader alerted me to a blog post about the blogger’s (Kristin) first trip to Portland.  I enjoyed the tip report and asked Kristin if I could republish her trip report here.  She was kind enough to agree.  Kristin is a teacher who lives in San Diego and writes a blog about her mission to experience 100 new things. I’m happy Portland made the list.  Rumor has it Kristin also like the Goonies and long walks on the beach, not sure if the two are related. You can check out her blog at seekingsd.wordpress.com, and here is her trip report:

The only experience I had with Oregon before this trip was “Oregon Trail” from 4th grade. When booking this trip, I just thought about all the oxen I was going to lose wading the river, or how Timmy was going to die of Typhus before we could reach the fort. However, when I arrived in Portland, I discovered that the city was filled with a plethora of modern luxuries, (so no bargaining with the natives for medicine). Modern day Portland is now known for beer, beards, street meat, and environmental consciousness, so basically just really clean hippies.

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The first thing I did when I arrived in Portland was head straight to eat at a gourmet street cart. Portland is known for original dishes that can only be found on a hipster roach coach. It is so popular, I assumed I could quiet my fears about what “street meat” actually consists of, and headed straight to see what the avenue of gluttony had to offer. I noticed that Portlanders seem to really like their Thai food, but again, hipsters all like Thai, it is way more cool than Chinese. So, I blamed them for the lack of variety. If you haven’t noticed, I am blaming all negative things on the hipsters, don’t get mad, it’s science. I settled on a gourmet grilled cheese truck, where I was pleasantly reminded that you can’t go wrong with bread, cheese, and a good deep fry. I enjoyed my meal in a park outside of Powell’s bookstore, noticing that everyone appeared to be eating outside. I thought it was so great that the locals make a point to get outside and enjoy fresh air during their workday. Then I remembered there were only about two months of sunshine a year in Portland, so it was more vitamin D deficiency, than an enjoyment of nature.

I continued my beautiful day with a stop at Powell’s books. This bookstore is a city block in size so I anticipated it would be like the mother ship calling me home. However, with all the color coded floors I felt a little lost and overwhelmed. I am pretty mainstream with my reading choices, so my excitement was not over the selection of hard to find new releases, but rather the large selection of used children’s books. I have spent the last ten years trying to track down a copy of “Jelly Beans for Breakfast”, my favorite, yet out of print, childhood book. Yes, I know I could just check Amazon, but there is something about finding your favorite childhood memory right where it belongs, on a bookshelf. Despite the mass inventory, Powell’s books did not have what I was looking for, so I wandered around, taking in the smell of old books (my favorite), and made my way back out to the street to continue my tourism.

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I ended my day with a walk along the river, where I took in the amazing scenery of the city. I stopped at the smallest park in the world, which is basically a plant in the middle of the street. You almost die trying to get there. I have to give props to Portland; the views from this city are amazing. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood peeking out a top the clouds and it is pretty jaw dropping. The backdrop of the greenery surrounding the city makes you feel like the air you are breathing is cleaner, (I am from LA, so it probably was). However, just when I thought I was completing a perfect day, I headed to my car and got flashed by a homeless person. Not as horrible as it could have been, he asked me if I wanted to see his boobs. I figure if anyone, even a homeless person, asks to show you their boobs, you always say yes. I also discovered, while you always say yes, you are usually horrified with that decision. I told myself weirdos just added to Portland’s charm.

The next morning I learned, “all good things come in pink boxes”! Voodoo Donut boxes that is. I couldn’t come to Portland without stuffing my face with the popular breakfast pastry. The reason I loved Voodoo Donut so much was because they took everything that contributed to my childhood obesity and combined it into one breakfast treat. I decided on two donuts (you can’t go there and wait an hour for one), the regular chocolate glazed (always a safe bet), and then a chocolate glazed covered in Rice Krispy’s and Peanut Butter. It was one of the most sinful things I have done in a while, it was so rich it almost made me sick, but what do you do when you are full and eating something great? You just shove it down of course! Kate Moss is wrong, there is something that tastes better than skinny feels, and that is glazed bread covered in sugary cereal. My mom got the infamous “voodoo donut”, which was a voodoo doll with a pretzel through its heart, filled with jelly so when bitten it looked like blood. I appreciated the humor they brought to their pastry decorations. My favorite part of the experience was the advance researching of the menu with my mother and her cousin. Nothing makes gaining weight worth it more than having to describe to your mother what a “blunt” is, (yep the names on the menu don’t disappoint). Although, according to the venue, “the magic is in the hole”.

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Thankfully I planned to spend the next few days being active, since the main activity in Portland so far was eating. When it comes to outdoor activities, Portland really does do it better. The main reason I came to Portland was for the wedding of two close friends from San Diego. I met up with some wedding guests to hike Multnomah Falls before the ceremony, figuring you can’t waste clear skies in a place like this. If you ever get up to Oregon in the summer, take this hike, the views are awesome. While I discovered in a previous blog that hiking is “just like walking”, I found at the falls, if you are going to walk, you might as well do it next to a waterfall. I love moments in nature where you get to be in awe of something, it reminded me of why I started out on this adventure, to pay attention to living. We completed our hike just in time to avoid the tourists. For instance, the girl who was wearing the raised Rocket Dog flip-flops we all used to rock in college, who fell on her face and tried to blame nature. I may be new to this hiking thing, but at least I am not that girl, wining.

485459_10151823546046291_608948201_nThe wedding was about as Portland as one could imagine, and I loved it. This has been the year of weddings for me, and I have to say, this is probably one of the best I have ever been to. It was located on the water of Bridal Veil Lakes. The couple got married under a hutch covered in beer hops (all for the groom). The bride looked beautiful, with all the details of her dress and decorations perfectly complimenting a lakeside wedding. There were two things that made this the best wedding ever, the food, and the venue. The food was served family style, simply take your portion and pass it to the next table over (best pork chops ever). As I said, the venue was on a lake, yet I was very excited when I found, instead of the boring cocktail hour waiting for the couple, there were canoes and fishing rods. How many weddings have you been to where the couple says, “we are going to go take some photos, here is some alcohol, now go fishing on the lake while you wait”? It was awesome!!!! This wedding didn’t have all the typical clichés, no long speeches, no money dance, no tossing of the bouquet. There was no cutting of the cake, because the desert was cookies and mulberry pie, which again, I loved!!! I couldn’t decide if the wedding was so perfect because of it being outdoors in Portland, or because it so perfectly fit the couple. I settled on as much as I miss my two friends, they fit better in Oregon, the beer and the beards suit them (well not a beard for the bride)! Having friends in nice places just gives me an excuse to visit, only in the summer that is, I hate rain!

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The highlight of this adventure came the next day, and I will consider another adventure. Let’s just say, there was no way I was going to head up to Oregon without making a stop at one of my childhood dreams…..Astoria! Stay tuned to hear about my adventures with One-Eyed Willy!

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