“Why are you going there?”
This tends to be the response you’ll receive from sunshine-loving Californians when you inform them of an upcoming weekend jaunt to the cloudy Oregon city of Portland. The answer? “Why not?” Portland is quickly establishing itself as a progressive actor on the arts and cuisine fronts and if you know me, you know I like to eat my way right through a vacation. I can skip the stupid tourist sites and simply go to bed happy if I’ve conquered a city’s best eats. Here are the highlights of my recent trip to Portland. It’s mostly food-related. Why do you look so surprised?
Touche Restaurant and Bar
Do NOT go into this restaurant expecting much by the way of its innards. As in, I think my travel buddies and I may have witnessed some of the worst art we’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what the heck was going on at this place, but I’ll tell you this – their food took my mind off the hideous wall hangings. The lasagna di forno nearly made me faint and Julia’s and Kristie’s gnocchi rendered them almost unable to talk. Pair all that with a reasonably priced Malbec (Trabiche 2008) and a hot, Italian waiter (what? How can I not include that part?) and you’ve got an amazing meal.
Why do I love traveling with my friends? Well, because after stuffing ourselves so full of Italian fare
that we nearly had to roll out of Touché, instead of trekking to a martini bar like any good 30-year old girl would, we hopped right on over to Cacao for sipping chocolate. And promptly made ourselves sicker than dogs because we. couldn’t. stop. The girls and I ordered the samplers (cinnamon, spicy and dark). I think I’d go back and just get the cinnamon, to be honest. But you’re the star in your own chocolate world, so go take a spin at Cacao.
Public Domain Coffee
Whoa. This place actually made me feel bad for ever going to Starbucks. Downtown Portland sees coffee as an experience, not a simple caffeine quencher. That being said, it means your cup of joe isn’t going to only take 30 seconds to get to you at Public Domain. Instead, they are going to make sure it blows your mind and slooowly drip it into its awaiting cup. The girls bought espresso drinks (hand-pulled!) and I went with an Ethiopia Sidamo drip. Public Domain also serves pastries from a local baker (literally. Down the street). Go for the almond croissant.
Look. You aren’t going to find a better breakfast joint. Just face it and roll with it. From pecan
cinnamon rolls (holy isssssh) to crab benedict to OMGTHEBESTOMELETTEOFMYWHOLELIFE, Mother’s has breakfast down. My only warning is that we waited for roughly 45 minutes and I thought the girls were going to gnaw off their own arms. Or mine. Seriously one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had (I say “one of” because I’ve been to Pancake Pantry in Nashville, and let’s just leave that for another travel post).
Fresh, local food and a gorgeous ambience (fireplace!) Only drawback? They wouldn’t serve us another glass of wine at 10:01 because they had “closed.” Major malfunction. However, the gorgonzola cheesecake made up for it. What a genius idea. If you order wine and there is more than one of you imbibing, I’d heartily suggest ordering a bottle, as their prices justify it. Well, in my mind, anything justifies a full bottle, but…you know.