I’m not even sure where to begin here. This past (long) weekend’s trip to Portland was all sorts of amazing. I got to spend some great quality time with my sister and we did so much! You may have already read about our trip to wine country here, so today I thought I’d walk you through everything else. Get ready. I have a lot to tell you! And because there is so much, I broke it out into the big three buckets… What to eat, Where to shop, and What to do!!!
Where to Eat:
Let’s start with where to eat. We ate. A lot. My sister and her husband are amazing chefs and actually raise their own chickens, so we ate at home a bit and every morning we ate farm fresh eggs (so cool to this city girl) but we also managed to eat out a lot. I could have maybe named this post “How to gain 20 lbs. in 20 hours.”
Blue Star Donuts was a definite highlight. I am not really a donut person in general… (I’d rather have a croissant if I’m going to splurge) but I’d heard so many amazing things that I went a little bit crazy, ordering us several donuts to share. My personal fave was the Passionfruit with Cacao, but the Original, Lemon Poppyseed, Raspberry Cake, and Maple/Bacon were all really good. The best way to experience Blue Star is with a group… sharing a bunch of different flavors.
Another absolute MUST is Salt & Straw. I love this place. Love it, want to marry it. You can try as many flavors as you’d like, and the flavors are just so creative + good. Every month they release seasonal flavors (this month’s flavors were all Thanksgiving themed) and they are nothing short of amazing. I ended up having a split scoop… mixing the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache + Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey (yes, seriously… that’s a flavor. Mostly it just tastes like salted caramel but there is a very faint hint of turkey in there. Just. so. good.) They have a Los Angeles location too now… it’s a must if you are into ice cream. I’m still dreaming about it!
While I was visiting, we had two really amazing dinners. The first was at Navarre. Navarre changes their menu daily based upon their CSA and whatever produce is currently in season. I really love this… there is nothing better than a delicious, locally grown/raised meal. They also have over 50 wines available by the glass. We shared several dishes, but our favorites were the braised lamb (the ultimate comfort food… like a stew), the duck, and the kale gratin (crazy good.) For dessert we shared a slice of their amazing homemade pear/chocolate pie. Our server recommended it and I’m so glad he did because I wouldn’t have otherwise chose it.
Our second dinner was at my sister’s favorite restaurant… Little Bird. This one is an absolute must-visit if you go to Portland. My favorite food from the trip. Everything we ate was to die for. My favorite was the gnocchi appetizer but we also had a duck confit hand pie (crazy amazing), onion + gruyere turnovers, and truffled spaghetti squash. Bananas. You’ll die. We split the passionfruit cake (you might have noticed, but I have a major weakness for anything passionfruit) as dessert and it was beyond. Light and refreshing and so yum.
Where to Shop:
After we went to Blue Star, we went to two really cute shops. The first was called Canoe. Canoe is one of those impeccably designed shops where everything is just perfect and curated. Wooden bowls, beautiful things for your home… it’s worth stopping into, just for the aesthetics.
But my favorite store (possibly from the whole trip) was Alder & Co. I wanted to stay and play at Alder & Co. all day long. They had so many unique gifts, and carried an assortment of my favorite natural beauty brands + perfumes (think Ilia, Kahina Giving Beauty, Klorane, Rodin, even perfumes from my favorite place in the world – The Coqui Coqui.) And the candles + fragrances! They carry Byredo’s full line, which I loved smelling (they were burning Ambre Japonais which smells sultry, woody, and amazing.) Also, they have an in-store florist, Hilary Horvath whipping up the most beautiful of blooms. They have an amazing online shop, too… I recommend checking out their “Made in Portland” section.
On Sunday, we started our day at Beam & Anchor. This is a really, really cool store. It was a little bit intimidating as they just had so many cool things in there, so we took our time. I ended up buying a Christmas gift for my dad. From there, we went to North Mississipi and then North East Alberta. Lots of cool little boutiques and vintage shops. On our way home, we stopped at Rock’n Rose (Jessie’s recommendation.) I loved their assortment of comfy flannel shirts and ended up buying a great vintage plaid Pendelton shirt. I don’t ever want to take it off.
On Monday, we spent the day in The Pearl. I loved Christopher David. This was maybe one of the coolest stores we went to (besides Alder & Co.) It’s a hybrid coffee shop / interiors store / floral shop. Yes, seriously. What is it with Portland and these incredible boutiques that also have flower shops inside them!? It’s such a great idea and I haven’t seen it before.
Another favorite store in The Pearl was the Porch Light. I’ve never seen so many incredible fragrances is one place. And stationery + gifts + all sorts of incredible, cool stuff.
Things I didn’t do but wanted to do: Shopping on Northwest 23rd Street (my sister loves this area for all the cute boutiques, shopping, and Portland-based designers… and there’s also another Salt & Straw.)
What to Do:
The Farmer’s Market is pretty amazing. The cheese. Oh, the cheese. I ended up buying a few things at the Jacob’s Creamery stand and highly recommend it. There’s the Bloomy Cheese (unreal) and also their homemade churned butter. The butter is amazing but they also sell a variety that contains blue cheese and honey. If you go, you have to try it. We brought this home and ate it on a baguette… scrumptious. Also worth noting: The apple farm (you won’t be able to miss it) with samples of every kind of apple + pear and the flowers! And, all of the flower stores! For $10, you can make the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. (Way better than the roses I buy at my bodega every week or so.)
If you are feeling outdoorsy (and even if you aren’t) I would definitely recommend driving to Eagle Creek (in the Columbia River Gorge about 40 minutes east of the city) and hiking Punchbowl Falls. It’s a four mile (total) hike and worth it. (Also come on – after eating all of that food, it’s a picturesque way to burn off some calories!)
The hike itself isn’t very steep but along the way you’ll see the most incredible views, moss-covered trees, and the final view of the falls is just completely amazing. Like, you can’t properly capture it. Look at my instagram video here and multiply it x 1,000. Anyone can handle this hike. There’s a someecard that says, “I’m Outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios,” which is me in a nutshell… but I’m so so happy my sister convinced me to go!
And also this photo.
On the way back to the city, be sure to stop by Multnomah Falls. Unreal. No hike required, just amazing waterfall views (ahem.)
Things I didn’t do but wanted to: A drive up the coast (sounds magnificent!), a walk through Forest Park. Also… the Rose Gardens (good if you go visit during June!)
If you made it this far then you know that I loved Portland! I feel so lucky to have a sister that lives there so that I can go back soon(ish) and see more of this amazing city!