Saturday, September 17, 2011

Travel Journal: Portland, Oregon

Day 1....

     My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Santa Barbara, California. It's a beautiful place with ocean views, fantastic food, and wineries up in Solvang. For the last two years, we have spent our anniversary taking a mini-vacation for a couple of days to places on our visit list. First it was Santa Fe, then last year camping at Capitol Reef National Park. This year I was in France for both of our birthdays and our anniversary. With only one week off, after arriving home from a 7 week long tour to France I decided we needed to do a belated anniversary trip.

    The destination: Portland, Oregon. We were in PDX a couple years ago for a century bike ride but didn't have much time to explore the city. I hear so many great things about Portland (except for the rain!), that I thought we should go check it out. It definitely is on the list for a city that I could totally be happy living in (except for the rain....) the future. I am from Alaska though, so maybe the rain wouldn't be so bad...

After arriving at the Portland airport we picked up our Enterprise Rent-A-Car  and headed to the first place on my dining list. The Tin Shed Garden Cafe in the Alberta Arts District (I think!) was fantastic!

Everything Nice- House-baked, sweet potato french toast, fruit, scrambled eggs, potato cake & veggie sausage.
We are happy for a unique yummy breakfast and to be in PDX!

Veggie Pesto- Roasted yam, zucchini, sweet onions, garlic & mushrooms, topped with pesto sauce & cream
cheese with a buttermilk biscuit and a potato cake. (Loved the whole garlic cloves!!!)

Next, we took a little road trip to visit one of our favorite brands of cheese, TILLAMOOK! The factory is actually in Tillamook, Oregon which is about a 2 hour drive from Portland. 

Jake the farmer!

Betsy the happy cow!

Of course we had to try some Tillamook Ice Cream.

The factory offers a self-guided tour with lots of interactive areas and viewing windows of the machines and assembly lines. There is a restaurant where you can get all kinds of sandwiches with their famous cheese and a gift shop where you can buy only available at the factory, Tillamook cheese curds! I grew up with Tillamook cheese in Alaska and my husband loves cheese and ice cream so this was a drive well worth it!

By the time we had an ice cream overload we thought it would be good to head back to Portland and check in to our hotel. We booked a room at a great price at The Avalon Hotel & Spa. When we checked in they upgraded us to a riverside room, which was just perfect. The rooms were very spacious and comfortable. Each morning they offer a continental breakfast on each floor (so you can wear your hotel plush robes and not have to feel embarrassed by having to go all the way to the lobby!). They provided local coffee, yogurt, granola, baked goods such as scones and muffins, and fresh fruit. Not quite a bed & breakfast meal but not your typical hotel chain breakfast either.

The patio was a great place for our morning coffee.

Our Willamette River view.

 After we got checked in and changed, we took an expensive taxi (why I don't know) into the city to have dinner. Dinner itinerary for the night: Bridgeport Brewpub. First, we walked around the Pearl District and both loved it! When are stomachs growled we sat down for a beer sampler and some appetizers. We liked the food and the atmosphere a lot but the beer was okay....good for sure but not our favorite.

Mediterranean plate 
house-made hummus, quinoa tabbouleh  
roasted cherry tomatoes, marinated olives, feta + warm pita 

fresh baked pretzels + beer spreads  
esb mustard + blackstrap stout cheddar spread

 We were smart and saved money by taking the free and very convenient Portland Street Car back to our hotel. We had a little walk back to the hotel after the last free stop but we felt totally safe walking around.
 I love signs like the one below! It's so nice to be in a city where you really feel like the drivers are looking out for pedestrians!

That's all for Day 1! Check out the next post for the remainder of the trip!

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