A Weekend in Portland
In November, I *finally* got the chance to visit Lauren in her new digs. Back in June, she welcomed Portland as her new home for the next chapter of life. Of course, work would have other plans and have her constantly traveling across the country while I attempted to nail down a consistent schedule on my end. Anyway, we got our act together and I made my way down the west coast.
I debated on driving, but ultimately decided to try the BoltBus out. The BoltBus is your one way bus ride to your destination accompanied with free wifi and comfy seats. What more could you want? Kristi, what a kind soul, graciously bought my ticket down to Portland because she had a free ticket. Thanks girlie! The three hours to Portland flew by and I had to tell Lauren that I'd probably be arriving earlier than the allotted time aka hustle and pick me up please.
Thankfully our timing was pure perfection and we zoomed straight into the weekend by starting our evening at Nostrana. Lauren has been dying to go here, direct quote btw. As we arrived, the crowd was building at the door and hostess stand. The verdict: about an hour wait. Ugh. Well, not an UGH, more like a hmph. Why hmph? Well, because we're workin' gals now, and we have nothing but time on our hands and an open weekend. We put our names down and crossed the street to sip on Lavender Lemonades at Crush Bar. Again, our timing was on point; we managed to slip into the bar right before they started their cover charge for the evening fashion show.
Our first round of drinks down, we crossed the street back to Nostrana and perused the menu before being seated at the bar. One of the top Italian restaurants in town, we opted to split a pasta and pizza for our entree. As we eagerly awaited our food, we sipped on red wine and gossiped. Pretty sure the bartender was eavesdropping on our convo and probably raising his eyebrows as we exclaimed "oh did you hear about so and so" when talking about old high school people and dropping ridiculous international travel stories since we both fresh off global escapades. We polished off our meals then took a peek at the dessert menu. After I questioned what kind of chocolate they used in the chocolate budino, we felt obligated to order it, not that we were complaining. We called it an evening and drove back to Lauren's to spend the next hour scrolling through Netflix to ultimately decide to call it a night and go to bed.
Rejuvenated, and well, mostly hungry, we scurried out the door to start our day off at The Waffle Window to get something in our stomach. I guess you could say it was a pre-breakfast. Sufficient for an hour or two, but we definitely needed something more substantial. With my extensive Portland List in hand, we crossed off Proud Mary, a cafe/restaurant that was highly recommended by my manager who is basically the queen of cool hipster portland spots. If she was raving about it, we HAD to hit it. AND OH MAH GAWD IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.
These kiddos are coming from down under, and by that I mean Australia, bringing quality coffee to the table as well as whimsical, innovative provisions to make you rethink everything about breakfast/brunch/lunch.
Fresh off of Europe and being the little coffee b*tch I now am, I ordered an espresso which was excellent. Again, Lauren and I went for the old divide and conquer to optimize our menu options and went for the Ricotta Hotcake and Potato Hash. I think we died and went to heaven. We kept switching back and forth and debating on which dish was our favorite. I literally couldn't decide. I guess I have to go back for a round two soon!
Tummies now full and happy, we drove over to Mississippi Ave. to do some shopping. Well, en route to retail therapy, we stumbled upon a farmer's market because PORTLAND.
In all seriousness, this is probably one of my favorite features of the PNW, the freshest produce in all the land. How cool is it to have bounty's of food right in your backyard?? Anyway, had to hold myself from buying stuff and we continued on to Mississippi Ave.
Lauren and I roamed the shopping street admiring the cute brunch restaurants and popping into stores here and there. It ended up mostly being window shopping but fun nonetheless.
Itching for a new activity, we jetted across the water over to Ranger Chocolate to check out the chocolate factory. Unfortunately they weren't running any chocolate tours, but we made the most of venture by indulging in drinking chocolate at Cup & Bar, the cafe attached to the Ranger's factory. BA BAM. The barista called our names and we wandered up to the counter to find two wood planks containing a trifecta of seltzer water, whipped cream, and drinking chocolate. Midday dessert I suppose?
Not that we had a clear plan for the day, but everything was flipped flopped. Lauren and I realized that we still needed to eat lunch, but that was just going to have to be put on hold for now. Zooming back across the water again to the West End to meet up with Kristi at Powell's and hang with her for the afternoon. I have this deal with myself where whenever I go to Powell's I HAVE to get a book. This trip I bought You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero per recommendation of Soleil.
Next up on the docket was wandering the Portland Market and catching up on life in general. It had been a few months since I'd seen Kristi. When Lauren moved to Portland I linked them up and I had a moment when they were chatting and all I could think was "wow when your worlds collide!!". The market had cutsie handmade goods and I made Lauren spot me $5 so I could by a ring. Lol classic. But now I have a friendship ring and don't worry I paid her back.
Mkay now we were starving and the three of us made our way over to Pine Street Market. I was in disbelief that I had never been here before because it's right up my alley. The food hall was scattered with people and shuffled in for a late lunch. We gorged ourselves on Kim Jong Smokehouse Bibimbap Bowls and munched on Wiz Bang Bar, a brainchild of Salt & Straw, soft serve ice cream. Yes, of course, I got vanilla.
The evening concluded with Lauren and I taking Kristi home and us watching Woody Allen's To Rome with Love which honestly left us puzzled.
Last day was pretty bittersweet, but chalk full of stuff. We kicked off the morning with brunchie brunch at Tasty n Alder which was tasty, go figure. The tapas style ordering had me reminiscing about my recent Euro travels in Barcelona (say it pretentiously, really emphasize bar-THA-lona, lol hopefully that brought some humor to your day). We dived into the menu as the restaurant quickly filled up and I smiled as the Potatoes Bravas came out (they are my FAVORITE). A successful start to the morning, we got our coffeefix at Heart Coffee Roasters right across the street.
Coffee in hand, we drove up St. John's Bridge to admire the architecture (?) of the bridge. I may or may not have gotten a little to excited about crossing it and taken A LOT of photos, but for now, just ruminate on these pics.
On the opposite side of the bridge, we found a fun little park and strolled under the gray skies, even stopping for a quick little selfie session with the bridge in the background. Somehow chocolate became the theme of the weekend and we found Moonstruck Chocolate in the one of the buildings nearby. We went in, mainly because we needed to use the bathroom, but were pleasantly surprised when the lady kept handing us samples of chocolate. Not complaining whatsoever.
Well, I guess it was that sort of day and we went for round two of coffee at Good. I've heard that they have good coffee, but it was stellar. I ordered a Marionberry Cacao Latte to sip on while we took a break to relax and read.
Our time together was beginning to run out and we sat down for one last meal at ¿Por Que No?. This is one of the restaurants that is a staple of Portland and I now understand why. I feel like I discovered a whole other side to tacos and they hit the spot. Somehow it was sunny out and we soaked up some rays before making a final stop at Blue Star Donuts so I could take half a dozen back with me to Seattle. Yes, I was that person.
And just like that, Lauren dropped me off at the BoltBus stop and I was back off to Seattle. The weekend flew by, but that's when you know you're having fun. It's so cool to see you're best friends making moves, especially after picking up and starting fresh in a new city. SO PROUD OF YOU LAUR!