Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh Portland

Let the tulips begin!

I think Portland has got to be my favorite city. I have lovely memories of Seattle, Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, and lots of places in between, but Portland is by far the best. I got to tag along there with my sister a few weeks ago, and to help me remember it all, you now get to read everything I did. It's the trip account. My favorite thing about coming home. I love recounting the whole trip, recording it so I won't forget the details...

We flew in on a Tuesday night and rode the slow train from the airport to The Nines, where we stayed for the week. We explored the hotel that night, amazed at how posh yet inexpensive it was. Wednesday morning, Dave and Whitney picked me up and we headed to Broder for a Swedish breakfast, then out to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. We totally geeked out with our cameras, and probably had 12 of them between the three of us. We wandered the muddy rows of gorgeous tulips for a while, then ventured over to the filbert orchard beyond. The weather was cloudy - perfect for Polaroid - and just warm enough. We headed to Laurelhurst Market back in Portland after that, and enjoyed delicious sandwiches for lunch. I would fly back there just for that sandwich! It was an Italian sub (my absolute favorite) with soppressata, ham, lettuce, pepperoncini, red onion, provolone and "special sauce" on fresh bread. Holy cow it was good. I want to travel the world one day to eat, photograph, and write about Italian subs. I might start at Laurelhurst. Dave and Whitney dropped me off at The Nines after that, and I took stock of the Polaroids I shot all day and started to worry about the small amount of film I'd brought.

Later that night, my sister and I met up with Elizabeth at the swanky hotel bar. After a quick drink, we headed out for a bit of a sightseeing drive, then over to Ken's Pizza for dinner. It was a long wait but so worth it. We ordered three pizzas: a margherita, a soppressata, and an arrabiata, then gluttonously topped it off with the salted caramel ice cream brownie sundae. Divine!

Thursday morning I walked over to Kenny and Zukes for an onion bagel with scallion cream cheese, then found a comfortable spot at the Ace to eat and play with my new MacBook Pro. After I savored every last crunchy dried onion bit in the paper wrapper, I wrote my First Word for the next issue of Light Leaks, browsed Flickr a bit, played around with a few iPhone images I'd shot on the trip, and people-watched of course. When my ass was sufficiently asleep from sitting all morning, I walked to Cargo, stopping for quick photos here and there. The weather was sunny but so windy and every time I'd turn a corner into the shadows, I felt like I walked into January. Cargo was a wonderful escape from the chill, and such a cool, weird store. I found some random small letters to spell out "film" and some prayer flags that I may hang from my new and almost finished pergola out back. I photographed my way back to the hotel, bags full of cameras, Cargo trinkets, two pounds of Stumptown beans for my husband (his forever souvenir wherever I go), and brownies from Whole Foods. Once back at the hotel, I spread out all my Polaroids, smiled, and began to watch a little Food Network. Our television at home isn't even plugged in and we canceled our cable long ago, so it's fun to go out of town and watch tv. It's like a novelty. My sister's conference ended around lunchtime for the day, so we walked to Kenny and Zukes for lunch, then over to the Powell's Books on Burnside for three hours of browsing. What a grand store. I could spend days and thousands there. I ended up with a very non-traditional bookstore purchase (a cork Frisbee), a couple of stickers, and a used copy of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, something I'd read about recently and thought it sounded nice.

I'd arranged to meet up with Danielle that evening but had a monster headache, so we postponed till my next Portland visit. Instead, my sister and I hung out at the hotel till about 6 that night, then walked to Voodoo Doughnut because that's what tourists do in Portland. I was amused with the place and not surprised to see a line. We ordered a couple of white cake donuts with sprinkles, a buttermilk bar, a No Name donut (Cocoa Krispies and peanut butter on top) and the Old Dirty Bastard (crushed Oreo and peanut butter on top of chocolate frosting). I've gotta tell you, I wasn't that impressed. I thought the donuts were good, but nothing special. The local small town grocery store a few blocks from my house makes donuts that are far superior. Especially the sprinkled cake donuts and buttermilk bar. The crazy toppings at Voodoo are good, but nothing I couldn't do at home. I think the media has done a fantastic job marketing this place, but if you want an amazing doughnut, come to the store by my house. After toting the telltale pink Voodoo box around town, we stopped for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. I am much more interested in local, non-chain restaurants, but it was good, cheap, and nearby.

Grilled Cheese Grill

Friday morning, I hung out at the hotel and waited for Andrea to pick me up for the day. I was so happy to finally meet her! We drove up to the not-yet-in-bloom Rose Garden for tree-filled views of the city below, and had to shout over the noise of new cedar mulch being pumped in to the flower beds. It smelled heavenly. After that, we drove over to Alberta Street and the funky Grilled Cheese Grill. I ordered The Moondog (Italian sub-like) and loved it. Our intention was to grab lunch, wander around to waste some film, go to Ampersand, then call it a day, but we got so caught up in talking Polaroid and photography in the old yellow school bus, that we each only shot one photo all day, but had a fantastic time hanging out. We did make it to Ampersand and it was such a cool place. I could peruse the baskets of found photos there all day! Huge thanks and hugs to Andrea. It was wonderful to meet you! I can't wait to hang out again. Oh, and my post wouldn't be complete without mentioning that Andrea totally got honked at by a train when she made an illegal right to drop me off at the hotel. It was awesome.

Saturday morning, my sister headed to her last day of the conference and Elizabeth picked me up for our Sauvie Island adventure. We stopped for an amazing breakfast at Besaw's. I had the Nathan Arizona ("Would you buy furniture at a store called 'Unpainted Huffhines?'") special: an omelet with cheddar, chives, bacon, and spinach. The most delicious, spicy, sauteed red potatoes with rosemary came on the side, along with wheat toast. I have been craving it all ever since. We made a pit stop at Blue Moon Camera where I met Zeb as he sold me three new toy cameras: an Imperial Mark XII, a Kodak Brownie Starflex, and a Kodak Brownie Starlet. All three are so cute, and both Brownies came with their original flashes. We promptly drove down to the park beneath St. John's Bridge and I set all three cameras on a picnic table and photographed them with the bridge in the background. I had to.

Possible Title

After that, we headed to Sauvie, a place I've seen through various photographers on Flickr, and one that I've wanted to visit for a few years now. It was gorgeous, even though the fields weren't bursting with produce yet and the trees were still pretty leafless. We wandered the grounds around the farmers market for a bit, then drove toward the beach, stopping only for cows in a grassy field. I loved every minute of it, and kind of want to live there now. Just kind of. After Sauvie, we went to REI and Lizard Lounge while we waited for my sister's conference to end. Soon enough it did, and the three of us headed to Por Que No? for amazing tacos and strong pomegranate margaritas. I had the porque tinga taco and the carnitas taco. The porque tinga had way too much cumin for my liking, but the carnitas was stellar. I'll have to go there again next time! We stopped quickly at Ink and Peat and Pix Patisserie afterward, then headed to the airport.

What a trip it was! Sorry to bore you with every detail, but these trip reports are the only way I record things! Huge thanks to my sister for letting me join you. It was so fun to have a vacation with you. I was able to cross #28 off my list, as well as #31 thanks to Dave, Whitney, and Andrea. A wonderful trip all around. These photos were all made with my Great Wall, and the one of St. John's Bridge had a partial shutter failure thing going on but I still really like it. And of course, big thanks to my pal Elizabeth for making time for me (and us). It's always so fun hanging out with my Portland counterpart.

4 comments:

dejvicka said...

such a great trip! you hit up all the best food shops in portland. can't wait for you to come back so we can hit up a whole other set of restaurants!

maddie said...

I like swanky restaurants, grilled cheese sandwiches and found photo's as well:)

Portland is very hip but exceedingly warm which is the perfect combination.


I love your photos' from this trip and ohhh! that banner is FABulous
Steph

sarah ann said...

The Grilled Cheese Grille, The view of St. Johns bridge from Cathedral Park, and the Woodenshoe Tulip festival are all things I've done in the last month. Isn't this place great? I feel so lucky to live here. Come back again and I can suggest a couple more great places for ya.

Happy Spring!

Kelly Johnston said...

Just found your blog via habit (which I love!) - thanks for the detailed Portland trip report - I'm headed there in a couple weeks and will be sure to visit some of your stops!