The trip - dim and distant though it is - was great anyway. Melissa and I flew into Portland, arriving late to our hotel on Friday 3rd June night and spent a couple of full days there before taking the train up to Seattle on the Monday morning. We were fortunate enough to have unbelievably beautiful weather, which was apparently atypical for Portland, mid-80s with low humidity and clear blue skies and surprisingly good hair days which I was not expecting given the soggy reputation of the Pacific North West. New York on the other hand was experiencing a heat wave and was unbearably close to 100F!! Ugh!! I was so so so happy not to be there.
We woke up fairly early on Saturday morning - still being on east coast time - although we bumped into a good number of hotel guests returning from their morning runs. No such exertions for us and instead we took a leisurly walk along the riverside to the Saturday Market and stopped at Bijou Café for breakfast where I had the most delicious meal of scrambled tofu with olive oil, garlic and parsley and the best home fries I have ever tasted.
We walked off some of our hearty breakfast by heading up to the Pearl District, a former warehouse district which is now home to boutiques, fancypants apartment buildings and restaurants galore. On the way we stopped for a browse in the fabulous Powell’s Books where I couldn't resist making a stationery purchase - I'm a stationery fiend, it's my drug of choice - and also a bathroom stop. I also couldn’t resist popping into Anthropologie as we passed by - a store I am obsessed with, although I swear to you that I hadn't looked up the location prior to my arrival and happened upon the store purely by coincidence. People who work with me will not believe that for a second, but it is true – and was thrilled to find a silk camisole top that I'd had my eye on for months on sale in my size, reduced from $78 to $39. Yay!!
Afterwards we sauntered around the Pearl District, taking a photo of the doors to the office of advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy for Kanayo who is obsessed with the idea of working there even though she has never so much as set foot in Oregon.
The Pearl District often feels very similar to TriBeCa in Manhattan
Tanner Springs Park, designed by German firm Atelier Dreiseitl and Portland's Greenworks P.C., with participation from local residents through a series of community workshops. The 'wall' you can see in the photo below is made from railway tracks set on end.
After exploring we decided to head back downtown towards our hotel for a break via Pioneer Square
Although we didn't break for long before the clock struck beer o'clock and we headed out to taste the offerings of the Full Sail Microbrewery whose tasting room is located inside McCormick and Schmick's at riverplace marina, passing the Ira Keller fountain - designed by Angela Danadjieva apparently inspired by the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Portland - along the way, which was teeming with kids playing in the water despite the 'caution...this fountain is not meant for wading' signs dotted about the place.
We had plans to meet Melissa's friend Julie for dinner at Park Kitchen in North Park area near the Pearl District so after sampling the Full Sail beers we headed back to the Pearl District to sample the beers at the Bridgeport Brew Pub along with some pretzels to line our stomachs. On the walk over we noticed many many folding chairs lined up for a front row seat to that evening's rose parade.
The restaurant was amazing, I am still craving their chick pea fries, salt cod fritters and chocolate tart. Afterwards we headed over to the Teardrop Lounge for cocktails, which was recommended by a BBC article on the best US cocktail bars and then Melissa and I toddled back to our hotel through the remnants of the parade for a final drink at the hotel bar fire pits. Obviously it was a boozy kind of kick off to our Pacific North West adventure.Check me with my artsy photography ;-)