Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Loose Bitches: The Badder Girl’s Guide to Portland

Portland. A city where designer organic cocktails and tiny horse abuse abound (see above photo of random street art in the Pearl art district). And my new favorite place ever. Last week, my family and I flew to Seattle to attend Cheese-a-topia, the Oscars of the American Cheese Society. Let’s just put a pin in that for now because after the cheese thing we drove to Forks, WA, home of Bella and Edward. Uh, put another pin in that because after Forks we went to Portland. We really only went there to drop my brother and sister-in-law off for their return flight, but we ended up spending the rest of the trip there. Why? Food, booze and really nice people.

There first must-taste stop is Voodoo Doughnuts. You may have seen their work on one of those Food Network shows. We waited in line for 30 minutes, and as a person who hates waiting more than she hates Communism, I promise you it is 100% worth it. I’m not saying it’s the absolute best doughnut I have ever eaten, but it is the most fun doughnut experience I’ve ever had. One of the doughnut chefs came out of the back door and asked us to sample his latest creation and we saw an employee pull down a ladder to crawl up into a crawl space. Apparently, that’s how they get to work in the tiny, over-crowded shop. If you’re not sold by the pink box, check out the doughnut carousel. Also, I didn’t get a photo, but they had entire plastic water buckets full of doughnuts for $7. Also part-two, their slogan is “The magic is in the hole,” which is obviously what she said … right before she gave you AIDs.

My other restaurant noms include Navarre, a fantastic and also tiny tapas bar with an ever-changing menu of hand-crafted deliciousness and Gruner, an updated German restaurant that will make you rethink the sausage (although they do make their own in-house) and kraut stereotype (see photo I stole from the internet of the fantastic spatzle I had below). I highly recommend trying the Liptauer cheese and take a look at their cocktail menu, which includes drinks made with unusual German-inspired goodies like plum brandy and elderflower syrup.

If you’re not in the mood to just stuff yourself the whole trip, your loss. But Portland has some other stuff to do. We walked to the Pearl district near downtown and toured the arty, antique-y type places. Be sure to stop by Cargo to steal their decor ideas, like this lamp shade made from vintage slides.

You can also drive to Mount St. Helens, just 70 or so miles to the North. It was pretty scenery, but I have to say I’ve cut wider swaths of destruction with my PMS tied behind my back. Maybe it doesn’t have the same impact when most of the crater is covered in clouds and you’re from a state in which the scenery is all desolate and treeless.

We also drove up to the Columbia River Gorge. On the way you can see all sorts of waterfalls.

And when you visit the dam, you can go to the basement to taunt the salmon trying to climb the fish ladder (a fish ladder is a water covered staircase that allows fish to climb over the damn). Then later you can eat them.

5 Responses to “Loose Bitches: The Badder Girl’s Guide to Portland”

  1. Casey says:

    Looks divine. My brother lives in the Pacific Northwest and loves it.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m jealous. I would pretty much sacrifice my first born for some more of their delicious blackberries. Well, my second born. I’m planning on eating the first one.

  3. Beth says:

    Love Navarre! Last summer, the owner saw me hopelessly trying to hail a cab (not allowed in the city), invited my mom and me into his restaurant, called us a cab, gave us a glass of wine on the house, and invited us to come back. Unfortunately, we were leaving town the next day but we did go back for breakfast, which was divine. Can’t wait to try it for dinner.

    Did you hit Powell’s books?

  4. Sara says:

    Well, damn! If I knew you were coming I’d a baked a cake!

    Those fish are delicious, by the way.

  5. annuaire says:

    Thanks for sharing, top tips!!

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