The more and more I think about the West Coast the more and more I miss it. And that includes Los Angeles.
But Portland Schmortland. I’m just kidding! Portland was excellent. The rain, the cold, all the cool shops, the endless supply of hipsters, and the random Russian taxi driver with a degree in criminal justice that kept telling me to “not give up” all made it worth while.
I was in Portland for 5 days and managed to see Powell’s bookstore, eat at Voodoo Donuts, walk nearly all of downtown, plus managed my way onto the streetcar for free, and surviving, unscathed after accidentally burning my shirt… It was a good shirt. We had some good times.
So I got into Portland from LAX around 4ish after sitting on a nearly 2 hour plane ride in a tin can, sitting next to some guy who couldn’t resist farting while blowing air on himself making it only smell funkier. I met Emma at Starbucks with my luggage in tow. She grabbed my suitcase and we hoofed it back to her place. I stayed in Nob Hill, a super cute neighborhood in southwest Portland. Shops and restaurants all over, everything in walking distance, even Trader Joes! I loved this neighborhood the moment I stepped in it.
We went to Pizzicato the first night and had the best cheesy/garlic pizza. Nothing like garlic to brighten the mood. The next day Emma had to work so what I did was decide to explore Nob Hill. What I ended up doing the whole morning was try to hike all the way up to the Pittock Mansion. It being a 45 minute walk and all up hill I soon discovered I was completely unfit and decided to turn back. I walked around Nob Hill for a good hour and half before I decided it was lunch time.
Emma and I met up at a sushi restaurant – can’t remember the name though. I forgot to mention they split the bill right down the middle on the West Coast. None of this is yours/this is mine crap. Right. Down. The. Middle. Anyway, that night we decided to go out to dinner and maybe go see a movie. As Emma and I were being girls and putting on makeup I stupidly bent over the vanity, over her candle, and unbeknownst to me, lit my shirt on fire. We went to a restaurant called Fireside. Ironic, I think not. With a marquee out front it looks like a movie theater but it’s really a swanky bar with a restaurant on the other side. Emma saw one of her friends from work and with small talk comes plans and with plans came the bar so off we went to MuuMuu’s, a cool, trendy bar in none other than Nob Hill. The night was lively, I geeked out with a coworker over a Fleetwood Mac jam and everything was alright.
The next day Emma and I woke up ravenous. She heard of a restaurant called Besaw’s and when your starving in the morning anything is fine as long as we get there. So Besaw’s it was. The place reminded me of old Portland, whatever that is. It had pictures from the 50’s when the restaurant opened and the decor still made it feel like it hadn’t changed but obviously it was updated. The food was glorious, the service was great, and the beautiful busboys butt made me swoon. I had eggs benedict with fried potatoes, and Emma had some glorious french breakfast called croquet madame.
So onto Powell’s. It was huge. And it was a dream come true. That many books, ranging from astrology to English literature to Russian architects to whatever the heck else. There were huge sections of everything. Afterwards we walked around downtown and saw the homeless life (not like that was intentional*). None of the homeless kids compare to the crazy hobos in L.A. Maybe they’re just the beginning phase of what is to come of them in L.A…
*I say this simply because there were so many of them. I hope they all get the help they need and wish there was a way for them to be off the streets and in a happier place.*
We then made it to Voodoo Donuts. The line was out the door as expected. I got a Captain Krunch donut and an M&M donut and Emma got the voodoo doll. They were gone in a flash. After Voodoo we went to The Living Room Theater and saw Gloria, a Spanish film about a middle aged woman finding love then getting her heart broken and in my opinion there was way way too much elderly fornication. Too much. I didn’t want to see it and I had a front row seat.
The next day we went back downtown and walked to the river. The white stag sign was also in our sites and after that we stumbled upon a kooky antique store called Hoodoo Antiques. The owner told us he finds all his stuff along the U.S. Mostly in the deep south where he likes to sit outside barber shops and talk to older folks and hear their stories. He was a rather creative guy. While recalling a piece of lighting I asked about he said that it looked like a shower cap rather than bouquets like I thought them to look like. He had pig ear lamps, huge lit up letters that said “Red”, and canoes lining the ceilings as well. The rest of the day was filled with movies.
Later in the evening we went Salt and Straw, a funky flavored ice cream parlor with a line out the door. It was worth the wait. I sampled a flavor called pear and bleu cheese. It was actually really good.
The next day was Monday and my last day. It rained and rained and so I just decided to go back downtown to Powell’s and fyi, that is the best time to go. You have the whole place to yourself! Later I met up with Emma for lunch at some swanky Mexican restaurant called Matador and then off I went to explore some more.
I was trying my darnest to be a hipster!
So to end this little recap all I want to say is that Portland was really marvelous. Sure it’s filled with trendy hipsters, some you can’t really tell if they’re homeless or not, and sure the rain kind of ruins things but once you get past all of that you see how fun it can be. The place has its charm and there’s so much of it. Why not go?
Things I learned in Portland:
-You can ride the streetcars for free. Just don’t tell anyone.
-Taxis cost an arm and a leg to get to and from the airport.
-Look at the store signs before you walk into a erotic bookstore with creepy dudes inside.