It feels so good to blog again. I was having some serious blog withdrawals. I tried blogging with the iPhone during the nine hour drive up to Portland from SF but that would've taken light years. LIGHT YEARS. There was a little mishap with our car rental. We had to swap cars in SF because the previous one had a broken gas meter. This might sound silly but during the cruise up from LA to SF, we thought the car was super gas efficient. So even though the meter said we had a quarter tank left, it really was empty. The car inevitably stopped accelerating but fortunately, we were close to an exit. We slowly crawled off the freeway and safely parked on the shoulder on a street called Isabel. It was somewhere in Livermore, which is less than an hour from SF. It was 9pm. I had AAA so it was no big deal. It just took the agent what seemed like 30 years to locate us. Victoria thought that maybe the agent was using a Thomas Guide or something. The last time I saw one of those was in 1993 in my uncle in law's blue Corsica. That was pretty funny. Oh right, Victoria was was riding with us. We gave her a lift to the bay so she could visit her parents. Anyway, AAA came and liquored the car up with fuel and everything was smooth sailing after that.
Back to Portland. The drive there was beautiful. It was a little long but the layers of lush greens were enough to keep me awake for days. Portland should really be called Lushland. Ha! The highlight of my trip was probably Forest Park. It's immense. It's one of the largest urban parks in the nation. I think it's ranked in the top 20. It was very relaxing. I needed some me time because it was like day 9 with my best friend and we were this close on strangling each other. So I chilled in the forest and even got a selfie pic using a self-timer app on the iPhone.
Portland reminds me of Santa Cruz. Super chill and friendly people. Nature everywhere. The city feels like a great community. Lots of food carts and local businesses. The city felt pretty small, almost like I already knew everyone there even though I was only there for two days. Portland is super easy to get around. Parking was never a problem. We mostly walked everywhere anyway. Also, I was pleasantly surprised with this fantastic Southeast Asian restaurant called Pok Pok. Check it out. It reminded me of some of my mom's home cookings. Their roasted chicken and noodles are mouthwatering.
We got into Portland around 8pm and went straight to Doug Fir Lounge for dinner and drinks. Hip place with an interesting interior. It's like modern cosmo log cabin. It was pretty dead on a Sunday night though. I hear bands come here to perform. I can see place poppin'.
Got Stumptown Coffee and chilled in the Ace Hotel lobby for an hour. Great hang out spot for people watching or catching up on blogs, newspapers or whatever. I can shoot the shits for hours. They got it down to perfection here. I'm definitely staying at the Ace next time I visit Portland. I recommend you do the same. It's close to everything. It's sandwiched between Stumptown Coffeee and Clyde Common restaurant. A block away you have Powell Books, other good coffee shops, and boutique clothing stores like Frances May. We ended up doing Airbnb which was fine. We stayed in a new high rise in downtown and were on the 9th floor but I was craving the extra fun stuff that Ace offers. They have bikes for you to rent too.
A friend recommended Courier Coffee and their must try cookies. It was crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. My favourite kind. By the way, I've never drank so much coffee in my life. I'm not usually a coffee drinker and not much of a tea drink anymore either. I seriously just do water all day and then booze, which I need to cut down on. I'm going dry for the month of May. But I've always enjoyed making coffee. I was a barista in college.
Salt & Straw — I got their pear goat cheese, honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, and salted caramel ice cream. Deleeeeeeeeeshus.
Bunk Sandwiches — This pork belly cubano sandwich is one of the yummiest sandwiches I've ever tasted. Each bite just got better. I also heard that it's one of the best in the nation, according to Food Network.
I was told it'd be sacrilege if I didn't try Voodoo Doughnut. I did and it was good. Just a little too sweet for me.
Loved this fun collaborative project called "Billions and Billions of People" by Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson, local artists and thirty homeless youths served by the New Avenues for Youth Artist Mentorship Program.
The sunsets are magical in Portland too. Next time I visit, I wanna check out Mutlnomah Falls which is about 25 minutes north of Portland. And maybe some of the Japanese and Chinese gardens.