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this is not a dream

I am continuing my previous post with more photos of my first trip to Portland, Oregon.  There was so much to see (& do) I wish I could’ve captured every single moment in a photo.  Here is my summary of my trip, in photos…

 

NATURE!
There was so much foliage around us.  It was so amazing, as though an urban cityscape was dropped right in the middle of a lush forest.  I loved taking in all of the tree-lined streets & beautiful flowers.  Seeing all of the different colors of plants & flowers, it was like a unicorn pooped a fantastical rainbow over the fair city of PDX.

 

CRAZY ART!
The great Bridge City is well known for all of its funky art glory.  I tried to take as many snapshots as I could of all the interesting art I found along the way.  Some were cute like the music quote (“You can’t touch music, but music can touch you.“) from the Regular Show or the “Keep Calm and Eat Donuts” quote from Blue Star Donuts.  Others were beautiful like the “Keep Your Chin Up” mural or the two framed art prints in our hotel room.  There were also a few unusual, yet cool ones like the bicycles sculpture, the cardboard station wagon & camper, & the crack pipe application warning sign.  Look!  We even saw a graffiti drawing of Pedo Bear!  Don’t even ask how I know that Pop Culture/Anime cartoon character…

 

MORE NATURE!
When I say more nature, I mean it.  Every street was practically lined with trees from beginning to end.  Every lamp post had a hanging flower pot.  No matter where you look, you just can’t escape the greenery.  It really softened the rigidness of the metropolitan city.  It wasn’t all boxy high-rise office buildings, sleek glassed apartments & quaint retail shops.  All of the flowers & greenery really made you feel at ease amongst the hustle & bustle.  There are plenty of parks & parklets strewn about the city, so you can take a break & unwind after a day of hitting the hard pavement.  We also happened to arrive just before the 2014 MLS All-Star Soccer/Fútbol Tournament.  So there were MLS (& especially PORTLAND TIMBERS & Adidas) decorations all over the city! (I was so disappointed that we were leaving the day BEFORE the All-Star game…so, I had to bring home a Portland Timbers t-shirt from the Providence Park Stadium shop.) Can I get an ‘Amen!’ for the hottie Tim Ridgewell, please???

 

ARCHITECTURE!
There was so much beautiful architecture to look at…a feast for the eyes~!  I am not very knowledgeable in architecture or design, but I do appreciate cool-looking buildings & well-crafted design.  I absolutely fell in love with all of the apartment buildings surrounding my hotel.  Semi-tall buildings constructed of steel, glass, brick & wood with a minimalistic look, that’s my type of architecture.  That’s what I like.  I’m cool with living on the 10th floor of a glass box, as long as it’s overlooking the city skyline or a park (& not facing a brick wall or overlooking a dingy mall parking lot).  I was just in awe every time I walked down any number of streets & admired all of the buildings, especially the apartments.  It almost made me want to drop everything & move to PDX straight away…ALMOST.  I also loved how some of the streets in the Pearl District had deck-lined sidewalks.  It kind of made me feel like I was walking on a beach.  Also, I had to visit the Heathman Hotel.  I’ve heard about it through a book series that I recently read. (Yes, yes, I know that book trilogy is becoming a clichéd joke, but please give me a break!)  I just wanted to see if the description matched what I had read, & it did…but also I received many recommendations to have drinks at the Heathman Restaurant & Bar, & they make really delicious cocktails…a perfect place for some pre-cocktail cocktails before you hit up Pepe Le Moko or Kask for some even more delicious pre-dinner booze BEFORE you partake in your evening meal.

 

AND EVERYTHING ELSE!
And finally…the last bits of odds & ends from my trip to Portland.  I’m a bit out of sorts as I finish this post, so I’m just going to make a few bullet points.

  1. Powell’s city of Books is the best place to hang out at 11:30 at night when you are slightly tipsy from “hitting the bottle” since 3pm in the afternoon.
  2. I not-so-discreetly took a snapshot of the 2 really handsome & attractive baristas from Barista (the coffee shop).  This was taken at the NE Alberta St. location. (If only I could whistle…)
  3. Salt N Straw Ice Cream is probably one of the best craft ice creameries I’ve ever tried.  I’d have to say it’s no.3 on my list of favorite craft ice creameries.  My no.1 choice is Humphrey Slocombe from San Francisco, & my no.2 choice is McConnell’s Ice Cream from Santa Barbara, CA.  I don’t really care for the liquid nitrogen made Insta ice creameries.  They’re like the “flash fashion” of the dessert world.
  4. I just had to put in this one tiny little Portlandia reference.  This is a nod to the Tina & Lance “Cacao” sketch from the show.
  5. I saw this really cool “Welcome” sign in Japanese on the door of a sushi restaurant.  It was a nice little touch.  The sign says 「いらっしやいませ」(Irasshaimase) which literally translates to “May I help you?”, but in this context it means “Please come in”.
  6. One night we were sitting in the patio section of Clyde Common eating our dinner when we spotted 2 luxury cars parked out in front.  A couple of guys had rented them for a party, I’m assuming to impress their girlfriends or to possibly try & get laid later that night.  Everyone that walked by, even the partygoers, stopped to take multiple photos in front of this Lamborghini.  I’ll admit, it is a pretty luxury super car.
  7. However, I prefer this R8 over the Lamborghini, hands down.  Performance-wise, the R8 outdoes the Lambo, & I think it looks better than the Lambo, but everbody notices the glitzy Lamborghini first.  I am an Audi fan through-&-through.  Well, I am a slight VAG (Volkswagen Auto Group) fan.  Both Lamborghini & Audi are under the VAG umbrella, so…they’re both pretty awesome cars.
  8. My 6-year old nephew (who lives in Los Angeles) is a HUGE NCAA College Football fanatic.  I don’t even know how he got into college football (maybe from my brother & his dad), but he just loves anything related to football (even the NFL).  He knows more facts & info about college football than most adult men.  My nephew could impress the guys at ESPN for sure.  One of his favorite teams is the University of Oregon Ducks…. So needless to say, I had to rush over to the Ducks Store to get him a few souvenirs.

 

That’s pretty much all from my travels to Stumptown, Bridge City, PDX, Portland… Until next time.  Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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PDX is magic

As promised, here is the blog post about my recent vacation to Portland, Oregon. (I am typing this while I am snacking on my Glico「サラパスタ -トマトサラダ」’Sala Pasta’ tomato salad flavored cocktail crackers.)

  • DATES: August 1-5, 2014
  • CITY: SFO to PDX
  • HOTEL: Residence Inn by Marriott, Pearl District
  • ROOM: #415
  • TRANSPORTATION: Public Transit (We mostly did not rent a car.)

Almost every time we travel together, my travel buddy & I try to stay at a Marriott (or Marriott-affiliated) hotel.  My buddy is a gold-status rewards card member at Marriott, so we are usually able to get free nights at our hotel with all of the points we save up.  On this trip, we were able to score one free night of stay.  That’s surely a nice way to start off our vacation.  We didn’t check-in to our hotel until around 11:30 at night, & we were starving from a lack of dinner.  Most of the nearby restaurants & bars were already closed (& had no idea there was a 24hr Subway deli just 1 block down the street from us), so we ended up eating 2 crappy Lean Cuisine microwave dinners from the hotel snack shop.

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The next morning we woke up, bright & semi-early, ready to take on PDX by foot.  Yes, we were brave foolish enough to trek the fair city of Portland just by walking, & it was the best decision we ever made.  It really forced us to look at the city in ways we never could if we were merely gazing out of a car window.  Sure, we can travel farther by car, but everything we wanted to see & do was within reach from our hotel by public transportation.

We took the bus & street car/tram only once during our entire trip; the rest of the time we walked.  Only on our second-to-last day did we actually cave in & rent a car.  We were planning on exploring East Portland & knew we couldn’t cross the bridge & explore that part of town in one day alone, so we rented a car for one & a half days.  We had originally planned on using the car rental service Car2Go, but had no way of signing up + retrieving our membership card within the duration of our stay, so we rented a car the traditional way through Dollar Rental.  For those who don’t know what Car2Go is, the easiest way to describe it is like a hybrid between a car share & a car rental.  Check out their website for a video & the complete rundown of how this all works (They might be in a city near you!).  Car2Go only uses Smart ForTwo cars, which I can understand because Car2Go is owned by Daimler AG, which is the parent of Mercedes-Benz, which is the parent of Smart.

Our Car2Go membership card arrived in the post after we came back from PDX.

Our Car2Go membership card arrived in the post after we came back from PDX.

Just as I had predicted (& planned), my travel buddy & I mostly ate, drank & spent time at the parks.  I was hoping to go shopping (possibly for some Danner &/or Pendleton goods straight from the source), but the most shopping we did was for coffee beans.  We also bought 2 coffee mugs, one from Barista Fine Roasting & one from Heart Coffee Roasters, to match our exisiting Stumptown Coffee mugs.  We visited a different coffee roaster everyday & definitely got our caffeine fix, but we didn’t visit as many beer breweries as we had originally planned.  However, we did indulge in quite a bit of beer during our PDX stay.

Places we visted for coffee:

  • Sisters Coffee Company
  • BARISTA: Fine Coffee Purveyors
  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters
  • Sterling Coffee Roasters
  • Heart Coffee Roasters
  • Ristretto Coffee Roasters

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Places we visited for beer:

  • The Mash Tun Brewpub
  • Pints Brewing
  • Hair of the Dog Brewing Company
  • Deschutes Brewery

 

Eating in Portland is a very exciting experience, especially for foodies & food lovers.  No matter where you turn, there will be at least 5 restaurants within 1 city block at all times.  Trust me when I say YOU WILL NOT GO HUNGRY IN PDX. I could not believe how many restaurants, breweries, cafes & coffee roasters I passed by; I felt as though there were more eateries, roasters & breweries than there were retail shops & each place offered a different variety of food or drink.  The popular trend in PDX: locally sourced, made-from-scratch & farm-to-table ingredients.  We’ve got the same foodie trend happening here in San Francisco, but PDX really took it to another level making the food feel really homey & comforting…not upscale hipster & uppity like in SF.  Even if it’s craft, or small batch, or hand-made, in PDX the food feels like small hometown cooking & the cocktails are anything but pretentious.

Places we visited for food:

  • Clyde Common
  • Piattino
  • Grassa
  • Salt N’ Straw Ice Creamery
  • Boxer Ramen
  • Ruby Jewel Scoops
  • Lardo
  • Le Pigeon
  • Lovejoy Bakery
  • Blue Star Donut & Coffee

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Places we visited for alcohol:

  • Clyde Common
  • Kask
  • Pepe Le Moko
  • Living Room Theater
  • The Heathman Restaurant & Bar
  • Multnomah Whiskey Library

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So, we didn’t just hang around the downtown city areas & stuffed ourselves silly.  We also, as I had planned, visited many of PDX’s illustrious parks.  I didn’t just want to sit around & drink coffee/beer all day.  I wanted to do as the locals do & just chill at the park on a hot day, & boy were the days H-O-T!!! We hung out around a few of the smaller parks, but spent a majority of time at the Lan Su Chinese GardenInternational Rose Test Garden, & Japanese Garden (& took the most photos there).  The Japanese GardenInternational Rose Test Garden were a bit far from our hotel, so we walked to Providence Park Stadium (home of the Portland Timbers MLS team), & took the free bus to the gardens.  On the way back, we took the bus back to Providence Park Stadium, & from there, slowly walked back to our hotel’s neighborhood.

Parks we visited:

  • North Park Blocks
  • Japanese Gardens
  • International Rose Test Garden
  • District Park
  • Tanner Springs Park
  • Jamison Square Park
  • The Fields Neighborhood Park
  • South Park Blocks

INTERNATIONAL ROSE TEST GARDEN

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JAPANESE GARDENS

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LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN

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Today’s song of the day:
“Hot Tonight” by Tokyo Police Club
hot tonight

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