Island Time Kayaking

Casey’s view of the world

Portland, OR Bust

December21

Had to do it, bad joke.

Nathan, Lauren and I were invited down to Portland by fellow innkeepers for a few days, so we decided since we were slow for a few days to take them up on it.

We had a great time.  We walked the first day to the Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden, but as it was only 30 minutes to closing we decided not to go into the gardens and to come back another day.

The first night we had an amazing pizza at Ken's Artesian bakery.  We were all drenched and it wasn't quite time that they started taking orders but we ordered a steamed milk for Lauren and a cappuccino for Nathan and a ceasar salad for myself and we put in our pizza order for when they started taking those orders.  We ordered the Soppressata pizza, it was really tasty, slightly spicy, crispy crust, perfect amount of cheese, and nice fresh basil.  They only make pizza at the bakery on a Monday night although they do have another location that does pizzas all the time.  I am glad the innkeepers suggested it.  The bakery gives away the bread that hasn't sold that day during the pizza time so we got a complementary baguette that was still fresh and crusty and yummy, we stopped on our way back to the inn and bought some goat cheese to go with it.

The next day we went to the Chinese Gardens, Powell's Books, Sur la Table, and general tourist stuff.  I found a little teapot cookie cutter for the tea cookies in the day spa. at Sur la Table and it was $1, perfect price.  At Powell's we finally found another journal for the Columbia room as the one that was in there has been full for some time.  I haven't checked to see if we have had any entries yet.

The Chinese Gardens were very beautiful, the koi were still pretty much frozen from the extreme cold weather even though it was pouring with rain, at some point someone had gone out on the ice and chopped holes through it.  There were some huge chunks of ice sitting on top, very impressive for the PNW.  We had a flight of white teas at the tea house, it was very interesting how much they varied in flavor and intensity.  Lauren enjoyed some of the tea as well.  She preferred the first one, as did I.  Nathan preferred the second and none of us really cared for the third.  Not that we could tell you what they were now.  I think the first one was White Peony, the second Jingmai White and the third, White dragon.  All from the Tao of Tea company.  We asked the hostess if there was anything else we shouldn't miss while we were in Chinatown and she said that we should head back to "the Pearl" before dark.  So we did. 

We went back to the inn to warm up and dry off and research dinner.  From Yelp reviews we decided on the Red Onion on 23rd.  Overall it was very good.  There were a few disappointing things.  We ordered their stuffed calamari appetizer because so many people had raved about in on Yelp.  We got calamari, but it wasn't stuffed.  It was good though, really tasty, and it was cooked well.  Lauren even liked it.  The chicken satay skewers were very tender and flavorful.  Our main dishes we ordered a beef curry stir fry and a chicken noodle dish, I wish I could remember what it was called.  We ordered them both between mild and medium because we knew we would be sharing with Lauren as well, otherwise I probably would have ordered a bit spicier.  Well our chicken noodle dish came out, but not our rice or our beef dish.  So we were eating the chicken which was very tasty, until the very last bites, which were so hot, my eyes were watering, I could barely swallow, and I couldn't taste anything…AND NO RICE.  And I am not a spice wimp.  When the rice finally came I had a bunch of that, and was trying to enjoy the beef dish but couldn't really taste it until I was so full I couldn't eat anymore, but I could say that the last bite I had was very flavorful, the beef very well cooked and tender.  Lauren was especially grumpy after not having a nap and the service wasn't too on top of things so we missed out on dessert and they even had the fried bananas that Nathan loves so much. 

Lauren went to bed earlier, but still not as well as she does at home. At least she didn't cry as long this time.  Nathan and I finished the loaf of bread and more of the goat cheese, and Nathan watched A Christmas Story for the first time.  It was a very casual night.

The next day we drove to the Japanese Garden.  What a beautiful and magical place.  Even in the cold wet weather of winter it was full of life and movement.  Speaking of wet, saying that it was raining was an understatement, it was dumping sheets of water. It was crazy.  We ducked into the Pavilion for a steaming cup of green tea and to look at the wares they had for sale for the Holidays.  After warming up and slightly drying off, we headed, dashed really, to the car.  We decided to drive around and see if we could find something to eat.  We really wanted to eat at the Frying Scotsman Fish and Chips.  They got really great reviews and who can pass up on authentic fish and chips!?  The only downside is that is a cart which means we would have eaten in the car or outside.  With the amount of water being poured from the sky and the fact that our car has dark tan cloth interior, we decided we would pass this time around.  We ended up just heading north on I-5.  We decided that instead of Fish and Chips we would settle for a good burger and fries.  I head read an article about Burgerville so that sounded like a good choice and we would of course see one right?  Um…wrong.  We didn't want to head into WA because we thought we wouldn't see one so we took the last exit the Jantzen Beach exit.  After driving around looking for something that sounded slightly appealing we decided we would go the Home Depot, buy the grout float we needed tax free, and head to the mall.  Surely we could find something at the food court right?  Wrong!  The choices were Taco Time, Chinese, and Pasta & Pizza.  We decided Taco Time was the best bet.  It wasn't great, but there was a carousel to distract Lauren and the mexifries were pretty good.  There was a Burlington Coat Factory so we went to look for a coat for Lauren. We ended up finding a coat, scarf, and snow bibs in a 3T at a great price.  Of course it is a little big, but we can easily roll up the pants and sleeves, and this way she can wear it next winter too.

We continued on our drive northward and what do we see a few exits up?  Burgerville.  Sigh.  Oh well.  All in all we had a very wet trip, but really enjoyed our time in Portland and can't wait to go back.

posted under Food, Personal, Travel

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