Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Voodoo City: Part II.

Oops! Pardon my impromptu blogging break. But when a friend offers free tickets to a Beatles tribute concert, you put on red lipstick and say yes! And when a friend makes last minute lunch plans, you meet with her, order a cucumber jalapeno margarita, and gab for hours. Then when you get called into work, you go, because money is money.

And yesterday was my lovely boyfriend's birthday. When he turned 22, I threw him a surprise dinner party with his family and best friends. When he turned 23, I took him on a scavenger hunt, which eventually led to a Wii. When he turned 24, I made reservations at his favorite Italian place, and then we met his friends at a comedy club. So for his 25th birthday yesterday, I showed up at his work (he works at a day camp for kids with disabilities) with 50 M&M cookies from our favorite bakery! After he got off work, we had pizza and his family came over for homemade strawberry cake. This Friday, we're continuing the celebration with our group of friends.

So that's where I've been.

Here's what we did for the second half of our trip in Portland, Oregon. (You can read what my family and I did on day 1-3 here.)

Meals on Sunday -
Breakfast: Pine State Biscuits, a diner style restaurant on Alberta. I had a large glass of chilled, organic apple cider and a huge biscuit, which included cheddar, fried chicken, and apple butter.

Lunch/Dinner: We went to New Seasons, an amazing grocery store with the best scones on the planet, and picked up items for a picnic. We had cheese, olives, a baguette, figs, chips and salsa, and - duh - scones. We ate around 3pm, and we ate so much that we remained stuffed for the night!

Entertainment on Sunday -
We rented a giant Chrysler van (which prompted everyone to sing "Love Shack"; we ended up nicknaming the van 'The Whale' after the lyrics in "Love Shack") and drove up to Cannon Beach. The Pacific Ocean is beautiful. (I saw it in 2005 when I went to California, but I forgot how vast and calm it is.) We spent the entire day at Cannon Beach, and when we got back to the hotel (we stayed at Hotel Modera), we sat by the fire pit and ordered martinis.

Meals on Monday -
Breakfast: Delicious iced mocha from Stumptown!

Lunch: Por Que No?, a little Mexican haunt on Mississippi Ave. I adored the charm of the hot pink walls and the turquoise counter. I ordered the tamales & the prickly pear margarita. Without a doubt one of the best margaritas I've tasted.

Dinner: Fish Grotto, an upscale, sustainable-product restaurant in downtown Portland. Unfortunately we didn't have a great experience here. It took 10 minutes for a host to seat us (there were plenty of empty tables, we just weren't greeted in a timely manner), and it took for-ev-er (Sandlot style) for our food to arrive. While we were waiting for our appetizers, we looked the restaurant up on Urbanspoon and/or Yelp, where one foodie described the restaurant's service as "glacially slow". The fact that it took eons for a host to seat us should have been our first clue, but we wanted to see what the hype was about. I didn't mean to go on a rant; just wanted to save you some time if you are going to Portland and planning to check out Fish Grotto. Go down the corner to the Living Room Theatre and have dinner + a movie instead.

Entertainment on Monday -
Shopping in the city and the International Rose Test Garden. The IRTG had roses the size of my head in every beautiful color you could imagine. If you get the chance, go!

Meals on Tuesday -
Breakfast: Woodlawn (coffee shop), a coffee shop my sister frequents and recommended. They serve the infamous Stumptown coffee, but the shop itself is super cute and has a host of delicious baked...carbs.

Lunch: We had lunch in Hood River, Oregon at a restaurant called Celilo. It was cold and rainy on Tuesday, so we were in the mood for luxurious bowls of soup. When we arrived, we discovered the soup du jour (always reminds me of Dumb & Dumber) was a chilled soup! However, it was quite easy to find other dishes to warm us up. We all fell head over heels for the salmon & trout mousse served with homemade/housemade flatbread crackers. I would make the trip back just to taste the mousse again. I may or may not be joking.

Dinner: Our last night in Portland! We had dinner at Dove Vivi, the sweetest little pizza place. My entire family is a fan of crunchy thin crust, so when my sister told us the pizza crust at Dove Vivi is made from cornmeal, we were afraid the crust would be too thick. We consulted Urbanspoon for pictures - we had to know the depth of the crust! - and even called the restaurant itself to ask - embarrassingly - how thick the crust was on a scale of 1 to 10. Guess what? It was the most perfect crust ever. Somewhat thick, but so golden and flaky.

Entertainment on Tuesday -
We drove through the Columbia River Gorge in the morning on our way to Hood River. It was one of the prettiest drives I've been on. Rows and rows and mountains of large pine trees, fog dancing at the tops, the water spreading for miles. When we got to Hood River, we had lunch and then went to a couple of wineries for tastings. My favorite winery was Cathedral Ridge Winery. Excellent red wines, helpful staff. Plus, there were several llamas outside the winery and who doesn't love llamas? After the tastings, we drove to Multnomah Falls and hiked the Ponytail Trail. My dear mother hiked in a dress, cardigan, and cat-eye sunglasses. The view from the top of the falls was ridiculously pretty, and it was a great way to end the vacation.

I've probably taken up half of your day if you read the entire post. I am super blessed to have gotten to visit my sister while she is living in Oregon. Thank you so much for the trip, mom! I had a blast spending the week with you guys.

Thanks for reading! xo

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