Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our perfect Portland getaway

Right from the start we dubbed our trip 'The Gastro Getaway' and we were both so excited about spending time in this fabulous city. For once we really researched online and took a lot of recommendations from online review sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp - for food and for our hotel. We were keen to check out some brew pubs and the food cart scene, plus Voodoo Doughnuts. We wanted to go cycling (since it seems so apparently set up for this) and even had checked out a great 15 mile cycle path trail along the river starting and finishing in downtown. Chris isn't normally the planner so much but this time I think our excitement grew from having some things mapped out.
We'd booked a room at the Hotel Deluxe - 1940's and 50's Hollywood glamour it said and it totally delivered. (we booked totally based on recommendations from Trip Advisor and Yelp - currently #3 out of 126 hotels in Portland on Trip  Advisor) We loved this place. It's an old building so the rooms were not your classic hotel room block shape and apparently varied in size. We stayed in a delightful King Feature room, and it was cavernous! All the typical amenities but everything seemed to come with an extra little flourish - so subtle you couldn't even put your finger on it - you just knew it was a little bit 'extra' special. We had the most ridiculous walk in closet - for our 4 night stay! (and sadly Chris restrained me from shopping to help fill it!!) We enjoyed hanging out in our room on the super comfy sofa drinking a bottle of champagne to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and eating Voodoo Doughnuts. On the Monday I even had to work - a (thankfully brief!) teleconference but there was a writing desk where I could gaze out over the city from our top floor room at a distant snow-capped Mt St Helen's. Ah, seriously this place sucked!! - not at all! From the moment we arrived we loved every minute of our stay - the staff were so friendly and helpful, we had the bellhop store our bikes each day, and the room key cards all had old Black & White movie stills on them (obviously I had to keep one!). We ate at the hotel restaurant 'Gracies' (also well reviewed online) and drank at The Driftwood Room where the champagne cocktails and pints of IPA were both featured on the happy hour menu, keeping us both happy and watered!

Our first day in the city we really lucked out with a glorious weather day. Knowing these are sadly all too rare in the Pacific Northwest we grabbed the bikes and headed off for our cycle ride, stopping at our first food cart for breakfast. One thing I was surprised about the food carts is how few of them cater for breakfast (most open around 11am). But we found El Rodeo taqueria who served us up a couple of monster sized breakfast burritos. We found a bench in Pioneer Square to picnic on our breakfast feast and they were oh so good! - the tortillas seemed almost sweet, and the fillings of eggs, bacon, cheese and hash browns were just spilling out - it even came with little take-away pots of red and green hot sauces. And they were just $4 a piece!

There's an awesome cycle path that follows the river all through downtown. We found it all mapped out with a full description on the Portland Bureau of Transportation website - there's a whole section dedicated to the Best rides around Portland - there were dozens other routes we could've checked out too (we did the Waterfront Loop). Spring is very much in full swing down in Portland - we passed the most amazing trees FULL of blossom (still yet to see any back here in BC). We crossed over to the east bank of the river at the Steel Bridge and headed south, past the OMSI and onto the Springwater trail, south as far as the Sellwood Bridge and back along the waterfront to downtown past the University and the aerial tram (which apparently allows bikes, but we didn't know that at the time!). By this time we were very deserving of some light refreshment so ended up at Rock Bottom Brewery for happy hour (if you persevere I think you'd find that it's always happy hour somewhere in town!) After having not cycled in a VERY long time we both had extremely sore backsides, but with this great ride out I was pleased to be checking off #38 on my 2012 manifesto (after it being 1 of just 4 items I failed at in 2011!!)

We finished off our glorious day of weather at the Portland City Grill for their happy hour. A-maz-ing views of the city and the alpine-glow on Mt Hood at sunset. Perfection! (and the happy hour menu kept us well oiled!)
The days that followed we had more typical Pacific NW weather - but we enjoyed a trip out to the coast to Cannon Beach for a little walk and lunch at Bill's Tavern Brew House, and dinner with family at Nuestra Cocina - which was fabulous (also extremely well rated!). We spent the rest of our time eating and drinking - really I think that was all we did!! Oh and little more wandering around this lovely city. It struck me how clean and tidy it was - and so un-crowded - loved Powell's City of Books too - my goodness I would LOVE to have a bookstore like this locally - I think I would just set up camp and live there!
This deserves a special mention (since I beleive today -12th April is actually National Grilled Cheese dayl!!) - We stopped by here on our way out of town on our final morning. The BEST grilled cheese sandwiches and a funky old double decker bus as a 'dining room' - LOVED it!!
We also had the best brews at Rogue Ales. Whilst not really a micro-brewery these days they had about 30 of their own brews on draft. Chris worked his way through all 3 of their IPA's and I had the most incredible Chipotle Ale. Both were accompanied by one of fab Kobe burgers (I'm not usually much of a burger-meister but these were wicked)
We had the perfect romantic mini break for our 10th anniversary. The hotel really made it for us, but we checked out so many great little eateries that we'd read up on too - and we loved our 'gastro getaway'! (I put on 3lbs in 5 days!).

1 comment:

  1. Happy anniversary to you both! Sounds like a great getaway, makes me want to go there even more now! I've always wanted to check out Seattle & Portland for some reason. One day!! xXx

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