Eating My Way Through Portland Again

Beef rib feast at Clyde Common could easily serve 5-6 people.
Beef rib feast at Clyde Common could easily serve 5-6 people.

Portland is a great city for cycling, for book shopping, but it is probably most famous in the moment for its food culture. Even though the Mark Spencer Hotel offers a free breakfast, we ate out almost every meal. Staying in the Pearl District is great for walking to great restaurants.

About 18 months ago, I decided to give my adult children experiences instead of things. This weekend Sarah Harriet, Marcos and I were in Portland for the World Domination Summit. We kicked off our visit with dinner at Clyde Common with friends Lisa and Meg. We ended the evening at the fabulous Ruby Jewel ice cream shoppe.

Blue Star buttermilk donuts!
Blue Star buttermilk donuts!

The next morning we sought out the highly recommended Barista for coffee and second breakfast. The coffee was good but the baristas were aloof and the everyone there was so hip.

Frittata at Tasty n Alder
Frittata at Tasty n Alder

We intended to go to Lardo for Friday lunch but when we looked at the menu we changed our minds. We ended up at Cha!Cha!Cha! for Mexican food. Sarah and I shared some greasy nachos and we both got upset tummies. We drove to dinner at Bamboo and enjoyed a terrific meal with really good service.

On Saturday we were determined to get to the opening session of #WDS2015 early and be at Blue Star Donuts at the 8 a.m. opening time. First we went to Stumptown and got some coffee. Marcos liked the Nitro Cold Brew best. We hung out for a few minutes in the Ace Hotel lobby and Sarah and Marcos used the photo booth.

We were so excited and hungry we almost forgot to take a picture.
We were so excited and hungry we almost forgot to take a picture.

There was a line when we got to Blue Star, but not too long by Portland standards and it moved quickly once the shop opened. Lisa said Blue Star would fundamentally change our relationship to donuts–especially the buttermilk donut. They are truly amazing and I loved watching the Blue Star team working together. Skip the line at Voodoo and go to Blue Star! When we got to the Summit many of the Portland based ambassadors gave us thumbs up for the Blue Star box.

Quin is a small store front and features hand made candies and original recipes.
Quin is a small store front and features hand made candies and original recipes.

Sarah and Marcos grabbed Jimmie Johns sandwiches for a hike in the Columbia Gorge. (They highly recommend the hike to Punchbowl falls although watch the parking markers to avoid tickets and towing.) I went to Tasty n Alder for a wonderful frittata. We met up again for dinner at Cheryl’s because it was close and we were looking for a burger. The place was empty at 6:30 p.m. and while the food was solid, the service was rubbish.

On Sunday we went to Heart for coffee and a muffin. Sarah also ordered the sandwich but then could not eat it because of the relish and the ham was more like uncooked bacon. Sarah and Marcos liked their coffee the best and found the baristas super friendly. Lunch was a challenge because Zeke’s deli had a tremendous line and we were really hungry. We went down the street to Zeus Cafe. The food was good and we felt that good feeling that refueling gives.

Heart foam art on latte from Heart.
Heart foam art on latte from Heart.

Oh yeah, and somewhere in the midst of all of this activity I went a half block to the candy shoppe Quin and bought some caramels. Yum.

It was a dash to the finish of the conference and to the airport. So much good food in a few blocks. We will be back.

24 Hours in Portland

Recently spent 24 eventful hours in Portland for my friend Lisa’s birthday party. I flew in on Saturday morning in time to meet friends Dale and Erik for brunch. We texted back and forth while I was riding the MAX red line in from the airport. We settled on Mother’s Bistro and Bar. We enjoyed a delicious brunch and a great catch-up conversation. We walked to Powell’s for a book shopping expedition. (Hooray for Powell’s shipping service!) Then split up to go our separate shopping ways.

I promised other friends, Jen and Leslie, I would meet them at their hotel for a drink before the birthday party. I had a couple of hours to walk a couple of miles with my shoulder bag to my hotel in NW Portland. I was about 2/3 of the way to my destination and feeling a little foot sore when I spied a tea house in the middle of “nowhere.”

Steven Smith Tea tasting rooms
Steven Smith Tea tasting rooms

I entered the tea room and my spirit was immediately refreshed. After consultation with the barrista, I selected Kandy, a black tea described as “fragrant and intense, yet light in liquor, named for one of the sweetest towns in Sri Lanka.” My pot of tea was refreshing and I did a bit of tea shopping in anticipation of UK Sarah’s upcoming visit.

Steven Smith Tea tasting room
Steven Smith Tea tasting room

I continued hoofing it to my hotel (wishing I had brought my Brompton bike afterall).  My hotel, the Silver Cloud Inn,  was worth the effort: great price, spacious room, and good amenities.

I took a Radio Cab to the Sentinel Hotel and met my friends in the majestic lobby and lush bar. The cheese platter was the perfect amount for three to nosh on.

Lisa Goren is a very talented health care speaker, super smart, and wickedly funny friend. Over 50 of her lovely, funny friends gathered to celebrate her birthday. The food, the talent show, and the Ruby Jewel ice cream made an evening to remember.

The next morning some of us gathered at Clyde Common restaurant for a late breakfast. So much good food! The restaurant is next door to the super hip Ace Hotel. After a good long visit I caught a ride to the airport and was on my way to back to Sacramento.

With just 24 hours you can still literally get a taste of Portland and have Portlandia type experiences. Case in point, one of my cab drivers engaged me in conversation and shared his 2 pager on what’s wrong with the world’s economy.  I would go back to Portland in a heartbeat.

Whole wheat pancakes with strawberries throughout makes for yummy goodness.
Whole wheat pancakes with strawberries throughout makes for yummy goodness.

IFragrant and intense, yet light in liquor, this blend is named for one of the sweetest cities in Sri Lanka.