Monday, September 15, 2014

keep portland weird

Portland has always been a place I've wanted to visit. The people are supposed to be great and there are lots of interesting places to visit. There was never a dull moment for me in portland from start to finish. I began my trip arriving at the train station at night time, stayed at a couchsurfers place (I'll get back to that at the end of this post) met up with some friends of friends, stayed in a hostel then flew off to Vegas. Needless to say, I had a great time.

One morning when I was having breakfast on a patio, the woman next to me had such a cute puppy! I nearly took him home with me.

S A L T     &     S T R A W

Never have I ever tried ice cream as delicious as ice cream from Salt & Straw. First off, you can smell the place from far away which is a key indicator that it will be delicious and they had such a unique selection of flavours. I picked two - Pear & Blue Cheese and Honey Lavender. All of their ingredients come from farms in Oregon. Check out their flavours page but I do warn you, the deceptions of each ice cream will make your mouth water!

P O K     P O K

If you only have time to go to one restaurant in Portland, go to Pok Pok! Giving you fair warning, the wait for this place is horrendous to say the least because it's so popular (and freaking delicious). To accommodate everyone, they have strategically placed another one of their restaurants called Whiskey Soda Lounge right across the street. How you plan you evening out is: 

1 - Make a reservation at Pok Pok
2 - Go to Whiskey Soda Lounge
3 - Tell Whiskey Soda Lounge that you are on the weight list for Pok Pok (they will tell you when your table is ready)
4 - Order drinks and an appetizer at Whiskey Soda Lounge
5 - When your table is ready, pay your bill and head on over to Pok Pok

The entire menu is supposed to be incredible but it was highly recommended to me to get the Khao Soi which is Northern Thai mild curry noodle soup made with their secret curry paste recipe and house-pressed fresh coconut milk. Served with house pickled mustard greens, shallots, crispy yellow noodle and roasted chili paste. I got the vegetarian option which was unlike anything I have ever had before. Total taste sensation! 

V O O D O O     D O U G H N U T

This was another tourist spot I was told to go to. Even though I might not be a huge doughnut fan, they were delicious. They have toppings that are irregular to be on a yummy treat such as cereal and bacon so ordering was a bit tough. The names are also pretty funny like the Marshal Mathers Doughnut (covered in M&S's). 

Be warned, the line-up for the original Old Town shop is really long.

Above I'm wearing my Vionic sandals - if it weren't for these bad boys, I would be aching and cranky all day long. Even though they might look like a basic flip flop, they actually have arch support to keep you comfortable on your feet.

P O W E L L ' S     B O O K S

There is something so breathtaking about the smell of a fresh book and the quiet atmosphere of a bookstore. I was told to visit Powell's Books in the Pearl District because it was the largest bookstore ever. It literally covered an entire city block! The inside felt cozy enough yet as you walked around, the bookshelves went on for days! Other than visiting the original Harry Potter bookstore in Portugal last summer, this is one of the coolest bookstores I have ever been to.

1 S T     T I M E     C O U C H S U R F I N G

I spent way too much money staying in a hotel while I was in Seattle. They bumped up the prices because the Blue Jays were in town for a 3 game series with Seattle so it was almost $400 Canadian a night. All in all, I wasn't going to be spending that again! So I had to research other options.

Since money was tight, I looked into staying in a hostel while in Portland. They were all sold out for the first 2 nights I would be there so I looked into doing an airbnb which was also pricey. I've heard of some friends couchsurfing which is literally what is sounds like - you sleep on a strangers couch for free. I set up a profile with a photo and short bio and messaged about 20 females in Portland (you can narrow down your search to be age/gender/area specific). A large amount responded pretty quickly but were all already full. Finally, a girl said I could stay with her! Like the 'responsible' adult I am, I checked out her profile which had about 20 good reviews and 0 bad. And just like that, it was booked!

This all happened so quickly but seemed like a good idea. I arrived via train from Seattle to Portland at night time which was a bad idea. For starters I was alone, a female and unfamiliar with the city. The Portland train station is not a comfy cozy place to be as a young girl late at night. The girl who I was staying with gave me really great directions to get to her place so I felt comfortable about that. Once I got off the bus to her place, I had to walk through a kind of scary neighbourhood. All of my senses were on high alert. Once I arrived at her house, I was welcomed with open arms. She lived with a few other people in a co-op style home. They had a backyard filled with vegetables and a chicken coop. Everyone was super friendly and they had a few fury cats roaming around the house.

Once daytime hit and I was able to walk around, I realized I was far away from the city. It took about 30 minutes to get downtown via bus then I had to walk over a massive bridge. 

Below is a picture of where I stayed


Although I was so thankful that the couchsurfer welcomed me into her home, I only stayed for 2 nights and spent the last of my stay in a hostel downtown. I stayed at Northwest Portland Hostel which I would recommend. It's in an old house with tall ceilings and really clean rooms. The staff are really friendly and knowledgable about the city. The neighbourhood was gorgeous and I felt safe walking around. 

xo sara

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xo sara