What better place to meet some friends from China for a beer, than the city that has more breweries than any other city in the world. Portland, Oregon. It had been on my please-can-we-go-there-list for quite some time so I was pretty delighted when our plan finally came together earlier this month.
Portland is a great city for a short (but preferably long) weekend break. Easy to get around, friendly people and great food. Did I mention the beers?
We got in on Friday morning and the MAX Light Rail’s red line got us from the airport into town in less than forty minutes. Our excitement made us miss our stop but we were rewarded by stumbling on Boys Fort, a cool store for boys, or a manthropology as they like to call it, where we got our retail urges for the weekend out of the way (as it turns out, I like boys’ stuff a lot too). The two lovely owners also showered us with great tips for eating out and what not.
When we got back on track to our hotel (Modera, nice but rooms were not particularly inspiring), we soon found how compact the city center is. It felt a little like New York City but on a smaller scale and much more walkable. Unlike other US cities, the blocks are shorter and the streets less wide. Nevertheless we hired a bike as soon as we got rid of our bags. We used Waterfront Bikes who were recommended by the hotel, but there are plenty of rental places all over town.
Portland is pretty bike friendly and has lots of bike paths. You are allowed to take your bike for free on the MAX and most other public transport, including buses. We started on the Waterfront Park Trail, crossed the Willamette River on the Steel Bridge, which has a designated bike path, and then cycled along the Eastbank Esplanade towards our chosen lunch spot Olympic Provisions. Perfectly sliced meats, creamy blue cheese, ‘The Randy’ sandwich and a very fancy Frankfurter made us incredibly happy campers. We got our veggies from the Bloody Marys…
After we stuffed our faces we went for a ride to North Mississippi Avenue, to find Kombucha on tap (it was refreshing after that big hill) amongst other things. Hubby dear went to the Modern Men Barber Shop for some pampering and a shot of Bourbon, while I had a beer in the lovely garden of Bar Bar.
The evening was spent catching up with our friends and sampling beers at Deschutes Brewery.
The next day, Saturday, we decided to go back up the hill towards NE Alberta Street but this time we brought our bikes on the MAX so the ride back was like flying and brought us through some lovely residential neighborhoods. The lunch at Pine State Biscuits was a little disappointing, considering the reviews for this place, but our stroll after finally got me some new sneakers so it turned out to be worth the trip.
On the way back we stopped off at the Portland Saturday Market and sat in the park to cool down with a drink before returning the bikes.
SE Division Street was our last night’s stop for food and drinks. We kept the best till last indeed as everything that made its way into my mouth that evening was approved, the Indra Curry Stout from the Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom being a little different but it did live up to its promise.
The food was phenomenal; my mouth is already watering again just glancing at their photo gallery. I’m thinking of a petition to get them to the Bay Area…
On Sunday we took it easy as our flight back was late afternoon. Coffee at Stumptown (were hip hangs out), followed by a stroll through the lovely Union Way for some light browsing, after which we attempted lunch at Tasty ‘n Alder, but unfortunately we did not leave enough time to absorb the 45 minute wait. The food carts were also left untouched all weekend so I’m glad we’ve kept something for another visit!
Successful weekend of cycling, strolling, eating and drinking!