Sunday, December 25, 2016

Portland 2016 Day 2: Do ALL the things

Portland 2016 Day 2: Do ALL the things

Not that we didn't also totally overeat and try a million things on Day 2 in Portland, but we did somewhat tame our insane eating as compared to the day before.

We started off the day infinitely healthier than the day before, by taking an Uber over to Forest Park, an incredible city park with tons of trails. We opted for the close-to-downtown MacLeay Park Entrance. It was a brilliant (and shorter-than-expected) hike -- only about 1hr or so, from MacLeay Park Entrance all the way up to Pittock Mansion. It was a little chilly to start but we warmed up as we kept walking, and the day also started to get warmer and brighter.

It was a super nice walk and a great way to start the day.

We got another Uber from Pittock Mansion to drive us down to the International Rose Test Garden, the famous rose garden in Portland. It was pretty glorious. They call it a "Test" Garden because it has 550 varieties of roses and is a place to "test" new varieties. It was awesome and we enjoyed a good walk through there to stop and smell the roses :)

The weather had turned super nice, and so we decided to talk all the way back downtown. We headed past a grocery store where we bought some more Oregon Apples (yes!) and also I tried another weird Kombucha flavour (Pommegranate Lemonade this time).

Our goal this time was to walk all the way to the Portland Saturday Market, which was, oddly-enough, not only open on Saturdays. I think it was called the "Saturday" Market historically, but is actually open both Saturday and Sunday. Confusing! Anyway, it was cool and mostly arts-and-crafts. I thought there was going to be a lot of food there as well, but it was mostly a craft market. Some really nice photographs, and a lot of weird stuff too :)

Some tasty fruit in a cup

"The Spoiled Cat" -- this was an "artisinal catnip" place!

Next stop on our wander for the day was the Nike Town store in downtown Portland. Since Nike is from Beaverton, Oregon -- just outside of Portland -- we figured there would be a few special things in the flagship store.

This sweater was super cool -- when you wear this, the arm bands flex and show a different colour. It's an accordion effect.
Old-school Air Jordans
Statue of Jordan

So that was pretty sweet. We also spent some time at Nordstrom Rack and I found a nice pair of Nike Jogging Pants which seemed appropriate to buy in the city of Nike.

We then hopped on the bus to go across the water to go meet our friends Nick and Jenn, who now live in Portland. Always awesome and a pleasure to see these guys, we met at Coava Coffee, Nick's "favourite ever coffee roaster". That is saying a LOT, as Nick is the friend of mine who ran a double-blind coffee tasting of all local Bay Area Roasters with me and a bunch of friends. (Out of 16+ coffees, spoiler: Bicycle Coffee was the winner, Peet's did not come in last, and Blue Bottle was somewhere in the middle!) Anyhow, Nick loves this spot so I was psyched to try it out and also take whatever advice he had to buy some beans. It was great. I was pretty much buzzin' after getting a Stumptown earlier at the market too. Coffee!

We then headed to eat dinner at Pok Pok, a traditional-style Thai food restaurant. This was really interesting as it was so different than Thai food that I'd ever tried before. Kindof like going to Dosa in SF and trying "Indian" food... and then realizing the only Indian food I'd ever tried was North Indian, and that South Indian was a totally different thing. This was equally eye-opening. I got an odd and awesome drink, kindof like a "savory Italian soda" -- called a "Drinking Vinegar". I got the tamarind-flavoured one!

We got one of the famous dishes of Pok Pok, called "Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings" which came very highly recommended by Nick and Jenn, and also several other folks who had been to Portland and also a bunch of food blogs. Tasty!! These were great, and we also tried some fish, and a few other other tasty dishes recommended by our friends and local hosts! Gotta love that sticky rice too. And the "Drinking Vinegar" went very well with everything!

So that was a super fun experience and then we headed across the road to go to Salt & Straw, another famous Portland spot that I had read a lot about. They had some *cray* ice cream flavous, as well as some really well-done classics. Good times :)

Nick got the ice cream flight!
One happy group of campers

While on the east-side of the city, Nick took us by the old video store called Movie Madness. It's an old-school video store, and is clearly owned by someone with a deep love of movies (i.e. Movie Madness), given the impressive amount of memorabilia and costumes there. Kindof like walking around ILM :) In fact, there was an alien from Mars Attacks, and the plaque mentioned ILM on it!

I had promised my friends at work on Monday morning some fresh Voodoo Doughnuts, so Nick and Jenn kindly took us to "Voodoo Doughnuts Too", the 2nd location. It was cool to see another one of their spots and also it was less crazy than the main location. This was awesome as it saved us having to get up even earlier (as we were already getting up at 4am!). We picked out a good amount for our workplaces, and also, I had to try the Homer one.

Our epic friends drove us back to our hotel and said farewell, and we went to bed swiftly as we needed to get up so early in the morning. Portland, it's been fast, but it's been sweet.

We got up at insane-o-clock and headed to the airport. The timestamp on my photos below from the airport was 5am! Oof!

A cool exhibit at Portland airport, showing off some costumes from TV shows and movies filmed in Portland. These costumes are from the Feminist Bookshop skit in Portlandia.
This is the watercooler that gets thrown through the window in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest!

With the Voodoo Doughnuts securely on my lap and in the Uber on the way to work in San Francisco, I was assured of pleasing all of my coworkers at our Monday-morning meeting. Win.

So, it sure was a VERY quick but extremely action-packed 2 full days in Portland. It was great a first-timer to stay downtown, but there sure is a lot more stuff to investigate and explore there. It was so fun to finally visit the "other" west coast city, after being to Seattle and Vancouver, to see how it compared. As always, the great west coast stuff is there: the farmers markets, the fresh fruit, the incredible outdoors and nature, and the independent frontier spirit. Gotta love the west coast! Portland, though, differed a lot in terms of "style". There a not many fancy cars like in SF or a Starbucks-a-minute like in Seattle -- that "fiercely independent" spirit was there, like SF and the other cities have, but turned up a notch (and wearing a beard and a truckload of piercings and tattoos, walking a dog, and saying a friendly 'hello' to you).

I think it's SO friggin' COOL that The Simpsons is from Portland. This, I think, says quite a lot about the nature of Portlandians -- creative, passionate about what they believe in, kindof odd, and smart (and perhaps a little snarky?!) enough to be able to look at the world around them, and themselves, and poke some playful fun at all the madness.

No comments: