What uppppp Portland! You really are weird. But not THAT weird because I live near Boulder, so I see weird on a regular basis. Portland is strange in the sense that everyone is strangely happy, all the time. Happy to be a hippie, happy to serve you dinner, happy to wear their ponchos all day every day. Everyone is just happy. Except for a homeless man I met. But I will get to that later.
Who really cares about what my experience was like in Portland, you just want to know about my favorite places I ate. And I ate WELL. So much food was consumed this past weekend. It was wonderful. Let’s get after it.
Oh shart, I need to put the disclaimer out there first: This items that I ordered are not often strict paleo because I eat whatever the hell I want, especially the things that don’t make me sick. That means I stick gluten free, but not always strict paleo.
We started our Portland trip on a sunny afternoon, so we were able to walk everywhere and get a feeling for the city. Which we really did. We walked EVERYWHERE. My feet were so damn sore by the end of the day, even with comfy shoes on. We walked, we talked, we shopped, and then we found ourselves close to Verde Cocina which is a completely gluten free restaurant. Talk about the most decadent quesadilla I’ve ever had. A friend said I HAD to try the bacon, but I didn’t because I suck. We just had some guacamole to start with their homemade tortillas. Not tortilla CHIPS, just tortillas. They are awesome, unlike corn tortillas that you get at the store, these ones are sticker and softer. Super good. The chorizo quesadilla I got was piled high with all kinds of sh*t. Good veggie sh*t. I also had a glass of their white sangria and it was delicious. Again, if you go there, try the bacon. I heard it’s insanely good. I’m still disappointed with myself.
After wandering for what became 6-7 hours, we came across the Alphabet District, which is adorable, and found our way over to Salt and Straw. Everyone said I just HAD to go there for ice cream. I did. It was really good, nothing that I was blown away by, but still good. I got the almond brittle with caramel ganache. The caramel is super salty there, which I’m in to, but be warned. You can even get salt as a topper. They do a really good job with cool flavors like honey lavender and pear with blue cheese. About a 30-40 minute wait. While walking home across the river, it got dark real quick. To be smart, we stayed out of any dark lit streets. At one point, we almost turned down a street, but decided against it because it was dark. A guy laughed at us. Bastard.
The next morning we woke up early to shower up and head to breakfast before my bridal appointment on The English Department (I’ll be sharing dress pictures come Friday for Fashion Fridays!). On their site, they recommended eating at Tasty n Alder. And HOLY BALLS, was I happy they recommended it! It may have been my favorite food of the entire trip. It just blew me away. We got the maple cumin sweet potatoes, the steak and frites, and the polenta n sugo. Un.Real. The food was just so damn good. I had to put my fork down the stop eating since I knew I had to try dresses on later. If you go to Portland, GO TO THIS PLACE. And get the polenta. Fudge, it was amazing.
After trying on dresses (and maybe finding THE ONE) we headed to Lake Oswego to visit my friend and amazing gluten free baker Kyra, who owns Kyra’s Bake Shop! You may know her from Cupcake Wars because she’s won THREE times. Badass, eh? So we met with her at her bakery to grub on some food before shopping around town. Yes, more shopping. Duh. We of course started our afternoon sugar meal with one of her gluten free cinnamon rolls (yes, SHE SHIPS THESE!!). These cinnamon rolls aren’t just good, you guys, they are hands down the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever eaten. Hands down. No question about it. I quickly stuffed my face with one of those AND THEN shared a piece of her Tall, Dark and Handsome cake. Each slice weighs 2 1/2 pounds. We couldn’t even get close to finishing even half of it. But I had to try it once since I had never before. It was unbelievably good.
It’s bigger than my face. Wicked.
After shopping and finding some new black booties, we decided to make our way back to Portland to finally eat at Departure. I’ve been looking forward to Departure for quite sometime now. If you don’t know about Departure or head chef/Top chef contestant Gregory Gourdet, you need to listen up. He’s just the greatest. Kyra is friends with him so we were lucky enough to try a ton of different menu items AND we got to meet him! Here’s a few things about departure: the venue doesn’t have a sign, it’s on the 15th floor (or something like that) of some building, it’s the strangest galaxy space themed place, with all really good looking male servers and managers, and chefs! Oh wait, and the food is f*cking awesome. So flavorful and fresh. We had a cabbage slaw, tuna tartar, seafood curry, garlic fried rice, blackened chicken, steak cooking on a hot rock, and two crazy amazing desserts. We also has some damn good cocktails. It was all so fun. I was unbelievably full afterwards. When we met with Gregory, I fell in love with him. He’s so kind, so humble, and his laugh is super contagious. Being around those kinds of people is the best. Can’t wait to see him again next month in Austin, TX!
The next morning, we weren’t exactly hungry. Like at all. But we wanted to make sure we got to try as many restaurants as possible. So we hopped in our little Car2Go and headed out around town. If you haven’t rented one of these things yet, you need to. They are so easy to get anywhere in and easy to park anywhere, as well. I love them. I feel like I’m in a go-cart. It’s sweet. Anywho, we decided to grab some breakfast at Brix Tavern because they had eggs benedict on top of corn cakes AND bottomless mimosas. Sad thing is we never got mimosas because we were too full and our breakfast wasn’t anything to write home about. Do you see the donuts sitting in the background? They looked at us the whole time but we held strong. It’s really no big deal. TAKE THAT DONUTS.
After breakfast, Kyra picked us up to head to the vineyards. I have no idea where we were because I don’t even like wine. My bestie Laura does and it’s one of those social things that you should just do. That being said, it was really fun. Get two sips in me and my inhibitions go away and I’ll admit to really anything. We had little girl talks, we ate cheese and salami, and then we went to another vineyard and did the exact same thing. On our way back to Portland, we grabbed a quick gluten free pizza that was what I needed after so much rich food because it wasn’t too heavy. But not good enough to write about. Moving on.
That night, we went to bed early. Sweets + wine + walking = sleepy juju. We watched two movies in bed and I may or may not have had leftover Tall, Dark and Handsome cake. Effing awesome.
The next morning, we woke up rejuvenated and ready to take on another food day in Portland. We hopped in our Car2go once again and headed over the bridge. Whatever neighborhood we were in, where we ate at Tin Shed, was an awesome neighborhood. I wish were would have spend more time there. But first, let me tell you about Tin Shed because honestly, it was effing awesome. Unreal awesome. Unbelievable awesome. We had to wait a while but there was an adorable coffee shop next door that we had coffee at while we waited. Hold on, I’ll get to the food soon. This restaurant allows dogs. Now if you’re not really into dogs (weirdo) this may seem odd to you because there is a dog everywhere you turn. On people’s laps, calmly wait on the floor, excitedly eating on the floor. To me, it’s amazing. Especially because I saw a frenchie AND an english bulldog. Happy life. They even have a menu for dogs. And the staff is unbelievably friendly. I swear, everyone’s on drugs there. I like it.
But back to the food. They have gluten free french toast there!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH I died. Laura and I split the french toast and split their special scramble that had chorizo, red peppers, and homemade hazelnut pesto on top, along side a freaking awesome potato pancake AND a giant biscuit (we didn’t eat, sad day). It was all amazing. And when she gave us the check, it was only $11.50 per person!! Crazy cheap for how much food each of us ate. It was honestly so damn good. I’m very sad I don’t live near that restaurant because I would eat there all.the.time.
Now this includes the food. But let’s chat real briefly about some weird things in Portland. Ok, I don’t think it’s weird that dogs are allowed in restaurants, I think IT’S EFFING AWESOME, but look how hilarious this little english bulldog is. She posed for the pic, with a really “i hate you” kind of look. She’s awesome.
Back to the weirdness though, what the hell is up with the water fountains? They are so strange. And they’re always running. If you don’t watch Parks & Rec, well then first get it together and watch all the seasons on Netflix, but if you do, doesn’t this water fountain remind you of the episode that Pawnee has a problem with how people drink from water fountains? That is my second favorite episode ever. Such weird water fountains. And the streets are all incredibly clean. No one litters there. That’s a weird positive thing. I came back to Denver and thought, “All you people are disgusting and I hate you.” Yep. There is a garbage everywhere. Portland, you’re so pretty.
Something else that is different is Powell’s Bookstore. It is the most giant bookstore ever. I went there one of the first days we got to Portland to sign some of my cookbooks. I was so happy to see The Paleo Kitchen AND OMG. That’s Paleo? on their bookshelves. I signed and went on my day, very happy. The next day, I got tagged on instagram by some ladies who had already picked up the books. So we headed back there and entered from another street. We legit thought we were in a different bookstore since none of it felt familiar. So confusing. But I signed about 6 more cookbooks, so if you are in Portland, get over there!!
And I guess people are obsessed with Portland’s airport carpet. It’s a thing. If you search #pdxcarpet on instagram, you’ll find 40,000 pictures like the one I took. So weird. But I’m hip and weird now after hanging out in Portland, so I had to take one obviously. Man, do I miss being tan. It’s been 80 degrees in Colorado and I missed it. My skin thanks me but looking in the mirror isn’t as thrilling right now.
One last thing. I’d love to say our last experience in Portland was just the best, but it ended on a strange note. A weird note, I guess you could say. Remember how I said everyone is highonhappydrug nice? We sadly had to find out that it’s not totally case. Like any big city, there are a few screws loose. On our last day, while joyfully walking back to the hotel uphill on a windy street, we walked comfortably behind a few people. I’m not a close stander or walker. Give people space, you weirdos. At one point we were walking behind a homeless man who quickly slowed down as if he were going into a shop. But then he suddenly stopped, turned around to face us and asked me, “Do you want me to punch you in the f*cking mouth?” Um, no sir, I do not want you to punch me in the f*cking mouth. You eyes are insane and I am certain I have soft bones that would not take a hard blow kindly. So all I was able to spit out was, “Whaaatwhaaa?” in a mad panic as I began pouring sweat imaging my teeth knocked out. Remember the guy earlier who laughed at us for not wanting to walk down dark streets, THIS IS WHY YOU ASSH*LE. Thankfully, I made it home with all my teeth. Turns out, he’s not on the happy drugs.
Ah Portland, your weirdness slays me.