I mean, I am not kidding when I say I love Portland. I didn’t think that I would be going back within a 4-month period but after the Wedding but when my cousin mentioned she was going for her 21st birthday, I invited myself along.
There were so many reasons why this trip was a dream. The main reason was, of course, to celebrate my amazing cousin and seeing family. It didn’t hurt that we ate delicious food, staying at a hotel we hadn’t previously, and finding my wedding dress!
We flew into Portland Monday night after work and stayed until Thursday morning to make it into the office before 9am. It was a quick trip in the middle of winter but so worth it!
My mom had mentioned wanting to stay at the Rose Hotel a few years ago so I didn’t hesitate to book it! The location was decently close to downtown and public transit, if you are there during the summer then the proximity to Mill Ends Park is nice. The front desk folks were super friendly and willing to lend a helping hand. I think my favorite aspect was the happy hour (which started back up again at 10pm) at the bar, we could get away with a few drinks and apps for two for under $30! While the food wasn’t mind-blowing, it was satisfying and the prices made us happy.
[Tuesday Morning] My cousin had never been to Portland before so it was so fun seeing everything through her eyes, I also had to restrain myself and not bad mouth things she was excited about cough-voodoo-cough. We started the day with a box of Voodoo doughnuts and hunkered down at Stumptown with a looooooot of coffee. It was icy cold outside so taking a moment to chat over breakfast suited us fine. There is also something naughty feeling about taking off a few days in the middle of the week.
Side note – my cousin was also disappointed by the quality of the doughnuts but it is something everyone needs to discover for themselves when in Portland.
[Tuesday Afternoon] After an extended stop at Powells City of Books (a place I am always down to visit), we headed off to Stormbreaker Brewing to meet up with a friend. I found myself baffled as to why I had never been to the Mississippi Historic District before, there are so many cute shops, good places to eat, and fun people watching. I highly recommend taking a tour around this area.
[Tuesday Night] For the celebration of my cousins 21st birthday my aunt took us out to Imperial, located in the Historic Hotel Lucia. It was a top-notch meal, I highly recommend trying it out for hearty beef cuts and strong drinks. I ordered the T & T Bacon Chop, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
[Wednesday Morning] I always find myself trying to balance between hitting up my old favs and trying new things in Portland. This time around I managed to try out a new coffee spot, Water Avenue. It was decent but nothing I will go running back to.
It was the moment of truth – In the last few years I had become a convert to Sidecar Doughnuts in LA and had been deeply disappointed by the Blue Star location in Venice Beach. Now, I was back in the motherland of BlueStar and was nervous if they would live up to the standards they had set for themselves all those years ago. Sure enough, every doughnut we tried was amazing. The headline photo was our complete order shared between 4 people – Passion Fruit Cake, Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk (my fav), Blueberry Basil Cake, Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib, and Cointreau Crème Brûlée.
[Wednesday Afternoon] Next we headed to the Portland Art Museum to take in some culture. I had heard great things but had never taken the time to visit, the quality of the collections and the curation was high quality makes it worth the effort.
[Wednesday Late Afternoon] After walking around in the blustery weather, it was nice to cuddle up to a bowl of steaming ramen. Last time I made the journey to Afuri solo but I was able to drag everyone else along with me this go around. This also meant I could sneak some tastes of what everyone else ordered, the flavors that surprised me the most was the vegan ramen, it was seriously amazing.
[Wednesday Night] We pretty much ended our day here, my mom left that evening and I had one final dinner with my Aunt and Cousin. Overall, it was such a fun trip and I am so happy we all were able to spend so much time together!