Friday, July 21, 2017


Greetings faithful blog readers,

When we found out we were both attending the Tin House Summer Workshop, I was really excited for an excuse to visit Portland for the first time. Initially, I thought our early morning Saturday flight would give us "an entire day to explore Portland" (yep, that's how I worded it when explaining it to Brendan). But the morning flight was so early that all I could do on Saturday before the workshop was sleep and eat ( FYI, Nudi Noodle, Bird + Bear, C Bar, and Tom Yum Thai, and Cloud City Ice Cream were all good bets near the Reed College campus).

The next day, the workshop started in full force, so we were basically occupied for the entire week. The last night of the workshop was the following Saturday, and we spent 8:45AM to 2AM on the Reed campus. Needless to say, the priority for Sunday was sleeping in and then grabbing brunch. After that, we took an Uber to the Japanese Gardens and spent a little over an hour exploring the beautiful scenery. This time of year and on a weekend afternoon, the gardens were pretty busy (I'd recommend a morning on a weekday if possible). I'd love to be here when it was quiet and you could really meditate, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

I'm pretty sure the Bonsai tree exhibit was Brendan's favorite part. 

While the Japanese Gardens admission is $15 per adult, the Rose Garden is right next door and is free. We spent an equal amount of time perusing the gardens and smelling every type of rose.

During our entire 10 day trip, it didn't rain a drop. We lucked out with beautiful weather that wasn't too hot either. My friend Kristen is moving to Seattle, and I hope a summertime visit is in the cards one day!

This was my favorite picture of the day. 

To get to dinner, we ended up taking quite the off road hike. It wasn't perfect for leather flats, but every shoe I brought was hurting my feet in some way by that point. At first, we were dismayed to find the Thai place we'd selected on Yelp was closed because we were hungry and thought the next restaurant was a ways away, but our spirits quickly lifted when another Thai food restaurant was just block away (lots of Thai food in Portland=heaven). This one was called Thai Bloom, and on Sundays, they have an all day happy hour. We were able to get drinks, an appetizer, a salad, and two main courses for about $33 dollars total. It was definitely the deal of the trip, and the food was delicious. 

We wrapped up the evening by waiting forty five minutes in line at Salt and Straw (Ice cream). I had Meyer Lemon Blueberry and Goat Cheese Habanero, and Brendan had Fresh Cheese and Strawberries. I'd compare the ice cream to Jenni's (which we discovered thanks to Brendan's relatives living in Ohio). It was a great way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day (which I didn't even know was a thing). 

The next day, we moved to The Benson hotel. This put us close to the Pearl district where so much (bars, restaurants, shopping) was in walking distance. My mom had given me some birthday money and told me to use it to treat myself in Portland, and I was excited to do just that. After checking in, we went to the nearby food truck row (I thought Austin was big on food trucks, but this was like thirty options all next to one another) and got light bites. Next, we went to Powell's books, the largest bookstore I've ever been in. They had so many used books, it was basically heaven. 

We wandered around there before checking out some vintage shops. After picking out a few things, we checked out a paper store, and guess what I found? 

My very own friend Bailey's notebooks for sale! You can find her store, Antiquaria, online here. (For those who have been reading for awhile, Bailey was the one that put together all the vintage dish sets that we registered for. She has also been my friend since third grade). 

 After all the fun of shopping and browsing, it was time for the sushi meal we'd been craving. 

During dinner, Brendan said he was a little disappointed we hadn't made time for Oysters, and I immediately suggested that we go light on the sushi so we could save room. After dinner, we wandered to the water and sat by fountains reading our new books from Powell's. Then, we walked to Dan and Louis Oyster Bar and shared a dozen Oysters. 

Our waitress gave us a great tip about a nearby bar on the 30th floor of a building. We stopped in for a drink and enjoyed the sunset and gorgeous panoramic views. 

After so much eating, you'd think we'd be full, but while at the Oyster Bar, we'd glimpsed the line at Voodoo Donuts, and Brendan had already heard it was a pretty big deal. We walked back and got two donuts to go (Dirt and Voodoo Doll), walked to our nearby hotel, and shared the donuts in our room while watching Netflix. The donuts were pretty amazing (I say this as someone that rarely cares for donuts!) 

Overall, this was the best Monday I've had in a long time. We left Portland on Tuesday afternoon and had a direct flight to Austin. Everything was on time (thanks to our favorite airline, Southwest), and I felt so thankful for an easy travel day and a remarkable time in Portland. We hope to be back (one day), and until then, I'll just savor the wonderful memories. 

Lots of love faithful blog readers, and happy Friday! 
P.S.-We're extremely happy to be reunited with Lola and Zoe! They are doing great but maybe getting too spoiled by canned food at their "grandparents' house." 

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