Portland: City of Roses and Long Lines

Chris and I left SF at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to meet my cousin, April, and her fiance, James in Portland (Oregon, not Maine!). Portland turned out to be all I imagined. There are so many trees! And people there are crazy friendly – like they say hi to you while you’re waiting on line and ask you if you need anything. Where am I? In NY, they would push right through you as if you were invisible and act offended if you said anything.

Me pretending to smell the roses.

The weather was really pleasant during the day though a bit breezy at night, but heck, I got to wear shorts so I’m not complaining. (Shorts in SF are an anomaly.) One of my favorite sights of the trip was the International Rose Test Garden, the oldest public rose garden of its kind in the US. Its a testing ground for roses with over 7,000 rose plants of about 500 varieties. I can see why Portland is nicknamed the “City of Roses.” It was unbelievably pretty!

Another highlight is the Japanese Garden right next door which is supposedly the most ‘authentic’ Japanese garden outside of Japan (mind blown). The gardens are so peaceful and serene. I really liked the sculptures and all the stones.

The most awe-inspiring sight is Multnomah Falls, the second tallest year-round waterfall in the US. It’s about a 30-minute drive outside of Portland and really easy to get to off the highway. We hiked to the top of the falls which was about a mile each way. It was pretty steep with a lot of cutbacks but definitely worth it! Many people were dipping their feet in the water at the top. The water was freezing cold and it felt like stepping into an ice bucket – totally not refreshing.

Hee. My cousin taking a drink from the falls.

On Sunday (mistake #1) we tried to go to Pine State Biscuits around 10am (mistake #2) for brunch and apparently so was everyone else. It reminded of the Portlandia “Brunch Village” episode where people were camping for miles outside the latest hottest brunch spot all for the marionberry pancakes. Mr. Mayor, where are you?! Needless to say, none of us were patient enough to wait so we decided to go back the next day on Monday right when it opened at 7am. We did it guys. We beat the rush.

Reggie Deluxe: Fried chicken, bacon & cheese topped with gravy and a fried egg.

The biscuits were glorious! This place did not disappoint. All of their dishes are southern inspired with fried chicken and some variation on the toppings. The biscuits themselves were flaky and buttery – what more could you ask for? Except maybe some spanx to hold everything together. (For me of course, not the breakfast.) After we headed to Voodoo doughnuts because really, we didn’t get enough saturated fat and sugar for the morning. Fried dough is not easy to pass up, especially when you can order them in clever names like Butterfingerling, Dirty Snowballs, Memphis Mafia, and Captain My Captain.

There was a line (of course!) but it moved quickly so we were able to feast on donuts for our second breakfast without waiting too long. Overall, we had a great time! We got lost inside Powell’s Bookstore, went to a winery in Hood River, shopped on S. Adler Street, tasted beer flights at Deschutes Brewery, and noshed on some bites at the farmers market.

Our flight back to SF was delayed by 3 hours and Chris and I didn’t get home until 1am Tuesday morning. Yikes! Well I’m in NY now. I just arrived this morning and I’m excited to get me some real bagels! 

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