PORTLAND, OR + Surroundings
Before anything, let's just say that I would live here forever if I could.
Portland is basically my dream city. It is so hipster, but not in a snobby way and more in a chill/relax way. They have A LOT of coffee shops and breweries, which is everything that I need to survive. It is also close to other Oregon towns for day/weekend trips. The plus part, the city is not as widely spread as Seattle (which I am going to talk about in my next post). The best part: NO SALES TAX. God bless.
After a lot of thinking of what I actually would recommend to people, I present to you my Portland favorites:
STUMPTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS
I am a latte person. That is just how I take my coffee in the winter (team iced coffee woop woop). Stumptown's latte was probably the best I have had during this trip. It was thick, strong, and just a perfect companion during a rainy day in downtown Portland.
Also downtown, Heart Coffee made me feel like I am in Sweden. Okay, I've never been there, but at least I think Sweden is like that. Let me dream. The interior is black and white, which excites my obsession of monochrome. I ordered macchiato here because I need that caffeine kick and I was not disappointed.
~Brewery and Bar~
Obviously I didn't want to miss going to the Oregon's best known brewery. We were not sure if we would have enough time to go to the real brewery in Bend, so we decided to go to its branch in downtown Portland. I love their White IPA. Super recommended for those who do not like bitter beer like me. The garlic cheese fries is also recommended, as pictured above. I mean, what's better with beer than greasy food, right?
I am OBSESSED with this bar. When we were there on Saturday night, they played throwback hip hop / RnB songs such as Nelly and Kelly Rowland's Dilemma and R. Kelly's Ignition (Remix). They also slipped Beyoncé here and there. HOW CAN I NOT LIKE THIS PLACE? Also, the bar setting is classy, yet fun enough to start conversations with people. And as mentioned above, PHOTO BOOTH. My favorite cocktail was Pavlov's Bell, which has espresso in it.
If you are a big fan of good sandwich like me, this one is for you. I forgot the exact name of the sandwich above (I know, I'm really not a good food blogger.), but it has pork belly and relish in it for sure. It was greasy and fulfilling. Basically all you need in every sandwich, to be honest. The young family next to me also ordered Lardo's Dirty Fries that looked super good.
One of the main reasons we chose Pacific Northwest for this trip was Asian food. We went here because it was open on Christmas day when the rest of downtown was a ghost town. I love Khao San because they have a lot of food similar to Indonesian. I got Khao San Holy Basil and it. was. good. There's nothing more Southeast Asian than fried egg on top of the rice dish.
POWELL'S CITY OF BOOKS
Books aficionado, REJOICE. This place is an absolute heaven for you literature lovers and hell for you broke people like me who can't handle themselves around books. Known as the largest used and new bookstore (FOUR STORIES HIGH), Powell's has everything books related you can think of. They even have my favorite Indonesian writer, Pramoedya Ananta Toer's books there.
This place, obviously open only on Saturdays, is actually my favorite place to wonder around. They have everything Portland local from food and booze to arts and crafts. They even have live music in front of the booze tent. Let me live here.
And thankfully we also had a time to travel outside of Portland. We took a day trip because it only took 1.5 hours to get to these places from Portland.
We went hiking for a little bit at Columbia River Gorge by Mount Hood. It was nice because there were not many people there in the winter. I wish we would have been there during the summer, because I heard people can swim at Punchbowl Falls. Anyway, we then stopped in Hood River to have late lunch at Double Mountain Brew (I LOVE THEIR KÖLSCH!) and walked around downtown. 'Twas nice.
Who doesn't like cheese? (I actually could name some people, which is sad.) Tillamook is famous for its cheese factory. They have CHEESE SAMPLES and you basically can try as many cheese as you can. No judgment. Once you've done that, you can head out to the store to buy some cheese home or just go straight to their café to get varieties of grilled cheese. Don't forget to get Oregon hazelnut and salted caramel ice cream on your way out.
Not too far away from Tillamook, Cape Meares Lighthouse and Oceanside beach healed my longing for Pacific Ocean. If only it was 90 degrees out, I would have gone swimming. It was actually my first time visiting a beach and wearing double layer and jeans.
Anyway, yeah! Those are my recommendations for Portland and its surrounding. I hope I could come back again in the future (and I shall) to explore even more places.
Next post: Recommendations in SEATTLE, WA!