My buddy Chris had warned us a bit that Portland could be a bit… um, peculiar. Coming from the East Coast, legalized pot is certainly out of the norm for us. Not even medicinal marijuana. Just recreationally getting cooked on cannabis.
Portland has surprised us in a great way. We love it! (And no, not for the weed).
At this point we have seen a bunch of cities… Denver, Las Vegas, Kansas City (still at the top of list), Victoria, Salt Lake City and a few others I’m sure. Portland is one of our favorites!
First off, the food rocks. Little Big Burger, Elephant Delicatessen and a little place called Teota, where they sell Venezualan arepas (holy smokes have the El Diablo – chili’s and molasses, insane – can’t remember the last time I got so much food and flavor for $6.50!)
When we parked at Teota, we noticed what looked like a cool apple tree outside our truck. After dinner we took a closer look and discovered right there on the city street corner there was an architectural agricultural construction. To show just how much food can be grown in a 2 wide space amidst concrete. There were apple, plums, asian pear and almond trees. Herbs and edible flowers. Even berry and grape vines!
We visit an awesome church called, New Horizons, in nearby McMinnville. Followed by another farm fresh meal at the Community Plate and placid afternoon at the kids park.
Oh, I get to finally go for my dental check up, which has been like landing a plane on a moving ship. Because every time we come to a major city I call for an appointment. And by time they have an opening, we are already gone!
Possibly the highlight of the Portland adventure for me is a visit to Salt and Straw, a local farm fresh gourmet ice cream shop.
Now I am not a huge ice cream fan. I like it more than cake. I like it on pie. But other than fresh hand-made gelato we ate in Florence, ice cream pretty much all tastes the same to me. Salt and Straw has rocked me to my core (hope you get the movie reference here). Char and I went on a “Tasting Flight”. 4 bowls with 4 unique favors. Pears with blue cheese. Salted caramel. Olive oil ice cream. And marion berry and goat cheese with habanero pepper.
I know what you’re thinking… goat cheese and hot pepper ice cream… sounds like the invention of drunken college kids.
It wasn’t. You need to taste it to believe it. It was more like an elevated fruit and cheese course than ice cream. Every single flavor the level of creaminess and how silky it feels in your mouth is unlike any ice cream I have ever tasted.
Don’t believe the haters on TripAdvisor who say Salt & Straw is over-hyped. Non-sense, there is nothing like it. We went to another gourmet ice cream place on our last night (because the line for Salt & Straw was an hour long). And well… it was cone full of regret.
There is reason people wait up to an hour for ice cream. And they have earned it. I was heart broken not to go again. But my sorrow has turned to joy as I have discovered Salt & Straw has a few locations in LA! California watch out. Mark your calendar I am coming back for more!
Back to the journey. We spent part of our time at an RV Park and then hop over to another Harvest Host, one of our favorites yet. It is on an epic blueberry farm, with blueberry bushes that are 40 years old! They have so many blueberry and so delicious, it’s frankly ruined me to all other blueberries. Noemsies can’t stop eating them right off the branch!
One our last day here, we go to Beacon Rock. We were just looking for a nice little trail. What we soon found ourselves on was a 2-mile round trip up 850 sq ft above sea level. May not sound like much, but try doing it with a 6, 3 and 1 year old. They all did unbelievable. Seygray walked the whole trip up on her own. She rode on Char’s back coming down. Bella made it both up and down. And even little Noemsies walked almost the entire hike up by herself. Incredible!
Funny how if we had known beforehand exactly what we are taking on we never would have said yes. But once we were doing it and we made it, we were so glad we did.
Char said it best, “Portland is the first place we’ve left where I have felt sad leaving.” And I agree. Portland we’ll miss you.