A friend of mine was in Portland, Oregon, last week for work, so I drove down from Seattle to hang out with him for a couple of days. I’ve been to Portland a few times. I like it more with each visit.
I arrived fairly late. I checked into my hotel, dropped off my stuff, and met my friend for a couple of beers. On Friday we had the luxury of a full day free of commitments or work distractions, which allowed for a good amount of exploring. I usually travel alone. When I visit a new place I roam, but it was a nice change of pace having a fellow adventurer.
We started at Powell’s City of Books. If you like bookstores, you’ll love Powell’s. Powell’s is always busy, but I was curious whether the Fire and Fury release would be drawing even bigger crowds. I didn’t see it on the shelves, so I asked about it at the information desk. Sold out.
I wanted coffee, so we ducked into Lauretta Jean’s. Their location at SW 6th and Pine is small, but it is packed with incredible looking baked goods. I had the biscuit with jam. It was delicious. I made a mess of it trying to eat it on the go, but I’d do it again. I could only take a quick photo because there were other people coming into the store. The biscuits are in the back, to the left and blurry.
We followed a rambling, walking itinerary. Eventually ducked into Filson. We asked them for recommendations on which neighborhoods to check out. They pointed us to the Inner Southeast area. It was a good suggestion.
I think we went to Belmont, Division, and Hawthorne. Those are street names. I’m not sure whether they double as neighborhood names. (If there are any Portland readers here, please weigh in.) If you’re in the area, I recommend walking around during the day to see the neighborhood houses. I’d move into any of them. I think they’re mainly a mix of Craftsman, Victorian, and cottages. Don’t quote me on that, though.
Later that night we grabbed a drink at Whiskey Soda Lounge. We were trying to settle on a place to eat. It always pays to ask. A woman sitting next to us told us that we should go to Por Que No? on Hawthorne. She did not hesitate at all. I love recommendations like that, and Por Que No did not disappoint. Awesome tacos. (My apologies to the woman who thought I was trying to cut to the front of the line. I just wanted to ask if people were waiting in line for tables, and whether the seats at the bar were up for grabs. They’re not.)
I liked Por Que No so much that I went to their Mississippi Ave. location a couple of nights later.
I stayed at the Marriott Courtyard by the convention center. I think it’s a good option. They’re renovating the hotel, but I think they waited until 0900 each day to start work. I missed out on sleep one night. The hotel staff noticed some flooding in the early hours and were trying to locate the source. They had to knock on a lot of doors to see if a toilet or shower was flooding. Definitely not fun, but these things happen. (I have loyalty points with Marriott but no other connection.)
If you are into cameras, especially film cameras, you might want to check out Blue Moon Camera. I was debating whether to get my grandfather’s Leica IIIA overhauled. It has a lot of sentimental value, but I wasn’t sure that it would be worth it to overhaul a camera that can be tricky to load. The staff at Blue Moon Camera was really helpful. They didn’t pressure me into doing it, but they told me about the person they worked with for old Leicas and assured me that the camera looked like a good candidate for a successful overhaul. The shop is also in a cool little neighborhood called St. Johns.
My friend and I kept meaning to look up the origin of Portland’s Rose City moniker. We never got around to it. I just looked it up, and it sounds like there are a few theories about the origin. Here’s a link to an explanation at Stumped in Stumptown.