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Portlanding for the Weekend

Ever lose a best friend? Well I haven’t… but mine is doing amazing things 3500 miles away in Japan so I suppose I’m halfway with you on it. Fun fact: her name is Shizuku, which means raindrop in Japanese! Since freshman year of highschool, we had this dream of traveling. We wrote a bunch of destinations on a piece of paper, cut those into bits and threw them into a jar. One destination drawn was Portland, Oregon and was first on our bucket list. Shizuku caught a break in work, and we made way to Portland for a weekend with our friend Derrick!

Aside from the greenery, I absolutely adored the entrepreneurial spirit flowing through the city. Corporate chains were a rare find, thank God! Every turn I made was a small business thriving from a supportive community. Considering our tight schedule, we squeezed everything we possibly could into two days! I can say, I will most definitely return for the food scene; they’ve got somethin’ figured out up there!

Day 1

Wake Up Call

You might find a chipper barista an angel sent from heaven if you’re not about the AM life, especially after a 6am flight. Drawing the fine line between exhaustion and excitement, I was relieved to meet the friendliest workers at Coava Coffee Roasters, bright and smiley. I went with a much needed mocha, which carried powerful espresso that complemented the creamy and fluffy milk. Word from the early bird: if you check in on Yelp, you get a free traditional cappuccino… but you didn’t hear it from me. Yep, you got that right. I drank not one, but two coffees in one sitting. 4 shots. get. in. my. bloodstream. My friends also ordered tea, and black coffee which they sipped while planning for a busy day ahead.

Breakfast is Served!

Bless the hearts of the southeastern trio that brought a little bit of home to the westside. At Pine State Biscuits, they’ve transformed the concept of biscuits and gravy to an unimaginable level. Not only do they serve a solid sausage gravy with their fluffy biscuits, but they’ve crafted a completely meat-free, rich, robust, irresistible shitake mushroom gravy. Oh Pine State, why must you be a plane ride away? Judge me if you must, but that shitake mushroom gravy is drinkable. I want more. I NEED more. Truthfully speaking, this artery-clogging delight held us until dinner which was fine by my bank account!

Chasin’ Waterfalls

I have this weird obsession with waterfalls. Wait a minute…can we just imagine if nature had bills? The sun is on for a long time, and the water is running all day and night. Phew! That would be a ridiculously high bill. Well, the great thing is, it’s all completely free and Latourell Falls is open to the public to explore from a ton of directions. Avoiding TLC’s lyrics, you best believe I went chasing this waterfall! Latourell is a wonderland of lush vegetation and fresh air. My mind and lungs felt cleansed after maneuvering through the fallen leaves and branches. It’s not as much of a hike as it is a nature walk, but the views and experience are breathtaking. Even the drive to this trail is mesmerizing; ride along the Columbia River that splits Oregon and Washington!

Moment of Truth

In our Uber ride to our Airbnb, we drove past an unapproachable looking restaurant in the morning. By nightfall, we were cold, starving, sleepy, and craved anything hot to soothe our goosebumps. I chose a restaurant called Kenny’s Noodle House because of the steamy dishes and stellar reviews. Ironically, we pulled into the parking lot laughing hysterically, as this was the sketchy restaurant we questioned earlier that day! We ordered the wonton noodle soup and couldn’t slurp quick enough. Although I was full, I regretted ordering a regular size instead of a large, simply because I wanted more. I appreciated the light, flavorful broth and firm noodles. Although we skipped lunch, I felt no guilt eating this which was a relief after our super heavy breakfast! This was a prime example to never judge a book by its cover; questionable on the outside, inviting on the inside!

Day 2

Pop Goes the Bagel!

So you thought pretzel bread was good? What about pretzel BAGELS? A thin glass display separated me from my new obsession at Pop Bagel. We were in awe from the endless bagel and cream cheese options. I ordered two supple, mouth watering plain and jalapeno cheese bagels. They were fluffy on the inside, with a breakable toasted shell that held a slight salty essence. I don’t think I’ve even experienced a regular pretzel this amazing. I ordered 6 to bring home and share, but only 3 made it to LA. Woops 🙂

More exploring before our flight

Embracing our inner tourism, we figured we had to hit the trendy shops, Powell’s City of Books, and International Rose Test Garden with necessary stops for pizza and coffee of course! Unfortunately, I have not the slightest clue what the store names were that we visited, primarily because they didn’t have signs. BUT, if you trust your inner explorer, I’m positive you’ll come across the same places we did, and more. This was a time of unplugging and absorbing everything Portland had to offer, on foot! I have yet to explore the rest of Oregon, but Portland was a memorable weekend with great company in an enchanting environment. For those that don’t know, the state of Oregon doesn’t issue sales tax, so this was the cherry on top for a budget-friendly outing!

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