Family Vacation to Oregon: Portland

The Great Dorsey Vacation 2017 all started with a cute little weekend stay in Portland.  Joey and I didn’t plan on going there for the third summer in a row but A) we were already flying into PDX and B) my sister and Wayne had never seen our favorite little city, so we felt it 100% necessary to spend a few days there.

I thought this might be the trip where I grew a little bit tired of Portland and instead, I just loved it a whole lot more.  Even without a stop at Pip’s, it still managed to be the very best, because: warmth and blue skies that made for walk everywhere weather, getting to try new restaurants/coffee shops but also show off our favorites, a bike share program that meant seeing Portland from different angles and being with two people who were equally up for ice cream every night.

img_1643-1img_1645-1img_1347img_1644-1

We checked into our rental house, quickly realized it did not have air-conditioning (THE HORROR!), then walked up the street for dinner.  Por Que No?  That is the question!  We walked past this place last time we were here and where there’s a long line, there must be good food.  Usually, at least.  Turns out, the line moves really fast and we didn’t even have a hard time snagging a street-side table after ordering at the counter.  The carnitas taco is what dreams are made of.  Afterwards, Ruby Jewel for dessert because it was just a block away and after seeing Peanut Butter Cookie Dough on the menu, I was sold.

img_1646-1img_1647-1img_1601img_1648-1img_1364img_1650-1img_1649-1img_1651-1img_1652-1

The best way to start a Saturday in Portland is to take a morning walk and stumble across a “Before I die…” chalk wall then stumble across the sidewalk and skin your hand and the corner of your phone at the same time then breakfast and a trip to the Farmers’ Market, so we did just that.  We hit Bijou Café then walked up to the market and man, was it bustling!  The joy of watching someone experience that barrage of perfect produce is just the best.  And we bought a half flat of berries that were some of the best I’ve ever tasted.  Afternoon activities involved coffee at Heart, Powell’s City of Books and lunch at Pine Street Market.

img_1678-1img_1679-1img_1687img_1680-1img_1681-1img_1682-1

But my favorite part of the day was renting bikes and riding along the river!  It was hot and I was the slowest but it was so perfect and ended with a quick (and scenic) ride on the aerial tram.  When we were done being hot and sweaty we headed back to our place to rest before heading out to dinner at Podnah’s Pit.  I liked my pulled pork but I LOVED Joey’s ribs.  We hit up that Salt & Straw line after dinner and get this, I got a carrot cake-flavored ice cream that was one of the best (and most creative) scoops I’ve ever eaten.  Unanimous opinion: Salt & Straw > Ruby Jewel.  And now you know.

IMG_1684IMG_1683IMG_1391IMG_1602IMG_1685

Sunday morning, we packed up and headed to one final Portland breakfast at Besaw’s and look, the area it was in was very nice and trendy and there was free coffee while we waited, but the service was just so-so.  The food was GREAT though!  Do you even see that butter swirl?  We met up with my parents afterwards to do a big old grocery haul for the rest of the week on the coast and then I just had to grab one last coffee at Case Study.  Ciao for now, Portland!

Where We Stayed: Beautiful Detached Cottage in Mississippi Neighborhood 

Where We Ate/Drank: 

Por Que No? // Don’t let the line scare you off.  It moves quickly and the reward at the end is creamy guac, crispy chips and strong margaritas.  Please please order a carnitas taco.  You won’t regret it!

Ruby Jewel //  If you’re visiting Portland and can only visit one ice cream shop, make it Salt & Straw but if you’re visiting for the third summer in a row and you’ve been to Salt & Straw twice already, try Ruby Jewel!  The small scoop is the perfect post-taco treat.

Bijou Café // This place has a diner feel in that slightly grungy but you don’t notice because the service is so good and the food is so unpretentious kind of way that I totally dug.  We sat at the counter, drank coffee and people watched.  I really loved my cauliflower-kale hash and Joey was SO into his fried chicken and pancakes.

Heart Coffee Roasters // I am head over heels for their coffee beans and their minimalist café aesthetic.  Nuff said.

Pine Street Market // I got a so-so slice of pizza and salad at Trifecta Annex but everyone else had what looked like a really good burger from Bless Your Heart Burgers and I wonder if I’ll ever learn to just order whatever Joey orders because he always wins.

Podnah’s Pit Barbecue // They were out of brisket when we got there and I think we were all a little bit sad but everything on my plate was good (though not great) and I really really liked the rib Joey graciously gifted me.

Salt & Straw // The most unique flavors, that are all spot on and served with a smile.  Just do it, okay?

Besaw’s // Free coffee while you wait and maybe service was just off on the day we went?  But the food was really really good.  Get the Farmer’s Hash because: bacon, cheddar and that big old fluffy biscuit!

Case Study Coffee // I really dig that light fixture over the coffee bar and the barista who rang me up was very nice, but what can I say?  My heart belongs to Heart.

What We Did:

Portland Farmers’ Market // If you’re not impressed by this FM, you’re not human!  I am completely BLOWN AWAY by the sheer abundance and quality of the things that grow so beautifully in the Pacific Northwest.

Powell’s City of Books // If you’re a book nerd, how can you go to Portland and not go to Powell’s?  Heck, even if you aren’t a book nerd, how can you go to Portland and not go to Powell’s?  Get lost on an aisle in the section that calls to you most and peruse all the books there.

BIKETOWN // Sign up for this BEFOREHAND, so you’re not standing in the straight sun, waiting for the app to download at a snail’s pace.  Ride the Waterfront Park Trail to the Portland Aerial Tram then ride it up to see the city from above.

Weekend Things

If you want to start your weekend off with a bang, make a spontaneous decision to leave work early and hit that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, then watch a Rockies win!  

img_1618img_1619

We’d been wanting to try out Señor Bear since it opened a couple of months ago and they just so happened to be launching their happy hour service on Friday so we kind of HAD to go, right?  We sat out on the patio because: still summer!  Then sipped our drinks — I got a frozen cranberry margarita and it was STRONG — and basically ordered one everything on the menu.  Can you even believe how cute that little Gordo Crunch is?!  Tasty too!

img_1655img_1621

Okay, not to brag, but I’m 15-2 on Rockies games this season.  Just sayin!  We won on Friday and I was like “sweep, sweep, sweep!” but then we lost on Saturday and Sunday and I’m taking this as a sign that I really am the key to the Rockies winning 🙂

If you want to ensure that you don’t get to sleep in on a Saturday, go to Yoga on the Rocks but then make up for it by drinking coffee and getting a manicure with your sister afterwards.

img_1656img_1627

Doing yoga in the sunshine at Red Rocks is a truly beautiful experience but holy moly, is that 5:30 AM wake up call rough!  I wrangled my sister into going with me and she later told her manicurist “my sister made me go to Yoga on the Rocks this morning,” so I think she really enjoyed it 😛  Afterwards, we walked to coffee then walked to get breakfast burritos then got our nails done.  Just going to say, it was definitely NOT the best manicure I’ve ever had…

img_1657img_1658img_1659

Garden Season 2017 is winding down — except for the legit pumpkin patch and all the butternut squash we have in our yard… — so we pulled a bunch of carrots and decided we maybe let them grow a little too long because that red one was HUGE!  But it was majorly beautiful too.  I think we went to the grocery store and I made  pizza dough later?  I woke up at 5:30 AM and I don’t think my brain was working properly.

If your Summer Bucket List includes going to the drive-in, but this is the last weekend you could possibly go before their season is over and they’re playing The Nutty Job 2 (NO), then just make your own drive-in experience in the backyard. 

img_1637

In the words of Joey, “we’re awesome and we should do this more often!”  Strongly agree!  We rented Passengers because we felt we should watch a action-packed blockbuster to get the full drive-in experience, but I just want to tell you that this movie wasn’t very good.  There was dramatic music and people speaking in passionate tones — all signs that something serious was happening — but I was laughing?  I don’t think that’s what the movie creators were trying for.  This just in: Chris Pratt is funny and all, but he might not actually be a good actor.  And even though J. Law has won/been nominated for serious acting awards, she might not be either.

If you want to make up for an early Saturday morning, do NOT go for an early morning run on Sunday.

FAIL!  Did I mention Joey and I are running a 15K at the beginning of October?  At first, I thought “I might as well just run a half marathon!” but then I realized a 15K (9.3 miles) is almost FOUR MILES SHORTER than a half, and that’s pretty significant.  We’re doing a quick little 7 week training program to get ready so we ran 5 miles on Sunday morning and even though I was totally out of energy during that last .25 miles, we did it and it feels really good to be on a structured program again.

img_1660

Afterwards, we chilled out for a bit then I showered and got ready for afternoon plans and Joey made us lunch burritos for the week!  I LOVE when he does that.  Salads-in-a-jar are wonderful but sometimes you need a quick break and the best way to do it is with double cheese burritos, right?  Also want to let you know that Joey’s burrito folding technique is top notch.

img_1661img_1665

Said “afternoon plans” involved lunch and Frozen Live with my mom, sister and niece.  Lady date!  We had lunch at BriDer — they totally forgot my sister’s order and I was like “guys, you’re embarrassing us both in front of our new diners!” — then joined all the little girls in blue dresses and blonde wigs at The Buell for the show.  I just need a minute to complain about the mom next to us who chose the middle of “Let It Go” to leave the theater, when the intermission was literally 30 seconds later.  WHY?!  Also, in my professional honest opinion, two-and-a-half hours is too long for a childrens’ show but my niece was happy and an afternoon spent with your family at The Buell is never bad.

P.S. LOL at the very educational song about Hygge that they added to the show!

img_1662

Remember last summer when we made these fish foil packs and I burnt the living hell out of the potatoes and the Spanish Chorizo we spent $7 and multiple grocery stores trips on?  Or did that not traumatize you as much as it did me?  Well we re-made that meal and I’m happy to report we fully redeemed ourselves.  Turns out they even have “Chorizo Espanol” right at the deli of our regular grocery store and I could get the exact amount we needed.  Soft potatoes with crispy edges, salty Chorizo, that compound butter and perfectly flaky fish?  Yes please!

And if you want to know my opinion on last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, get ready for an earful!  I just want you to know, I called it to Joey last week so in addition to being the Rockies whisperer, I’m also the GoT plot whisperer.  Oh and Happy Eclipse Day!