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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Summer ’17 comin on strong!  The GO-GO-GO pace of summer can be both thrilling and exhausting and I think I felt both this weekend.  It’s a bit of a roller coaster, but we just gotta ride it out and do our best to breathe it all in, right?

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Started off the weekend with a Tiffany blue mani and when my gal asked me if I wanted to cut them down, my response was “not really!”  My nails haven’t been this long in forever!  Just gonna enjoy it while I can, aka till they all break, one by one.  It’s inevitable.

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Friday night Rockies game and it was A) packed and B) only slightly less terrifying than the night before, but we won and that’s all that matters in the end.  Guys, sorry if you’re not here for my very important baseball talk, but we how fun are these 2017 Rockies??

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Get this, Joey and I switched routines on Saturday so while I was watering our yard, he was inside making a bajillion buttermilk waffles and I could get used to walking into the kitchen to a mound of fresh and warm waffles on the counter.  He’s the very best and so was this breakfast.

Biked to the Farmers’ Market afterwards and I think every child in Denver was running around in the fountains at Union Station.  Hooked ourselves up with some garlic scapes (!!!), snap peas, little cucs, tomatoes and best of all, Rainier cherries!  Apparently, this was the last week for Rainiers and whoa, they are SO SWEET AND GOOD.

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I feel weird posting a picture of my vegetarian friend and steak tacos together…

I headed out for a facial that afternoon and when I got back, Joey had hit the grocery store and was food prepping like his life depended on it or, you know, like he thought he was me 🙂  It was kind of the cutest.  I joined in on the fun and we knocked out lunch for the week (jalapeño ranch FTW!), curry paste for later in the week and salsa for those steak tacos we ate for dinner at 9 PM like carefree summertime people.

After all that, we headed to RiNo to meet up with Jenn for a little birthday celebrating.  How amazing is the River North neighborhood lately?  There is no shortage of amazing places to eat and drink and everyone hanging out there seems to be just as enthusiastic about it all.  P.S. Jenn and I just introduce ourselves as sisters now and no one even bats an eye.  I ♥ her the most!

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Father’s Day/Belle’s Birthday was Sunday!  I woke up and went on a run (bringing back the weekend 5-miler and it felt so gooood), then got myself together and headed to my brother & sister-in-law’s for the celebration.  Just two dads looking very related in their matching outfits and hanging out by the grill.  And would you look at my cutie pie niece?!  She’s six and I’m like “when did that happen??”  Totally ate some of that ice cream cake and didn’t regret it for a second.

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Joey had spent the day with his dad, so we met up in our backyard for some hammock hanging and garden inspecting.  DO YOU SEE THAT BABY BASIL?  It’s too cute and I can hardly handle it.  Please know I keep sticking my face really close to the dirt so I can smell that basil-y fragrance.  It’s totally there!  Our flower garden is still alive and kicking it too.

Rounded out the weekend with some Sunday night TV veg time and reading in bed.  Joey mentioned that his day involved just a little too much sun and food and heat and it was making him feel a little drained and I was like ain’t that the definition of summer though!  Felt so good to have a little quiet time at the end of it all.

How was your weekend?