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Portlandia

Story by Pavel Macek December 15th, 2014

There’s a lot that you can do with a long weekend in August. We went to Portland, the one in Oregon. With a mindset firmly set to unwind, eat, drink and generally have a good time. I’m proud to say, we accomplished exactly just that.

After a short flight from SF, quick lunch in tiny Oregon City and dropping luggage at our temporary digs, we were ready for some ice-cream. Due to extensive research, all the hip blogs and our friend Vlada, we knew exactly where to go. Salt & Straw on Southeast Division Street. Astronomical selection of weird and even weirder flavours, unlimited tasting and pleasant service makes this place pretty special.

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This “under the bridge” park on the other end of Portland is called Cathedral park. Go figure.

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Pearl district was sort of like a dream to us. We parked on the main street, on Friday night, in 5 minutes, almost for free. It’s funny what sort of things one appreciate after living in San Francisco. Anyway, Pearl district is the shit, with its many restaurants, bars and brick buildings.

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We had drinks in River Pig Saloon. To my utter surprise and delight, Lucka suggested that. And as usual, it was the best idea of the day.

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Walking through Portland was extremely pleasant in summer. The city was clean and peaceful even on busy Friday evening.

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My wife is lovely. Real talk.

On Saturday morning, after grabbing a cup of coffee in Stumptown Coffee Roasters, we visited Portland’s famous Saturday market on the waterfront. Even though it was packed, general vibe was still very relaxed and pleasant. We passed super famous Voodoo Doughnuts on the way to the market, however, the extremely long line was not at all tempting.

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Roaming around downtown.

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Lucka’s another best idea of the day was brunch in Mother’s Bistro & Bar. The wait was long, but manageable with their “we will text you once your table is ready” system.

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Powell’s is a book store. However, it’s a huge ass bookstore. With a cafe, all sorts of cool things and every book imaginable. Too broke to buy a book? You can get skimmed late and read the book right there.
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Union way is a passage full of slightly pretentious stores. I bought a pair of red-blue socks there.

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Original Ace hotel was on my list since the day we found out we are going to Portland. However, since we are not merely cool enough for this place, we had a drink across the street in Living Room Theaters, where you can eat, drink and watch a mind boggling artsy movie in the same time.

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While in Ace hotel, we ran into local fire squad. Even fireman drink their ice late’s in style in Portland.

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As huge fans of pasta, we had to try Grassa. No bullshit place that had next level pasta.

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This is our humble cottage, near Oregon City. And when I say humble, I don’t mean humble at all. It was in the middle of the woods, we had it all for ourselves, it had everything your heart could desire and it smelled of freshly cut wood. Our hosts Carol and Paula were lovely and made sure our short stay here was more than enjoyable. Yes, there were chicken with fresh eggs in the mornings. Oh, and we tried marshmallows for the first time. Ugh.

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Based on recommendation from our hosts, our Sunday trip was in a loop from Oregon City to Mt. Hood, Hood River and back along Columbia back to Oregon City via Portland. It was great recommendation, whole drive was scenic and it gave us a chance to see at least a bit of Oregon outside of Portland.

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Mt. Hood was our first stop. It was 70+ degrees outside and people were still going skiing to the top.

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After Mt. Hood, we grabbed some fried food and cold brew in Full Sail Brewery in River Hood and watched some Paddle boarders. They were everywhere.

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Oneonta Gorge.

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Multnomah Falls.

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On the way from River Hood, we encountered this beautiful scenic point called Vista House. It was a resting point on the old road. This is where I realized we are actually looking at Columbia river.

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Last stop just before getting back to our cottage in the woods was McMenamins Edgefield. It’s a small community at a former school, that has repurposed the school grounds for a hotel, cinema, several bars and pubs. We left pissed after being ignored in the restaurant by the hostess, but I would definitely try again if I had the chance, it was fascinating place.

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Before catching our flight on Monday afternoon, we still had time for lunch and a bit of exploring. After seeing that every good place on South Division was packed, we went to Justa Pasta. Great small place, with open kitchen and friendly staff.

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Another great recommendation from our friends was Pittock Mansion. House from beginning of the century filled with technological marvels of that time and architectural ingenuity. Plus, the gardens…

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Last stop, North West District. Hip neighbour hood full of cafe’s, bars and hip shops. Shops with staff so hip, that they forget that you exist :) We got ourselves a sugar rush in Papa Haydn. Their chocolate cakes are intense.

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Footnote: Portland in summer was good to us. Great food, easy going vibe and beautiful nature. We'll be back.
Portland, OR, United States