Exploring Portland

Sarai and I got in from Portland around 11:00 last night and we both agree that it’s an amazing city. We didn’t have any solid plans for the trip, just a list of some things we wanted to see and do, and we managed to do almost all of them just by wandering around from one thing to another. It’s hard to believe we did so much without feeling like we were working off a checklist.

Our first order of business after Jojo picked us up a the airport on Friday was lunch, followed by Powell’s, the city block-sized bookstore downtown, and wandering around Hawthorne. While we were there we ran into a friend of Jojo’s, a fire spinner who told us about her performance that evening with a bellydance troupe. Outside of meeting a few other people for dinner we didn’t have any plans for the evening so this sounded great to us.

Saturday morning we stopped by Stumptown for coffee and Voodoo Doughnuts for junk food before going to the Saturday market. Stumptown’s coffee was great, I bought a pound of freshly roasted beans to bring home, and I tried the chocolate Cocoa Puff doughnut at Voodoo, which was every bit as disgusting as I expected it to be. Truth be told, we had already had our breakfast and only bought the Voodoo doughnut just to check the place out. I actually dislike doughnuts of any kind, to say nothing of something as HFCS-loaded as this thing, and so tossed it after taking one bite and a couple pictures. I did it once for art but don’t plan to do it again. Still, I do like knowing that a place like this exists. The world is slightly more interesting for it.

Other highlights of the weekend included dinner at Kalga Kafe, a great organic vegetarian restaurant that also happens to be near the “Barmuda Triangle”, an area of the Hawthorne district heavily populated by dive bars, the Portland Japanese Garden, and too much other stuff to mention. The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with friends and exploring the city.

We were both really impressed by Portland. It’s got everything we love about the bay area — restaurants and bars, the culture, an independent spirit — but it somehow manages to be much cleaner and friendlier at the same time. Not to mention affordable: the subject of rent came up more than once over the weekend and it really left us feeling like suckers for paying as much as we do in San Francisco compared to what everyone else was getting for so much less in Portland. Jojo is trying her hardest to get us to move up there; I don’t know if that will ever happen but we’re definitely putting Portland into the rotation of places we visit regularly. I’ll be posting pictures soon.


Kevin says:

Which bars did you hit on Hawthorne? I haven’t had a chance to check out most of them, despite the proximity to our place.

Kenn Christ says:

We only went to Bar of the Gods, which Jojo goes to occasionally. We thought about checking out a couple others but after walking around all afternoon in that heat and then having spicy food at Kalga and whiskey at BOG we were too tired to do much bar hopping.

Kevin says:

I haven’t been to the BOG, but it’s on my list to check out. I like the Sapphire Hotel a lot, which is about a block away.

Kenn Christ says:

I’ll keep Sapphire on my list for next time then.