Wednesday, April 23, 2014

[TRAVEL] A Weekend in PDX

Last week I was scheduled to be in the Beaverton, Oregon, office for a few days so I dragged Alan up north for a few days of food, drink, and fun.

We flew in on Saturday morning and made an immediate bee-line to the food carts. I scrapped my food restrictions for the weekend, starting off with a porchetta sandwich from The Pig People. Alan opted for the chance to taste a new cuisine - Georgian food. No, not the southern state. The country. There were a few really good things - mushroom dumplings! - but overall I liked my porky goodness a bit better. After loading up on grub we went for a walk in Hoyt Arboretum, hitting up the magnolia grove. While it's normally cold and misty in Portland, for our visit it was sunny and hot. And I wasn't really dressed for the occasion. Damn. Working up a thirst on our walk, we made our way down the hill to Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, quite possibly the most delicious beer I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.

We tried to check in to the hotel - The Nines Portland - at 4 p.m. but they had other plans. After killing two hours we were finally able to check into our room at around 6 p.m. We took a power nap and then hit the road again, this time dinner at Portland's famous Thai restaurant, Pok Pok. There's normally a 1.5 hour wait for a party of two on a Saturday night but we were lucky enough to grab two seats at the counter right next to the hostess immediately. I'm told this is pretty much unheard of. The food was definitely good, but apparently we failed in our Pok Pok adventure by not getting the wings. We didn't know! We did, however, order the restaurant's two other signature dishes so I feel like we had a good representation of the flavors and the cuisine. I'm always excited to try Thai food that isn't pad thai or curry, so this was a great dinner in that regard. After dinner we hit up Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, an old school arcade cum bar. It was quite the novel experience and we had a blast playing pinball and some old driving games. Unfortunately it was super warm in there and I had a headache from being out in the sun all day so we made a short night of it and were back at the hotel by 10 p.m. Unfortunately this is when the noise in our room started. Well, not IN our room, but somewhere in the immediate vicinity of our room. It sounded like construction directly above us and it went on for hours.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to hit up Voodoo Doughnut. For as many times as we've been to Portland together, we've never managed to make our way to this iconic PDX locale. We picked up three varieties - jelly filled (the voodoo guy), creme filled, and the famous maple bacon log - before jumping in the car for our drive out to Cannon Beach. Many people have told me that Cannon Beach is like Tofino so I really wanted to see if there was a place much closer to us that could fill that void when we couldn't make it up to British Columbia. While Cannon Beach is indeed a beautiful location, and I enjoyed the town immensely, I'm not sure that I'd compare it to Tofino at all. We took a long walk on the beach (I got sunburned!) and then had some clams and oyster shooters at a cute little restaurant on the main street before jumping back in the car and driving up the road to Astoria, home of original The Goonies house. We didn't really spend any time in Astoria, other than to see the house and stop at Safeway for some Excedrin for yet another damn headache. We got back in the car and drove back to the hotel, crossing the Columbia River to Washington state before crossing back right outside of Portland. For dinner, we made good on our vow for MORE BEER! by hitting up Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House. They messed up our food order, and we ended up eating way too much food, but since we love their brew we forgave them in the end. After a walk along the waterfront to work off some of those extra calories we went back to the hotel, getting back just in time to watch a most excellent episode of Game of Thrones.

It was around that time that the noise we heard the night before started up again, but this time it seemed even louder. After enduring it for hours I called down to the front desk to find out that the room we waited an extra two hours for was located directly below the kitchen. All that banging was the end of the night kitchen cleaning, and it couldn't be avoided. The receptionist promised to move me the next day, but I still fell asleep angry since our time at The Nines had been pretty bad from the moment we arrived.

The alarm went off bright (well, not bright since it was still dark outside) and early, and Alan was off to the airport so he could be back in HIS office in SF by 10 a.m. I jumped in the shower and got ready to spend the day in my own office out in the burbs. And with that, our fun was over for the weekend, another successful quick trip to Portland in the books.