Wow! Last week was fast and furious. First, I was in San Ramon Tuesday – Thursday for a meeting. Then I flew up to Portland to meet my sisters (Elise & Gillian) and cousins (Megan & Sarah) for my Bachelorette Party. A lot of people asked – why Portland?? Us girls are from all over and wanted to meet in a new big city, and I had heard that Portland is Austin’s sister city. I love Austin, so Portland it was. In retrospect, maybe Portland was not the best choice for the party, but we still had lots of fun. I say this because it was not the friendliest city I’ve ever been to; there was definitely a judgemental-hipster vibe going on. We were staying in the heart of the hipster area, so that was part of it. We got stared at a lot and even flipped off by a bum! Of course, I’m sure there are some very nice people in Portland and there were some great things about the city too, but I was happy to return to Texas, land of friendly, slightly-overly-talkative folks. At least it made me appreciate Houston much more.
Portland Arrival & Day 1
We arrived Thursday night all via equally confused taxi cab drivers to La Palapa, the vacation rental we’d chosen. I’d chosen it to be cheap, since it was asking a lot for everyone to fly in, but sadly the house was a lot cleaner in the pictures than in real life. It was super eclectic with some odd surreal art on the walls that definitely was not children appropriate (not that any kids were around). Elise had arrived earliest and had bought special cupcakes and some high quality Rite Aid Champagne to start the night off right. We also did a gift exchange (Bachelorette Party Christmas). I gave the girls a Lulu headband and my favorite Clean Food cookbook, Sarah got everyone a Portland pack (with a CD, tea, handmade ring from Uncle Mark, etc.), Elise made everyone some awesome tee’s that you saw in the previous post and cool temporary tattoos, and Megan made cute bird ornaments. The theme of the weekend was “put a bird on it” from the Portlandia TV series. Luckily I didn’t have to put birds on any male members.
Friday was hiking day. I was super excited to see the Gorge & surrounding mountains. Breakfast was a quick stop at a local coffee shop for some tea & pastries. This wasn’t my espresso, but looked so cute!
We then located our Zip car that Elise had checked out. Zip cars are pretty cool – you can purchase an annual membership, then check a car out using your card. I think it’s a great idea for people without cars that live in large cities and need the car for occasional errands and trips. Elise drove us about 30 minutes outside the city to Multnomah Falls. We did an ~5 mile loop, starting at the very touristy popular Multnomah falls, then branching around to many other falls. Everything there was SO green! The sunlight dappled the leaves to make really bright greens and the trees were so mossy. We all enjoyed the hike and by 2 PM were quite tired and grabbed an overly-priced bite to eat at the lodge at the trailhead.
Due to the exhaustion, we agreed on going back to the house for a quick one-hour nap, and returning the car later. The car is returned at the same spot it was picked up at – convenient “public use” parking spots. This one happened to be near an Edgemont Bar/Pub. Edgemont is some sort of Oregon chain that converts old schools, churches, etc. into pubs. We decided to stop in for a pre-dinner drink. The drinks were good, but the whole place was extremely quiet. Maybe Portlanders aren’t big on Friday Happy Hours? We enjoyed our drink, then taxi-cabbed it over to Screen Door, a Southern-style restaurant with lots of vegetable options that Megan & Sarah had found. (Again, we had a bizarre taxi cab driver; this one from Bulgaria, and when we asked him life in Bulgaria, he responded in his thick accent “I don’t want to talk about my previous life” – I guess we didn’t want to know either in that case!)
We made it to Screen Door all in one piece, and walked around the surrounding neighborhood while waiting for a table to open up. This restaurant won the friendliest award for a super nice host; maybe Portland is friendly?? We were all impressed by the extensive menu, and the Screen Door Plate, where you could order three sides/salads + cornbread for your meal. Four of the five of us chose that, because the sides were just awesome! Lots of local veggie options. I had slow cooked Flageolet Beans, the Black Mission Fig & Ebony Heart Pluot Salad and a Roasted Beet Salad for my sides. I had no idea what Flageolet beans were, but they were awesome! I later googled them and found that they are dubbed “the caviar of beans…very popular in French cooking”. No wonder; I hope to find them someday and slow cook them myself. Megan had something similar and declared the meal “one of the best, if not the best” veggie entrée she’s had. That’s pretty good, since Megan has been a vegetarian as long as she can remember.
We were all too full for dessert, which looked good too. We had considered going to another bar, but were all still pretty spent, so headed back to the house for some rest.
Portland Day 2
Saturday was market & party day. We were going to hit up the Portland Saturday Market & the Farmer’s Market, cook our own dinner, then have our “going out” night. But first, we needed a big brunch. We made it to Tasty ‘n’ Sons just in time to be seated with the first group of people at 9 AM; be warned, a long line forms before 9. We sat down at a big wooden table for a family-style meal, but just ordered our own dishes and shared little bites. The restaurant had a variety of savory foreign dishes, so I chose the Shakshuka: an Algerian dish that consists of a tomato/pepper based stew with baked eggs on the top, served with grilled bread. It was pretty delicious, and gave me the idea that I might need to do some tomato-baked dishes myself this winter. Pleasantly full, we headed to the downtown Saturday Market. It was fun to see, but the crafts were a little too hippy for my taste. We browsed around and also stopped at a Fine Arts Market nearby since it was going on. After getting crafted-out, we headed to the Portland Farmer’s Market- I was excited about this since it’s supposed to be the best Farmer’s Market in the country! It definitely lived up to it’s name with some amazing and quite cheap produce, minimal crowds, and a relaxing atmosphere. We purchased vegetables, salad & pasta to make later that night, and I bought both Lavender Marionberry and Rhubarb jams to bring home to David since he likes jam on his bagels. There was a string band playing that we really enjoyed. We grabbed a light lunch and listened to the band until it closed.
That evening we cooked up a pasta dinner and started the Bachelorette Party festivities. I felt like a queen at the head of the table. After dinner Elise pulled out a Bachelorette party game “Do You Know Breaux?” that she & David had planned. David had pre-answered 20 questions, and we had to guess his answers. I have to say his answers were pretty hilarious! My favorites included:
Q: What was David’s first word?
A: That’s what she said
Q: What is David’s favorite pick up line?
A: Your eyes are as blue as my toilet water
He definitely gets TWSS points for the first one! Luckily I won the game which meant I got free drinks all night. After a good laugh & wine, we got ready, all in hot pink clothing. Sadly we have few pictures of the night since we were all focused on just having fun. I had a hot pink dress from Express and a gold star crown. We looked for some more upscale bars and dance clubs downtown, but I have to say, there weren’t many! We did what we could though. The night went sort of like this: stop at Swanky Martini Bar & start a Bachelorette Party Game App … random detour to Underground Bar with very cool bartender that made us Ginger-Monkey Puzzle Drinks … another random stop at some bar were we met some nice but Douche-y pilots … realized it’s too late for more dancing, so time to taxi cab to Voodoo Doughnuts … Douche-y guys buy us doughnuts and then we get the real hipster experience when a group of nice hipsters exchanges PBRs for doughnuts.
I would say Voodoo was okay, but nothing to rave about. We hung out then made it home and into bed around 4 AM. That is waaaay late for me! I guess I am officially Bachelorette-partied out! And yes, I did have more than my 2 drink limit as I’d mentioned in a previous post, but I was pretty good about pacing myself, and I figured this is a once in a lifetime sort of thing anyway.
Portland Day 3
I unfortunately woke up around 8 AM the next morning since the sunlight was coming through the windows and was a little cranky due to my lack of sleep. We didn’t have any immediate plans except to find food. We headed to Mississippi Ave. to go to Gravy – a hot brunch spot. It was super busy, so we again walked around waiting about an hour for a table. When we finally got in, we ordered and got our food fairly quickly – the portions were HUGE. I had scrambled tofu with vegetables and hash browns and definitely needed a to-go box for half of it. The plates were piled high. It was just what I wanted though. We headed back with happy tummies and attempted to nap again, but just ended up lounging around a bit. That afternoon we went to a local yoga class for a slow-flow Vinyasa class. It was just what we needed – refreshing – and I think all of us took little naps during the long Vinyasa!
That evening we stopped at a Food Truck gathering with the same string band mentioned above so we could get their CD, then headed home to get Gilli to the airport. We had fun getting stamped with our temporary tattoos and enjoying some Ru Paul’s Drag Race – “Lip Sync for yo’ Life!” The rest of us headed home Monday morning, happy to have seen each other, but all in need of a vacation from our vacation!