[Note: the problem with waiting two weeks to write a blog entry is that you forget EVERYTHING that happened. Now. Where was I?]
Thursday morning, I got up early, said my farewells to the Tacoma-based Bush clan and hopped on the Cascades train to Portland. After a beautiful trip down the rails, I detrained at Union Station and hopped in a cab to our hotel. Fortunately, I was able to check in early, so I grabbed the key and dropped off my luggage. I’d love to say that I then whisked my way out of my hotel and went off to explore Portland, but I’d be lying. The truth is, I was so wiped out that I belly-flopped on the bed and mindlessly flipped channels for a couple of hours.
Eventually, I did haul my cookies out of bed to do a little exploring. I was starving, so I hopped online to see if there was any place I should check out that was casual and lunch-y. This was when I discovered the food cart extravaganza that is Portland, Oregon – specifically, the schnizwelwich at Tábor. Luckily for me, this particular cart was located in a stretch around the corner from my hotel, so I picked up a sandwich and a diet coke and found a park to sit and nosh. Delish! Later, Steph and I determined that we would happily graze our way through Portland, strictly by patronizing food carts all over the city. We're both a little broken-hearted that we were too far from the waffle carts.
After lunch, I went on my first of two trips to Powell’s Books. If you’ve never been, there’s no way I can put into words how incredible a place this is. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me so there are no pictures of the handful of rooms I was actually able to explore before heading off to meet Steph, one of my best college pals, who deigned to fly up from Sacramento to explore Portland with me. Even between both of my trips, I never really made a dent in what Powell’s had to offer (though it made a minor dent in my debit card). Our first night we went to dinner at the hotel restaurant, The Original , where I thought I was going to have my first taste of poutine, but tragically our waiter forgot to put our order in, so the quest continues. Too bad, though – I would’ve rather tried that than consume my so-so fish and chips.
On Friday, we got up early and went for a walk along the Willamette River before heading out on a tour of the Columbia River Gorge. In the nearly two weeks that I was in the Pacific Northwest, this is the only day that it really rained, and I do mean REALLY rained. Fortunately, our guide had extra umbrellas available so on the occasions that we left the van to view the sights, we were adequately protected. Ever try to take pictures with a DSLR while holding an umbrella? Not only big fun, but an explanation as to why all of the pictures taken on that trip list ever so slightly to port.
After we finished exploring the great outdoors, and taking steaming hot showers to restore blood flow, we were off to yet another meal. After taking Steph to get her first taste of Powell’s, we continued through NE up to the Everett Street Bistro. Steph was relatively good with her Cobb Salad, but I was seduced by their Mac & Cheese, made with smoked gouda and pancetta. It was delicious, if a smidge too rich for my taste. Fortunately we had a long-ish walk back to the hotel so I was able to waddle off some of my dinner. Probably four bites. Five, tops.