I may have walked 7.5 miles today around Portland, but I also gained 15 pounds from everything we ate and drank throughout the day.
The alarm went off at another painfully early time this morning, but it was our only chance to see Portland, so we had to make the most out of it! We decided to drive into the city instead of taking public transportation. Even with the morning traffic, it only took us 15 minutes to get there. Our morning began with espresso at Coava Coffee Roasters.. and this time it was the good stuff.. good enough to wake you up and make your heart happy. B and I worked on photo editing and posting the blog while munching on the best pastries we've had since moving from Philadelphia and sipping on cappuccinos.
A short drive across the river took us to the Portland Aerial Tram. The tram is used by many people to from South Waterfront up to Marquam Hill. It's also a super awesome way to get a cool view of the city and, on a clear day, the mountains in the distance. The ride is only 4 minutes long one way, but it's worth the $5 ticket just to see the beauty! Once we got to the top we sat outside on the deck and soaked in the sun and the sights! We headed down to the bottom where there was a little set up of food trucks near the loading area of the tram. There was a waffle truck that was open and we shared a sausage, cheese, and maple butter waffle.
Our next stop was the Portland Japanese Garden which was back over the river. The cost to get in was a little steep, $15 a person, but for the most, what's said to be, the authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan, we wanted to see what it was all about. Here's a short bit of history about the gardens that I found interesting. 'Inspired in the late 1950s by growing cultural ties between Oregon and Japan, Mayor Terry Schrunk and members of the Portland community conceived the idea of building a Japanese garden on the site of the old zoo in Washington Park. Their reasons for building a Japanese garden were twofold: providing the citizens of Portland with a garden of great beauty and serenity, while forging a healing connection to Japan on the heels of World War II. At this time in U.S. history, Japanese gardens were founded across the country as a way to build cultural understanding. Needing no translation, an American could experience firsthand Japanese ideals and values, communicated simply through nature.' Our walk through the gardens was really peaceful. We were also in awe at every turn by how green and mossy everything was!
Back across the river was a brewery Brian wanted to visit. We often switch back and forth from coffee to beer during the day when we're in a new city, and we weren't about to stop that tradition. But first, we went to Pok Pok for lunch. Pok Pok specializes in street food that can be found in Thailand. Their most famous dish is the Ike's Fish Sauce Wings. We went to their smaller and newer location Pok Pok Wings because we heard the line was shorter and their menu was smaller so the service was faster. When we showed up there were only a handful of people sitting and eating, better than the other location which probably had a line out the door already. B and I shared an order of Ike's wings and also some steamed pork buns. I need to learn how to make steamed buns, they really make my world go 'round. The brewery, Hair of the Dog, was down the street. They have a beer there that is the most sought after beer in the world, and for $1,500.00 you can try it yourself, and no, I didn't make a typo.
After beer it was time for ice cream and more coffee. We had heard about Salt & Straw from a few people and tried to go yesterday but the line was too long. Today we decided to matter how long the line was, we would wait. The location we arrived at was on a street filled with cute little shops and interesting restaurants. The area was called Nob Hill. There was a line, but it wasn't down the entire block. It must get that long at times because there was a rope all the way down to signal that's where the line was. Once we chatted with the ice cream connoisseur and tried 4 ice creams, we settled on the two we wanted. The four we tried were Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, Olive Oil, and Pear & Blue Cheese. They were all delicious but we chose the first two as our cones. They even make their cones in house all day long! We left with our ice cream and the line was starting to wrap around the building. We explored Nob Hill and ended up at Sterling Coffee for an afternoon cappuccino. Like I said earlier, we ate and drank so much. Oh, then we walked to two bottle shops and ended up at a bar where we got another round of beers. Yes mom, I was only drinking 4oz servings (that's like two shot glasses of beer), so we were fine to drive.
Our day in Portland was coming to an end, but first we needed dinner... and more beer. Brian had found a bar called Prost! that served German beers and food but also had 10 food trucks outside in their parking lot. We sat inside and each had a beer as well as a pretzel we shared before going outside to find some food. I chose to have sushi from one truck and some pot stickers from another, and B got a burrito and chips from the Mexican food truck.
We got back to the AirBnB, started packing up our stuff, and went to bed. Tomorrow, we leave for the Redwoods! I probably won't get a chance to post for the next couple days since we'll be camping. But, check back then!