We just got back from spending almost 3 days in Portland. We got to experience rainy, overcast, and sunny Portland. We definitely had more on our To-Do list, but because of the weather and lack of sleep our itinerary was cut short, but we still enjoyed our time!
We flew in from SFO just before 11am. We took the MAX Red Line from the Airport towards City Center & Beaverton and got off at Gateway to switch onto the Max Green Line towards City Center/PSU where we got off at SW 5th & Oak (our hotel was around the corner). For both of us, we spent $5.00 for our tickets.
We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center, which was conveniently close to a lot of places downtown, and a quick drive over the bridges to the East part of Portland. Our room was not ready yet, so we decided to explore in the rain for somewhere to eat.
We ended up at “Aybla Grill,” which is located on Alder St between 9th Ave and 10th Ave. We originally were on the lookout for Nong’s Khao Man Gai, but they were closed and this couple was standing in front of Aybla Grill and sold us on some Lamb Gyros. The regular size gyro was $7.00 and came with grilled lamb shwarama and served in a Greek pita with tzatziki, onion, parsley& tomato. T got the Super Gyro which was bigger in size and with Feta Cheese added. The gyros were delicious and the pieces of lamb were large and juicy. One of the best gyros I ever had (definitely beats every gyro near Fremont!). After lunch, we walked back to the hotel, got our room, and took a nap.
After our nap, we took a Lyft to Commons Brewery. I probably should have done more research because they specialize more in sour beers, and T isn’t a fan of sours. Also, Commons is closing. We both got 2 flights each, which consisted of 4 beers each and I did not take a picture of the menu nor do I remember what beers we got. We shared a table with a guy named McClain and chatted about Portland.
Once we finished our beers, we walked over to Growler Guys and shared a flight of 4 beers: Block 15 – Fluffhead IPA; Block 15 – Sticky Hands: The Hop Experience Ale Imperial IPA; Bend Brewing – Peach Offering Sour Ale; and Occidental – Festbeir Seasonal.
After Growler Guys, we walked over to Cascade Brewing for more… sour beer! We didn’t stay too long and I don’t remember what we ordered, but the service was great. The beers were tasty, but still not our cup-of-tea.
We started to get hungry so got a Lyft and headed to Pok Pok. Since it was a Saturday night, we were expecting a wait, we just didnt realize it was going to be 1.5-2 hours! We put our name on the list, gave them our number, and went on a walk for some drinks! We ended up at Lompac Brewing Hedge House. We ordered the Red Ale Cheese Dip and their taster. Honestly such a great deal because the taster was $10 for 8 samples and the cheese dip was $9 and was just AMAZING! Augh, my mouth is just watering thinking about it. But of course, as soon as we got our cheese dip (we ordered them probably 25 minutes after we got our beers) we got the buzz that our table was ready and we had 10 minutes to get back to Pok Pok) so we ate as much as we possibly could and headed to Pok Pok.
We were seated at the bar at Pok Pok and took a look at menu. We ordered Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings (spicy) and Kung Op Wun Sen. The wings came with 6 wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, then deep fried, tossed in caramelized Vietnamese fish sauce chili, and garlic. So good. Perfect amount of crunch, while still being juicy. Wish we went with the “original” wings instead of spicy. The spicy was not at all spicy like I remembered, but the flavor was still good. The Kung Op Wun Sen is a dish with prawns that are baked in a clay pot over charcoal with pork belly, lao jiin, soy, ginger, cilantro root, black pepper, Chinese celery and bean thread noodles. Great flavor. A bit disappointed on the portion, but it was still good. After dinner, we took a Lyft to our hotel and called it a night.
Since we called it a night fairly early, we got up at a reasonable time and got ready for the day. The weather was gloomy, but not raining, which was bit more promising! We called our Lyft and made our way to Pine State Biscuits. As expected, we found ourselves in a line, but the line moved fairly quickly. After 15 minutes, we found ourselves placing our order: The Reggie Deluxe with sausage gravy, The Moneyball with mushroom gravy, Bloody Mary, and John Daly. T’s Reggie Deluxe was a fried chicken biscuit sandwich, with bacon & cheese topped with the sausage gravy. The Moneyball (my order) is a biscuit (cut in half) and gravy (I chose mushroom gravy) topped with an over easy egg. I personally prefer the mushroom gravy. I thought it had a better flavor. Both drinks were delish. The John Daly (house lemonade and tea, Monopolowa Vodka, served on the rocks, tall) could be super dangerous because it tasted like an Arnold Palmer and the vodka was definitely a creeper! The Bloody Mary was pretty basic, but the spiced rim was a nice touch. I could’ve added more Tabasco.
The cashier at Pine State recommended we go across the street to Apex for some beers. I had Stiegl’s Grapefruit Radler and T ordered Russian River’s Pliney the Elder (which is one of his favorite beers). We stayed for a good hour or so and just enjoyed the beers. T asked the bartender where he could find a hat, and she gave him an 805 hat, which he was pretty stoked on.
After beers, we hailed a Lyft and made our way to Hoyt Arboretum at Washington Park. We decided to take the Oak Trail, which led us to the Wildwood Trail. the ground wasn’t as muddy as I thought it would be, but the trails were lovely. The air was so fresh and clean smelling. Seeing most of the trees turn into autumn colors was nice. And I loved how we were still in the middle of Portland!
Originally we were going to go south towards the Japanese Garden, but since my sense of direction is pretty off, we made our way North to the Pittock Mansion. There is an entrance fee to go inside the Mansion, but to walk around the grounds was free, so we walked towards the back to see the view of Portland.
Getting “lost” in park was a bit exhausting, especially since the last leg of the trail was all uphill and we were not dressed for hiking. We decided to head back down to the city and into the Pearl District for Deschutes Brewery. T bought a hat there and I wanted to get a shirt, but they did not have the one that I liked in stock. After we got seated, we ordered a beer sampler, the Inversion IPA Pretzel, and the Northwest Clams. The pretzel was served with cheese and black Butte Porter stone ground mustard. THIS WAS SOOOOO GOOD! The mustard was just delish! The clams were served with Black Butte Porter chorizo and the sauce was made from chimichurri, Obsidian Stout, and cream. Definitely enough food to satisfy our mild hunger!
Ok, I lied. We were still a tad bit hungry, so we walked down the block for Little Big Burger! I ordered a hamburger and T ordered a cheeseburger with pepper jack cheese. I absolutely LOVE LBB! I think the burgers are so good. They’re basically the size of a slider, but maybe a bit bigger? The burgers are served with ketchup, lettuce, pickles, and red onion. Add some of that fry sauce and BOMB.
We decided to walk off our food babies and headed to Ground Kontrol. Unfortunately they had a private event, so we only had time for one game of Time Crisis! My camera started to malfunction so I was unable to grab any pictures from Ground Kontrol. After, we made our way toward VooDoo donuts just to see if the line was ridiculous, which it was. Honestly, VooDoo is gross. Not sure why people go there. If you want donuts, go to Blue Star! We did take pictures of the “Keep Portland Weird” mural!
While walking back to the hotel, we stopped by Stumptown Coffee Roasters for some coffee. I ordered the Brown Sugar Latte (so good) and T had the macchiato. Inside was super cute. I loved the plants and exposed brick wall.
We got to our hotel and I tried to take a nap, but I was so full that I couldn’t sleep. We decided to walk over to Bailey’s Tap Room for some “pre-dinner” beer. However, we stayed longer than expected and we were still full from lunch and the beer that we ended up not going to dinner. The vibe was nice and there was a nice mix of people. Super chill with good music. After beer, we walked back to the hotel and called it a night.
It was our last day in Portland, and even though we had more to explore, we really wanted to go home. We woke up, got ready, and packed our things. We had late check out (3pm) so we left our belongings in the room and made our way to Nong’s Khao Man Gai food cart on Alder. We both ordered the chicken and rice plate. The chicken and rice came wrapped in paper and the sauce and soup were separate. The chicken was boiled to perfection and remained so juicy and tender. The rice alone was just amazing. The sauce though… FANTASTIC. The soup was a simple chicken broth and I kept saying this would be perfect if I was feeling under the weather. This was probably my favorite meal of the trip. So simple, yet great! I would come back just for that dish.
After Nong’s we walked over to Blue Star Donut and bought some donuts to take back with us. I ordered the Hard Apple Cider Fritter, Lemon Poppy, The OG, Real Maple Bacon, Blueberry Bourbon Basil, and Raspberry Buttermilk.
We dropped the donuts off at our hotel room and got us a Lyft to Base Camp Brewing Co. I had the S’mores Stout which came with a roasted marshmallow. T ordered the Ultra Gnar Gnar India Pale Ale. The S’more Stout was very tasty. Even without the roasted marshmallow, it had great flavors. After we ordered our 2nd round, I went looking for my wallet and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I panicked because the last time I remembered having it was at Nong’s. We had to cut our trip to Base Camp short to search for my wallet (since it had all my credit cards, cash, and ID).
When we got to our hotel, I found my wallet sitting on the desk. I forgot I used my room key to let us into the room when we dropped off the donuts. Fail on my part. We then walked over to Bailey’s Tap Room for more beer. Just looking out the window was nice. The fall colors behind T was almost picture perfect.
We decided to grab Little Big Burger one last time before it was time to head to the airport. I had a burger and fries, while T ordered 3 cheeseburgers to eat there, and then 3 cheeseburgers for home. Yes. Little Big Burger is THAT GOOD!
After lunch, we made our way back to the hotel to gather our items, check out, and get a Lyft to the airport. One thing I don’t like about going to Portland is going through TSA at PDX. I always find the security line to be super slow. We basically spent almost 35 minutes in line, and there were not a lot of people in line for security. Even those in Pre-Check were getting impatient because the line was barely moving.
Overall, Portland was a fun time. We both decided that while we enjoy Portland, we would not relocate to Portland. It just wasn’t for us. The food and beer were excellent and we both agree that we’d gain a lot of weight if we lived in Portland. But it’l just be a city that we’d visit. Until next time!