We've just come back from four days in Portland and I must say we are positively in love! We walked, we roamed, we ate. People smiled, offered directions without us even having to ask. Even the homeless were polite. The boutiqes were adorable, food delicious and best of all....it was so damn cheap! No wonder there's a such a serious Portland love-in going on right now. We can't wait to go back. In the mean time, we just wanted to share three of the best ways we found to enjoy Portland on a budget (because everyone likes a good deal, right?):
On the advice of a friend, we stayed in the Northwest district (sometimes called Nob Hill)...and boy are we glad we did. The area is super duper cute, with clapboard corner stores that feel straight out of a Norman Rockwell print. It's neighbourhood-y, with that "everyone-staying-out-late-to-eat-ice-cream" kinda vibe. (Note the perennial lineups at Salt & Straw.) The main street, NW 23rd Ave., is packed with shops and restaurants and loads of people dining al fresco on the sidewalks. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which admittedly I was a bit iffy about, but turned out to be really pleasant. It was clean, comfortable and the bed was one of the best we've ever slept on! Plus at $130 Cdn a night, it was cheaper than staying downtown, which was only a stone's throw away by streetcar.
One of the best things about staying in Nob Hill was eating at the
St. Honore Boulangerie every morning. The almond croissants are a slice of French heaven. And no wonder. Turns out this charming bakery is owned by Dominique Geulin, who at 27 was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France in the boulangerie category, effectively naming him one of the best bakers in France.
There's been so much hype about Portland's street food that I tempered my expecations just in case it was, well, hype. Nope. Our first sampling was at Angel's Cabana, which serves Honduran and other South American cuisine. It was so delicious we had to break our rule of not going to any restaurant/food cart twice. We tried the platanos con carne, which was platains with rice, beef, salsa and a dollop of cream. I don't know quite how to describe it except that the plantains were sweet and savoury and deliciously soft, and the rice and beef full of flavour. So unbelievably good. I think it was our favourite meal. And the portion was huge! Nick and I shared a box for $6 and were full. (And we can eat!)
So that's Portland. This amazing gem of a city in the Pacific Northwest that feels like a village that's grown into a city, and somehow managed to pack in amazing restaurants and develop this creative, indie spirit along the way. We heart you Portland!
P.S. Just one more thing...if you're heading to Portland from Vancouver or Seattle, take the Bolt Bus! It's cheap, fast, has wi-fi and if you're not big into driving like us, it makes traveling to Portland a breeze!