Apologies for the lack of updates to this blog; a few things had gotten in the way which meant I didn't have near enough time to update this as I originally planned. I just came back from a trip to west coast of America and will be sharing all my experiences from that trip. The first stop on my holiday was Portland, Oregon. I hope you enjoy!
One of the main draws for Portland is the shopping - there's 0% sales tax. Other than that there's actually not much else to do in Portland to do apart from unwind and relax in one of the city's many eateries. Portland is also rather beautiful; the streets are adorned with luscious trees and Herringbone brick roads pave the tram lines that lie within the city. The public transport system deserves a special mention; it's clean, safe and reliable and was a fantastic way to get around (it's a very walkable city). We went in mid-May where the crisp, fresh air coupled with the sunshine and laid back vibe made for a refreshing contrast to Singapore.
The downside however, is that it lacks the hustle and bustle of the bigger, more cosmopolitan cities like San Francisco - so if a vibrant night life is what you're looking for, probably head else where (the city was dead after 11pm).
Unfortunately, we had very limited time in Portland (only 2 nights) so this travel guide is very limited in scope, but I nevertheless wanted to share what we experienced. Had we stayed longer, we were advised that getting out of Portland and experiencing Oregon's beautiful nature is a must, Mt. Hood in particular. If you stay longer, that is something you could possibly do.
1000 NE MULTNOMAH STREET
This hotel excelled in all areas that matter. Check in was smooth, room was spacious, clean and the bed was comfortable. The only minor quibble was the slightly poor shower water flow, but it is a minor quibble only. The location is excellent - it’s right next to the red MaxRail line so there’s no need for taxi’s or walking far with your luggage from the airport. The journey to and from the hotel is short – it’s a 20 minute journey from the airport and less than 10 minutes into the city centre. It’s not loud either, so it will not wake you up at night in your room if that's your concern. Service was also flawless; the staff were happy and always willing to help. We were even given free breakfast as we didn’t have parking. This was a lovely unexpected surprise which made for a great start to our holiday. Gestures like these cost little but leave a lasting impression. If you ever visit Portland, I would suggest you visit this hotel, you won’t go wrong.
P.S. Double Tree serve a warm chocolate chip cookie upon check in as well - a nice little touch.
580 SW 12TH AVE
We stumbled upon this restaurant purely by accident. A helpful passerby, who owns Whiskey Library (reviewed below), recommended this to us and we weren't disappointed (and judging by the dinner crowd that formed after we sat down, it's a popular joint). The menu is quite varied and we sampled the most popular dishes - the Crab Dip, Baja Tacos with Alaskan Cod & the Alder burger. Our favourites were the crab dip and the burger. The crab dip was succulent, buttery and smooth. It was a pity that the accompanying pita bread was severely burnt when served; however they happily replaced this. The burger was equally as great - held it's form and had that luscious USDA beef taste you can't get anywhere else. However, as great as it was, there was something missing to give it that extra kick to create something truly memorable.
Don't expect a quiet meal though, it's a bit of a tight squeeze in the restaurant and at full capacity, it can get quite loud. Some would argue that adds to the atmosphere and I would tend to agree in this kind of establishment. Service was largely on point but nothing stellar. The restaurant gets busy in the evenings so I would advise going early (or booking). A must visit.
1124 SW ALDER ST.
As mentioned previously, we stumbled upon this bar and a casual search online shows that it has quite a following and I can see why. The bar has a very understated entrance, which if you're not careful, you'll miss. Beyond this quiet facade is an absolutely impressive array of over 900 whiskey bottles that adorn one half of the room on library-esque shelves. The place exudes class & sophistication and exhibits perfectly what a whiskey bar should be. I'm not exactly the most seasoned drinker, but the two drinks I had, an Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour, were some of the best I've ever had. The waiters are somewhat annoyingly pretentious but if you overlook that, you'll find one of the best bars you'll ever visit.
22 SW 3RD AVE
We had heard so much about this place but it's a real disappointment. Whilst it gets 5 stars for an deservedly innovative menu (the combinations are wild and creative), it only gets 1 star for taste. The donuts have sickly sweet toppings with dough that was hard and dry. We also saw the donut handlers placing the cooked donuts onto the serving trays bare handed. Not sure what that says for hygiene though we emerged fine ourselves. All in all, the donuts look good but that's it - Krispy Kreme's taste better. Go only if you want to have done what everyone else says is cool.
226 NW DAVIS ST
We went to check this out as the haunted factor (yes, supposedly it's haunted) was intriguing but it just turned out to be a regular chill out pizza joint with old dark wood decor throughout. We went late and tried their regular margarita and pepperoni pizzas by the slice as we were not hungry enough for a full pizza. The pepperoni pizza was ordinary and the margarita had nice herbal taste to it. Their more original creations could be a lot better (it read that way from the menu) so this could have gotten a higher rating - unfortuantely we didn't have a chance to go back. Good for a quick bite should you be in the area.