This last weekend I had the tremendous opportunity to travel to Portland, Oregon to participate in a very special wedding. While I was there, I experienced so many incredible places and so much fabulous food that I just had to share it with you.
1. To begin, the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland is out of this world. Far and away the best Farmer’s Market to which I’ve ever been. If I could have I would have packed three suitcases full of farm fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers and brought them back to Alaska with me. Our breakfast that morning consisted entirely of sampling all of the deliciousness.
2. We stayed at the stunning Hotel Monaco. It was an all-around fantastic experience – location, accommodations, and service were all top-notch. And the design details throughout the building were swoon worthy. I took a ridiculous number of pictures in the hotel alone.
3. Chef Vitaly Paley. This man and his team are absolute rock stars in my book. The James Beard Award-winning chef has two restaurants in Portland – Paley’s Place and Imperial at the Hotel Lucia (I can highly recommend a visit to both). He has been on Iron Chef America, besting Chef Garces in Battle Radish. His food was exquisite. The oysters. The foie gras. The cardamom rock salt spot prawns. I could go on and on. Simply exceptional. Additionally, he and his wife were remarkably friendly, hospitable and gracious to all of the guests and it was an honor to get to know them and enjoy their beautiful food. Their passion for what they do and for their guests was evident in every last detail.
4. Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery. We had a lovely bridal shower in this space with stellar service, excellent cheeses, and delightful food.
5. Karista’s Kitchen. Karista has been a blogger friend of mine since she first reached out to me early in my blogging career, and although we had collaborated together on projects a couple of times, this was the first time we had actually met in person. Corvallis-based Karista is a sincere and gifted chef, a beautiful person inside and out, and a food writer after my own heart. We had a memorable day together, eating and shopping our way through Portland and talking about all the heart-things we have in common. It’s an honor to get to call her a friend and a colleague.
6. Salt & Straw. The best ice cream I’ve ever had. Although I was impressed with the service in just about every establishment I visited in Portland, the service at Salt & Straw was especially noteworthy. The server offered us samples of several of their inspired ice cream creations and spoke to us at length about how each flavor was created from the concept to the ingredients to the process. If there is a line out the door and around the corner when you get there, Salt and Straw is well worth the wait.
7. Little Bird Bistro. Karista was kind enough to get us a dinner reservation at one of her Portland favorites, Little Bird. We shared a sheep’s cheese gnocchi appetizer with pea puree and black garlic that was prepared and seasoned perfectly. My entree was a melt-in-your-mouth, fork-tender glazed pork shoulder.
8. Voodoo Doughnut. No visit to Portland is complete without an obligatory visit to this famously edgy 24-hour doughnut shop. Both the names of some of their offerings and the general size and scope of their doughnuts are a bit obscene, but that’s really the point. The bacon maple bar is their best seller. Heads up, it’s cash only.
Thank you, Portland, for being awesome. I can see why they call you a mighty gastropolis. I am much looking forward to my next visit to the City of Roses.
All of the photos in this post are Instagram photos taken with my iPhone 5s. Join me on Instagram to follow along (@alaskafromscratch).