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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Portland, Oregon

I went to Portland, Oregon for an overnight trip. It was a nice trip. The people in Portland are amazingly friendly!! I thought Canada was friendly but definitely nothing like Portand. Everyone was being polite by avoiding walking into you, so both the other person and you play the avoiding each other dance that eventually the other person makes a big circle around you while apologizing. However, it was pretty dead city eg not much people or things happening. Maybe downtown is the wrong area to be.

First Stop - Seattle.
So our first stop was at Seattle at Le Panier in Pike's market. If you visit Seattle often, you know where this is and I'm sure you've waited in line to have a croissant.

My friend ordered cherry tart. It looked good. The bottom of the tart looked burnt but my friend said it didn't taste burnt and as a matter of fact, made the tart taste better.

I had an almond croissant. It was flakey and very delicious. Le Panier has good croissant that has always been enjoyable.

I also bought a pistachio friand I've seen it in some baking books but never tried it. Wow. It was good. Crunchy on outside and soft inside. Quite sweet but still very enjoyable.

We walked around Pike's Market. Didn't take a lot of pictures here since it wasn't the focus of the trip. They sell fresh seafood and flowers. The bouquets was huge, gorgeous and very cheap.

Pike's Market

We arrived at Portland, Oregon We stayed at The Nines in downtown.

It was quite chic looking.

Here is the lobby.

Our room...

My bed...

More of the room...

The bathroom was huge. If it was my house, I would think it was a waste of space. I would like a big bathroom but space better used.

The sink and mirror.

More of the room.

Here's the view from my room. As you can see, Portland has lots of old buildings.

This is Pioneer square or centre or something. Many places around this area is called Pioneer something.

How do you like my slippers?

Here's a picture of the lounge/bistro called Urban Farmer Bistro. It's very chic. I like these small rooms in the lounge.

I shared a chicken sandwich with my friend. It was ok. I thought the bread was stale and dry. My friend thought it was a bit salty. Fries was good though.

The tea was really good. We tried to find the tea for gifts but couldn't find it. We asked front desk and they said it so common, you could find it at Safeway...we didn't see any Safeway. The tea was good because the leaves were good quality. For example, my mint tea, the leaves were large pieces, not crumbs!!

We walked to Portland's weekend market. It was disappointing. It was a mixture of hippie crafts, really homemade/amateur crafts and food. The quality of some of the arts and craft looked worse than my crafts.

What I thought cool was how Portland preserved old buildings. In this picture, you can see the columns in the original building but that's it. It's been used as a gate. Pretty cool, eh?

A very huge and famous book store in Portland. It looks small here but it's a maze inside. One of the largest bookstore I've been to.

This is the reading area. Looks like an art gallery.

Here's a more accurate view of the bookstore. It fills a block. There is also Powell Bookstore Two and a tech bookstore elsewhere.

We had drinks at our hotel lounge called Departure. I didn't take pictures of the place because the camera will just make it look like a normal room. We couldn't go outside the lounge to see the view of the city because it was raining. It was too bad since it was a rooftop lounge. Anyways I overheard some locals telling other tourists that Departure is the place to be, just for the atmosphere. Not sure how food was but atmosphere was pretty good. It felt like a nightclub in Shanghai or Sheraton at Ho Chi Minh.

Drinks. Loved my drink. I think it was Good luck or Fortune (the "or" is part of the name). It was like drinking a creamsicle. It was so good. It have coconut milk and I think orange juice. Very good!!!

We ate at a restaurant called Brassiere Montemarte.

It was a little busy there but no line ups.

I had a ruby slipper as a drink. It had champagne and cranberry juice. Meh, didn't like it much.

The bread was wrapped in a tea towel. I thought it looked very French and would be perfect with my French bread. Will try to look for those tea towels to get the same look.

The bread is cut to be like stalks of wheat. I think it was called ble. One day I'll make this and give you the correct name. Just remember it's French bread made to look like wheat.

My friend ordered butter lettuce salad. It was very popular as many people ordered this.

I ordered heirloom tomatoes. I really enjoyed this. It has heirloom tomatoes topped with salty green beans and anchovies. I loved the saltiness of anchovies and beans, the crunchiness of the beans and the taste of the tomato. Really good!!

Here you can see the anchovies clearly.

I had the special of the day which was tuna on tomato sauce. The server asked me if I was ok with the tuna raw. I said yes but my tuna was overcooked, not raw for most of my tuna pieces. Also the tomato sauce wasn't a wow. I think I can do better. Remember my blog on my pizza and my homemade sauce, not to brag or anything but that was a wow!!

For dessert, I had tarte. I don't remember what the fruit was. The pastry was bad!! It was floury and not very flakey. Kinda yucky.

I did not like this restaurant and will not be returning there if I ever go back to Portland.

Here's a pic of their "train" or whatever they call it in Portland.

The next day we had brunch at Mother's. We passed by the place while touring and decided to try their brunch.

Here's the building where the restaurant is located.

It was a very busy place. Decor was nice too.

They had family pictures in the front, which was nice a touch. It was a friendly place. Good service!

We were seated in this other room. They had various painting showing a mother and child in this room. Very nice theme.

My friend had strawberry waffle. She said it was good but it didn't seem like it was crispy enough on the outside.

I had salmon hash with poached eggs. I love poached eggs but love it even more after my summer cruise to Alaska. Celebrity Cruise made awesome eggs Benedict. Anyways my salmon hash was excellent. It had salmon, hash browns, mushroom and herbs. It was so tasty. You could taste each ingredients individually and they complemented each other well. I would definitely come back to Mother's and try dinner!!

We also walked to a store called Cargo which sells things from around the world. I thought things there was expensive and a rip off. A lot of stuff here can be found very cheaply at street markets from around the world. But even if you don't travel, you can get it cheaper at ethnic stores like Chinatown. What surprised me was the sold Chinese funeral paper crafts.

What is Chinese funeral paper crafts? Chinese believe that by burning items such as clothes, watches, houses, money and even servants, it will go to the under world and the deceased will receive it and be able to use it in the underworld. It is a popular practice in Hong Kong and probably other Chinese based countries. I heard that such items are very expensive in HK.

I've seen smaller versions in stores in Chinatown. They have paper wallets and Rolex watches. I didn't take any pictures because I didn't think it was appropriate.

It was interesting to see that this bridge separates Washington State and Oregon.

See the sign saying "Leaving Portland."

Then "Entering Washington."

We stopped in Seattle for dinner. My friends asked if I wanted to eat at a Irish pub or Asian fusion. I didn't want heavy so decided Asian fusion place. She took me to a called Wild Ginger. I was worried because sometimes fusion places are expensive and not good (I think Wild Rice in Vancouver is not good and expensive.)

Here's the interior. It seems empty because we arrived at 4:30pm but it became busy after we finished eating. I guess it's popular place.

We had Kung Pao chicken. It was very tasty. Not very spicy but that's ok.

We also had pad thai. It was very satisfying. I think that after having this pad Thai, I can't stop thinking about pad Thai and been craving Thai food since.

Final Thoughts:

Hmmmm.... Portland... Very friendly people and I'm guessing a good place to explore food but city to visit, I think I'll pass. Yes, they don't have taxes so shopping is good. Also, if you drive along the Oregon Coast, it very beautiful (did that with my family but not this trip), might be worth to stay there. But just to visit Portland, I'll have to pass.

Restaurants that I Visited:

Le Panier - very good. Visit for breakfast, lunch or tea time. Excellent pastries!!

Wild Ginger - a bit pricey, especially when you can get the food cheaper at ethnic restaurant but if you want a nice evening, this is good. Price wasn't too bad is either.


Urban Farmer - small bistro and lounge. Ok hotel food but I wouldn't eat here again unless free.

Departure - didn't eat here but I really enjoyed my drink. Atmosphere pretty good. Too bad couldn't go outside to see the view because of the rain.

Brassiere Montemarte - I only liked the appetizer but that's it. I won't be going there again.

Mother's - very good. Was the best meal of the trip.

That's all about my overnight Portland trip.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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