Written By: Michelle Davalos ~ @michelle.g.davalos
When thinking about my next vacation, it’s easy to divert to relaxing on a Caribbean beachside while quenching my thirst with summer water (Rosé). But this year is different because I realized I’ve only explored a quarter of the 50 states. So, I decided play in our backyard and take a Northwest tour to Portland and Seattle. Here are my touristy hotspots of Portland.
Light rail: try to take public transportation everywhere you go. It’s fast, dependable, immersive and for the most part, safe. It’s a great way checkout the landscape and the first glimpse of the cleanliness of a city.
Lardo: if you love pork shoulder and kimchi, order the Korean Pork Shoulder sandwich!
Powell’s Books: this was my primo stop to make while in Portland. Book worm or not, this book store is an incredible, electrifying, seductive being. Allow yourself at least two hours to browse and get lost.
Ex Novo Brewing Company (non-profit); “Better Beer for the Greater Good”. This brewery donates a large portion of their profits to those in need around the world. So, you can drink beer and help humanity…it’s a win-win.
Pips and Bounce: Ping pong, beer, cool jams, wood paneling and 80s-90s nostalgia sprinkled out the establishment is great fun of reminiscing about the past while dominating with ultimate backspins.
Blue Star Donuts = best donuts on the West Coast. I totally dug into their hipster artisan boujee donuts. My favorite was the Mexican Chocolate donut; smooth, dark chocolate with a soft linger of chipotle pepper.
Modern Times Beer – Portland: Mondo Macho Man piñata was hanging from the ceiling instantly brought good vibes for a taste and some food. I was surprised to learn the food menu was all vegan. I had heard so many positive reviews about the beyond burger, so I gave it a try. If you ever think about trying this faux meat, abort, abort…. I repeat, abort! I admire vegans; it takes dedication and determination to sustain a vegan lifestyle. I was a vegetarian growing up, I sort of get it. With that said, faux meat is not okay and you’re playing yourself if you like this monstrosity.
Lang Baag: I watch a lot of Netflix docu-food-mentaries. So much, my husband and I keep a funning list of restaurants featured on shows. Lang Baan was on our list. We tried to reserve a table, but it was booked for the next six months. So, we decided to stop in to see if they had a bar or any cancellations. After the Uber driver dropped us off, we used navigation because there was no visible sign. After walking up and down the street, a gentleman popped out of Paa Dee restaurant and asked if we were looking for Lang Baag. He walked us in and we mentioned we didn’t have reservations. The look of regret and sadness upon his face will be forever embedded into this story. That’s when I knew Lang Baan was a remarkable, mysterious place but it was completely booked. So, we settled at Paa Dee’s bar ordered a couple drinks. After 5 minutes, a waiter comes over to me and said, “I think it was your destiny to come in here tonight” and I replied, “Yep, I think it is”. They had a last-minute cancellation for two and dinner was starting. We hooped off our stoles and walked past the kitchen, to a book shelf door that led into small room that dined twenty-four food enthusiasts. The format was a chef’s table where you watch the chefs prepare a twelve course Northern Taiwanese dinner. It was magical! Each dish was better than the next. My favorite was the Nahm prik kha (relish of ground duck breast with galangal, market greens).
Portland was a great host, it’s a little quirky but not weird. Next week, Seattle!
Much love today and always,