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Trip Report – Portland for the weekend

I have been trying to get Mr. Misadventures to a spot in Oregon for a while now. He loves Seattle and the San Juan Islands, so I knew he would be just as fond of Portland. My plan had been to go in September, but the weekend we selected was the same as Feast Portland, and while we are huge foodies, hotel availability was a challenge so I pushed our trip into October.

The later you go in the year, the more likely you are to hit rain. We had overcast skies but only a few sprinkles, it was not enough to discourage us from walking around downtown.

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My plan was to provide Mr. Misadventures with just a taste so that he would want to come back for more, and after 36 hours in Portland, mission accomplished!

Trip report - Portland for the weekend
Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

We arrived late Friday night and tucked into our room at the Westin downtown, we had a beautiful suite on the top floor with a great view of the city and several bridges. I was too tired to notice the first evening, but Saturday morning I totally geeked out on taking a shower in front of this gorgeous window in the bathroom!

View from our Westin Portland shower

It was a great way to start the day. That and our super strong but delicious coffee at Public Domain coffee house. They know how to do coffee right! One cup had us hopped up on caffeine for several hours! The store is beautifully designed and serves many coffee tastes from super slow drip coffee (you can see the “beakers” on the left-side of the photo) to traditional espresso drinks.

The French-style pastries looked delightful but we weren't able to try them out until the next day, I had other plans for breakfast.

Trip report - Public Domain in Portland
Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Ever since seeing Pine State Biscuit on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, I knew that I must have one of their biscuits. I love Southern food (my last meal – yeah, don't ask me why I think about my last meal – is fried chicken, biscuits and gravy), but it is hard to find good Southern food (that is not too greasy) on the West Coast, so when I saw The Reggie – fried chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese inside a biscuit with gravy – I knew I was going to drag my husband there even if he was kicking and screaming!

Road Trip - Portland - The Reggie from Pine State Biscuit
Photo credit Mr. Misadventures

That's how Mr. Misadventures takes a food photo. Me? I like the macro-in-your-face-shot:

Road Trip - Portland - The Reggie from Pine State Biscuit
Well, hello there, nice to meet ya….

We both really liked the biscuit. We both really hated being rushed. There are only five tables and a lot of people want to eat there, which kind of ruins the experience. I hope they move to a bigger locale before my next trip…

I knew that the biscuit was going to fill us up and we would be skipping lunch. We were plenty fueled for our exploration of the city by car and on foot. We stopped to take photos of various bridges. While at one of these spots, I slipped on a board full of green algae – I saved my camera but got green sludge all over me (standard Andi, trust me).

Since I only had one pair of jeans with me for the weekend and we were heading to a nice spot for dinner, that meant we had to do a little shopping! Shopping is not something I usually do, but there are tons of shops downtown and I ended up buying jeans plus I picked up a beautiful scarf from Florence (scarves and glasses, I can't help myself!).

While wandering around shopping we found a cool man cave where Mr. Misadventures got his hair cut and then we rewarded ourselves with a little pre-dinner treat, flights of delicious Oregon pinot noirs. We visited Oregon Wines on Broadway where there are over 30 pinot noirs available for tasting along with small bites to eat. We tried two different flights and a warm conversation with the lovely bartender before heading back to the hotel to get refreshed for dinner.

Trip Report - Portland - Oregon Wines on Broadway pinots

For dinner, we headed to Castagna, a beautiful, warm, and inviting restaurant that unfortunately didn't live up to its atmosphere. The restaurant advertises and has been accoladed for New Northwest cuisine, but we ended up being disappointed. We might have been spoiled forever by our dinner at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island because that is truly Northwest cuisine to me.

We had a ten-course tasting menu with beautiful plates, and the presentations were well done, at least on the early courses. For me, there was a problem with the middle dishes which were nearly all white monochromatic ingredients served on white plates.

Castagna: Chicken wrapped in cabbage braised in yeast with mizuna
Chicken wrapped in cabbage braised in yeast with mizuna

In addition, each time a dish was put in front of us the server would tell us what was in it, but not where any of it was from. If you are going to market yourself for your local seasonal ingredients then tell me where they came from. I ended up just asking every so often where things were sourced, but they never quite got the clue that it was important to us.

There were delicious bites here and there, but after 10 courses I left feeling unsatisfied. There was nothing of substance, not enough texture to feel like you had sunk your teeth into anything. There were a lot of foams, jellies, and mushy substances, it would be the perfect meal for someone without teeth.

I don't say that to be cruel, but to illustrate how important texture is. I hate giving bad reviews, but except for discovering another new Pinot Noir and one wonderful dish of beets and beef cheeks, I paid a large bill without being happy about it.

The next morning we grabbed coffee again at Public Domain as well as a mini-sandwich that came straight from Paris, or at least it tasted like it. A wonderful mini baguette with local ham, butter, and mustard. Magnifique!

Portland Public Domain Sandwich

Before we headed to the airport I could not pass up also grabbing one of their amazing pastries, a marionberry danish, for the road! It was a little treat I enjoyed an hour later at the airport.

Portland Public Domain Marionberry Danish

It was a nice send-off from Portland. We had a really enjoyable weekend and will be back again when the weather improves next year.

How about you? Have you been to Portland? Have you got great spots or tips for future trips?

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  1. The only time we venture to Portland is for the aiport, although, I’m hoping to run at least one race there in the next year. Love the look of that Marionberry danish! SInce moving to Oregon, it’s become my new fave berry/flavor.

  2. I’m glad the part about the teeth came near the end because I couldn’t stop laughing. Funniest thing you’ve ever written on this blog. Wow, Andi, your writing is just terrific. I could *see* you buying the jeans. I never think much of Portland, only that it’s in the shadow of Seattle, branding wise. But, I had a friend there and she extolled its many virtues. I’d love to see it someday.
    Your husband is a fantastic photographer. I love that shot inside the coffee place. I’ve been experimenting lately with no-flash photography. I’m not sure my Nikon D60 will work. I just end up getting a lot of grain. What would you guys recommend? Your food photos are great, also. That biscuit looks divine. Better than the southern food here in OKC. All in all a wonderful post. I really enjoyed it. Mooshy food and all.

    1. @Jen, thanks, I paused before posting that, I hate posting anything negative!

  3. I just re-read my comment. When I said *see* you buying them – you know – see you on the streets of Portland, overcast day. Great writing.

  4. Two things. First: when I saw your header I just knew your site had been ‘Shatterboxxed’ {I scrolled down to confirm}!!! I love it, and now I have the jealousies!!!
    Second: being from California and later the PNW, and loving all things Seattle and Portland I knew we’d be BFF’s.

  5. This family loves road trips (it is so much less daunting than flying with kids). We also love Oregon! There are so many great places to see there. My top places are anywhere along the Oregon Coast, Astoria, and a little place we happened to come across in June called Champoeg (so beautiful!). So yes, we have been to Portland too – but typically do kid related things while there (zoo, children’s museum, etc.). Your way of travelling sounds a lot less frustrating πŸ˜‰

    I hope you have a fantastic SITS day today!

    1. @Kim, I love the Oregon coast, my hubby hasn’t seen it yet, so that is definitely a future trip. Astoria is adorable, but I have never been to Champoeg, I will definitely check that out. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Hey there. Nice post on Portland. My husband is from Eugene OR, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the left coast. Portland is a very cool city. I like to go to McMenamins and have the tater tots and raspberry wheat beer! Happy SITS day; I really like your blog’s design.

  7. Scott was born here, and I’m not sure how we never made it to Portland together during our four years in SF. Then again, I had two exes from Portland before him, so I’ve had my Oregon fill =)

    1. @Kristin, bummer because it is awesome for foodies!

  8. christa dipaul says:

    Wow I never would of thought to travel here. The food looks too pretty to eat. Have to visit soon.

    1. @Christa, it is a great town for food, wine and coffee!

  9. Carlabree Bonesteel says:

    Ummm….I want The Reggie right now!!! I have never been to Portland, and it’s one of the places I’d like to see before I die. I lived in California for years, but never ventured that far north…Now, I need to go back to the west coast. thanks for the story.

    1. @Carlebree, that sandwich is definitely worth a trip back to the west coast!

  10. lydia goodman says:

    We are heading to Portland in the early spring for a dance convention, Im going to have to give your coffee place a try. Dont get me wrong, I love my Starbucks, but so refreshing to hear about other great coffee places too.

    1. @Lydia, I hear you. As a fellow Starbucks lover, I can tell you you’ll like this place – or try the local chain Stumptown coffee.

  11. I too love Pine State Biscuit and wish they had more seating! That Marionberry Danish looks delicious.

    1. @Kylie, they could totally expand their business and should!

  12. Miranda Ward says:

    Portland is a great vacation destination, Lots of Things to do and Lots of Food!!!

    1. @Miranda, totally I ate my way through that weekend!

  13. I think Portland seems like a great place to visit for the weekend; I would love to try it out one day. I’m sure the show Portlandia help fuel that image. It reminds me a bit of Austin, but with West Coast flair. πŸ˜‰ Glad y’all had fun!

    1. @Erin, I haven’t watched the show yet, but people keep telling me it is hilarious!

  14. I haven’t been to Portland (yet!) I associate Portland with the outdoors and with their foodie scene. So it’s definitely someplace I want to visit. (Best of both worlds. Eat, hike, eat, eat, eat and oh yeah hike!) πŸ˜‰

    1. @WinterSundays, it truly is. The people are just totally laid back and I love it!

  15. Pine State Biscuit would be my top choice of the places you visited. I like the down home food.

  16. That danish is making me hungry!

  17. I live on the Oregon coast in Seaside, about 2 hours from Portland. You certainly tried some yummy food, mmm! If you didn’t get a chance to visit VooDoo Doughnuts, you might want to check it out next time. They’re known for their crazy atmosphere and wild doughnuts!

    1. @Beeb, great to hear a local’s perspective, I have heard that VooDoo is overrated, so glad to hear you like it. I will definitely have to hit it next time!

  18. oh my gosh the food looks to die for!! Portland is one of those cities that is on my go to list when I think of US cities I want to visit. I love their scenery and the looks of all their great eateries πŸ™‚

    1. @Sarah, it is definitely a total foodie town!

  19. Wow, that marionberry danish looks so delish!!! As I sit here with a diet coke and a piece of toast, my mouth is drooling over your pictures.

  20. I like your food photography πŸ™‚ I went to Portland a few years ago and ate a place with great macaroni and cheese. There was communal seating, which was a new experience for me. I’ll see if I can find the name and comment again! I did make it to VooDoo Doughnuts on my trip.

    1. @Aogable, oh please do pass along the restaurant name if you find it, I’d be very interested in going there!

  21. Christina Strapp says:

    Love the bathroom of your hotel room. That biscuit looks delicious!! I never thought Portland would be a place I would like to visit, but now it is πŸ™‚ Great post!

    1. @Christina, there is a ton to see, more than I ever thought about as well. I am planning a new trip to do some of the things I did not have a chance to get to!

  22. Deborah Hogue says:

    I love living in Oregon! The food, the people, the atmosphere, all combine to make everyone who comes to Oregon, always feel at home. After moving to Oregon, if you ever are to move away, odds are that you’ll be back because there is just no place like home. That Danish looks heavenly. I’m glad you had a nice trip to Portland πŸ™‚

    1. @Deborah, it is an incredible spot and my hubby and I definitely felt at home there.

  23. latisha depoortere says:

    Now that looks like a place that has great food and coffee πŸ™‚ I have never seen a biscuit that big I would get more on me trying to eat it yummy πŸ™‚ I have never been to Portland looks like I would love too!

    1. @Latish, it is definitely a spoon and fork biscuit!

  24. Lynnette Watkins says:

    My brother lives in Portland and he does cook for a living. I am going to get him to make me a marionberry danish. The picture made it look soooo good.

  25. I’ve never been to Portland and my reason for wanting to go there is a little strange, but I want to connect with some of the incredible Instagrammers who live out there.

  26. We do have some of the best Pinot Noirs here in OR. Hope you find a better fancy restaurant for your next visit. I’m more of a happy hour kind of girl myself, so I’m useless for suggesting a better one.

    1. @Kristin, there are so many great spots in Portland it is hard to find bad food. I have a list of a ton of places to try out at all price levels – total foodie town!

  27. Amy Heffernan says:

    TY for the photos. My dream is to visit here someday!

  28. I have been to Portland, but that was 25+ years ago and I couldn’t begin to tell you where I visited or if it would still be there. I am glad you had a good time. Your food pics look so good you made want to go to Portland to get and eat my own. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  29. Summer bartlett says:

    I live 2 hours away from Portland. My husband and I have been to the Westin to get ready for a wedding we were in but Id love to go and stay. Very pretty! πŸ™‚

  30. Cassandra Eastman says:

    How fun! My husband has family in Oregon, it sounds like we need to visit! The food pictures made me hungry, especially the marionberry danish… yum!

  31. My husband and I have been through Portland a few times and really loved the area. We had lunch at Kells Irish Pub and made sure we hit up Voodoo Doughnuts before leaving town. Both were a fun experience. πŸ™‚

  32. Your culinary delights shares are mouth watering! Well hello there Reggie nice to meet ya too! Please lets do lunch! Portland sounds like it was a blast from the hotel room to the food. Have you ever stayed in a floating home? There is a gorgeous one in SF that is a rental. Just beautiful. I think a former steam boat or ferry.

  33. That coffee house looks amazing!

  34. Howell W. says:

    Great writeup, but I’m afraid you missed out on the International Rose Test Garden! It is a true joy visiting when the roses are in bloom, and walking up terrace upon terrace of rose beds with their heavenly smell wafting in the breeze. Definitely one of Portland’s ‘must-sees’. πŸ™‚

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Howell, I heard about it! I must catch it the next time!

  35. I visited Portland when I was a kid. I had great grandparents that had some property there. The area I remember was not a cityscape, but a little more rural. We spent some time at the ocean as well and being off-season, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. It is much bigger now and I would love to visit again to experience that.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Lisa, I want to do the same on my next visit. Oregon’s beaches are beautiful.

  36. Portland, no. Cannon Beach, yes! Loved it.