Posted by: vlibrizzi | April 25, 2010

NoCal/Oregon Road Trip: Portland, Oregon

For our final stop on our road trop, we visited Portland, Oregon, a city we’ve been wanting to visit for a really long time.

Before we dropped off our car (a Ford Explorer rented from Hertz that did us well over the past few days), we stopped in Portland for a true Portland eating experience at the local food carts!

I had a fabulous vegetarian pulled soy sandwich with freshly made sweet potato fries, from a great vegan/vegetarian cart, while C. stopped two doors down at a Mexican cart where he chatted with the cook in Spanish while he waited for his gordita to be finished. Our friends stopped a few carts down from us to try some Indian chana masala and Thai noodles.

The cart owners/operators were all so friendly, and the food choices were cheap and very diverse. It felt like we were sampling foods from carts at a fair, but instead of cotton candy and corndogs, in Portland’s food carts, they served really, and I mean REALLY, good food!

After recovering from yet another wonderful food coma, we drove over to our hotel, the Marriott along the waterfront, and while C. and one of our friends returned the rental car and then beelined it for a pub (Portland has more microbreweries than any other city in the country, and these guys were ready to sample the local goods!), my teacher friends and I met up to go to the first event in our National Writing Project Urban Sites conference.

After the conference dinner and entertainment (open mic poetry…yeah!), I met up with the guys at a lively local bar called Henry’s Tavern and sampled some of their local beers. It was hard to choose from the list though…they had more than 100 beers on tap! If there’s one thing I learned about hipster Portlanders, it’s that they love their microbreweries and local beers! And, after a week of drinking wine, we didn’t mind the switch to beer one bit.

So, the next day while I was in conferences, C. toured around the city, walking along the waterfront, and visiting the Saturday market, which he said wasn’t very impressive because instead of having art from local artists, as it proported to have, the vendors mostly sold “chotchkies” (clearly, my Polishness has rubbed off on him, hasn’t it?). Then, to watch the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs (like a true local), he headed over to Deschutes Brewery for some lunch, beer, and TV.

Later that afternoon, I met up with C. and we walked over to the famous Portland institution, Voodoo Donuts. As we waited in the long line, the smell of donuts wafted out of the doorway, and our mouths began to water.

Once we got to the front of the line, we had quite a task ahead of us: choosing which donut to order. They had what seemed to be hundreds of donuts on their list ranging from wacky captain crunch coated donuts to their signature voodoo donut, a chocolate frosted jelly donut in the shape of a gingerbread man with a pretzel sticking out of him. I ordered something less adventurous and had a chocolae donut with butterfinger pieces on top. It was fabulous! Honestly, it was the best donut I’ve ever eaten.

In the photo to the left, you can see me showing off my butterfinger donut inside the store, before I devoured it (which took about 30 seconds…it was so good!) 🙂

Then, while we ate our donuts, we did a bit of a walking tour of Portland which ended at the famous Powell’s books, an enormous book store that takes up an entire city block.

We browsed through the new and used stacks, but didn’t have nearly enough time to see the whole store. Honestly, it might take a person a week to see the whole place!

So, then after our book perusing and purchasing, we walked over to the Pearl District to have a sushi dinner at a pretty good sushi restaurant called Sinju. The guys were getting sick of beer and burgers so they needed a bit of a health detox….sushi was the answer!

And, as I sipped on my sake sampler, and laughed with friends, I sadly came to the realization that our vacation was over. I wasn’t ready to leave Portland, Oregon, or even the West Coast. There’s so much to do, and so much to see that a week is not nearly enough. But, in retrospect, I think we covered quite a lot of ground this past week….that’s why roadtrips are so great!



  1. […], to watch the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs (like a true local), he headed over to Deschutes Brewery for some lunch, beer, and TV. Later that afternoon, I met up with C. and we walked over to the famous Portland … […]

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