WHA Road Trips—Portland, Oregon Pt.2 of 2
Pardon the long delay, fellow WHAers.
We’ve been pulling late nights debugging and refining the app this past few days. Now that there’s a chance to take a short break from design, I’m back at it with our remaining trip of Portland, Oregon! Day 1 & 2 here.
Greeted in the morning with a box of Voodoo Dougnuts by Cody and Sam (my friends are awesome). We heard Voodoo and Blue Star are ones of the best donut shops in Portland and thus landed themselves on most people’s must-go list. Michelle and I aren’t too big on donuts, so we skipped both of them. However, between the two renown donut joints, Cody and Sam casted their vote to Voodoo. Just sayin’.
No clue what was happening here.
It was tasty, but I generally don’t like the cakey texture donuts. On the other hand, kudos for creativity.
One simply cannot enjoy a donut without a cup of milk or coffee. Here I had the best of both worlds—a latte from Coava. Now that’s the way to start a day.
But that’s none of my business
Portland’s also known as the bridgetown, with 11 bridges between Willamette and Columbia Rivers. At the end of the Burnside Bridge, there stood the world famous White Stag aka Portland Sign.
Of course we had to selfie this (twice).
Lunch at Pok Pok. Raved by many, the family and I had to pay a visit:
The menu wasn’t elaborate—simple single-sided A4 that splits the items into 4 main categories, with about 4-6 items per category. It was our first time here, so I asked for recommendations as the title and description for each dish went way above our heads. So here’s the rule of thumb: order an item from each category and you’d get a good idea of their various offerings.
And so we did: except we only ordered 3 dishes consider there were just two of us (the doggies were on a diet).
Holy crap, were they good. Especially the Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. I’d trade my first born for another plate.
Disclaimer: please take my feedback with a grain of salt; it was my mistake to have started writing this post right before dinner.
Since we have a gorgeous Japanese Tea Garden in the middle of Golden Gate Park, we didn’t think to visit this location.
But with a gap between plans, we swung by.
A small trail to the main entrance from the parking lot.
…then to find out we were 5 minutes late. Oops.
The entrance looked legit and I believe it would’ve been a pleasant experience. Maybe next time.
NW 23rd Ave
Just East of the Japanese Garden lays one of the most popular streets of Portland—the NW 23rd Ave, dubbed Trendy-Third (ooh, fancy). It is the major shopping street with indie and upscale boutiques alongside international brands from William Sonoma to Chrome Industries.
Not only would this street dress you well, it’d pamper your tastebuds, too. Bamboo Sushi was here, and the adjacent shop was another popular dessert joint—Salt and Straw:
Despite the 30 degree weather, we ordered us some S&S goodies: Honey Lavender and Double Vanilla.
It was pretty good, but I was expecting it to blow my mind, instead of just a brain-freeze, from all the up-votes to visit this place. Would love to come back, but perhaps only when it’s on the way.
Another treasure from Oregon was the Will Leather Company. Originated from Eugene, Oregon, the company offers all kinds of leather goodies.
Fairly pricy. Although, I’ve never gotten anything from them in the past, the branding alone lived up to the price.
If you, as a brand, want to survive in Portland, you better step up your interior design game. Every shop we swung by were so tastefully done, anything sub-par would just be left on the curbside.
I came across this spot by accident:
It was a BOBA TEA HOUSE. Whhaaa.
Located on the second floor, secreted between the flamboyant storefronts.
It was small, but cozy and intricate.
The boba was decent. Tea heavy.
We eventually ended up back in Pearl district to await for the New Year’s countdown.
And these were the last few photos of the day before we headed down 3rd ave. and bar hopped till 2015.
I wish I could share more, but let’s just say it was a good start of 2015.
Just several blocks from our Airbnb was this restaurant Screen Door. Average wait time was 45 minutes for a party of two. We ordered take-out.
And this is how we began a day-long hiking trip.
Multnomah Falls locates on the Oregon side of Columbia River, which is the divider between Washington and Oregon states. It is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon and, supposedly, the second tallest year-round fall of the United States. Sounded too epic to miss. The temperature of the day we visited was just below freezing.
Here it was, Multnomah Falls in all its glory. The icy fall was still running. Though, as you can see, the close proximity was painted white by frost. It was spectacular.
The falls drops in two major steps, with a total span of 620 feet. The connector that sat in front of the fall was the “Benson Bridge.”
I thought this was amazing:
A portion of the mount was covered by ice due to the waterfall spray.
The second step of the fall
After the falls, we continued to east. I decided to make a pitstop for a quick shoot, then this happened:
Dropped my 7.5 mm f3.5 Rokinon.. Chipped the edge but the lens elements were still intact. Images remained as sharp and the wound added more character to it.
In exchange, I got this:
We originally wanted to see the Bonneville Dam, but it was closed due to federal holiday (01/01). Duh.
Good thing just on the opposite end of the highway, there was a trail that led to another fall:
Just the right amount of hike to finish the day.
Always optimize your surrounding.
Destination reached! Since we were much closer to the fall this time, all the trails around it were coated by ice, rendered them too danger to continue, so we had to cut through the woods half way.
By the time we were back on track, the sun was already setting. Thank god for iphone flashlights. Noobs like us who would go on trails without the proper gears would die the woods so quickly.
Dinner at a Japanese restaurant in the cuts. I shall not disclose its name because I wouldn’t recommend it.
On a brighter note, we wrapped up the night at Cascade, a brewery known for its sour beer.
Day 5 (Last Day)
That’s right. We had chickens in our Airbnb backyard. By the time end of trip, we grew familiar enough to them to come peck for food. Except we had none, must had been disappointing.
January 2nd, the last day of our 5 day Portland, OR trip. For a city known for its food and coffee, we never had to exert much effort to find a good cafe to start the day.
Coffee’s delicious, of course. Blazing fast wifi, and seem to be the case for most cafes that I’ve visited so far. The only issue with the Portland coffee shop is the amount of seats and outlets each venue supplies.
For Heart, the Burnside store, they offered moderate amount of outlets and just about two dozen seats. It was a decent spot to set up shop, but just don’t pick the weekends—no wifi on weekends.
With just a few hours left before we headed to the airport, we chose to hang out(side) and enjoy the fresh air at Waterfront Park, located along the west bank of Williamette River.
It may seem plain below, but during cherry blossom season, you can see sakura stretch across the 35-acre park.
Bean and Tree
At the south end of Waterfront Park sat the Bean and Tree Coffee House. The tiny venue, with less than a dozen seats, facing the Willamette River making it a cozy spot to enjoy an afternoon with scenery and their tasty Portland Fog. Lightning wifi, but low on outlets and seatings. If you don’t need electricity, they had outdoor seating as well.
The time had come and we were ready to head home.
Ironically, last meal before we left the city of great foods was a 2 entrees combo from Panda Express, where I can eat anywhere else.
And that made me realize two things: 1. I couldn’t stand too long with rice. Five-days were pushing my limits.
2. Although, the culinary offerings from Portland were delectable, I think they lack diversity, especially for Chinese cuisines (or likely I just didn’t look at the right places). But if diversity were the case, I don’t blame them. I’ve only seen a handful of Chinese people over the span of this past five days, and many of them were tourists like us. If there weren’t much demand, it’d be silly to supply.
Thank you, Portland. It’d been grand.