10 days after Gab had abandoned Sam, she stalked her way across the border and down to Portland via I-5. A speedy 5 hours later, Sam made her grand entrance into the classy Days-Inn, NOT the one near the airport (more on this subject to follow). Greeted beaver first by Gab and Steve, the threesome was ready to take on the city (more on threesomes to follow...). Our room was just what we needed; two queen beds, an ensuite, fridge, microwave, TV and lets not forget about the massive free buffet breakfast in the morning. You can have all this and MORE at the low, low price of $75/night. After a quick Italian shower and a dash of makeup (mainly Steve), we walked across the street to the conveniently located Streetcar that takes you directly into the City Center. This hotel had location, value, and homeless people galore. Two thumbs up for budget accommodation!
It went without saying that our first day in Portland would be spent testing how many 10% ABV craft beers and plates of nachos we could ingest before passing out or exploding. Instead of doing an organized brewery tour, we decided to save our money and do our own tour on our own time. Our first stop on the micro brewery tour was Widmer Brothers, the largest micro brewery in the USA. We de-boarded the Streetcar at the Albina/Mississippi stop, where it was hard to miss the brewery due to the fact that they own the entire block. There were $4 pints at Happy Hour, so Gab ordered a few Hefeweizens, Sam stuck with the Alchemy Pale Ale and Steve going dark with the Russian Imperial Stout. Complimented by a German pretzel, our visit to Widmer was the perfect beginning to our micro brewery weekend. Do not be fooled by the large "Voodoo Doughnut" banner on the same block as Widmer Brothers. We knocked on the door of the abandoned building and to our surprise, received no answer. There are two locations of Voodoo Doughnut; this is not one of them.
A pounding headache awoke us the next morning where we crawled out of bed to the buffet breakfast downstairs, still in the clothes from the night before. After re-fueling, we got a lazy start to the day. The Saturday markets open at 10am down by the river. We took the Streetcar to the Skidmore Foundation Station and were greeted by a sea of food carts, artisan crafters and local vendors. Lying to ourselves, we began by making our way through the local vendors before B-lining straight for the burrito food cart. We quickly learned that the day would be spent window shopping due to the expensive price tags attached to the local goods.
Remember Steve? Us either. After getting word from him that he had called it a night, we figured we would as well.
We sifted through thrift shops and shoe stores, unique book shops and gift stores, spending ages in each. Gab, having a spidey-sence when good food is near, felt something sweet in her veins and looked to the far off distance where she saw the sign for Salt and Straw. We had heard that this was the best place for ice cream and since we were already on our way to type 2 diabetes and obesity we decided to stop in to see what all the fuss was about. We read the flavours and all became a bit skeptical as 'pear and blue cheese' and 'arbequina olive oil' topped the list. After trying a few different flavours Gab and Steve decided on Cinnamon Snickerdoodle while Sam feasted on both Coconut with Petunia's Salted Caramel Bars and Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache (she had a half scoop of each, stop judging). The Red Ape Cinnamon from Sumatra donates 5% of their proceeds to help save orangutans in Indonesia, where the cinnamon is harvested, and the Coconut with Petunia's Salted Caramel Bars is both vegan and gluten free. So we basically saved the world and saved our thighs from horrifying GLUTEN. After inhaling all three bowls then sitting in a deep moment of self loathing, we decided to say a big 'fuck it' to a last day of weaning off beer and food and before even knowing what it was, we jumped in line at the always busy Pine State Biscuits. We figure if the line was around the block, we wanted that shit in our mouths. Combine a southern style menu with Portland's sustainable ingredients and you have the best damn biscuit that will ever land on your taste buds. Steve got the classic Reggie Deluxe which had fried chicken, bacon and cheese topped with an egg and gravy and Sam and Gab, because of the lack of vegetarian options, had a plain biscuit with the mouth watering apple butter that tasted exactly like an apple pie.
We stocked up at our buffet breakfast the next morning before heading out on the road for a long drive home. After bidding farewell to Steve, we were on our way to Cannon Beach. Taking the coastal route along highway 101, Gab showed Sam where she had cycled days before, telling stories along the way and reliving how wonderful of an experience it was. We passed over the Astoria bridge which gave same childhood flashbacks. We also stopped at Goose Point Oyster to try some of the amazing smoked oysters that Gab and Steve had a few days back. When we realized we would be passing through Seaside and Jimmy's house, we decided to pick him up a pack of oysters and drop by to see if he was home. After pulling up at his little blue house and awaiting an answer after a knock on the door, he came strolling around the front of the house and was so ecstatic to see Gab (and even happier that she brought her 'pretty' friend along with her). And Sam. Sam could instantly see how wonderful Jimmy was and was happy to finally meet him in person after reading about Gab confessing her love for the world to read about. Around two hours later, we finally rolled up to Cannon Beach where it reeked of rotting fish. Apparently this time of year, all the jellyfish get washed up to shore and rot in the coastal sunshine. Sam thought that smell was just Gab (as it usually is), but we were greeted by millions of purple, dried up jellyfish along the shoreline. We enjoyed about an hour of sunshine at Cannon Beach, taking in the beautiful view and overpowering stench, before hitting the road again. SInce we had to pass through Seattle to get home, and Gab had never been, we decided to stop in on our way through. We went to the first Starbucks as most tourists do where we were faced with an overwhelming decision of what the hell we were going to order. We both felt like we had never stepped foot in a Starbucks in our lives and were all "oh my god, what do I get? There's so many choices!". It was a weird experience. After being over-dramatically indecisive with our order, we made our way to Pike Place Market which, by that time, was closing down. We made an executive decision to come back and spend a weekend in Seattle (for the blog, of course). Gab had already fallen in love with the city's chill and funky vibes, and Sam repeatedly said "I told you" as she has been asking Gab to go to Seattle for years.
Juice cleanse anyone?