I've been and gone and come home again. I left last Wednesday for the Pacific Northwest, flying from Memphis to Chicago and then Chicago to Seattle, then taking the train from Seattle to Portland. It was a long day and by the end of it I was smelly and sweaty and hated almost everyone. Flying is not my favorite activity, especially the 3 hour + flight to Seattle. But once we flew into view of Mount Rainier and Mount Baker I was a little less nervous. The mountains are breathtaking, I can't imagine I'd ever get tired of looking at them. Once I landed in Seattle I took the bus to the Amtrak station to wait for the train to Portland. The station seems to be mostly original but based on what I saw they're doing some construction and repairs. The inside has beautiful old moldings and fixtures. The train trip itself was excellent, if all trains were like the Amtrak Cascades I'd never travel any other way. I didn't get a window seat but I was able to get a decent view of the landscape. Again, more breathtaking views of the water and the mountains. Loved it.
Once in Portland, my friends Lynsey and Ted picked graciously picked me up and took me to dinner at Apizza Scholls. There was olives and pizza and hard cider. Later, Lynsey and I went to Powell's Books and I almost fell into a book coma. Holy hell, the books. Completely amazing, sadly by the time we were at Powell's I had been awake since 6:30AM Tuesday with about a 3 hour nap and I didn't remember to take any pictures. I bought some Ralph Waldo Emerson and George Eliot for the library and bought Doug a children's insect book and the new Bukowski book.
Thursday morning Ted and Lynsey picked me up at my hotel, the Jupiter and we went for waffle sandwiches at Flavour Spot. As if I needed another reason fall madly in love with Portland, oooooh the waffles. We shared one with Nutella and raspberry, one with sausage and whipped maple butter and one with ham and some sort of cheese that I can't remember right now. Words cannot describe how awesome these were. I have dreams about them now. They drove me around some Portland neighborhoods and the Pearl District. There was a visit to Knit/Purl for yarn and Josephine's Dry Goods for fabric and notions. I restrained myself and only bought *three* skeins of yarn.
A mid-afternoon snack at Por Que No Taqueria on Mississippi and I had quesadillas with squash blossoms and a blueberry margarita, which was pretty and delicious. Doug had requested 'fancy' salt so I found The Meadow, also on Mississippi, and bought him a starter set. I've never seen so many kind of salt and pepper in all of my life. They even had salt bricks. I won't bore you with the other details but I had a fabulous day with friends in Portland. By the end of the day I had also been to Petite Provence, (one of these is called a 'Monkey Bomb' and it had a coconut macaroon base, banana custard, banana slices and a chocolate shell), Random Order Coffeehouse, the Grilled Cheese Grill (bus), walked around the Alberta neighborhood of Portland (everyone has these amazing gardens), seen some people playing unicycle polo and had a late night snack of Belgian frites with rosemary-truffle oil ketchup at Potato Champion.
Friday I was on my own, I didn't rent a car because everyone told me the PDX public transit system was excellent. It was, before I left Memphis I downloaded the PDX bus app for my iPhone and it was spot-on. All I had to do was type in the address I was at and the address of where I wanted to go and it gave me perfect directions. However, if you get distracted and don't pay attention to what direction you're going you may end up in the Portland 'burbs instead of downtown. Everything was a little more low-key on Friday, I wandered around and took in the scenery. I found out that The Thermals were playing for free at a record store a short bus ride away from my hotel so I went. The band was good but the store was packed with sweaty people and after six songs I had to leave because it was so hot and I was hungry. I ate dinner at this place, I just happened to stumble upon after I left the record store. Wine and a prosciutto and apple panini for dinner. For some reason I ate a lot of pressed sandwiches while in Portland, they were all good though.
More next post (I can't promise I won't talk about more food and yarn and bus trips and you might find it boring)