portland day 01: food carts, powell’s, distillery, rose garden

My friends M and C picked me up from the hotel in the morning; they moved to Vancouver WA, just across the river from Portland and I hadn’t seen them in years and years. We hung out at their house for a while, catching up.

port01foodcart port02suprameal

They took me to lunch at the food carts, street food is distinctively Portland—there are over 500 food carts all over the city. At this spot, carts are lined up along 4 sides of a square and there was a great selection to choose from: japanese, thai, vietnamese, indian, mexican, mediterranean, kebab, hawaiian, sausages, waffles. Originally I wanted to try the ethiopian truck but at the end I decided on the one offering georgian food. I’d never tried food from georgia, and it turned out to be typically eastern european. I had the combo plate — eggplant roll, mushroom dumplings, cheese flatbread, bean-stuffed bread, tomato salad. Very nice, the meatless option felt healthy.

After lunch, we walked a few blocks to Powell’s, one of the largest bookstores in the country. It was big. Bookshelves filled with all sorts of books in different sections they called rooms. I took a quick tour around most of the rooms, then settled at the cookery and food section. Lots of selection.

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After Powell’s we did some tastings around distillery row. First stop at eastside distilling where we tried potato vodka, spiced rum, marionberry bourbon, cherry bourbon and their premium double barrel bourbon. I really liked their double barrel bourbon but at $55 was too expensive for a bourbon.

The second tasting was at stone barn brandyworks, the smallest distillery in Portland and located at a small warehouse unit in a commercial block. The very friendly and knowledgable person there generously let us sample straight rye (clear, very strong), oaked rye, spelt whiskey, grappa and various fruit liqueurs including rhubarb, quince, apricot. I did buy a bottle of the quince liqueur, it was very special and I couldn’t resist.

port05rose port06rose

Took a break from the alcohol and visited the rose garden. It is a test garden where different species of roses are cultivated. Very pretty, and we were just in time to catch the blooms.

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Early dinner at bridgeport brew pub. I had a strong (9.2%) but delicious old knucklehead ale, a much needed spinach & salad and hummous. Everything was yummy. My friends were telling me about their adventures, in particularly going hiking and travelling around this part of the country. So wish I could live here. I already know I love Seattle, and now I can add Portland to the list.

Back at the hotel, I was just in time to help out with unloading conference materials. Joined a couple of people for dinner, only had salad. Without intending it, I ended up with an all vegetarian day. Well, vegetarian plus lots of whisky and beer day. Went running on the treadmill for 5k to compensate for the beer.