Last Saturday morning Lakshmi and I drove down to Portland in time for lunch at the Bombay Chaat House. We were so excited that each lunch was $5 that we bought two before realizing how much food we were about to receive. It turns out, $5 will get you pretty far at most Portland food carts.
After hardly making a dent in our plates, yet feeling disgusted at how full we were, we waddled over to our hotel to drop off our bags and begin our adventure. Over the next six hours we walked all over the city stopping to gaze and graze along the way. After wandering the aisles in Powell’s bookstore, we stopped into the Icebreaker store so I could buy Alex a shirt. We then hit up one of the most beautiful stationary stores I’ve ever seen, Oblation Papers. We passed the ridiculously long line at Voodoo Doughnuts and decided to pass because we were still too full to think of eating. Those who were eating them outside had huge smiles on their faces so they must be doing something right. From there we wandered over to the Saturday Market which reminded me of traveling last year. Dozens of stalls were set up along the river selling everything from food (a common theme in Portland) to clothing to jewelry to local art. As it was a sunny day, there were children running and screaming through the fountains. The market is open year-round and seemed to attract both locals and tourists alike.
We stopped into a beautiful grocery store, Zapan’s Market, to check out the produce selection and pick up a snack before heading back to figure out our dinner options. I had found a Mediterranean restaurant, Karam, on numerous blogs that had peaked my interest when I began researching for our trip. We were exhausted from walking all day so we walked in not really knowing what to expect. After ordering the Veggie Mazawat (basically an entree which offered all of the vegetarian appetizers) for $16 (we had learned to share after our lunch experience!), we were in heaven. The grape leaves were the best I’ve ever had – freshly rolled, soft, warm, and left a hint of citrus as an aftertaste. YUM. We made a note to ourselves to start looking for a Lebanese restaurant in Seattle. Any tips?
We would have loved to eat at the food carts for dinner but we learned that most food carts are only open during the week and those that ARE open on the weekends close at 7pm.
The next morning we got up and went for a run along the Willamette and then visited two bakeries on our way out of town, Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Di Prima Dolci. All I can say is that the Oregon pastry from Ken’s was like crack. It had blackberries and marionberries and warm, buttery goodness that put me in my happy place for the rest of the day (which helped because Alex called to say goodbye for a month at 3pm).
(If only there was a way to get some Enya-like music to play when you look at this photo…)
If I haven’t already convinced you, Portland is a charming little town with lots to see, do, and, of course, eat. Lakshmi and I had a wonderful weekend together gorging ourselves and laughing. What more could you ask for in a friend?