We had planned the trip down to the minute. The Airbnb was cozy Victorian duplex in a fun neighbourhood. The beer tastings, the brunches, the coffee brews had all been planned out. I counted down the minutes until I got to fly to Portland and see my bro with Jacob, our best friend from childhood, and Evan.
I was devastated when my Friday flight was cancelled. An ice storm had hit and basically all flights from Southern California were booked or cancelled. I spent the day crying on my boss’ shoulder and eating mac and cheese, feeling despondent and lonely.
BUT EVAN. Life-saving Evan. He found a cheap flight out on Alaska Saturday morning, which required a 4am wake up call, but holy mother of god, it was salvation. We packed and flew out into the eye of the ice storm to spend the weekend with Jas and Jacob, who had arrived the night before from SF.
What followed was the most ridiculously indulgent and relaxing weekend ever, made the greatest by my best friend/womb mate/ number one supporter, Jas aka Bobes. We roamed the streets, seeking out brewed cacao, German beers, and foie gras toast. We checked out dispensaries, introduced Jake to poutine, and took selfies at a Kombucha speakeasy, and then inhaled German spatzle. It was an epic holiday and one that I am so grateful for.
Cafe Broder – 2508 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
- A simple Scandinavian brunch spot that was worth the 45 minute wait. We ordered the pancakes with lemon curd, the breakfast platter – that smoked trout though(!), and the apple fritters. The coffee cocktail was delicious and warming. It was bright and bustling and lovely.
Creo Chocolate – 122 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232
- An internationally recognized chocolatier, we were a little skeptical of Jas’ dedication to taking us here, especially after a multiple mile jaunt complete with some vintage shopping. We all ate our hats after we arrived though. An airy, wood paneled space with stained glass windows, this little cafe has a variety of rich sipping chocolates (pro-tip: order the midnight truffles) as well as the rare brewed cacao. Perfect for a rainy afternoon.
Upright Brewing – 240 N Broadway #2, Portland, OR 97227
- Intimate & casual cash-only microbrewery tasting room with Belgian farmhouse beers & limited hours. Tiny with tables nestled next to those HUGE stainless steel kegs, the warm smell of yeast and a hot proprietor in this basement brewery. Beers are only like $3 by the way.
Richmond Bar – 3203 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
- The beers were great but the appetizers were mind-blowing. The poutine with the rich and thick gravy over shoestring fries and the crispy polenta with chantarelle mushrooms. Life changing. It was a candle-lit, dark wood gastropub and again, so cozy. Perfect while waiting for a table at American Local.
American Local – 3003 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
- Quirky bar & eatery offering Asian-inspired & modern American comfort food made with area-sourced ingredients.
Bula Kava – 3115 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
- This is the only kava cafe/bar in PDX. It serves traditionally brewed kava, a tea whose properties make one verrrryyy relaxed. I can’t say that I’m adding kava to my daily beverage list, but it was a very cool thing to try.
Heart Coffee – 2211 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
- We made a quick stop here before brunch for some of my favorite coffee. I got the honey cardamom latte, a departure from my Americanos. It was lovely and not too sweet. UM. ALSO THE PASTRIES. GET THE HAZELNUT CROISSANT.
Navarre – 10 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
- The barista at Heart, who I almost kidnapped bc he was so cute, recommended this nostalgic and quiet brunch place as opposed to fighting the lines at The Screen Door. We loved the baked eggs over braised lamb, the foie gras toast with cumin and the kale benedict.
Powell’s Books – 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
- The flagship location of the famous bookstore, we spent about two hours perusing the shelves. I almost walked out with too many books to carry home, but settled on an autographed copy of The Suicide of Clare Bishop, a modern novel involving “time-travel, Hasidism, art-theft, and the terrifying power of representation.” It’s amazing.
SOMA Kombucha Speakeasy – 7319 N John Ave, Portland, OR 97203
- This was another of Jas’ recs that we had some skepticism about and of course, we were totally wrong. It was basically the most Portland place – a speakeasy, serving only kombucha on tap, and paid for based on the honor system. There were floor pillows and candles and meditative music. I recommend the blueberry kombucha!
Occidental Brewing + Wursthaus – 6635 N Baltimore Ave, Portland, OR 97203
- Located right next to Cathedral Park, this taproom serves filghts of their German beer. We ended up across the courtyard, at Wursthaus, which only serves Occidental beer and serves authentic and fresh German food, i.e. brats, spatzle and pretzels with fondue. So satisfying, even if the bartender was a little gruff. The view is amazing of the green mountains and the light paneled wood details made the room so bright and warm.