Commentary

February 7, 2014

Destination: Portland, Oregon

One of Stepping Stone Café’s signature dishes is banana nut bread French toast. The café serves chicken fried steak, pancakes and was featured on the show “Man vs. Food.”

When people think about Portland, Ore., they may think of farms, wagons and pioneers. What they don’t know is Portland is not only filled with a diversity of cultures, but it’s also overflowing with friendly people, delicious food and a plethora of outdoorsy things to do.

If you’re a Netflixer like me, you may have watched a show called “Portlandia,” which gives a pretty close depiction of what Portland is like. If you haven’t watched it and are thinking of visiting Portland, it’s a must-see.

First things first – let’s talk food and shopping. If you want the full local Portlander experience you must go to what the locals call “trendy 23rd” in the heart of Portland. I would start by going to the intersection of Northwest 23rd Avenue and Northwest Everett Street and begin working your way down Northwest 23rd Avenue toward Northwest Flanders Street. There you will see an abundance of restaurants and places to shop. If you’re craving dessert, my favorite place to go is Papa Haydns located on the intersection of Northwest 23rd Avenue and Northwest Irving Street. Papa Haydns is locally known for their exquisite cakes, macaroons, gateaus, cobblers, custards and more. Their dessert prices vary from $10 to $15, but they are well worth it.

Courtesy photo
Mount Hood tops off a view of downtown Portland.

Another place that is very romantic, especially during the night is a restaurant called Portland City Grill located downtown on the 30th floor of the Unico U.S. Bank Tower. It is the place to go for a breathtaking 360-degree view of downtown Portland and the Cascade Mountains. The best time to go is during happy hour when you’ll find items ranging from $4.95 to $9.95. Lunch menu items are also reasonably priced, ranging from $5 to $18, but dinnertime can be expensive with prices ranging from $5 to $50. If you’re on a tight budget but still want to impress a date, I’d go during happy hour.

To fulfill a donut craving go to Voodoo Doughnuts. The donut shop was also featured on shows including “Anthony Bourdain No Reservations,” “Man v. Food,” “Doughnut Paradise” and more, with three prime Portland locations. It has an assortment of donuts that are not only creative but hilarious as well. One tip before going there would be to make sure you have cash because they do not accept debit or credit cards. My favorite is their maple bacon donut. Also, one of their donuts, called “Portland Crème,” was named Portland’s “Official City Doughnut” by Portland Mayor Tom Potter.

For breakfast after a long night out, I’d head to Stepping Stone Café located on the industrial side of Portland. They have the best chicken-fried steak along with their banana nut bread French toast which is melt-in-your-mouth heavenly.

Dessert from Papa Haydns located on 23rd Avenue in Portland, Ore.

Portland is not only a great place for foodies, but it’s also great for shopping with zero taxes added. For those who like the outdoors, Portland is full of bike lanes, running trails, hiking trails and rivers.

If you’re tired of looking at the desert, go to Portland. It is beautiful with clear skies, when it’s not raining, and you’ll get enough oxygen because you’re constantly surrounded by lush green trees. My advice is to go either in March when the flowers start blooming or during the summer months.
 

A cheeseburger, salmon cakes, calamari and California rolls are items on the Happy Hour menu at Portland City Grill, located on the 30th floor of the Unico U.S. Bank Tower. It has a 360 degree view of downtown Portland and the Cascade Mountains.




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