Though we love hotels, we decided to try vacation rentals this trip. Not only were many of the rentals we found nearly 1/3 of the price of hotels, but they were situated in less touristy, residential areas, which we loved. Furthermore, our hosts for the week were able to give us some great tips on shops, restaurants and sites. We never would have seen 'The Swifts' or made it to The Meadow if it weren't for Heather.
The 'Piedmont Cottage' was incredibly well situated - bike routes to and from downtown were just a couple blocks away and downtown itself was a 20 minute ride. It was also an easy 5 minute ride down Albina to get to the shops and restaurants on Mississippi Avenue. As far as getting to and from the airport and Union Station, MAX ran from the airport to the train, and once arriving back from Corvalis we were able to take transit (the MAX or the number 4) up to Piedmont easily. And finally, there was a gigantic rose garden across the street - Portland is, after all, the city of roses.
Ned Ludd (3925 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.) - This was the first restaurant we visited in Portland and it was fantastic. The wood fired oven that served the former pizza restaurant is still being put to good use - all the food is cooked in it. We enjoyed fresh, wood fired flat bread, whole trout stuffed with fennel and dill, smoky, rich ratatouille and finally s'mores made with chocolate from Xocolatl de Davíd.
The Albina Press (4637 N Albina) - A coffee shop perfectly situated on an easy route downtown, they made excellent cappuccinos and lattés utilizing Stumptown Coffee. Wireless, reading material and fresh pastries were also readily available.
Lovely's Fifty Fifty (4039 N Mississippi) - We were directed to this spot by the Pedal Bike Tours people and couldn't be happier with their recommendation. Lovely's features wood fired pizza and homemade hard scoop ice cream, and both were amazing (hence the half hour wait to get in). A pickled beet salad with Oregon hazelnuts and blue cheese as well as a sweet corn pizza with caramelized onions and pancetta made it to our table for dinner. For dessert, Charles went with a scoop of salted caramel, while I decided on the peach buttermilk. We definitely wouldn't hesitate to return.
Tasty n Sons (3808 N Williams) - This was one of those spots I saw on the Chow Tour of Portland, and once we realized it was in the neighbourhood, we decided to head over for breakfast. Toast and jam, the breakfast board, the beautiful potato donut and unlimited coffee came to $20 even, including tip. We were full of food, and amazed.
Gravy (3957 N Mississippi) - After waiting in line for sometime to get into this busy spot, we were served tasty, gigantic plates of food. While Charles did his toast-bacon plate, I went for an omelette filled with mushrooms and peppers and smothered with sausage gravy (how could you not have gravy at a place called 'Gravy'?).
The Meadow (3731 N Mississippi) - I was easily wowed by The Meadow. An entire wall of chocolate, another of 'finishing salts' and another full of bitters. The place was quite dreamy.
For my chocolate stash
Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop (3713 N Mississippi) - We ended up at this spot twice late into the evening, lured by the smell of fresh waffle cones and cookies. There were scoops of caramel with salted chocolate and on our final evening in town, a hazelnut-chocolate ice cream sandwiched between double chocolate cookies.
Saraveza Bottle Shop and Pasty Tavern (1004 N Killingsworth) - If I left my heart anywhere in Portland, it would certainly be here. The walls are lined with bottles of beer to be opened in house or taken home to be enjoyed, and there are eight taps which rotate every few days (mostly with brews from the NW coast) to serve in house patrons and growler fillers alike. And the pasties. While Charles adored the beef, I ended up with a daily special coconut curry pork that was particularly excellent. For dessert, an apple pasty with Carlton Cyder's 'Citizen' apple cider ice cream. It was a beautiful way to end the week in Portland.