The things we do to maintain our airline elite status. My inaugural blog post starts with a last minute 24 hour trip to get the remaining 3,400 miles to reach my Delta Elite status for next year which as a frequent flyer is almost as important as your children. I’ve heard a lot about Portland (a big Anthony Bourdain Layover fan) but unfortunately picked the weekend of historical rains which lingered throughout the entire 24 hours.
If you aren’t afraid to walk a bit and it’s not pouring (FYI…I was told locals frown on the use of umbrellas so you’ll stick out as a Tourista), the city is laid out pretty well to walk around which I did for the most part. Cab ride from the airport was about $50 (the MAX, their light rail is a much cheaper choice) but I found downtown taxis were difficult to find unless you Uber it which seems to be the travel choice of the locals.
I’m also a big Marriott guy so you’ll be reading about a lot of Marriotts on my travels. Yes, I’m a rewards/status whore because the free cocktails, free food and free overpriced wi-fi makes business travel a bit more palatable. I picked the Portland Marriott Downtown which was located on the river and walking distance from pretty much everywhere I planned on going. Great rate, great location and good service.
Arriving around 4PM, I started my exploration at the locally famous Stumptown Coffee Roasters which was a great choice and the Guinness Beer looking cold brew on tap was absolutely fantastic.
Had 3 which was probably not a good choice for reasons some of you may appreciate. Picked up a few pounds of some Ethiopian blend or something for Christmas gifts, including Li Bai!
Next stop, which was of course investigative in nature only, was to visit one of Portland’s many recreational marijuana shops.
The ladies at the Dispensary were really helpful in describing how things worked as well as the pros and cons of the 50+ flavors that sat on the shelves like little jars of bright, multi-colored, fragrant puffs of organic candy. Amazing how much candy one can buy for $40…or so I was told.
While I waited for the tour to start, a very beautiful local introduced me the “Beautiful”, a drink consisting of cognac and grand mariner warmed over a glass of hot water. She said the more of these you drink the more beautiful you become….she must have drank quite a few.
The volunteer tour guide was really into it (as well as her multiple White Russians) and was constantly talking about the paranormal activity going on in the miles of tunnels underneath Portland. She even shared some photos she had of her encounters which I’ll give her the benefit of the White Russian doubt were questionable at best, but well worth the $13 price of admission and she was pretty cool, especially after I bought her another White Russian.
The local next to me on the flight suggested I visit Jakes Famous Crawfish (401 SW 12th) for their seafood. Being from New England, it was ok but I probably should have stayed later as their 10PM Happy Hour menu was much better as evidenced by the throngs of people coming in at 9:50PM. Damn Eastern Time zone. Portland has a great food truck scene but with the rain, most were buttoned up for the night so I didn’t get a chance to sample them, this time.
I had to visit the legendary Voodoo Donuts which I did at 7AM on Saturday and it lived up to its reputation. Tried the Bacon Mable Bar (who wouldn’t), Dirty Old Bastard (Oreo cumble with drizzled peanut butter sauce on it) and the Captain My Captain (Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries).
For those with either bigger appetites or those who had recently visited the Dispensary or it’s brethren, there is the Texas Ass Challenge which is equal to 6 heart clogging donuts. Good luck Li Bai
My best meal by far was a late Saturday breakfast before my flight at the Veritable Quandary (which closed in September 2016 but apparently reborn 4 blocks away at the “Q” which maybe named after Escati’s beautiful Hong Kong blogger “Q”).
With a daily changing menu, I had the pulled chicken/gruyere and wild rice crepes where were fantastic accompanied by a few Tito’s screw drivers. I truly hope the Q brings that one forward.
Overall, well worth the trek west albeit if only for a few short hours. Till next time…………….