Hi everyone! I’m jumping back into blogging on my flight back home from Portland after a four-day hiatus. As anticipated, my time in Oregon was packed to the brim with activities and plans so I never had a dedicated block of time to blog because when I wasn’t moving…I wanted to be sleeping!
I arrived in Portland on Tuesday afternoon to participate in an incredible project called #FirstsNeverStop with Under Armour and Samsung. That wrapped on Thursday and Tanner flew out to meet me so that we could hang out in Portland for a couple of days. I’m going to be writing a full recap of my #FirstsNeverStop experience a little later next week but for now I’m going to share the adventures that Tanner and I had during our extra time in Portland.
Okay first, thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your wonderfully helpful recommendations on things to do, see and eat in the Portland area. I spent a few hours on the plane on the way here combing through everything, doing research and planning our itinerary.
Overall, I enjoyed my time in Portland and in Oregon very much. I found the state to be beautiful and the city to be interesting and vibrant. I would definitely return again and recommend that others visit.
Portland Adventures: Day One
I broke with Under Armour around noon and was dropped back at the Sentinel Hotel where Tanner was waiting for me. We checked out and took off in search of lunch. My plan was to go to Tasty n Alder but they had a rather long wait so we ended up across the street at Shalom Y’all.
I later came to find out that this restaurant is owned by the Toro Bravo group which owns Tasty n Alder and several other well-known Portland restaurants. I’m so happy that we ended up at Shalom Y’all because the food was incredible!
The restaurant is super tiny and cozy and probably only seats around 20 or so. The menu is designed for sharing.
We ordered the smoked eggplant and pita, the MEC pickles which included cauliflower, carrot, cucumbers and turnips, the Shalom Y’all plate with falafel, hummus, chop salad, labneh, tahina, and pita and the MEC lamb chops.
Everything tasted amazing and their pita bread was to die for. It was so soft and fluffy and perfect for stuffing the items on the Shalom Y’all plate into to make a pita sandwich.
I HIGHLY recommend Shalom Y’all. I think it was my favorite restaurant of the trip!
A quick search of Google Maps showed me that Blue Star donuts was not far away from our lunch spot. We both agreed that sharing some donuts and having coffee sounded nice.
We had the blueberry bourbon, the mango cacao and the lemon poppy seed. The blueberry and mango donuts were made from Blue Star’s signature brioche dough. The lemon poppy seed was a buttermilk old fashioned cake donut. I am a big fan of cake donuts.
I can confidently report that Blue Star donuts are GOOD and you must swing by if you find yourself in the Portland area.
Once we wrapped up our afternoon culinary excursions, we hopped in the car and took off for the coast. Note: we rented a car for the trip and I recommend doing so if you want to get out of the city of Portland to see other things. It’s a very drivable area, although they do have some crazy afternoon traffic.
Our destination was Cannon Beach, which is a small coastal town about an hour and a half from Portland. It rained most of our trip to the coast but it cleared off once we arrived, which we were very happy about. It was still very windy and cold but the scenery makes up for it.
Cannon Beach is known for Haystack Rock which is a 235-foot sea stack. It’s accessible by foot during low tide but we couldn’t make it out there when we visited. Tanner was a little overly excited when he realized a scene from the Goonies was filmed here.
We walked on Cannon Beach for about 40 minutes and then hopped back in the car to check out Ecola State Park. It’s just a five minute drive north and covers nine miles of coast.
It’s $5 per car to enter the park and it’s so beautiful. Even just driving through the park to the different beach areas was stunning due to the lush vegetation and winding roads. It’s also worth noting that there is a lot of hiking that you can do in the park. I wish that we could have taken advantage of it but weather and time were not on our side.
We began at Ecola Point and walked around that area for a bit.
The views from Ecola point are so amazing. Can you see Haystack Rock in the distance?
And that dot out in the water in this photo is the Tillamook Rock lighthouse. It’s a deactivated lighthouse that is perched on top of a bunch of rocks!
We also stopped by Indian Beach but quickly hopped back in the car because it was CRAZY windy out there!
We made the drive back to Portland and checked into our hotel for the next two nights, the Hyatt House.
The Hyatt House is in the Riverplace neighborhood. While it’s not centrally located in downtown Portland, it is in a nice area that is super convenient to the waterfront trail which runs alongside the Willamette River. It’s a great location for walking, running and enjoying the river. It’s easy to get to downtown via the light rail, Uber, car or a long walk.
We chose this hotel because we got a great rate and it offers a little more space because it features studio-like accommodations. It’s great for fitness-minded travelers due to its proximity to the waterfront walking/running/biking trail and it also has a nice 24-hour fitness center that is clean and has all the basics you need to get a good workout in.
Oh one more tip, don’t pay the fee to valet your car. There are a couple public garages just a block or so away where you can self-park and they’re much cheaper!
Back to our first day adventures…we unloaded our stuff at the hotel and grabbed showers before getting ready for dinner. We had reservations at Andina in the Pearl District and took an Uber there.
This restaurant came at the recommendation of a lifelong Portland resident and long-time reader. Andina features novoperuvian fare mostly in tapas format with some entrees as well. Here is what we ordered…
- grilled octopus kebobs with chimichurri and a caper majado de papa
- avocado stuffed with crab, topped with a poached prawn
- sweet piquillo peppers stuffed with quinoa, cheese and Serrano ham
- quinoa-crusted diver scallops perched on top of wilted spinach and potato-parsnip purée, with golden beet and crabmeat “cannelloni,” and a duet of red beet and passionfruit reductions
We loved all of our selections but the octopus and scallops were really special! We also enjoyed the warm and lively ambiance of the restaurant.
After my time with Under Armour and our Thursday adventures, I was exhausted and ready to crash after dinner. We Ubered back to the hotel and I was asleep within 20 minutes of our arrival!
Stay tuned for part two coming next! 🙂
What’s your favorite part of traveling to new U.S. cities? Checking out the arts? Food scene? Nature? Something else?
Have you ever traveled to the Oregon coast?
Do you prefer tapas-style sharing small plates when you go out or more traditional entree style?