July 5, 2022

A Birthday Weekend (of Eating) in Portland

PortlandFor my birthday, Cuski surprised me with a weekend getaway in Portland. We have never been there before so I was quite excited about seeing the city people have been raving about on my Facebook feed.

It took us about 5 hours to get there from Surrey (we also had Nexus and a quick stop for breakfast). It was a long drive but when we got there, it was worth it. We stayed in the Downtown Core and basically just walked everywhere. Our first stop: the food carts! I knew which food cart I wanted to try… Nong’s Khao Man Gai. I was so disappointed to find out that they were closed! They were also closed the next day. Bah! I guess I will have to go back. We settled on two other food carts: The Grilled Cheese Grill and Altengartz. I had the Kelsey grilled cheese (Tillamook Cheddar and Basil Pesto on Portland French Bakery Multigrain Wheat Bread) and Cuski had the bratwurst and potato salad. Both were very delicious. Check out the photos below!

The Kelsey from the Grilled Cheese Grill

German Bratwurst from Altengartz

A mural in PortlandNext we walked around for a while, visiting random shops, taking photos… thank goodness it was a nice day. I loved how busy but quiet Portland was. There’s no one on the street but step into a random shop, cafe, restaurant or brewery and you’ll find it packed. I loved the murals on the buildings and the old school fire escapes. I liked that there were gathering spaces where people can just chill out… very European. It was also very clean and I felt safe walking around town. I would love to come back here and just live here for a few days, run along their seawall, enjoy a lot of good coffee and just mellow out. We would also be regulars at Stumptown Coffee Roasters. They know how to make a mean cappuccino and mocha.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

After a lengthy walk, we ended up at Rock Bottom Brewery to quench our thirst. I should’ve take a photo of the menu because I can’t find the names online. We sampled a number of beers and just hung out. Our waitress was really nice and even brought us another beer sample without us even asking. She was also pretty informative and helped us make some very important beer decisions 😛

Rock Bottom Brewery

I swear all we did on Saturday was eat and drink. After the brewery we still had some time to kill so we walked along the seawall and back up the hill through the cultural district. We had reservations at Jake’s Famous Crawfish for my birthday dinner. It’s considered to be one of the top 10 seafood restaurants in the US and they have been around since 1892 so they must know what they were doing. It was busy inside, you would definitely need to make reservations. The decor was classic and an older style, unlike the trendy atmospheres we saw at other restaurants. I was very excited to try the food, mainly the crawfish, as I’ve never had it before. To start, we shared the coconut breaded prawns with orange horseradish sauce. I want to know how to make this at home. The sauce was also nice and sweet with a hint of spice.

Jake's Famous Crawfish

I had Jake’s Étoufée which was a very generous serving of crawfish tails, chicken and shrimp in a rich nut brown sauce over rice. If I had known it was going to be that big, I would’ve asked for half size or if Cuski would share it with me. It was very good and flavourful and they didn’t even need to add chicken to it. There was enough seafood in it to fill anyone up. Cuski’s rockfish was also pretty amazing… and that crab sauce! Yum!

Jake's Étoufée

We ended it with a trio of desserts. By the end of it, we were stuffed and completely satisfied so we decided to stumble home and fall into a food coma… plus we were still tired from getting up early and traveling there.

The next morning, guess what we did? Eat! Brunch this time, at Tasty n Alder. Again, empty streets, busy restaurant. When we arrived, they told us it would take half an hour before a table would be ready… so we decided to check out first. 10 minutes later, they called and said our table was ready… geez so much for half an hour. We got back a little later than what we said but they were still nice enough to hold our table for us even though there was a big line waiting. We shared the Korean Fried Chicken, served over rice, house made kimchi, and eggs made 2 ways. It was spicy but I still wanted to eat and eat. If you like heat, you’ll like this dish. I think the egg and the rice softened up the spice a bit so it wasn’t too bad. We topped off this meal with a Chocolate Potato Doughnut with Creme Anglaise. Potato in doughnut form… who would’ve thought? You wouldn’t even think there was potato in there.

Tasty n Alder

Tasty n Alder

Anyway, this is just a small sampling of what Portland has to offer. I definitely want to go back and check out the rest of it… perhaps stay a few nights longer 🙂

Thank you Cuski for a memorable birthday weekend <3

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