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Our accommodation was at the Royal Sonesta, which we found to be an adorable and distinctive hotel. The room suited us perfectly, and we encountered no disturbance from outside noise or any problems with the room itself. Additionally, it was conveniently located just a short stroll from Pioneer Courthouse Square, with an abundance of food establishments, bars, and cafes in the vicinity.
We made our way to Cafe Umbria, a coffee roaster hailing from Seattle. After arriving, we placed an order for the honey oat latte and the lavender latte, both of which were served with a small portion of dark chocolate. The quality of the coffee was exceptional, and the ambiance of the cafe was particularly pleasing to me.
We went to Hunnymilk, located in the neighborhood, for brunch. I chose this place specifically because I liked the idea of a sweet and savory set price brunch. Despite being quite busy on a Friday morning and not taking reservations, we managed to grab a menu, order at the front counter, and wait to be seated after being given a number.
Portland is famous for its abundance of food carts, with over 200 scattered throughout the city. To keep our dinner casual, we walked less than five minutes from our hotel to Small Pharaoh's Falafel. We opted for the $7 lamb gyro, which was probably the most delicious one I've ever had, and the $10 schwarma plate. The lamb gyro was particularly amazing because of the grilled onions it contained. However, it's important to check the operating hours of the food carts you want to visit, as many were closed during our trip.
This boulangerie offers a delectable assortment of sweet and savory pastries, sandwiches, and desserts. My friend opted for the maple bacon croissant, which is a croissant topped with bacon and drizzled with maple syrup. We also got the shuket, which are like puff pastries with a sugary crust on the outside. They come in a large bag, and they're quite tasty. Meanwhile, my croque monsieur just came out of the oven, and it's hot and fresh. Considering the quality and price, I highly recommend stopping by this boulangerie while in Portland.
We decided to visit Lil Shalom for dinner after spotting it earlier in the day. This Mediterranean restaurant offers hummus, salads, and sandwiches, and has limited indoor seating and a patio option. To order, you go to the register and your food is brought to your table. Despite the cold and rainy weather, we chose to sit outside, and I ordered a sangria with a cute little chicken on it while Tau got a French cocktail. Although the food was beautifully presented, we over-ordered with spiced fries for $9, classic hummus for $13, lamb shawarma for $15, and bahara chicken kebab. Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of the food despite the charming atmosphere of the restaurant.
Inside the Woodlark Hotel, there's a coffee shop called Good Coffee that offers both classic and seasonal coffee drinks. We decided to try their matcha lavender latte for $5.50 and salted caramel latte for $6. They also serve pastries and breakfast burritos, but we didn't enjoy the burritos. We recommend trying their coffee and pastries instead.
For our final dinner in Portland, I had a craving for pasta, so we randomly picked the first Italian restaurant we stumbled upon, which happened to be Mamma Mia Trattoria in downtown Portland. We ordered the Caprese salad for $18, the delectable Bolognese to share for $23, and topped it off with the Panna Cotta for $10. The food, service, and price were all exceptional, and I would give this restaurant a 10 out of 10 rating.
On our final morning in Portland, we decided to try some southern-style breakfast at the Screen Door restaurant, which has two locations in the city. After a week of heavy meals, we wanted something lighter, so I ordered the French onion and bacon tart for $15, and Tau got the mixed mushroom scramble, also $15. Of course, we couldn't resist getting two glasses of mimosas. This restaurant is popular and can get very busy, so I highly recommend making a reservation. We made reservations and arrived at 10 a.m., but by the time we left, it was already packed. It's worth noting that this was on a rainy Monday.
Before leaving Portland, we made sure to try Stumptown Coffee. Luckily, they had a location at the airport, so we were able to sample some before our departure.
Portland is renowned for its donuts, coffee, and microbreweries, so we visited Von Ebert Brewery, a local craft brewery with two locations in Portland. The Pearl neighborhood establishment offers an extensive selection of IPAs and German-inspired lagers. I ordered a pale ale, also known as the Known Presence, while Tao opted for the IPA, named Wave Decay.
We made a stop at Kells Brewery, a family-run Irish brewery located on 21st Avenue in Nob Hill. As soon as we walked in, we felt like we were transported to Dublin. Since the heavy and fried food had filled us up, we opted for something fresh and green, so we ordered the farm salad.
After brunch, we took a 20-minute walk from Hunnymilk to our next destination, the Portland International Rose Garden. Portland is famously known as the "City of Roses," and we were excited to explore the garden. I'm not an expert in botany, but I believe there is a particular time of year when the roses need to regrow. Anyway, we just left the garden, and I'm sure it's a breathtaking sight when the roses are in bloom. There are so many species of roses here, and the park offers a lovely walking path.
The garden is located in the same park as the Portland Japanese Garden, which charges $18.95 per person for admission. We spent around 90 minutes strolling around the garden, which features a waterfall, an art exhibit, a tea house, and stunning views of Mount Hood. There's also a busy café inside, but you can reserve a spot ahead of time. Additionally, there's a lovely gift shop. While the entrance fee may seem steep, if you're a fan of Japanese gardens or just want a peaceful place to relax, it's worth the price.
For the remainder of the afternoon, we wandered around Portland's Nob Hill neighborhood. This area is renowned for its fashionable stores, relaxed eateries, and coffee shops. We enjoyed ourselves as we browsed through the second-hand clothing stores and chuckled at the outrageous prices of vintage t-shirts these days.
In Portland, we visited the Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint, and the wind was so strong that it's surprising we didn't get blown away. Our tour guide, TJ, mentioned that we arrived at an excellent time as there was ice and a stunning waterfall. However, he also warned us to be careful because it was quite slippery.
The Portland White Stag Sign is an iconic sign located in Old Town Chinatown in Portland, Oregon.
The waterfall is named after a local resident, George Shepperd, who donated the land to the city of Portland in the early 20th century.
Here's a pro-tip: this is a great spot to propose to someone, whether you want to ask for their hand in marriage or to be their best friend for life.
This is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon! Super beautiful!
We chanced upon Northwest Union, a store that offers an extensive selection of vintage t-shirts.
This place called Tender Loving Empire is a great spot to check out if you're looking for cute souvenirs from Portland. It's really adorable, but do keep in mind that they close early.
The shop Made Here Portland specializes in design-focused and fashionable products that are entirely created and crafted by hand in Portland, Oregon.
When you're in Portland, make sure to visit Powell's Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.
Oregon is famous for its pinot noir, and the Willamette Valley, the state's largest wine region, is located less than an hour away from downtown Portland. We had booked a half-day tour with Sea to Summit Tours after the first company we had reserved with canceled due to insufficient bookings. After breakfast and coffee, we met our tour guide at 10:30 am in Pioneer Square and began our journey. The tour cost $159 per person before tax and tip, and it involved visits to three wineries with tastings at each stop.
Rex Hill Winery is a winery located in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon, USA. It is known for its Pinot Noir wines, which are made from grapes grown in the estate vineyard as well as other vineyards in the surrounding area. The winery also produces Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling wines.
Tresori Winery is a family-owned and operated winery located in Willamette Valley. The winery produces small-batch Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other varietals using sustainable and biodynamic farming practices.
It was founded in 1993 and specializes in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay wines. The winery has a tasting room where visitors can sample their wines and take tours of the winemaking process. The winery's vineyards are sustainably farmed, and they also source grapes from other sustainable vineyards in the region.