Several months back we wanted to close a credit card that still had points available for free travel. After a few searches Leandra managed to find tickets to Portland in mid-September, so we used up our points and were set to return five years after our initial trip.
Are we still on a plane? We did the math and determined that from RDU we could have been in London just about the same time as we arrived in Portland. Proximity to the airport was a primary reason we choose the Hyatt House Portland and we were asleep within 40 minutes of landing.
We had a light breakfast in the lobby when we got up, then headed into downtown Portland at 9a to meet friends from college, Kris and Nate, for a proper breakfast at Genies. We got there a little early and just before several other groups. This turned out to be good as we would have had an even longer wait than the fairly long 30-40 minute wait before we were seated. While we were waiting Leandra tried a bacon bloody mary while Eric tried the spring bubbles drink. Once we had our table Leandra ordered the steak hash with poached eggs over potatoes which she thought was good but a little fatty. Eric stuck with the standard scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes, ample enough to keep him full through the afternoon.
From here we drove into the Willamette Valley for wine tasting (covered in a separate post), eventually making our way to McMinville. From here we drove to The Dreamgiver’s Inn to check in. The Inn itself was comfortable and quiet and the breakfasts were well done but it was a twenty minute drive into the nearest town for dinner each night, so next time we would pick something a bit closer to the action.
the view from our top floor room
After two hours of relaxing we headed to dinner at one of the well-recommended local restaurants, Recipe. Unfortunately, we were underwhelmed at best. When we arrived they seemed surprised to see us and took an unusually long time to find our reservation. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure they had given the last table in the main room to walk-ins. After discussing it amongst themselves they sat us at the lone table by the entrance and bar, then forgot about us for a while. The wine list was a bright spot, with a nice Brooks Rose and a good Riesling from Trisaetum Winery. Unfortunately, Leandra’s gnocchi had little flavor, and while cooked properly, Eric’s steak was not seasoned. The dessert list looked plain so we cut our losses, paid, and were out in an hour. Maybe we’re spoiled in NC, but this was one of the more disappointing meals we’ve had this year.
Breakfast was served at 9a, so we woke late and enjoyed a fancy breakfast before a second day of wine tasting.
Enroute to our first winery we stopped at the Sweet Oregon Berry Co. roadside stand for raspberries, but left with a pocket-sized raspberry pie. It was so good we came back on Monday for another pie. :) They also had lots of Autumnal produce including hazelnuts and gourds.
After stops at several wineries we made our way into Salem for a late lunch and beer at Venti’s basement bar. We shared the spicy tots and a bowl of the roasted red pepper and ginger soup, and for drinks Leandra tried the Vader Cascadian Dark Ale and Eric had the Witch Hunt Spiced Harvest Ale. Wanting to also sample a local cider, we split the Wandering Aengus Anthem. On a wet and windy day it was nice to hole up in the cozy basement for a bit.
Later that evening we stopped at Subterra on the way back to our B&B. It was early, but we didn’t have a reservation and the hostess looked rather fretful. After checking with the chef she said that we would be the last walk-ins of the night. Great! She escorted us into the mostly empty dining room and we figured they must have some large parties coming later… but no, the place was never more than a third full, so it perhaps it was just understaffed that evening? Regardless, the food here was excellent, and we ordered several items off the small plates menu, including the sausage of the day (hungarian), mussels, a smoked pork and spaetzle dish, and a bread basket. Everything was great and we would definitely return here in the future.
We said our goodbyes at the Inn, then made our way through a few nearby wineries before heading back to Portland. We’d never visited downtown before, so we had booked a night at Hotel Lucia, a boutique hotel with a good location near the Pearl District. The lobby was quite nice with a fun array of photography.
Our room had nice elements but was poorly designed- the door to the hallway opened on the bed, and the bathroom door actually hit the bed. Meanwhile, the desk area had lots of floor space… Thankfully, the bed was comfortable, and the bathroom amenities were pleasant.
Cascade Brewing was a must visit, and we intended to walk there but a tropical-style downpour dissuaded us at the last minute, so we drove instead. After trying a multitude of sours Leandra dragged Eric out so we could also try the Voodoo doughnuts ‘too’ location, where we enjoyed a chocolate coconut doughnut.
Portland has a lot of breakfast choices so we took a chance on Bijou Cafe, hopping with locals, and were quite happy with our breakfast.
Eric had noticed Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe on the map so we headed over there for some chocolates to bring back, then to a Penzey’s spice shop for Leandra, before heading to the airport. The rest of Tuesday was a blur of movies on airplanes, and upon landing at RDU we were lucky that baggage pickup was quick for our wine and beer bounty.
four cases, checked for free courtesy of our status!