“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf
With the coastline behind us, the pine laden Pacific Coast Byway carved through valleys and pastures. Leaves arched towards the clouds showing off their silvery undersides. Contented cows curled up in piles upon the grass as they primed a dry spot before the rain gave way. More miles passed, bovine began to greatly outnumber Ponderosa Pine. The Tillamook Cheese Factory, an appropriate explanation for the copious amount of cows, came into view. This massive cheese citadel foreshadowed our first dinner in Portland; hours later we would be sampling their delicious cheese in the form of poutine.
My affinity for food is only eclipsed by a few things: my husband (saying that never gets old! ❤ ), travel, and BOOKS! Powell’s Books, a bastion for a bibliophile like myself, is the largest independent new & used bookstore IN THE WORLD. Needless to say, I made multiple trips and spent multiple paychecks in this literary nirvana; my carryon luggage carrying the brunt of my book binge with 50 pounds of pages and spines.
I spent a good chunk of my childhood surrounded by Beverly Cleary’s characters: Ramona, Beezus, Henry Higgins, and (my personal favorite) Ribsy. I read, and re-read her books so much that I had Yamhill mapped out in my mind. When I discovered that there was a Beverly Cleary statue garden in Portland, I dug out my heavily loved copy of Ramona the Pest and flipped through the dog-eared pages nostalgically. Seeing their familiar bronzed faces was a joy, and something I totally recommend to all those who grew up with the Quimbys.
While in the neighborhood, Walker and I made our way in the pouring Portland rain to Por que no? a charming, chromatic Mexican restaurant that was as visually appealing as it was appetizing. Authentic ingredients and mesmerizing adornments made this place a must for anyone with great taste.
After the rain cleared, we walked the tacos off at the Portland Rose Garden and Japanese Garden. The afternoon rain made everything all the more vivid; the foliage gleamed emerald and the roses blazed with multi-colored hues. The lush ambience muted all the commotion coming from the hundreds of tourists who shared the space, inspiring introspection and hushed tones. Walker once again proved his unwavering patience as I spent hours sniffing flowers and snapping pictures.
Rain couldn’t dissuade any doughnut lovers as we stood in line at Voodoo Doughnut, an intuition in Portland. The wet wait gave us time to compile a list of prerequisite pastries. Walker and I emerged prosperous, pink box in hand, brimming with chocolate and and icing and cream filling. Sprinkles and sticky fingers affirmed that they were well worth the wait.
We paid homage to history over dinner at Portland’s oldest restaurant, Huber’s Cafe which was established in 1879. The architecture didn’t disappoint; we were greeted with a vast stained glass ceiling and arched doorways. We happened to be in Portland during Fleet Week. Sailors filled the dining area enhancing the feeling of eating in our own little time capsule. Huber’s specialty is turkey, so we filled up on Thanksgiving dinners and drinks strong enough to carry us back to the hotel.
Once the tryptophan wore off we made our way to the Portland Rose Festival for our last night. Filled with the essential carnival components, we passed loud games and greasy deep-fried food on our way to the ferris wheel. Twenty dollars in tickets later, we were swaying on top of the city, taking in as much landscape as possible as we churned in an endless loop.