7 Hours in Portland, Oregon
Sometimes it helps to put a little space between yourself and your experiences so that you can look back with some perspective and weed the important moments out from the forgettable ones. Or that's the reason I'm using for why it's taken me this long to finish a fairly short post about my even shorter time in Portland, Oregon.
I got off the bus from Eugene and it was raining. No one, myself included, was surprised. I had a few hours to spend in Portland before my flight out of PDX in the evening, and since the weather was gloomy as always, struggled to find things to do inside while still getting a taste of the Pacific Northwest's capital of urban hipness.
It is in this very moment that I wonder if social media has had something to do with the recent meteoric rise of the doughnut as a coveted and hunted food - the delicious yeast and cake rings are on countless "best of" lists across the internet and almost impossible not to share on Instargram. Even done to a mediocre standard, they are photographable, and in my opinion, deeply American. Anyway, all deep thoughts aside, doughnuts have had a renaissance in Oregon, with numerous small shops popping up, so I stopped into Blue Star Donuts on a recommendation from Josh (who lauded it as a better, less-gimmicky alternative to Voodoo.) The shop is beautiful, and minimal, heralding their product as "doughnuts for adults," (finally!) so fuck off, kids!
I wanted to take a picture of my Blueberry Basil Bourbon doughnut outside to get a little bit the city in the shot, but I didn't because A) I would've looked like a total asshole and B) I was saving the doughnut for later, and preferred it not be soaked by rainwater.
Next I continued to wander downtown. My experience with Portland is limited, but it was quite obvious that this area has been paid a lot of attention in recent years, and is chock full of middle to high-end shops, cafes, and restaurants. Nearby Powell's Books remains a fixture of the area, drawing huge lines of tourists and probably some locals too.
Since I was saving that doughnut, I decided I'd have lunch and a beer at one of the several nearby breweries/bars. I chose Fathead Brewery because they have a pretzel with beer cheese, and also a huge selection of unique craft beers that could be purchased in flights, and these are two of my favorite things in the world.
After just one of my tiny beers, I started feeling the effects of the alcohol. Good thing I didn't have anywhere to be. So I whiled away a couple of hours sipping my little beers, one of which had a blueberry floating in it, til it was time to move on. Entirely on my own and no longer hungry, or thirsty, and with the sun going down, I had no idea what to do. I didn't have enough time to try and go to a museum, so I wandered around some more.
I went over to Salt + Straw on NW 23rd Avenue, thinking maybe I'd be hungry by the time I got there. Instead, I was a little queasy, and the intense aromas of the shop combined with crowds of people had me feeling put off by their list of almost absurdly artisanal flavors, and like a huge serving of dairy would probably be a bad idea. For the first time in my life, I passed on ice cream. (I blame the tiny beers.)
I thought perhaps it was a sign. I walked a bit more in the misty gloom and took a few more photos, before admitting defeat and exhaustion and heading to Union Station to collect my bags and then head to the airport.
In another misstep, I arrived with a solid three hours to kill before my flight to Washington D.C. would be leaving.
One would think that was plenty of time to compose this very post.