After checking into the uber posh The Nines, head up to Departure, the rooftop restaurant and lounge for a glass of wine and Dim Sum and watch as the city becomes bright with lights, setting a romantic backdrop perfect for canoodling on the outdoor couches.
Dinner at the acclaimed Sel Gris, a cozy urban bistro, where the service is as much a part of the experience as the delectable presentation. If you are celebrating a special occasion (as we were), splurge on their oysters on the half shell and foie gras followed by their fig salad as a starter. On a date? Order two entrees, but agree to share. The unique pairing of flavors is even more exciting when you can sample a variety of dishes.
Breakfast at the Southern inspired Pine State Biscuits. This is not for the finicky diner, so prepare to indulge. The ultimate in comfort food, I recommend The Reggie: fried chicken, bacon, egg and cheese smothered in a spicy sausage gravy piled on a flaky buttermilk biscuit. Wash it down with a Cheerwine. A heart attack on a plate? Maybe. But worth every clogged artery.
Take the scenic route to the sophisticated Nob Hill (not to be confused with its sister neighborhood in San Francisco) and mosey along the narrow tree lined streets filled with high-end boutiques mixed with a few national chains. Fall can be a rainy time in Portland and this particular Saturday went from sunny to downpours in a 10 minute period. We nixed our plans to head over to Forest Park and the Rose Gardens and walked (umbrella in hand) to the Ace Hotel for a cup o’ joe and hot chocolate at the trendy Stumptown Cafe.
From there, cross the street to Powell’s Books, one of the largest and most successful independent bookstores in the world (with multiple locations, Powell’s City of Books takes up a whole city block!). A bibliophile’s heaven, peruse the nine color coded rooms and 3,500 different sections housing thousands of used and new books. My favorite part was the rare books room—who new an Advanced Reading Copy of Twilight is currently going for $500?!
Head over to Portland’s Mississippi Arts District for a walk in The Meadow, a purveyor of exotic table salt, the world’s best chocolate (which I am now convinced is Valrhona; try their Recolte 2008 from Venezuela—indescribably devine), wine, flowers and fine art. Ever since my husband’s aunt (you know the one who makes her own salt—she actually does do other things!), first told me about this darling little treasure chest, I have been dying to attend one of their Cooking with Salt classes. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a class the weekend I was there, so do yourself a favor and plan your trip around it. I have every reason to believe it would be worth it.
Dinner at Le Pigeon. Regrettably, I chose a different establishment, and it just didn’t live up to my high expectations. Next time I’m in town, I can’t wait to try what Concierge.com calls this “tiny gem…with seriously satisfying, soul-reviving, lick-your-plate-clean food.”
Before departing, a leisurely breakfast at Urban Farmer and dive head first into the modern culinary movement. You’ll feel like you stepped into a chic restored farmhouse (notice the wall of colorful canned pickled vegetables), but the “farmer” here moonlighted as an interior designer—it’s tres chic. The decor isn’t the only thing worth writing home about—the food, what I’m coining country fusion, will have you yee-hawing.