Today’s Mini Moon feature comes from photographer, Christy Cassano-Meyer…
I’ve called Portland home for the last eight years, and during that time I’ve seen the city transform in the most amazing ways. Of course everyone is familiar with the show “Portlandia,” and while the city does have it’s share of people “keeping it weird,” it’s also a rapidly growing metropolis with tons to offer. To me, Portland is a city that cares about everything from it’s drinking water, sustainably and locally grown food, bike culture, music, and even preserving the wilderness that surrounds it. I’ve seen the people of this town cultivate a safer, cleaner and more delicious city in the last eight years, and I’m proud to have watched it being shaped in the short time I’ve been here.
Eat, Drink and be Merry
I could write a novel about the food and drink culture on it’s own. It seems like hip new restaurants and bars are constantly popping up, with each one being equally as delicious and affordable as my previous favorite.
Brunch isn’t just a meal here, it’s a religion, and people take their weekend brunching extremely seriously. You might have to wait an hour and a half, but places like Screen Door and Olympia Provisions are well worth it. Not snacky in the mornings? Just work your way across the city sipping on all the best coffee instead. Stumptown, Heart and Coava are all local favorites.
Lunch can be done in different ways, from hitting up one of many food cart pods to dining downtown. One of my favorite spots in the city is Prasad. All items on the menu are vegan or raw, and everything is done to perfection. It’s also located in the same building as Yoga Pearl, so take a class at noon and follow it with a smoothie and salad. It’s a great way to reenergize halfway through your day.
Dinner options are endless, and you can find superb food across this city in every price range. Tasty n Alder is definitely at the top of my list. They offer northwest flavors on an ever evolving menu, and I swear their pork chop will change your life. Pok Pok boasts the most amazing northern Thai food from award winning chef Andy Ricker. The flavors and ambience will make you feel like you’ve been transported straight to Chiang Mai. Definitely order the wings when you’re there!
If you’re like me you’ve got quite the sweet tooth, so after dinner head to Salt & Straw and get ready to nosh on ice cream flavors you never could have imagined. Personal favorites include Pear & Blue Cheese and Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper. Pro tip: skip the line that wraps around the block by walking in and buying a pint and cone at the register… or wait the hour plus for the street cred.
Shop til you Drop
This city has everything from modern clothing boutiques to leather goods to vintage finds, and it’s always a fun day just roaming around and checking them out. Backtalk has two locations (one downtown and one in the Mississippi District), and this store carries clothing and jewelry that is fresh and unique. Canoe is a favorite for small, finely crafted home goods or sleek gizmos that I never even knew I needed. If you’re in the Hawthorne district, roam the maze-like rows of clothing at House of Vintage, and pick up that 80’s prom dress you’ve been looking for all these years.
Don’t forget about Powell’s! It’s the largest independent bookstore in the world (not kidding!), and you could spend an entire afternoon perusing it’s many color-coded and highly organized rooms and aisles. Make sure you head all the way up to the top floor and check out the rare book area in the Pearl room.
Go Outside and Play
We have the most stunning scenery in our backyard, and hopefully it’s a huge reason you want to come here. Rent a car and head east, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Just half an hour outside of the city is the Columbia River Gorge, and it’s sweeping views are something to witness any time of year. I recommend Angel’s Rest for a half-day adventure that will get your heart rate up and reward you with a magnificent vista. For not so experienced hikers, take it easy along one mile paths to epic waterfalls. Wahclella Falls and Elowah Falls are two of my favorites.
Drive a little further and head to the coast, and once you’re there keep exploring. Hike the sand dunes at Cape Kiwanda State Park, and you’ll see some of the most beautiful landscape overlooking the ocean. If you surf, rent a wetsuit and board for the day and head to Short Sands beach. It’s tucked away and is a great place for beginners.
Now that you’re Tired
Rest your head in the heart of downtown at the Ace Hotel. Each room has been uniquely decorated by a different artist, and you can expect to find anything from a giant mural on the wall to a record player with a dozen options leaned against it.
Need a little more luxury? Hotel deLuxe is a boutique hotel that combines modern accommodations with a Golden Area of Hollywood flair. You’ll feel like Rita Hayworth or Cary Grant as soon as you step through the doors.
Get hitched, hop on a plane, and come check this city out! I guarantee you’ll be back again soon. Cheers!