Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eating in Portland, OR

Coava Coffee Roasters

Nuvrei bakes

This has been one busy summer for us! The end of the school year was super busy for me as a volunteer and then the following weekend, we went over to Vancouver for a few family functions. Shortly after, we went on a road trip to Portland for six days. Shortly after that, we went camping on Mount Rainier. I started this Portland post soon after we got back but I just couldn't finish it before getting ready for our next trip. Better late than never so here it is!

We spent six lovely but hot days in the downtown area of Portland, Oregon. It only takes three hours to drive from Redmond but that's still three hours too many since we don't like to drive. We haven't been back to Portland since our boy was 3.5 years old. Last time it was more of a tour of Oregon so this time we wanted just to spend our time in the city.

We love Portland but we hate hot weather. Unfortunately, we had one of the worst heat waves when we went down there. Luckily, we were able to come back to an air-conditioned hotel every night. Thank goodness for air-conditioning! It was 34-38C pretty much every day we were down there. At one point our car was reading 41C. We normally don't have to turn on the AC in the car but it was unbearable.



We shopped like tourists and dined out like locals. We hit a few of the best restaurants, cafes and bakeries in town. We spent our July 4th weekend down there so we got to watch the fireworks display at the waterfront downtown as well. The July 4th weekend also meant a lot of sales at shops and we took full advantage of that. It was awesome! :)

We got a lot of shopping done but we had to reward my 6.5 year old for his good behavior with lots of breaks at the hotel swimming pool, TV in the hotel room, ice cream and pastry trips. We ate breakfast at the hotel every day since a complimentary American hot buffet breakfast was included in our stay. For lunch we would either grab sandwiches or snack on things like nuts, fruit, and cheese crackers. We dined out for dinner three times and I cooked in our hotel room two nights. Even though we only had a studio suite, we still had a full kitchen with a dining table and chairs. We also got to use the onsite BBQ grill, which meant less clean up for us.

Hotel cooking

Grilled salmon and cod with couscous and assorted veggies

We dined at Prasad, which was more like a small cafeteria style place connected to a yoga studio. The vegan bowls were simple but good and they definitely gave me lots of ideas. Then we tried Pok Pok. The wait for seating was over 2 hrs when we arrived so we decided to order take out. We ordered over $50 worth of food but it was barely enough to feed the three of us. The food was delicious but the portions were so small. Blossoming Lotus was the final place that we tried. It was awesome that we could walk to the restaurant from our hotel. I loved my "cheeseburger" but my husband said his dish was alright. He had high expectations for this vegan restaurant. Our son ordered some fake mac & cheese with BBQ tofu curls and cornbread and we thought that was too sweet and yucky. The idea of using tofu curls was cool though so when we visited the Food Fight! Grocery store, we bought some to take home.


Vegan "cheeseburger" at Blossoming Lotus

Stuffed peppers at Blossoming Lotus

Coconut chai at Blossoming Lotus

Chili bowl at Prasad

Dragon bowl at Prasad

Little dragon bowl at Prasad

The Portland PSU farmer's market is one of my favorite outdoor farmer's markets. I made sure our stay included a Saturday so that we could go to it and grab groceries for our return to Redmond. It was as delightful as I remembered it and we bought plenty of stuff. It's a good thing we had a full size fridge at our hotel!






5 large zucchini for $2!

Small treats from Two Tarts

We visited Heart on our last Portland visit so this time, I wanted us to try Coava Coffee Roasters and Barista. These three coffee shops are among the 50 top places for coffee in the USA. Coava and Barista were both great. Coava Coffee Roasters sold pastries from Little T Baker and my husband said their croissants were one of the best he had ever tasted in American. We got to try a few other things from Little T Baker another day and they were all good too. I had a latte at Coava and an ice coffee at Barista.




We loved the bakeries in Portland! They're so much better than Seattle and Vancouver. And there are so many of them too. On this trip, we tried Nuvrei and Ken's Artisan Bakery. We like to judge bakeries by their plain croissants. Ken's and Nuvrei's croissants were about the same but for the price, we would probably choose Nuvrei's croissants. They're both crispy and flaky on the outside but soft on the inside and not at all greasy. Although Ken's version was a bit larger, Nuvrei's version was only $2.25. That's cheap for America! Little T Baker's croissants were delicious too but were definitely more buttery. We bought several items from each bakery and overall, I think our favorite bakery would have to be Nuvrei. Oh, how I miss that bakery already!











We're not big on donuts but on this visit, we did try Voodoo doughnuts and I thought they were good. It's a total tourist hangout and I'm not sure the line up in the heat was worth it. The vegan doughnuts were a bit dense, dry, and overpriced but the regular donuts were good. I didn't care for the fancy colored ones for the kids though. It's a Portland thing so you got to at least try them, right?




As if dining out, visiting coffee shops and stuffing ourselves with bakes weren't enough, we had to visit a couple of local ice cream shops as well. Did I mention it was freaking hot in Portland when we were there?! We went to Cool Moon Ice Cream. I loved the Kulfi ice cream! It's pistachio, rose water, and cardamon. I'm totally going to copy this at home soon. On our last day in Portland, we shopped on NW 23rd so we stopped by Salt & Straw on one of our breaks. I tried the strawberry honey balsamic ice cream and the honey lavender ice cream. The honey lavender was my favorite. I need to make that one too!

Thank you Portland for all the great food and great food ideas ;)







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