After a good night’s sleep and a leisurely rise, we made our way down to Stumptown Coffee for a scone and coffee before heading out. By the way, Stumptown makes amazing coffee. I usually just go for the drip but they only french press or espresso, really nice stuff.
After coffee we strolled around to get a sense of the city. It’s quite well layed out by quadrants, north-west, north-east, south-west, south-east. The only interruption is the north end on the east side of the Willamette River where it bends and offsets the grid. Streets are easy to navigate, avenues run north south and are numbered starting at the river and streets are named a-y (doesn’t reach z) running north from well, Burnside is the major boundary. Not sure what the plan was for streets south of Burnside… at any rate, on to the food!
Of course, Portland has a well established food cart/truck industry that is just awesome. Entire city blocks are lined with carts of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, styles, and generate quite a bit of traffic. Apparently Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson visited Portland a few years ago and that’s the reason why Vancouver is starting to introduce food trucks. We’re big fans of Guy Fieri’s show Diners Drive-ins and Dives , yeah we know it’s terrible but it’s so fun! One episode he visited Portland and recommended a few places. One that interested us the most was Euro Trash. I ordered the escargot and A ordered the calamari baguette. The snails were drenched in butter, which is definitely not a bad thing, and came with some toasted garlic bread. A’s calamari came in a toasted baguette with a delicious wasabi dressed cole slaw. We carried our lunch to the nearest square and sat down to eat. Such a great start to our vacation!
After the arduous journey around the corner for lunch, we wandered around a bit more to tour some of the shops. I had been searching for a new camera strap to replace the one that comes with the camera. I found a few and a Portland leatherworker made one I liked. We found the shop and checked it out. I bought the strap!
All this walking made us hungry… we almost felt guilty for more or less going from restaurant to restaurant but hey, we were on vacation and dammit we were going to enjoy it!
Most restaurants in Portland have a happy hour between usually 3-6 so we decided on oysters at The Parish for an appetizer before dinner. The service was excellent! We read some reviews complaining about the service and food, but it seems it must have just been a rough start because we enjoyed every moment! Both the servers were very knowledgable about the food and were able to identify each oyster. Our favourite were the Chelsea Gems from Washington, sweet and salty with no fishy flavour and finished clean. Of course you have to pair oysters with vodka martini’s too.
We asked the server to recommend a pizza place and she recommended “oh there’s a place around the corner, I think they make pizza.” Yes, they do make pizza. Delicious, wood-fired, hand made, artisan pizza. That place is Oven & Shaker. I’m a fan of the simple and fresh margherita so that’s always my basis of comparison for good pizza. I was SO happy to see a wood forno oven in Oven & Shaker’s open style kitchen and so we were looking forward to some great pizza! A ordered the bianca. Both were perfectly cooked with a nice crispy bottom and the dough was chewy and soft.
We’ll be back…