Breathtaking nature. Killer food trucks. A beautifully unique wedding. These are what I’ll always remember about our lovely few days in Portland.
Our friends Whitney and Roger (and their effervescent pug, Gouda) moved to Portland about three years ago. And what better time to check out their new digs than their wedding! It was a truly charming weekend, from the moment they picked us up at PDX at midnight on Thursday. We spent the better part of the car ride from the airport exclaiming about how excited we were just to be in each other’s presence again and about how lucky we were to have found an Airbnb just up the street from their house and all the wedding festivities.
We had a picture-perfect first morning in Portland, taking a drive to the farms at Sauvie Island to pick flowers for the wedding. Each of us armed with a pair of shears, we gathered buckets and buckets of dahlias, cosmos, sunflowers, and more. Jon and I also took a detour into the vegetable rows in search of some peppers to stow away in our luggage.
After picking flowers and peaches, we headed “home” for a nap and then went to Roger and Whitney’s house for a beautiful rehearsal dinner where we got to meet their family and friends over falafel and shawarma fries (shawarma + fries = a revelation).
The following morning, we had breakfast at their local coffeehouse, Fourth Estate. I still have dreams about my scrambled eggs with kimchi. Killer egg sandwich the next day, too.
From there, we ventured out to Mount Tabor Park to see the annual PDX Adult Soap Box Derby. I can say with certainty that I’ve never seen anything like it–the perfect bit of weird Portland to make our trip complete. We followed it up with a long stroll all over town with our friends Fred and Katie, featuring an arcade trip, lots of sightings of cats and unusual plants, and amazing food. We started with lunch at Hoda’s Middle-Eastern Cuisine, where I had a delicious perfectly cooked chicken kebab and a fattoush salad–I just can’t keep away from my home food for long.
Then we hit the gourmet ice cream shop Salt & Straw to try some of their stranger offerings like bone marrow and smoked bourbon cherries, honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, tomato water, olive oil, and snickerdoodle. They were all pretty intriguing, but I think I definitely hit the jackpot with mine, which was Stumptown Sumatra coffee and Burnside Bourbon.
Following that was a raucous evening at Double Dragon bar for the bachelor/bachelorette party, where I enjoyed a delicious rum-heavy Dark n’ Stormy and pork belly banh mi (my first–and it was amazing) while standing (er, dancing) on the sidelines of karaoke night.
At last came Sunday, the day of the wedding. After running into Whitney picking up her morning coffee (chillest. bride. ever.), I turned my attention to getting dolled up and went to have my hair curled at The Parlour, an adorable combination salon and tattoo parlor (*cough* so Portland *cough*).
The wedding was absolutely charming, beginning with an outdoor ceremony at Cathedral Park and then moving to a reception at The Colony.
Delicious refreshing drinks. I think I probably drank a 2-gallon bottle’s worth of club soda with fresh-squeezed lime juice.
Gourmet food trucks–I went to town on this arugula and shaved beet salad. Plus grilled PB&J sandwiches with jalapeno and bacon. (Yes, you read that right.)
And dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. A good time was had by all.
With one more day to enjoy Portland before our red-eye flight home, we took the bus downtown and hit all three stops Whitney and Roger had recommended: the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Powell’s City of Books, and Ground Kontrol arcade.
The Chinese garden was gorgeous and we got to stop in at the tea house for some tea and edamame with garlic, ginger, and spices.
I had a white tea called Silver Needles, “roasted chesnut and wild honey aroma with a delicate, lingering honeysuckle sweetness.” This was my first time drinking out of a gaiwan teacup; the waitress taught me to use the lid to push the tea leaves out the way before sipping from the bowl. Learning experiences!
I almost fainted of wonder in the cookbook aisles at Powell’s. It was like reaching my mother ship. I left with this print for our kitchen and an overwhelming giddiness, but no books since I’d already stocked up on food literature at the local independent bookstore in Saint John’s.
After some gaming at Ground Kontrol (and a harsh reminder of how hard Dr. Mario could be), we stumbled upon an epic lot of food trucks, including this pleasant surprise:
The khinkali (Georgian soup dumplings) were the best. Wish I had some right now!
As the perfect last note, we concluded our last day with some garden raspberries and hammock lounging at Whitney and Roger’s. By 9:30, we were on a plane eating a hasty/tasty dinner from Good Dog/Bad Dog– Italian sausage for me and French fries for Jon–before a night of sleepy reading. (I re-read The Giver in preparation for seeing the new movie. We just saw it. I have thoughts if you want to hear them.)
Long story short–it was a glorious trip I’ll treasure forever. The wedding was both heartwarming and a ton of fun, and it was great to get a good glimpse at the life Whitney and Roger have created for themselves out in Portland. I’m so happy for them and wish them all the best in their marriage. Keep it weird.