I’m going to share a recap of our trip to Portland! Nate had a milestone birthday this year, so he got to choose the location for this birthday trip.
I was not mad at all that he chose Portland, Oregon. It’s a city that’s been on my travel bucket list forever, and I had a million things I wanted to do and see and eat while I was there.
Before I share photos and such, I’m going to try something new.
I’ve been sharing travel recaps for years now (you can see all of my travel blog posts here). I share these partly because it’s fun to go back and remember what we did on our various trips, but also because I want it to be helpful for YOU if you’re visiting that city!
I do a lot of research before I travel to scope out the best places to eat and drink while I’m traveling, and I want that info to be available to you, if you’re interested.
So I’ll drop the travel map below in case you’re visiting Portland and want to find some great breweries, coffee shops, or restaurants. This is the exact map that Nate and I made and used all weekend, so it has an icon for our airbnb home base. But other than that, everything should be pretty helpful to you if you’re bopping around PDX and need to find a place to eat nearby!
Ok, on to the recap..
So, this trip was for Nate’s birthday. But it was also our first trip together without the babies! We’ve done a few overnight stays at Austin hotels, and both Nate and I have done solo trips and left the other spouse at home with the boys. But we’ve never gotten away for the weekend and left both Milo and Dayton at home. So this was a milestone trip!
^ First photo of the trip is the prep to leave… I sometimes get frustrated when I see influencers with kids traveling all around, wearing amazing outfits on the beach and capturing incredible photos. And I’m just like HOW??? It takes so much coordination and prep work to get away for the weekend!
For instance, here was one factor: I left 95 ounces of breastmilk in the freezer for Dayton. That was several months of planning (there are some bags of milk there that date back to Jan/Feb of this year!) and I had to pump 4X a day on this trip.
It’s really easy to say that traveling isn’t worth it because it takes so much energy just to get away. I’d say it takes about 7 points of joy to plan the childcare and pumping and everything else, and you get about 10 points of joy back, so it’s just barely worth it. Haha. But in the end it’s a gain!
Nate and I arrived at the Austin airport late Thursday afternoon for our flight. A fun perk from learning to fly with young children is that I now appreciate quiet airplane rides SO MUCH. So much, y’all! I got a coffee and a sandwich at the airport, downloaded 3 new books and a tv show (Severance on Apple TV, for those who are interested…my sisters Kylee and Cara both told me to watch it, and omg. I’m hooked), and settled in for a long, quiet flight. It was absolutely amazing.
Flying west from Austin is amazing because, despite the long flight, we still arrived in Portland with enough time to grab dinner before checking in to our airbnb.
^ We got our food at Eem just before last call! I love those gorgeous pendants over the bar.
^ Tired (with the time change it was 11 pm, which is LATE for this mama!) but oh so happy to be in Portland with my man!!
I kicked the trip off with a cocktail, Nate got a beer, and we split some fried rice and curry.
Since the kitchen was about to close, we enjoyed our food at a fireplace nook outside. Cozy!
Then we walked across the street to a Migration Brewing and got a few pints to enjoy. The poor bartender said he had just cleaned up from a very loud, rowdy group who had destroyed the tap room. Ugh. We saw the open sign and walked in, and he said “we’re closed except for to-go beer” (and we were totally ok with that.) But when he saw it was just two quiet, tired parents who wanted a beer, he said we could grab a couple bar stools and get a pint to drink there. I told him we could wipe down our own counter, if that’s helpful. 😉
All this to say…if you’re someone in the service industry: thank you! You do more than anyone knows, and it’s all so we can enjoy ourselves and have a fun time enjoying the experience of food and drinks.
So we shut that place down! And by shut it down, I mean we quietly sipped our beers and called an Uber to take us home. Ha.
We got to our little apartment pretty late, and it was too dark for me to see the view outside. But when I woke up in the morning, I walked out of the bedroom and saw this:
How lovely is that? The cherry blossoms were in full bloom in Portland, and this 3rd story flat had floor-to-ceiling windows so we could enjoy them from the kitchen table.
Nate chose the airbnb, and it is 100% the type of place he would own if he was a single guy with no kids.
So beautiful! It was walking distance to a Heart Coffee location, so Nate went out and got a pair of coffees and scones for us while I was pumping and getting ready for the day. I loved drinking my morning coffee at this table and looking out the window to see those beautiful pink blossoms.
And then we headed out to start the morning at Pine State Biscuits. This seems to be one of those places that EVERYONE mentions. It’s seriously on pretty much every travel guide to Portland, so I figured it would be fun to check it out!
I thought it was delicious! The biscuits were nice and fluffy, but sturdy enough to hold up to the peppery gravy. Freshly made salsa + thick cut bacon + oj to round out the meal. Yum! And then after breakfast we went to…
…another coffee shop.
Barista is a beautiful coffee shop in downtown Portland.
^ Wearing my parka because it’s waterproof, and Friday was the only cold(ish) day of the trip with rain in the forecast. It was in the 40s when we woke up!
I love getting an espresso when I’m able to sip it on a barstool and overlook the downtown traffic. Feels so chic!
^ Loved this wall of clocks representing all the Portlands. I live in Texas and didn’t realize there’s a Portland, TX. (PS: Portland, Maine is next on my travel bucket list!)
Powell’s Books was a short walk from Barista, and I love visiting local bookstores in various cities around the country. (Milo does, too!)
It’s a MASSIVE store! 4 floors tall and an entire city block. I could have browsed these shelves for hours and hours.
I love that it’s a mixture of both new and used books. And my favorite part of independent bookstores is finding recommendations from staff.
^ Next up we went on a brewery crawl! Nate’s main reason for visiting Portland was to check out the incredible beer scene, so he hand picked about 15 breweries that he wanted to prioritize. I think we ended up making it to about 12 of them. Needless to say, it was wonderful to NOT mess with renting a car and driving and instead just get ride shares from place to place!
^ Look how beautiful the Wayfinder taproom is! I love that brick wall and the exposed wood ceiling. The have exceptional lagers, so Nate and I ordered half pours of pretty much every beer on tap and tasted everything.
Rainy day in Portland drinking beers with my hubs. Pure happiness!
I got a chili to eat with my beers. Ultimate rainy day comfort meal.
So we drank all the lagers (not kidding…ALL of them. All.) and then headed over to the next brewery…Away Days.
As far as ambiance goes, this was my favorite. I would love to live in the neighborhood and pop into this adorable tap room for a weekly pint.
It was a very small space with just a few indoor bar stools and tables and a couple picnic tables outside on the street.
There was something about the size and layout + the cask pulls that reminded me of a little pub in the UK. The garage door-style wall was rolled up so that Away Days had an indoor/outdoor feel to it. I just felt so happy sitting there and drinking my pint!
Cheers! This was an English Mild on cask, so it was a little bit softer and less bright than a typical co2 beer. So cozy on a rainy day!
^ This is so typical of us when we’re visiting a new city: we order ALL of the beers and then just try tastes of everything. Then we finish our favorite and leave the rest. Does anyone else do this? I sometimes order a flight of 4 oz pours, but Nate is much more of a beer nerd than I am, so he prefers to get half or full pours to get a better experience of the texture/taste/head/temperature.
So we finished up at Away Days…
…and then walked down the street to our third brewery of the day. (And I snapped a pic of these trees on the way. They were EVERYWHERE! I remember seeing this tree behind a chain link fence right next to a trash dumpster and thinking of how much beauty it brought to that little corner of the world.)
Next we stopped by Bearlic Brewery and Taproom and ordered a few beers. This is a large space with SO many beers on tap! They seemed to do al little bit of everything, and they had pizza. Nate and I both agreed that the beer wasn’t our favorite here, but if we were visiting with kids we’d definitely be back to get dinner and enjoy all the space. There were lots of families here on a Friday night!
I tried their Oat Soda, which was served on a side-pull tap handle. (Remember when we went to this Czech brewery in Denver 3 times in 24 hours? Haha. They served all of their beers this way.) I ordered the “Milk Pour,” which was basically a small 3 ounce pour of beer with a HUGE head of foam!
Ha! Definitely one of the more memorable beers of our trip!
We tried a few more beers at Baerlic and then headed out to our dinner reservation at….
…Magna Kusina. Oh my goodness, this Filipino restaurant was SO good!!
It was a pretty small menu, so we were able to try a little bit of everything. I got two Tuhog (skewers), which are pictured above. The left is Diver Scallops, and the right is King Oyster Mushroom. They were both so scrumptious.
^ This shrimp on housemade milk bread reminded me of one of my favorite dishes here in Austin at Sa-Ten. Except this one was SO spicy!
^ A fun thing about an adults-only trip: I get to order drinks with dinner and enjoy them slowly! This is the Mabuhay Mojito, and it had a yummy togarashi rim.
I know that Portland has been fairly careful in regards to social distancing in the past two years, so most restaurants had outdoor dining. We were sitting outside at a small table next to a heat lamp, and despite the cold weather and drizzle, it felt cozy and festive. I also noticed that most restaurants had little makeshift outdoor patios with wooden shipping pallets on the floor and metal roofs. They were all the exact same! I assume it’s because it’s a fairly inexpensive thing to build, and it provides lots of covered outdoor seating for Portland’s rainy climate. But I just thought it was interesting that the design was the EXACT same at every single restaurant.
We wrapped up the night with a scoop of ice cream at 50 Licks, since that was the shop nearest to our flat. (Don’t worry – we went to Salt and Straw later on in the trip!)
Ok, I’m going to wrap it up there for now. It was a fun first day in Portland! I’ll share days 2 and 3 in a separate blog post. Xo.