After a few days in Priest Lake, Idaho, my mom and I drove to Portland, Oregon (about 7 hours) to pick up my husband at the airport – he met us for the weekend – and enjoy one of our favorite cities. My guy and I have been to Portland a number of times since we’ve been together and each time we love it more and more. In fact, we frequently share our day dreams about running up their for the weekend. So, it’s always a treat when we actually get there. I would love to tell you that we tried tons of new restaurants and did only new things during our stay, but that just isn’t the case. Because we’ve all been stressed with work and adulting is just a lot of work sometimes, each of us really just wanted to do the things we knew and loved. So we went to our favorite restaurants and shops in different parts of downtown. We did add one new coffee shop to the list, but other than that, each of these places is tried and trusted. This is my perfect weekend in downtown Portland travel guide full of places worth sharing and trying whether it’s your first visit to The City of Roses or you daydream about returning again and again like us!
Our favorite hotel to stay at in downtown Portland is The Paramount. It’s right downtown – a few blocks from all of the train/streetcar lines (you can take one line all the way to the airport!). It’s also within walking distance to tons of great restaurants, Pioneer Square, and loads of shopping, including what may be the best Nordstrom (in my opinion)!
So, let’s get started with coffee. I have a theory that the Pacific Northwest and colder cities in general are great for food, beer, and coffee. I’m yet to find this not to be the case, but I’m willing to keep traveling to put my theory to the test! We discovered Public Domain a few visits ago and besides having great coffee, they had an almond croissant that was almost too over-the-top, gushing with almond paste and smothered in slivered almonds! On this last trip, the croissant didn’t have as much almond paste filling, so I’m wondering if they changed bakeries or recipes – tasty all the same though!
Our new coffee discovery on this trip was Case Study Coffee. The coffee is delicious, the morsels scrumptious, and the overall ambiance casual. It would be a great place to meet a friend or take your laptop to get some work done!! Here I go daydreaming again…
We enjoyed lunch at PAZZO. It’s an Italian restaurant and bar. My husband and I enjoyed dinner there on our last trip, so we checked out their brunch menu this time around. My mom had the fennel soup; my guy had the pappardelle with bolognese; and I had the chicken caesar salad. We’d shared a caesar salad last time and I remember loving it so much, I was inspired to make this homemade kale caesar salad with salmon. I really loved it this time around too!! So yum!
Anytime we’re in Portland or Seattle (see my 2-day guide to Seattle here), we go to the Polish Pottery Place stores. We’ve been building up our everyday dishes from these stores for about 7 years and our basic set is almost complete! As you can see from the photos below, it’s hand-painted polish pottery available in all shapes, sizes, patterns, and color schemes! They’re beautiful pieces and incredibly sturdy – not to mention a great conversation starter with guests. The store is full of so many designs, it’s hard not to fall in love!! The Portland store is in an old house in the Northwest district – available via the NS streetcar line! There are also lots of restaurants and shops in that part of town, including Salt & Straw Ice Cream and Blue Star Donuts!
Ok. So here’s the thing. I told you we didn’t want to fuss about the visit, which included not worrying about reservations days in advance or anything stressful. So, I’m telling you right here and now that we had dinner at the same restaurant Friday and Saturday nights! We’d eaten at Southpark Seafood a few visits ago (we ate there twice on that trip too actually). The offer a slew of fish dishes, other mains, and a tasty selection of salads. The fish is delicious and served in so many different ways. There are also tons of veggie options and the wine and dessert options are sublime!! Reservations are needed to eat at Southpark, but we had pretty good luck making them day-of! Pictured below (in order) are the beet salad (I swapped out the bleu cheese dressing), the Dungeness Crab salad (literally the best thing ever, I think), salmon tartare, fried chicken + dutch baby, spicy shrimp + grits (it really is spicy), roasted cauliflower salad (really more potatoes than cauliflower), smoked halibut croquettes w. romesco sauce, and passionfruit cheesecake (positively divine)!