17 April 2014



Portland is a city I definitely want to visit again! It was my first time here and just a quick trip but it was enough to realize it wasn't long enough. I was there for the TESOL 2014 conference.  I found this great house on TripAdvisor and passed on a sterile hotel to stay here. Stayed in Hawthorne - an awesome neighbourhood with the best bakery at the end of the street.  I visited it every day of  my stay - yummy pastries and delicious soups and sandwiches.

Grand Central Baking Co. on Hawthorne Street
After dropping off my luggage and enjoying soup and a salad at the bakery, I caught the bus to the Portland Art Museum. In the POURING rain. I was more than a bit waterlogged by the time I arrived. But it wasn't snow and with blossoms everywhere, so I didn't care.


Not nearly enough time to see all the floors of art but what I saw, I liked. It included the triptych of Lucien Freud by Francis Bacon (below), the most expensive painting to be sold at auction. It went for $142.4 MILLION at Christie's in November 2013 to an anonymous buyer.  It has been on loan to the museum for the Masterworks series since Dec 21 and only until April 6.

Day one ended with dinner at Kell's , an Irish pub near Skidmore Fountain. 

Dianne, Elisa and Christina - we all arrived at the same time

Dianne and Dan (horrible camera phone pic quality in low light)

Day two was day one for me at the conference (more on my ESL blog about the TESOL convention) and ended with an exploration of Belmont Street and dinner at Dick's Kitchen - delish!
Public Art on the bridge

"Happiness on a Plate" is promised at Dick's Kitchen!
Good food, great company! (Dinner with Christina and Silvia)

Day three was another good day of professional development at the conference.

Silvia, Bonnie, Christina, Elisa, Dan and I
To end off the evening, a group of us headed up to the Pearl district for Thai food in another downpour and a visit at Powell's Books. I had never heard of it and was surprised when we asked locals for a recommendation of what we shouldn't miss in Portland, more than one told us to go to Powell's Books. That speaks volumes about the type of people you meet in Portland and the wonder that is Powell's! It claims to be largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. When you shop, you find the 'room' that has the type of books you are interested in by the colour name of the room and when browsing the shelves, new and used books are all shelved side by side - interspersed so that you see all that they have by an author or on a subject. I ended up there two more times and it was a herculean feat for me not to leave with armfuls of books! 

A huge collection of Nancy Drew (old and new) and on the bottom left, two young boys reading in the Star Wars/ Superheroes aisle.

Day four and the conference came to an end. My last session ended in time to jump on the MAX and head over to the Portland Saturday Market. Another trip to the area by Skidmore Fountain and along the river and another reason to pull out the umbrella. The rain didn't deter a salsa dancing flashmob though!

Back and forth between rain and sun  
Fantastic curiousity cabinets
More wooden utensils (this pic is for you Jill!)

While Dianne and Elisa went on an underground tour of Portland, I enjoyed my second visit to Powell's before meeting them for dinner at Old Town Pizza, an icon in Portland and allegedly haunted although we didn't have any ghostly visitations during our meal. 

Last day in Portland. I headed out to church - a ten minute walk away and held in a historic 1929 chapel.  The Relief Society announced that they would be making cards on the next Thursday, the High Priests announced that they would NOT be making cards on the next Thursday. Someone was accepted into a prestigious Ph.D. program for oceanography and congratulated and the CTRs had the same lesson as my class back home - as evidenced by the young girl who shared her colour choices for her handout from the pulpit during her testimony. Oh, and singing hymns in this ward is an experience. It was a great set of meetings. 


After church, I explored the neighbourhood, the lovely homes and beautiful blossoming trees, and found lunch (at the food trucks) along Hawthorne before leaving for the airport. 

Chicken, cilantro and lime tacos from Neza Taqueria

Dessert from Carte Blanche

"Basketboots" from Carte Blanche
 Okay, I have to describe this most scrumptious dessert.  Pan-fried cornbread, berry-rhubarb compote, salted caramel, sliced apple,and  almond-cinnamon whipped cream. I had read about it on the yelp app and when I found the food truck, two girls were in front of me in line. They started to recommend the sandwich to me and I told them I had come for the dessert I read about. They admitted they had each ordered one and were back for seconds. Clearly a favourite and after enjoying it (during a sunny hiatus after the rain) I understand why.

Everything that makes Portland weird also makes it wonderful. A fun city to visit and explore.  I wasn't able to try out one of their vintage movie theatres or stroll through all the stunning gardens. Next trip!!

Keep Portland Weird (this is also a favourite bumper sticker)

No comments:

nRelate - All Sections