Exploring Portland

Mom meet PDX: Mother’s day weekend (part 1/2)

I’m sure you all have heard about the tornados out in Texas. Well, tornado MommaBeats hit the Portland area Friday night for Mother’s day weekend. As I’ve only been here two weeks, it was a true test of my tour guiding skills, but, frankly, I think I killed it. I would suggest these sights for a comprehensive weekend tour of the Portland/Columbia River Gorge Area

Saturday itinerary:
Brunch: Down to Earth Cafe, Multnomah Village
An awesome vegan and vegetarian friendly brunch spot, open early (which you should take advantage of because it gets busy), and selling Stumptown coffee which is a glorious thing. I got a vegan burrito (eggs are my nemesis) that was good enough to make me forget I wasn’t really eating eggs.
Stop 1. Multnomah Falls
This is a long day, not intended for the faint of heart. But every step along the way is worth it. First, Multnomah falls. Obviously the most visited tourist sight of the gorge area, but it’s a well deserved title (or curse?). Its gigantic, and stunning, and if you’re looking for exercises quite the challenging trek up to the top (MommaBeats made it to switchback 4 of 11, so we didn’t make it to the top. But that’ll be a story for another adventure). Very accessible via car but get there EARLY because traffic quickly becomes a nightmare.
Stop 2. Vista House: A ‘house’ built with the intention of providing visitors with an awesome view of the Columbia River Gorge. And, fun history fact, it was at risk for being shut down but the people of Oregon campaigned and fundraised to keep it open. Those guys love their views and nature. Again, very accessible to drive to and gives you a great panoramic view of the gorge. Good for those who like views but aren’t ready to hike to see them.
Stop 3. McMenamen’s Edgefield: After all the exploring/walking that you just did, you probably will be hungry/thirsty. This hotel/resort-esque stop offers a brewery, winery, distillery, put-put golfing, gardens, and a spa. Its pretty much an all in one stop shop. Anyway, we ate at the pub and it was delicious. The menu is limited to salad, burgers, and pizza which was surprisingly good given I am a giant pizza snob. The beer was great (brewed on site!), and then you can walk it all off exploring the various nooks and crannies of the property OR sweat it off watching some live glass blowing for 5 minutes OR play a round of put-put which I didn’t try but looked very challenging. Again, this place definitely gets busy as its an active hotel plus a great day trip, but even with it being a gorgeous day the wait time to eat wasn’t bad and nothing seemed over crowded.
4. Pittock Mansion: My second time being here, but the views are still second to none. Good for impressing Moms.
Dinner: Journey’s Restaurant in Multnomah village (I was too exhausted to muster up any Yelp energy). Fair in the service departments (It’s seat yourself which lends itself to some disorganization) but fresh food and a wide beer and cider selection.
Stay Tuned for more urban adventures on Day 2

Car Shopping, PDX edition

So, I did, indeed, purchase a vehicle this weekend. Please meet Sally Fields. She is a 2001 White Subaru and I like her, I really like her.

Common responses when you tell people you purchased a Subaru in Portland:

1. “I have one of those.”

2. “They have a great resale value in this area”

3. “Great car”

4. “I took mine up to Mt. Hood last weekend.”

Portland loves its Subarus. I love Sally Fields.

I got Sally off of Craigslist. If you’re going to go this route, you will be dedicating an entire day to the process, and you will spend the entire day on your phone and in your car. BUT you will probably get a cheaper option if you’re looking to save cost. If you have more money because a cross country move hasn’t robbed you of all of  your savings, then a dealer would be way easier, less stressful and time consuming.

Needless to say, after I completed by 7 hours of car hunting, I drank. Treat yo self.

Descheutes brewery.

Descheutes brewery


A MUST DO: Mazama Portland Street Rambles


Go here. Set aside time on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night, and go on a street ramble. Especially if your new to Portland. For one of many reasons: 1) If you’re new to Portland and like myself odds are you are a novice hiker at best, and this is a good introduction to longer, hilly walks. 2) They take you to areas of Portland you might not have thought to visit otherwise 3) You meet really great people.

Mazamas sponsers a lot of hikes and climbing classes in the Portland and surrounding areas, but they also offer beginning to moderate level hikes to the public for a small ($2) fee each week. Tonight I went on a 3.25 mile hike from the Pearl District, up through the alphabet district, and up to the Portland Rose Gardens and the Hoyt Arbortorium. I had heard of these two places but had yet to figure out how to get to them. The hike went at a fairly mild pace, but it was an excellent work out, as by the time I finished my ass and thighs hurt like I had just run about 6 miles.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap a pic of the scenery as I was turned off from technology (aka My battery was dying and I needed to find my bus stop)

Fun Portland Fact: The Alphabet District got its name because each of the streets, starting at Burnisde are in alphabetical order (Burnside, Couch, Davis, Everett, Flanders….and so on and so forth). This makes it a hell of a lot easier to find your way around. Also Ned Flanders from the Simpson was named for Flanders street, and Couch St. is indeed pronounced as Cooch so….there’s that.

Weekend Wanderings

Saturdaze in PDX

For anyone new to Portland who has guests coming to Portland in the near future, look no further than the Portland Saturday Market to give them a brief introduction to the city. Filled with local vendors, a row of food carts with every international option you can imagine, and, of course, beer its a great way to people watch. Sure, its overpriced and huge tourist trap I’m sure, but with a river front view and easy access to walking around town, its a great starting point to show your average out of towner (hi mom, guess where you’re going next weekend).

I witnessed a Pro-Marijuana Rally today! Stereotypes!

I witnessed a Pro-Marijuana Rally today! Stereotypes!

I stopped by Powell’s Books, and if you are the old fashioned type like myself that never succumbed to e-readers for the sheer fact of LOVING books, this place is dying and going to heaven. Four floors of books.You need a map to navigate all the books. All KINDS of books. Literally any book you could ever want. Holy smokes.


I took public transportation twice today. Both ran incredibly smoothly and abided by the time that the app and/or display screens said they would abide by. Therefore it was a total upgrade from the MTA shit storm I am accustomed to and I will not dwell on the matter. I don’t know if this is normal for weekday scheduling but, i had no problems. For those new to the area I would suggest getting the PDX Bus App, which lets you look up your route, find times of upcoming buses, and save your most frequently used route if you’re like me and can’t remember directions for shit.

Then two men fought for 45 minutes and punched each other in the face and the more pompous of them won for reasons I do not know.


First of all, if you are traveling solo in Portland and are intimidated at the thought of going to a very busy environment by yourself (sidenote: if you’re not one of these people you amazing me to no end), then Pearl District and Old Town Portland are not the place you want to be on a Saturday night. Every bar I passed in what I believe is technically the “Entertainment District” was complete packed, lines out the door, tons of short skirts, ladies free duded pay a cover joints. This was disheartening because, Portland, I thought you were better than that. But I guess theres a college in Portland and college kids need a place to be douchie too. They do shut a couple of streets down which blows for parking but is nice for walking in the middle of streets.

Today I visited some new pals (yeah, I’m meeting people) at The Barrel Room. Again, this is not a place I would go to on my lonesome after hours. After a certain point there is a line and a cover but I beat that. Barrel Room is divided into a couple of sections. One section has a total club vibe with lights and DJs and Uptown Funk on rotation every 5th song it seems (But that song never gets old so it’s fine). Across form that there is a Dueling Pianos bar which is a favorite among bachelorette parties in Portland. The two performers are actually very good and very entertaining and know every song in the world. If you’re looking for craft beer, or even good beer, this is not the place to go. If you are looking to conversate with others, this is not the place to go. If you’re looking to dance, act a fool, and have a generally good night out and sing along to some great covers, then you might want to check it out!

Tomorrow I have to go buy a car so wish me luck with that!

Table for One

Table for One Review: Sasquatch Brewery (Hillsdale)

The adventures of one girl awkwardly drinking/eating by herself begin!

This is actually the first time I spent money to eat/drink all week. I’ve been trying to be good, otherwise I would have eaten my way Hillsdale Food Cart Park (which is a thing) already. I haven’t been there yet. I wanted to give them due warning.

Tonight I went to Sasquatch Brewery (Hillsdale location). Here’s a summary:

Sasquatch Brewery tasters, $1 a pop!

Sasquatch Brewery tasters, $1 a pop!

On a scale of 1-5 on how awkward it was to dine and drink there alone (1 being ‘oh my god get me out of here people are staring’ and 5 being ‘I just walked into a Modern day Cheers set, this is amazing’): 3
On a scale of 1-5 on beer quality (1 being “I could have stayed at home and drank Natty Lights” and 5 being “This is liquid heaven in a pint glass): 3.5
On a sclae of 1-5 on food quality: 3.5

All in all I felt Sasquatch was perfectly average. I enjoyed the Hairy Knuckles Stout, which is your classic American stout, and the Berry Goldwater, which is on the fruitier side (I believe boysenberry was mentioned in the description). I felt the Healy Heights and Oregon Session left a bit to be desired. The Mac & Cheese was great, don’t get my wrong, but it didn’t knock me off my bar stool (which some Mac & Cheese’s have been known to do).

In terms of eating on my lonesome, It’s not that I ever felt weird; I got a seat at the bar right away (which, if you are going to go someplace by yourself, is the best place to sit), but everyone was too busy to talk to me, so I spent most of the time inspecting my beer or checking my phone. Which, compared to other solo dining experiences, wasn’t the best feeling.

However, this place is a mere 10 minute walk from my door so I will be going again. So fuck it.

In other news, my neighborhood of Hillsdale is gorgeous. It is a long walk, medium length run to Multnomah village, which up until now I had only seen at 7 am going to work but it’s actually really an adorable little town. Two older men were playing banjos on the street and I wanted to squeeze their little faces. There are quite a few places I am looking to check out including Otto and Anita’s European Restaurant, Down to Earth Cafe, and Renner’s Grill which I’m sure will charm the pants off my parents. Other than that though the Hillsdale neighborhood is literally the greenest green I’ve ever seen.

My neighbors.

My neighbors.

And I have neighbors that have chickens that I’m 50/50 on whether they want to kill me or be my friends.

Stay tuned for some weekend adventures!

Exploring Portland, Moving 101

Welcome To Portland

I officially have arrived in Portland, OR.  My Portland fill-in grandmother, aka Nancy my landlord, set me up with a plate of hummus and pita, a mason jar (yes you read that correctly) of milk, and coffee beans and a coffee grinder upon my arrival. I had to google how to utilize these last two things. This was much appreciated because United offers you less food than a prisoner at the state penitentiary, but I digress.

Side note: Do yourself a favor and don’t watch The Fault in Our Stars on any plane ride ever. Literally ever. It will results in the two men on either side of you offering you all their napkins for your tears. 

Things I learned about Portland today:

-The DMV is a smoothly run and well oiled machine. I was in an out in 20 minutes and that’s with having to take a written test, which I passed, thank you very much. The women running the Lake Oswego DMV are nothing short of saintly cute grandma types. FUN PORTLAND FACT: Before getting the DMV you can check and see wait times on the OR DMV website! Also, out-of-staters be prepared to take a written driving test to get your license.
-If I were a betting woman, I would bet that the Hillsdale section of Portland got its name because it is very, VERY hilly. Which my body learned on a run today.
-It is very easy to not want to be employed in Portland, OR.

Things I learned about life today:
-Switching banks is super annoying. TD, I love you, but your East Coast superiority complex does not work for me.

Pittock Mansion

Today I visited Pittock Mansion, which is pictured above. Basically, Pittock Mansion is this big ass mansion that the Pittock family lived in. Go figure. They did a ton for Portland and were there through all its stages of development. Mr. Pittock climbed Mt. Hood 4 times like a crazy mofo. There are several easy 1-3 mile hiking trails around the property that you can explore. Other than that, there is not much else. BUT, from Pittock Mansion you have a stunning view of the entire city and Mt. Hood in the distance that is well worth it, regardless of your interest in mansions. It’s breathtaking. I don’t know if it gets much better than a snow topped mountain.

My neighborhood is considered to be Hillsdale, which I guess is a part of SW Portland. Anywhere there are two bus stops that go directly into Downtown Portland a block of way, but I’m waiting until this weekend to figure those out. FUN PORTLAND FACT: You can buy your bus passes via the TriMet app in advance of getting on the bus. This can prevent you from looking like an out of place bumbling idiot going through your change when you enter the bus. And that is a good thing to try and avoid. ‘ Multnomah village, which has some locally owned shops and cafes as well. There is also a Thai place where you can get a meal $5.50 SO BOOM.  There is a park right down the road called Gabriel Park which is more of a local thing, but is green, spacious and has skate parks, tennis courts, etc.

Now I’m sitting on my porch (see below), watching the Islanders (at 5pm, which is weird), and gearing up to go buy some food because I havent eaten all day and your girl is hungry and someone just started barbecuing near by so now I smell that. I also start work tomorrow so I guess I should prepare for that at some point, right? Also, here is a picture of my micro-studio, which square footage wise it technically is. But it’s actually quite comfortable.


This is where I'll be staying for the next two months.

Until next time,