After Seattle, we headed to the other big city in the PNW: Portland.  Like parts of Seattle, such as the Fremont neighborhood, Portland is teeming with coffee shops; interesting-looking restaurants (we tried several, all of which were outstanding); urban gardens; hybrid cars; and hipsters.

A classic Portland moment for me came while driving back from a superb French restaurant, St. Jack, full of Bordeaux and locally-raised lamb neck at about 11 p.m., and seeing a group of 40-50 twenty-something hipsters playing dodgeball in a floodlit park.  One gets the sense, at moments like that, that Williamsburg may have gone to sleep on the East Coast and then woken up to discover that it had become an entire city on the West Coast, except with more trees, fewer seasons, and no L train.

The late (and delicious) meal at St. Jack on our first night may have been a mistake from a travelling-with-toddler perspective.  Jude had a blast at the restaurant, and the staff was great with him, but his late bedtime caught up with him, and he was a bit of wreck the next day (our only full day in the City).  That coupled with the fairly gloomy weather meant that we didn’t get out to do the two things I was most looking forward to: the Rose Gardens and Forest Park.

Highlights of our stay included fantastic Stumptown coffee from the Ace Hotel (we loved drinking Stumptown in Brooklyn and were excited to try it in Portland, its hometown); amazing ice cream from Ruby Jewel Scoops; shopping at Powell Bookstore; and most importantly, the fantastic hospitality of our close friends Alex and Marie.  Alex, I kid you not, woke up early on the two mornings we stayed at his place to bake us fresh baguettes.  These were the best baguettes either of us had ever had west of the Mississippi and quite possibly anywhere in the country.

ALL PICTURES FROM PORTLAND: here

MORE LIKE THIS:
Glacier to Seattle and Why Pacific Northwesterners Handle Traffic Jams Better than New Yorkers
Washington State: Coffee, Oysters, Pie and Ferry Terminal Employees with Attitude

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