Friday, January 27, 2012

PDX, PDQ: Portland in a Hurry!

Part of our recent adventure in the Pacific Northwest included an all too brief stay in Portland, Oregon.  I wonder how many people are actually native to Portland as in the last ten years, Portland has seen more than its fair share of Southern California transplants including many of my friends.  If you're up for a long ride, here is "Rose City" as viewed through wacky tacky-colored glasses.


The locals - Jason & Mindy
Wonderful tour guides and incredible friends!


Byways Cafe
From what I gather, Portland is a breakfast/brunch town; we ended up at this charming cafe that was filled with amazing, vintage road trip souvenirs and travel accoutrements.  It was very comfortable and not at all self-conscious or overly satisfied with it's traditional American cafe/diner aesthetic.

While everyone else was enjoying the heartiest of buckwheat hot cakes and the most savory of breakfast scrambles,
I had this - toast as dry as the Sahara and a bowl of fruit from which I was not allowed to eat the bananas.  This is not a commentary on the tastiness of the Byways Cafe, but rather on the bland and boring diet which I find myself.

Portland is a "foodie" town (not for me, darn it) and apparently,
no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Voodoo Doughnut.

"The Magic is in the Hole"

They had me at glitter bricks!
wacky tacky bylaw #48:  If it can't be spray-painted gold and/or
 covered in glitter, it is probably not worth having.

 The Chocolate-Chick-o-stick & The Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Oreo donuts

We're far too refined to mention the name of this
particular donut but you can probably get the idea.

McMinnville Cream
A raised donut, filled with Bavarian cream and
topped with maple icing - and a moustache!

The eponymous Voodoo Doughnut
Raised donut filled with raspberry jelly, covered in
chocolate frosting and run through with a pretzel


The Palms Motor Hotel
Do NOT be fooled by the amazing neon!  It's not that the rooms at The Palms are worse than any other motel, but the owners are CRAZY!  They offered a particular price over the phone and then added five dollars when we actually arrived.  When they finally agreed to honor the price they quoted over the phone, and after they had run my credit card, they determined that a $5 per person, per night charge had to be assessed for a non-smoking room.  Why, you ask?  Because some people rent a non-smoking room and then smoke outside the room and then potentially the smoke might have the opportunity to waft into said non-smoking room creating in effect a non non-smoking room.
I didn't buy it either and I am still the proud owner of $5.  The monkey alone, however, was almost worth the hassle.


Speaking of amazing signs, my favorite part about Portland was the incredible signage everywhere one looked.  I hate to say it, but I think Portland outdoes even Los Angeles in its commitment to maintaining these incredible markers.  I had convinced myself that I took many more photos of cool signs, but I guess I didn't.  I'm not sure how many more photos could be included in this post're only about halfway through!

Portland Outdoor Store
A neon cowboy on a bucking bronco!!!!

Bagdad Theater

Hung Far Low - Chop Suey & Cocktails

We drove past the Portland, Oregon sign about 100 times.
I obsessed over it until we finally pulled over and took a picture.

It looks even better at night!


I learned a new word when I was in Portland, "McMenamins."  McMenamins is a brewer that began reclaiming old buildings and turning them into multi-use spaces that include restaurants, bars, art and performance venues, movie theaters, and hotels.  The best part is that they preserve as much of the architectural interest and integrity of the structures as possible.  I think other large cities should be taking note and repurposing buildings doomed to demolition or dereliction. We visited the Kennedy Elementary School location.  Built in 1915, the school turned hotel/bar/restaurant/theater is beautiful and makes my elementary school look pretty low-budget by comparison.

Some of the original Kennedy School students

Oh, how times have changed!

The Boiler Room
The multi-level bar in the school's original boiler room.

 A never-ending fixation with light fixtures

A pint-sized drinking fountain

A hydrating giant

This is the longest that most of these people have ever spent in school.


It was only a couple of days, but the weird quotient grew exponentially as soon as we entered the city limits. 

A flying squirrel in Powell's Books

Giant kinetic sculpture in the heart of Portland
The strange part of this piece is that one must be at least
 six feet tall in order to participate.  Fortunately, Jason was
just the right height to adjust the angle of the dangle. 


Whispers of the exotic Orient

Although we didn't enter the premises, Mary's Club had a neat sign and we
were told it is one of the oldest clubs of its kind in Portland - Exotic! 

I found real exoticism is things far more tame than the the Golden Dragon and Mary's.  
I found it in..(insert drum roll)...MOSS!  
I loved that almost every available surface was covered in its fuzzy verdure.

Moss not exotic enough for you?  How about.....SNOW!
It snowed while we were there.  I had heard of snow and I had seen evidence
of snow on the ground, but until Portland, I had no proof that it actually fell
from the sky.

I guess naming this post "pretty darn quick" was rather misleading; looking through these photos might take longer than our whole stay in Portland.  I edited the best I could, but we tried to pack a heck of a lot into less than 48 hours!  I feel like we just skimmed the surface of what Portland has to offer and I can't wait to go back to visit friends both old and new - when it is not so COLD!


Mr. Tiny

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