I love top fives. On my last day in the USA, waiting for a flight at San Francisco Airport, I quickly jotted down a top five of my favourite Portland things to do, and looking at it again today I stand by my choices.
Portland Top 5 (in no particular order)
1. Movies at Laurelhurst Theatre: This movie theatre serves cheap pizza slices, jugs of locally brewed beer and cider, popcorn and candy and the movies only cost $3. In addition to that, tickets are purchased from a little booth out the front of the Laurelhurst like in American TV shows, which was a little bit exciting for me. Plus once you get into the cinema with your beer and pizza, you will find tables for putting your beer on, and plenty of legroom to stretch out. A movie here is the perfect way to spend a rainy Portland afternoon.
2. Cherry pie from Random Order Coffeehouse: We randomly chose Random Order for breakfast on our first day in Portland because it was near our house and it had lots of people inside. The cafe is warm and inviting, and has two glass cabinets full of pies made from locally grown fruit. Cherry pie, caramel apple pie, banana cream pie, strawberry rhubarb pie. So many pies. The cherry pie was my pick because it's what Dale Cooper eats in Twin Peaks. The pie pastry is flaky and buttery and firm and the cherry filling is the perfect amount of sweet and sour. The coffee at Random Order is fairly good, and you can get a banana, peanut butter and cinnamon toasted sandwich which is amazing too.
3. Vintage shopping on SE Hawthorne: This street has about four or five truly massive vintage clothing stores, and all of them are pretty awesome. I bought some great jackets on Hawthorne while I was there. Buffalo Exchange was my pick of the bunch, because the staff are exceptionally friendly and the stock includes some pretty decent labels selling at good prices. This street is great for shopping, there is also a lovely shop selling locally made crafts, jewellery, cards, art prints, shirts and more. I can't remember the name though! And I recommend taking a break at mexican cantina Cha Cha Cha for a happy hour pina colada or margarita.
4. Grocery Shopping at New Seasons: Grocery shopping in America is amazing because of the range, the different brands, the variety of grossly sugar laden treats, the beauty of the fruit and vegetable sections. But at New Seasons Market, you also get the biggest vegetarian faux meat product section I have ever seen, the most delicious looking salad bar, and a machine that makes freshly crushed peanut butter for you to take away in a jar. I spent hours in there just looking at food and thinking about food and buying food. Lets face it, new food is probably what makes travelling so much fun. As an added bonus, it seems all the lesbians in N Portland shop there so it's fun people watching too. Oh, and a girl who works at New Seasons recognised us when we were out at a queer night which just cracks me up.
5. Mexican at Laughing Planet: We ate Mexican food (burritos for me, tacos for Kristen) nearly every day we were in America. It's everywhere, it's cheap, it's fresh, healthy and flavoursome. We didn't discrimate in where we ate - we had burritos from everywhere: old family restaurants, authentic taquerias, fast food stores and out of taco trucks. Everywhere has a pretty similar (and yum) take on the vegetarian burrito which is the core ingredients of black beans, salsa and rice. I guess that's why the ingredients in the Southwestern Green Chili burrito at Laughing Planet just blew my mind. And those ingredients are: black beans, mild green chiles, local sweet corn, Tillamook jack cheese, organic brown rice and pico de gallo. Upgraded to a deluxe burrito you also get sour cream and guacamole wrapped up in there. And the salsa verde is a must. The addition of sweet corn and green chiles makes all the difference. Seriously, best ever burrito.
I feel like this list is both way too short and way too food oriented so I will try to make some more lists that include other Portland activities!