Thursday, August 23, 2012

Portland Day 3: Jam on Hawthorne, Portland Farmer's Market, Rose Garden, Portland City Grill, Eastburn

This is post #3 out of 5 about a recent trip to Portland. Other posts in this series include: Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5.


Day Three started off with brunch at a spot my friend, Amy (a Portland local), had decided on. The day prior she'd asked if I wanted "charming" or "quirky," and I replied with a "whichever one is more Portland." We ended up with quirky.

The place she picked was called Jam on Hawthorne. I wish I took a picture of the interior – it was very whimsical, a cross between vintage and diner. The waiter had the driest sense of humor I think I had ever witnessed – it's almost worth going there for him alone.

I had the Pesto Scramble, which came with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, basil pesto and a couple slices of sprouted wheat (!) bread. It was dense, just the right amount of salty and creamy, and very flavorful. Basil pesto is so good.

Amy got the Grand Marnier French Toast, which I had a bite of. It was two thick slices of eggy and buttery challah, dipped in Grand Marnier-infused batter, grilled, and then drizzled with house-made marionberry reduction. I loved the use of challah.

After brunch, we parted ways and went to the Portland Farmer's Market, which was surprisingly located in downtown Portland – in the financial district. It was nestled in a park, shaded by trees of the greenest pretty. The atmosphere was both cheerful and relaxed – I loved strolling around.

I had a few treats: a lavender latte (it was good but I wish the lavender were stronger), and some goodies from Two Tarts Bakery. The basil macaroon was delicious.

After the farmer's market, we drove to Portland's International Rose Garden, which is home to almost ten thousand rose bushes, representing more than six hundred varieties. (So many roses in the garden, but no heady rose scent...sadly.) There were definitely some unusual varieties – I saw ones that were light lavender, others that were bright yellow, and my favorite: the sunset gradient ones. Still waiting to see a blue rose though.

I liked the "Gold Medal Garden," which was an area serving as a testing ground for new rose varieties. The best ones each year are given the Portland Gold Medal Awards – so we could see the "best" roses each year, starting from 1919.

There was a Scottish tour guide who I fell in love with – I think he was a octogenarian by the name of Ken. He was such an expert on the roses I could do nothing but swoon...

We decided to then drive back to downtown Portland and explore the area. I wanted to try the famed Stumptown Coffee, but unfortunately the cafe was just closing up early just as we walked up to the door. There had been an E. coli scare earlier that day – some strains were detected in the water supply west of the Williamette River, where we were. A "Boil Water Notice" had been issued by the city.

But life goes in. We walked a couple blocks to Powell's Books, but it was a little too overwhelming inside. We halfheartedly strolled around the first floors, took a touristy photo, and then exited to get some air.

Some happy hour drinks were had at the Portland City Grill, on the 30th floor of a skyscraper. Due to the suspected water contamination, the bar had to get ice supplied from Washington and bottled water instead of tap.

The views were lovely.

After dinner, we went to Eastburn, another "very Portland" spot recommended to us by a local. There were swings of a couple different varieties...

...we ultimately chose a table with a fire pit in the center, which kept me warm, because I am a reptile and get cold even when it is 70 degrees out.

Dinner was decent – we had a Tuscan white bean spread with grilled levain bread; I had a portabello and roasted tomato salad because I had not eaten vegetables since the beginning of the trip; Ryan had a humongous pork chop that he ate with much gusto. It was topped with something that looked like fries but was disappointingly a apple horseradish slaw...which was a little too bitter for my tastes.

We also had a couple of the beers on tap – a refreshing "Chris' Summer Delight" from Full Sail, and a darker "Red Thistle" something or other.

If you notice, there are no pictures of dinner, I think because I was almost literally sick of taking pictures by that point.

Post-dinner activities involved skeeball in the basement, a neighborhood walk (this one was less quaint than the others), and swinging on a neighborhood swing, that was actually very chafing.

And once again, the day ended with me passing out like no other. This is what full itineraries do to you.

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