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This past Labor Day weekend, Andy and I explored Portland, Oregon and enjoyed what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. We spent three days eating our way through the city, getting taster flights for everything, hiking along the gorge, and shopping tax free! Here is our itinerary for all the spots we visited and dined at. Stay: Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown
Only a few minutes from downtown, this hotel has many amenities to make your trip easier! I’m a Spire Elite IHG member so we got complimentary drinks at the bar at arrival. The front desk agents were very accommodating and worked out a few kins we had about transportation and the room. They have a hot tub and pool on site, which was the perfect way to wind down after a long day exploring the city. The best part was the complimentary shuttle service that takes you anywhere and picks you up within 3 miles of the hotel. This saved us a ton of money since we didn’t have to uber much!
Day .5 - Night

  • Dinner at Guero, our first food cart stop. I had The Chavela, an amazing carnitas salad bowl and Addy got the Carnitas Al Guero, one of the yummiest tortas I’ve tried in a while. The seating area was super cute and shared with a few other carts.
  • Base Camp Brewery: We tried the Taster Log which consisted of 6 beer samples. My favorite was the S’mores Stout! They added a marshmallow garnish to the rim of the glass. It tasted like the perfect blend of smoke, chocolate, and campfire goodness.
  • Voodoo Donuts Too: Definitely had to try the hype! This location is on the other side of town so the lines were a lot shorter. They have a huge menu listing all of their confections, if you need a tip on which to get, try the Voodoo Doll, Captain My Captain, Double Bubble, and the Bacon Maple Bar. If you go towards the back by the parking lot, there’s a mural perfect for taking photos with your new treats!

Day 1

  • Multonamah Falls: If you only want to explore these falls, I highly suggest you buy a ticket for the Columbia Gorge Express online. It’s super affordable, and it takes you straight to the falls from downtown! The falls were beautiful, and you can take a 1 mile hike to the top (consists of 11 switchbacks). It’s worth it if you want to touch the water, it’s closed off at the bottom.
  • Brunch at East Burn: They have a few swinging chairs available, try to snag those if you want a unique dining experience. We tried out their Brunch Cocktail Flight, mini glasses of mimosas, coffee shot, greyhound, and a bloody mary!
  • OMSI: We ended up going on a $2 admission day, so check out the specials they have ahead of time! This museum is a coolinteractive place for kids and kids at heart.

  • Keep Portland Weird Sign: Pics at this wall mural is a must! Photo moment to document all the weird stuff you did in Portland haha.

  • Powell’s Book Store: This book store is HUGE, it’s so easy to get lost. It is seriously a magical place for book lovers. They have a coffee shop attached and a machine to print self published books too!
  • Dinner at Portland City Grill: If you was a good deal and an amazing view, go here for happy hour. You can see Mt. Hood and perfect sunset skies.
  • Deschutes Brewery: Definitely hit this place up if you’re walking downtown, it’s one of the popular ones so it does get crowded. They have a lot of good brews on tap! And a taster flight as well.

  • Blue Star Donuts, try to come early because they run out of flavors fast! We tried the Mexican hot chocolate and the Blueberry Bourbon Basil (my fave!) These flavors are more gourmet compared to the Voodoo ones, but they’re all so good!
  • Spielman Bagels: If you’re not full from the doughnuts walk over to Spielman to get some bagels, they have a huge selection of flavors. They also have bottomless coffee for those that need that perk before a full day of exploring.
  • Salt & Straw Ice Cream - Get an ice cream flight to share, you get 4 kids size scoops for about $9. We tried the cocoa coffee cocanu craque, honey lavender, almond brittle salted ganache, and strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. They have so many unique flavors available, ask for samples! My favorite was the honey lavender, so refreshing!
  • Next we took an Uber to The International Test Rose Garden. Admission is free! There are rows and rows of roses in different shapes and colors.
  • Shopping in downtown near Pioneer Place: Portland is tax-free so take advantage of shopping!
  • Food Carts: There are a lot of food carts lining the streets of Portland, some were closed on the weekend, but we were able to try out two. The first one was SawasdeeThai, which had yummy and a surprisingly sweet pad thai. The second one was The Grilled Cheese Grill, where we got the glorious Cheesus. Two grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun, ⅓ lb burger patty, lettuce and tomato.

  • Ground Kontrol: Next was this super cool barcade, perfect for all the video game lover. They have a bunch of retro arcade games and pinball machines! Drinks are reasonable and games start at 25 cents. Such a fun place to kill some time.
  • Bailey’s Taproom: So many craft beers on tap here. I tried out the Sasquatch Watermelon Degeres and the Mother Earth Cali Creamin. Great place to hang out!
  • Ex Novo Brewery: This non-profit brewery blends craft beer and social change! We ordered a flight, and they had an $8 special for a beer and a whisky shot.

  • Brunch at Tasty N’ Sons. The food here is simply amazing, it’s one of the popular brunch spots in Portland so try to go early! Our starter was the Potatoes Bravas, next we ordered the Shasuka and the Burmese Red Pork Stew! Everything was so flavorful and delicious. We got to sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen, it was so cool to see your food being prepared fright in front of you!
  • Nike Factory Store: Bought some Nike Free Runs for $70 and no tax! If you have a little bit more time to shop, check out this oulet store for deals on shoes, clothing and accessories.

Check out our food and drink choices this year at OC Night Market!

  1. Boy in the Kitchen – Filipino comfort food “bomb” style. You can easily get it all in one bite! Kare Kare, Asado and Adobo with rice wrapped in a lumpia shell.
  2. Tanota Takoyaki – Japanese breaded bits of octopus in ball shaped form, you get 7 with each order, which is plenty to share. These are extremely hot inside so poke a hole to let it cool down.

  3. Rolling Ice Creamery – Thai inspired Ice Cream, flattened and rolled on a frozen platter is a unique way to enjoy a classic dessert. We had the Hulk, which was matcha green tea infused wit strawberries and the Bangkok Special, which was Thai Iced Tea, infused with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They were both so yummy, and it’s amazing to watch how they create it.

  4. Frozen Kirin Ichiban Beer – We got a free sample of this half frozen slushie and half liquid beer, it was actually quite refreshing and a perfect pairing to all the Asian style foods we got to taste!
  5. Bee Pop – They had an amazing green thai tea milk tea! They serve their drinks in bag form.
  6. Dragon’s Queen Grill – We waiting almost 2 hours for these Bulgogi Fries, but it was worth. Run by a small family, it feels like a fusion home cooked meal! They’re portion size is huge too!

There were also tons of other things to see and do. Lots of local artists and businesses selling their goods. There's also a carnival game section where you can win prizes. In the back area, performers of many different talents provided amazing entertainment throughout the night!

Let me know what was your favorite thing to eat, drink, see or do at night market this year!

Walking into OC Night Market is a foodie’s dream come true! This year definitely topped previous years in size, vendors, and things to do! It’s not just about food and drink, they have artists, performers, and even carnival games.  Inspired by night markets in Asia, this event brings together local businesses and community into one dedicated space. Here’s how to make your visit to one of the night markets most memorable!

  1. Bring Cash: Most places only accepted cash or had a fee if you used credit card. So make sure you withdraw some cash before you enter the venue, the line for the ATM was long too! You’ll need money for parking, admission, food, drinks and merch! Make sure you keep track on how much you spent.
  2. Prepare your Stomach: It’s easy to let yourself go in the beginning; it’s a marathon not a race. Pretend you’re on a food tour; buy one small portion and share with your group. This way you can sample a lot of different dishes and desserts instead of getting full on one meal.
  3. Come Early: It is a night market, but they do open around 4pm! I think it’s best to come during opening so you can avoid all the crazy lines that for later in the day, this way you can get everything you want to try quickly. Also with daylight still around you’ll have the best instagram pictures. Trust.
  4. Plan what you want to try out: Look at the directory on their website before you get to Night Market and make a top five list of things you absolutely want to try! Once you get your first meal, head to whatever you want next. Skip the tables, eat while you wait in line and be efficient with your time. Some lines can get up to 1 – 2 hours especially for the insta-worthy food.
  5. Take Pictures: All the vendors and performers definitely appreciate the social media love! Take some pictures of your amazing food and drinks and tag the restaurant where you got it. You’re a food blogger now! Don’t forget to document what you feast one, once you eat it all up it’s gone!
  6. Try Something New: If you really want this to be a unique experience, try something that you’ve never had before. This is the time to be adventurous! Some booths don’t actually have physical stores, or the food trucks are hard to catch when they’re in town. These vendors are priority since you’ll never know when you’ll be able to try them out again. Make your visit worth it by not getting something you can buy at another time (local shops).

 Let me know what you guys decide to try!