Welcome to 2019! We took another short excursion down to Portland, Oregon for quieter New Year’s celebrations.

Really, we like to avoid the drunk partiers who descend on Thomas Street in Capitol Hill for the unobstructed view of Seattle’s fireworks exploding off the Space Needle. Why? While we love living with a daily shot of the Needle, we don’t like the noisy hoard surrounding our home at midnight on the eve of every new year. A great excuse for an out-of-town escape.

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Here’s some of our favorite stops and new discoveries in Portlandia:

  1. The Grilled Cheese Grill | A little red shack on SW 10th @ Alder melts up the best salty, cheesy crispiness anywhere. We always get The Gabby made with cheddar, swiss and mozzarella on French white bread. Licking our fingers, we’re buoyed for the rest of the afternoon.
  2. Powell’s City of Books | An endless maze of books – new and gently used – invites me to browse and exhale. Now that I’m gobbling up crime mysteries and personal pilgrimages, I spent a couple hours quietly wandering the other-worldliness of Powell’s. I grabbed onto Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson while Roger walked out with Less by Andrew Sean Greer.
  3. Killer Burger | We think the Jose Mendoza with roasted green chiles, Monterey Jack, grilled onions and pickles may be the best burger we’ve ever had. Every burger is served with crisp bacon and salted fries. Thinking about that first bite made our mouths water all the way from Seattle.
  4. New Renaissance Bookshop | This iconic spiritual bookstore on NW 23rd Avenue was a forgotten favorite of mine. I felt an overwhelming peace as I walked in, reminding me of my commitment to a path of awakening and practice. This sacred place offers so much to those who seek a different experience of life on earth.
  5. Cacao | A spread of chocolate on SW 13th Avenue. The menu is perfect and rich and creamy Rivoli Drinking Chocolate is our favorite. We always leave with a bag of chocolate bars for later. For tons of bold flavors and sugar crunchiness, I recommend Salted Brown Butter Texas Pecan Brittle. It’s hard not to eat it all in one sitting.
  6. Moonstruck | As if we didn’t have enough chocolate, we stopped by this tiny, but exquisite, artisan chocolate shop on SW Alder Street on our way back to the hotel. Good luck building your own box. Every piece is brilliant.
  7. Oven and Shaker | Our New Year’s Eve meal? Some of the best pizza in Portland’s Pearl District. The impressive wall of chopped wood feeds the brick oven. We got the Roasted Beets salad and the Italian Sausage pie. The combination of sweet, chewy, savory, salty far exceeded expectations. Just the perfect goodbye to 2018.
  8. Nuvrei Patisserie | So many “bests” on this trip, but Nuvrei on NW 10th Avenue could be THE best French bakery in the US. That would be a tall order but I’ve been to hundreds of bakeries all over the country. Nuvrei is such a standout that we had to take away a box of goodies after we sat for the most delicately layered Valrhona chocolate croissant and a delectable raspberry rose danish. Accompanied by two strong cappuccinos garnished with bite-sized caneles, we ushered in 2019 with a surprising thrill.

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With every visit to Portland, we wonder why we don’t live there. It’s easy to explore and offers a quieter life when compared to Seattle, an ever-changing, always moving city. Seattle continues to struggle with its footing but I believe it’ll settle into some future rhythm. Bottom line? There’s much to love and explore in these sister cities of the Pacific Northwest.

 

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