Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Writer: Erica Sardarian - Portlandia!

Happy Monday, my dears! Today I have an extra special treat for everyone, a fabulous piece written by the outstanding Erica Sardarian on her summer adventures in Portland and Seattle. Enjoy!


The box next to “Travel to Portland (Oregon, not Maine)” on my places to go, people to see list has never been checked off…until now that is. My best friend, my travel confidant if you will, and I were excited to take a long awaited trip to the City of Roses. Everyone I spoke to immediately lit up as soon as the word Portland popped up. “Try Voodoo Doughnut,” a visceral reaction from all my foodie friends. And then there was, with excitement, “Portland has the highest strip clubs per capita than any other state in the U.S.,” mentioned by a male friend of mine of course. Unlike most trips, I opted not to strategically map out our day hour by hour. Instead, I chose to go with the flow. Not an easy task for a self-proclaimed planner like myself.

We arrived at PDX and immediately headed to our home for the next four days, the Ace Hotel ( It was perfect. A hipster hide out with character and most importantly a delicious coffee shop conveniently located downstairs. We dropped off our bags and decided to explore the city. The first day, we pretended to be locals, sans tattoos, drank locally brewed beer and listened to a local live band perform in the Pearl District. The next morning we woke up and, like tourists, decided to take the trolley around town where we really got to see the sights of the city. The trolley company, called Big Pink Sightseeing Company (, was owned by a husband and wife team who donate part of the proceeds to cancer research. The owner was sweet as pie. Our first stop was the Japanese Garden. It was breathtaking. Oregon is known for its greenery but this was just amazing. We hopped back on, sporting our colorful sunglasses and headed toward NW 23rd street where we stopped off at Public House, nestled in a small street in the area filled with cute coffee shops and little boutiques. We sat outside with a glass of rose’ and enjoyed some cajun hummus. For dessert we opted to go to the ever so popular Salt and Straw (, highly recommended by my good friend, Kendall in addition to her long list of favorites. The line was out the door but moved rather quickly. I tried the almond brittle with salted ganache. Heavenly.

After our trolley tour, we headed back to Pioneer Square in the center of the city referred to as the “living room” of Portland, where we grabbed sandwiches and watched E.T. under the stars. “Phone home…” It was perfect. After the film, we decided to grab a quick drink at Clyde and Common in our hotel. Our mixologist handed us the eclectic menu and I chose to taste test second base- a mix of vodka, grapefruit, lime juice, combier pamplemousse, peychaud’s bitters. The second taste test was the Kingston club- a mix of drambuie, pineapple, lime, fernet, angostura, and orange peel (pictured below). We also ordered from the late night menu- popcorn with pimenton. The drinks were delicious and the popcorn was to die for!

The next morning we had breakfast in the “breakfast room” of the hotel. A tiny, quaint little space serving boiled eggs, muffins, cheese, prosciutto, and salami- very European.  We rented a car and drove to Multnomah Falls, which was again breathtaking and beautiful. Instead of staying in Portland another night as planned, we decided to take a trip to Seattle. Why not? It was only a three-hour drive. We hopped in the car and arrived at our destination in less than our estimated time. We had a lovely sushi dinner at Japonessa and a fun-filled night out in Downtown, Seattle where we hung out with locals and I indulged in a late night Seattle dog- hot dog, mustard, and cream cheese for $5! (yes, cream cheese-no onions). We visited the original Starbucks, went to Pike’s market, and had the best bloody mary brunch at Toulouse in Queen Anne. Salmon scrambled eggs and beignets for breakfast? Sure, why not.

This was an amazing trip and yet another place to cross off on my list. Highly recommend the Ace Hotel! Sad I didn’t try Voodoo Doughnut, the line was out the door and around the corner, every time we made an attempt. There’s always next time. Seattle was my absolute favorite. Great town with an east coast feel.

Fun Facts-Portland!
-No sales tax! -Portland has more microbreweries inside their city limits than any other city in the world.
-Portland is the 23rd largest city in this country. 3rd largest on the west coast.
-Portland was almost called Boston, Oregon
ortland is home to Voodoo Doughnut, a 24-hour doughnut shop that offers — in addition to a crazy selection of doughnuts — legal wedding ceremonies.
-The Portland Saturday Market is the largest continuously operating open-air crafts market in the United States.
-Powell's City of Books, occupying an entire city block, is the world's largest independent bookstore.
-Oregon is the only state (in addition to New Jersey) where you can’t pump your own gas

1. Seattle dog- mustard, cream cheese $5! (no onions like the original)
2. The original Starbucks (Seattle) 
3. Salmon scrambled eggs with potatoes (Seattle)
4. Beignets from Toulouse 
5. Bloody Mary from Toulouse

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