Okay y’all. Last weekend, the boothang and I went on a little weekend getaway to Portland. It did not disappoint.
As far as the overall vibe, Portland is definitely pretty hipster. I had just gone to Seattle two weeks prior, which was also pretty hipster, but Portland felt more kitschy hipster as opposed to sleek hipster (it’s 2018 and there is now a definitive classification system for all the different breeds of hipster. Full breakdown coming soon). It was also a lot smaller than Seattle and the people were a lot nicer. We stayed right off of Alberta Street, and just about everything was within a 10-15 minute Uber ride. A lot of the stuff on Alberta Street was within walking distance, which was awesome.
We were only there for 3 full days, and we got a TON of different recommendations for places to go, but I think we landed with some of the best of the best in food and coffee. If you’re going to Portland any time soon, I highly recommend checking one or all of these places out. On a side note, one of our Uber drivers informed us that Portland is well-known for having an abundance of good strip clubs. That’s not really our thing, but if it’s yours, Portland is your city.
WHERE WE STAYED
I feel like if you don’t AirBNB it these days, you’re doing it wrong. For one, when you’re into fitness-y stuff like Grant and I, AirBNBs are awesome because you have a kitchen there where you can cook food. The place we stayed at was just off Alberta Street, so in a super cute area. The place itself was really nice, very well decorated, lots of plants (big bonus points from me), and had a small kitchen with a mini fridge. The place was great for a couple of days, but I will be honest, I definitely thought it was going to be bigger based on the photos. That said, it got the job done, and there’s a super cute deck on the top floor where you can go outside and drink your morning (or afternoon, or evening, or midnight…) coffee.
(Photo from our AirBNB booking page)
WHERE WE TRAINED
What kind of fitness people would we be if we didn’t explore some of the gyms in Portland?
Friday – Loprinzi’s Gym 2414 SE 41st Ave, Portland, OR 97214.
Vibe: This was hands down one of the most old-school gyms I’ve ever trained in.
Pros: really nice people, cool old-school vibe, lots of old bodybuilding photos, you feel like you’re in an OG gym, fun equipment that you don’t really see nowadays (they legit had circus dumbbell style dumbbells)
Cons: pretty cramped, equipment is a little older (not a con if you don’t mind that), only one bathroom (at least for the women).
Saturday – Hollywood Fitness
Vibe: mixed crowd, overall nice people/setting
Pros: lots of equipment, good amount of space, separate rooms for weights and cardio, deadlifting platform if you need it, lots of food trucks outside (lol)
Cons: not really much of anything… if you’re weirded out by birds, one of the trainers did have a bird on his shoulder. I couldn’t quite figure out why I kept hearing this squawking sound until I saw the little thing perched on his shoulder.
Sunday – Peak Performance
Vibe: Quiet (when we were there), well-equipped, multi-sport friendly. This was my favorite gym we visited and is also the one you see in my Portland vlog.
Pros: lots of equipment, turf strip, bumper plates/weightlifting equipment, cool machines, curved treadmill (great for sprinting), overall really solid/well-equipped gym, within walking distance of our AirBNB (0.2 miles)
Cons: Lighting is a little funky in some areas, but if you can look past that, you’re golden.
WHERE WE DRANK COFFEE
I think this year is the Year of Coffee for me based on the places I’ve visited so far… Aka Portland and Seattle. But that’s totally cool with me – I’m always down for a good cup of coffee, and let’s be real, cute coffee shops make for ideal IG pics (which is the important part, right?). In truth though, we only went to one coffee shop in Portland. BUT it was awesome, I loved it, and would highly recommend it.
Cup & Bar – Super cute coffee shop. I just got an Americano with their house made nut milk. Y’ALLLLLL. This nut milk was IT. Thick, frothy, creamy… Everything you could want in a nut milk, really. They also had these little chocolates at the cash register that had date pieces on top with sea salt flakes. Would highly recommend. Annnnd your coffee comes with a little chocolate square. I love free stuff, especially free chocolate. Sign me up. Move me in. Grant got the same as me but also tried a matcha latte… Of which he was not a fan. Matcha isn’t for everyone, I suppose :P. I will say, their matcha was a bit more on the bitter/earthy side as opposed to sweet matchas like I’ve had in the past. Overall, really cute spot, and they have indoor bike racks if you need to hang your bike while you grab a drink.
WHERE WE ATE
I feel like this is what everyone’s been waiting for… When people say that Portland is a food city, they mean it. And a really freaking good food city at that. I don’t have pictures for most places just because they were dark inside so photo quality wasn’t great, but definitely check out my Portland vlog for more deets on the eats.
Poke Mon – You know I love a good poke bowl. I’m a huge sushi lover, and poke is basically like deconstructed sushi in my mind, so it’s a win. Grant and I bopped over here after our workout at Loprinzi’s on Friday since we were starving. This was hands down some of the best poke I’ve ever had. If you love poke and are poking around Portland (see what I did there), definitely stop by here. Super fresh, not overloaded with sodium, and lots of different options. You can either do a DIY bowl where you pick the ingredients, or one of their “set” options.
El Gaucho – Really nice steakhouse, and I thought the live music was a super cute/nice touch. I’d definitely label this place as more on the fancy end. Lots of people were more dressed up, and you could tell they were a little off-put at first by us being dressed a bit more casually.
I always “judge” restaurants by their table bread, and this one did not disappoint. While it wasn’t on par with Cheesecake Factory’s pumpernickel bread, it was still a yummy, soft, warm garlic bread.
Appetizer: Dungeness Crab Cocktail as an appetizer. It was good but not great. Probably wouldn’t order again. 5/10
Entree (me): Diver Sea Scallops. Excellent. Buttery scallops. Didn’t taste overly seasoned/oiled and they were delicious as is. The bacon/hazelnut/Brussels sprouts bit underneath was absolutely delicious and made for a nice addition to the scallops. 7/10
Entree (Grant): Baseball Cut Top Sirloin. A little tougher since it’s a leaner cut. Grant rated his a 6/10 and said he should’ve gone with something fattier like a strip steak.
Bonus points, they did bring a free nut/cheese/fruit plate at the end of our dinner. Overall a good spot, but definitely on the pricier end. I’m by no means itching to go back here. 6/10 as a whole.
Bamboo Sushi – HOLY MOTHER OF SUSHI. This came highly recommended by my friend Ali Gay, aka food/coffee queen of Portland, and by a lot of you guys. Those recs were for good reason. This was absolutely some of the best sushi I’ve ever had in my whole life.
Lox Box Roll – “Sushi rice, smoked trout, yuzu-cipollini cream cheese, fried avocado, eel sauce, and house-made bagel furikake.” My new favorite sushi roll in existence. I’ve never had smoked trout before, and definitely not in a sushi roll, and I now know that has been a HUGE mistake. The fried avocado was amazing and I’m always a sucker for cream cheese. I also have no clue what bagel furikake is, but it sounds like a dirty word. Regardless, I would eat 5 of these rolls and have 0 ragrets. Not even a letter. 10/10.
Kimono Roll – “House crab and cucumber, topped with wild Alaskan coho salmon, pickled apple, fried sage, and lime zest.” Another solid one. I love fruit on sushi, but I’ve never had pickled apple on it. Once again, a mistake on my part. I’m sold on it. And come on, wild salmon, fried sage, and lime zest too? It just sounds boujee. And it felt like it too. 8/10.
10/10 would recommend hitting up one of Bamboo’s locations. I’d suggest making a reservation if you can. The wait for 2 at 7 on a Saturday night took about 90 minutes. Well worth it, but still a long wait.
Laurelhurst Market – Marketed as a “brasserie-inspired steakhouse,” this place was awesome. Not too dressy, not too casual. Our waiter was so nice and very attentive.
Appetizer 1: Deviled eggs. I’m not a huge fan of deviled eggs in general, but Grant wanted them. I’d consider him more knowledgeable on this subject, and he gave them a 7/10.
Appetizer 2: Marrow bones. Ho. Lee. Sheisse. I’ve never had bone marrow before, but after this I’ll definitely have it again. The marrow was nice and buttery for the most part, but the real stealer of the show here was the biscuit. With your order you got a buttermilk biscuit with pickled fresno pepper honey and grilled frisee. I swear on my life, if I had a dollar for every time after eating it that I told Grant I wanted a whole basket of them, I could have paid for our whole dinner. Laurelhurst Market, if you ever see this and can mail me some biscuits, I would love you forever. 9/10 (team average brought up heavily by the biscuit).
Entree (me): I got the pork pork chop. I haven’t had pork in the longest time, and I normally don’t gravitate towards it. I’m glad I did here, because it was so. Freaking. Good. Very savory, didn’t taste overly fatty, and overall just a great mix of flavor with the bean/sausage/pepper stew, aioli, and pickle. 7.5/10.
Entree (Grant): Dry Aged Bone-in NY Strip. Grant loved it and gave it an 8/10.
Overall, Laurelhurst Market was another place I’d highly recommend. They were able to get us in right away even though most other places (like Portland City Grill) had a wait due to leftover Valentine’s Day dates. 8/10.
Salt & Straw – Did I really go to Portland if I didn’t go to Salt & Straw? If you aren’t aware, Salt & Straw is one of the most well-known ice cream parlors in the country. I can’t say much other than the fact that it was freaking amazing. And if you ask for samples, they actually give you decent sized samples, not a sample the size of your pinky fingernail.
Em: I got one scoop of sea salt with caramel ribbons and one scoop of cinnamon snickerdoodle. Both were on point on their own, but together were like caramelly, snickerdoodle-y goodness. 9/10.
Grant: He got one scoop of cinnamon snickerdoodle and one scoop of almond brittle with salted ganache. He gave his a wide-eyed 9/10 with a little bit of drool hanging out of his mouth (don’t tell him I told you that).
There you have it guys! Our Portland experience. I’d like to go again sometime when it’s a little warmer and less rainy, but even with some “blah” weather, I absolutely loved it. If we do make it back, I absolutely want to hit up the rose gardens and some of the beautiful hiking places Portland has to offer. Definitely preferred Portland over Seattle. Overall, I give Portland a solid 7/10. Way to rock, PDX <3.