Fall Weekend in Portland
The leaves are colorful and crisp, the coffee is strong and the food is excellent. Portland, Oregon is the perfect weekend escape from SF. A short (usually very affordable) flight, and you're there. The food is cheap, there's no sales tax, and if it's possible the food options are even better than in SF. Food trucks, cool bars and tree-lined streets dominate the city.
I've been to Portland more than a few times, but this was the first fall trip I've taken. We flew up Friday evening and headed into Downtown for dinner. We ate at the Pine Street Market, which is a food hall located right in downtown. The ramen and pizza were stand outs. FYI, there's a burger place that looked really good, but closed just before 9. After dinner, we wandered around and grabbed a couple of drinks with friends. A random food truck around midnight supplied a really good burger for under $10 and poutine to soak up some of the beer we'd been drinking.
Saturday was warm and sunny, and the fall leaves were in their prime. We grabbed brunch/lunch at Phat Cart, which used to be a food truck, but is now an adorable fusion place with a patio. The Crispy Chicken Bento with avocado was amazing. The chicken was battered like fish 'n chips, and super juicy. After lunch, we headed to Portland State for the farmer's market.
This is easily one of the largest I've ever been to, and takes up the whole main quad. Since it was nearly Halloween, everyone was dressed up. The cut flowers, fresh fall greens and pumpkins all looked perfect. There was even a Thriller-themed flash mob.
In the afternoon, we headed to Southeast Portland, and wandered around some side streets and shops on SE Hawthorne. The boutiques were affordable and full of local products and brands. We wandered past some really good looking restaurants and grabbed a famous Stumptown Coffee. The houses here all look like they're straight out of a fairy tale.
By Sunday real fall weather had returned, and we were craving more ramen. This time we went to an upscale Japanese/ramen/sushi place called Afuri before heading into the Pearl District to wander around before our flight home. Powell's City of Books is a must, even if you've been before. The Pearl District is cute and quickly filling up with high-rise housing and well-known chain stores. The thing to remember is that there's no sales tax in Portland, so it's a great opportunity to pick up something you were planning on getting anyway. There are also tons of bars with cheep food. The bacon mac and cheese at Brix Tavern was a happy surprise, and the perfect way to end our trip.