My main reason for going, and my first stop on Saturday, was the "Epicurean Expedition" walking tour. In short, it was pretty good, with lots of great places, and great things to taste, but I was disappointed with the quantity. The newspaper did a very good summary, so I won't attempt to. At the Good Taste store, I was moved to buy a jar of "Grand Marnier Creamy Mustard", which is just as good and different as it sounds.
After the tour, since I was still hungry, I decided to head back to the BridgePort Brewery for a sandwich and beer sampler. I am all about beer samplers because I never know what I'm going to like. Their IPA is the most well-known, and very good, but most everything else went from fair to middling IMHO. Old Knucklehead being the big exception. Yum! I was told that you couldn't get this anywhere except for the brewery (due to its high alcohol content: 9.1%), but their website seems to imply otherwise. Further investigation is needed.
Did my own walking tour of downtown, took some nice pictures, went to the Portland Saturday Market, which is kinda like the Pike Place Market with 99% of all the cool stuff missing. I did buy some very nice soap, though.
Explored the Pearl District a bit more thoroughly, and headed back downtown for dinner at Mother's Bistro & Bar. I was having a very hard time deciding between the meatloaf and the "mac & cheese du jour" (which was with bacon, scallions, and sour cream), when I noticed that you could get a half serving of mac&cheese as an appetizer. Score! Both dishes were excellent, but the mac&cheese was just off the charts. Will definitely be heading back here!
And, at last, was Powell's City of Books. For those who don't know, it's a 4 floor bookstore that takes up an entire city block. And that's only the one store. Yeah. My wallet would just like to say that it is very glad we don't live anywhere near that place. Figuring it'd be hard to leave there too quickly, my plan was to be there from 7pm until they closed at 11pm, and I was not wrong. So many, many utterly reasonably priced books. For only $84, I got:
- 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle
- Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star
- 2 books for kitschparade
- Anansi Boys
- The Difference Engine (to replace the one I lost)
- Tales of Neveryon
- Distant Stars
- Nothing But Blue Skies
A friend introduced me to Samuel Delaney several years ago, and I'm pretty much hooked. His writing is incredibly dense and evocative. "Tales" was the book my friend lent me, so I wanted my own copy, and Distant Stars looked to be a good next step. "Blue Skies" was an impulse buy based on the little note text to the Tom Holt novels that said "If you like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, try this guy!". Powell's has tons of those helpful little notes scattered throughout, and they can be warnings too: "Hmm, this looks good. What does that note say? 'Robert Jordan would be nothing without this author' Oh! I'll just put that back, then!"
After that, though, I was dead, dead, dead. I'd hoped to attend the Portland Bears' Beer Bust, but I knew that I'd need to go back to the hotel, drop off all my stuff, and shower, and if I did that there's no way I'd be leaving again that night. And that's exactly what happened.
Sunday started with a tour of the Japanese Garden, which was just as nice as everyone had told me it would be. After that was a quick lunch (at Jo Bar) and shopping on 23rd. Lots of cutesy shops with nothing I want, some very nice oriental furniture stores (for when I actually have a house to put such things in), and a LUSH! Totally by chance, I found the Portland LUSH. Bought a small piece of each of their new soaps just to try them out; reviews of those eventually. Finally, a tour of the Chinese Garden just to round out the day. It was too late for a tour, but it was a pretty interesting place to be. Again, a return trip is clearly warranted. The only stop on the way home was for my one fast food weakness: a six-dollar burger from Carl's Jr.
All in all, a very nice (if way over budget) trip and a good endcap to my traveling season.