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Haudlady
10-15-2007, 01:08 PM
Hey, I know... I'm early. But - I'm a planner! :rolleyes: I am heading out to Portland in December for a work conference. I will arrive at about 8:00pm on Sunday, and head out again at about 7:00am on the following Saturday. My conference runs from 8:30-4:00 each day, but I want to squeeze in (somewhere!) a little bit of the City.

The hotel is on SW 6th & Taylor. Okay - here are some questions:
Any really good (strong!) coffee shops near the hotel for my early morning buzz?
Any really good (sorry, no Applebee's or Burger King need apply), relatively quick places I should go for lunch? Again, near the hotel would be best!
(This might sound familiar) Any really good places to go for dinner? Not necessarily close to the hotel, but public transportation / walking distance best. I'm a small-town Yankee, so I always like the places I don't find around here. Ethnic food is great!
Are there any areas of the city that I should avoid? I may be alone... and, given the conference schedule and the time of year, it looks like I will be wandering around after dark.
Any museums/shops/favorite things I should try not to miss?


Any advice you could offer would be fantastic! Thanks!

Dianyla
10-15-2007, 05:18 PM
What's your per diem like? :p

Also, I'm assuming you're mostly pedestrian for this trip, correct? I'm mainly going to focus on the Downtown/Old Town/Pearl District/NW 23rd Alphabet District areas. There is even more amazing wonderful food across the river, but... foodie overload! :eek:


Any really good (strong!) coffee shops near the hotel for my early morning buzz?
Your hotel is kind of in a black hole. There are at least 6 Starbucks within a few blocks in any direction, but friends don't let friends... Well anyway. The best coffee in Portland by a long shot is Stumptown Coffee (http://www.stumptowncoffee.com/). They roast their own beans, are local and support sustainable and fair coffee trade. Moreover, and every latte/mocha/cappucino I've ever had there was perfect: the espresso was extracted just right (not sour, not bitter) and the milk was frothed into fine microfoam and not scalded. Sorry, got a bit carried away there in waxing eloquently about COFFEE!!! There is a Stumptown in downtown on SW 3rd and SW Pine, which is 11 blocks one way walking from your hotel. Not very convenient for a daily morning fix, but definitely visit them at least once while you're in Portland. Ask at your hotel for a close-by locally owned/run coffee place and I can almost guarantee it will be at least better than Starbucks. But please, visit Stumptown if you love coffee.


Any really good (sorry, no Applebee's or Burger King need apply), relatively quick places I should go for lunch? Again, near the hotel would be best!
Jake's Grill (http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.display&pageid=96&id=21) is reasonably close by at SW 10th & SW Alder. Sadly, they are technically part of a chain restaurant (McCormick and Schmick's) but they do have wonderful food (seafood and steak) for a pretty good price. Although, it is more of a sit-down place, so I'm not sure how quickly you meant by quick food.
Pizzicato Pizza (http://www.pizzicatogourmetpizza.com/) is gourmet frou-frou pizza (not NY style - warning!) and there's one on SW Broadway & SW Alder.
Geraldi's (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8456474/portland_or/geraldi_s_on_4th.html) on SW 4th & SW Washington has tasty Italian Deli stuff. They do have greasy NY style pizza.
Tom's First Avenue Bento (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8456499/portland_or/tom_s_first_avenue_bento.html) is on SW 1st & SW Madison has good bento/teriyaki.
Good Dog/Bad Dog (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8459629/) on SW Broadway & SW Alder is sausage-y heaven.


(This might sound familiar) Any really good places to go for dinner? Not necessarily close to the hotel, but public transportation / walking distance best. I'm a small-town Yankee, so I always like the places I don't find around here. Ethnic food is great!
Local/American/Fusion/Good Food: Higgins (http://higgins.ypguides.net/) has really good local organic gourmet food at SW Madison and SW Broadway. The Daily Cafe (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/12304304/portland_or/daily_cafe_in_the_pearl.html) at NW 13th & NW Kearny (streetcar) has very nice food, as well.
Japanese/Sushi: Masu (http://masusushi.com/) on SW 13th & Burnside for superhip/fusion sushi, Murata (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8450957) on SW Market & SW 2nd for traditional, and Hiroshi (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8450957) on NW 10th/NW Lovejoy (take the Streetcar there) for something in between. These three are all pricier options. Cheap but still very good sushi can be had at Mio Sushi (http://www.miosushi.com/) on NW Johnson & NW 23rd (streetcar).
Indian: Swagat (http://www.swagat-portland.com/) on NW Lovejoy & NW 21st (streetcar)
Thai: Tara Thai (http://www.tarathainorthwest.com/ttnw/) on NW 23rd & Overton (streetcar)
Chinese: Don't bother, all the good stuff is in the outer 'burbs
Korean: BeWon (http://www.bewonrestaurant.com/) on NW 23rd & NW Northrup... it's fusiony but tasty (streetcar)
Irish: Kell's Irish Pub (http://www.kellsirish.com/) has Guinness and tasty Irish pub food, located on SW 2nd & SW Ash.
Spanish: Pata Negra (http://www.yelp.com/biz/FAQO_ll8nqWIlAtz0Fe24Q) at NW 23rd and NW Thurman (streetcar)
Peruvian: Andina (http://www.andinarestaurant.com/) at NW 13th & NW Glisan (streetcar)
Dessert: Papa Haydn's (http://www.papahaydn.com/) is Hedonism Central, on NW 23rd & NW Irving (streetcar).

If you were staying the weekend, I'd have to recommend that you check out brunch at either the Daily Cafe (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/12304304/portland_or/daily_cafe_in_the_pearl.html), Mother's (http://www.mothersbistro.com/), or Bijou Cafe (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8456458/).


Are there any areas of the city that I should avoid? I may be alone... and, given the conference schedule and the time of year, it looks like I will be wandering around after dark.
It really depends, there are good bits and bad bits all over the downtown area. The only areas I'd be particularly concerned about in downtown at night is the Old Town area (Burnside near 2nd/3rd). The Park Blocks (green space between 8th and 9th) are troublesome especially north of Burnside. SW Washington tends to have a lot of drug deals, as well. The bottom line is that these areas see their a certain share of street crime, drugs, prostitution, etc. However, I've never felt personally threatened or afraid walking alone along these streets. Portland bums are fairly docile and don't panhandle aggressively like in bigger cities like San Francisco. On the east side there are good and bad parts of SE and NE neighborhoods, but I'm not as personally familiar with those areas.


Any museums/shops/favorite things I should try not to miss?
I'm very fond of the Chinese Garden (http://www.portlandchinesegarden.org/) on NW 3rd and NW Everett. Also, you can take a very nice walk/dayhike around the Rose Garden, Arboretum, and Forest Park up above the city.


Any advice you could offer would be fantastic! Thanks!
If you like tea, definitely check out the Portland scene, here's a neat article from the NY times (http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/travel/08journeys.html?ref=travel) about it.

Also, the First Thursday (http://www.firstthursdayportland.com/) of every month there is a big art gallery walk in the Pearl District that is worth checking out. There is also a more counterculture Last Thursday (http://www.artonalberta.org/Last_Thursday.aspx) over in Northeast Portland in the Alberta district.


Oops, got way carried away here. I'd better go get some work done. And go on a really big long bike ride to justify the massive appetite I've just whipped up. :eek:

Eden
10-15-2007, 05:31 PM
I've only been down to Portland a few times but a few things I really liked

The Japanese Garden at the arboretum is awesome! December might not be its best season, but it is really beautiful. The classical Chinese garden is very nice too.

If you like books there's a great used book store called Powells - its enormous http://www.powells.com/

I'll agree that the Portland street people aren't very agressive pan handlers, but there are a lot of them. I've heard that Oregon's very liberal support system and relatively mild weather attracts them, and some,especially young people, specifically travel there. My husband is also from New England (and a small town at that) where you just don't see a lot of people living out on the streets. It kind of freaks him out. I never felt threatened by them.

blueskies
10-16-2007, 01:04 PM
Dianyla's given you great advice... I would strongly second the recommendation for Stumptown Coffee & a nice dinner at Higgin's. Also, would add Typhoon to the list for Thai food, on Broadway, between Washinton & Stark.

Eden
10-16-2007, 01:13 PM
Also, would add Typhoon to the list for Thai food, on Broadway, between Washinton & Stark.

Ohhhhh I think we ate there, - YUM-YUM! The Tom-Kai soup is fabulous

sgtiger
10-16-2007, 05:20 PM
Oooh... Dianyla, you're making my mouth water. <drool, drool> Fortunately Stumptown just opened up a cafe here with plans to open another one and roast soon. Yay! I know, I know. It's not as if there isn't some wonderful roasters here already but more is better. (I worship at the alter of David Schoemer. Must sacrifice some more beans now.)

I love the tirimisu(sp?) at Papa Haydn's. Not that there's ever bad tirimisu but their's is the best I've EVER had. I have dreams about it!


Swagat was my introduction into what excellent Indian food is supposed to be. Although, I've found a new favorite here that I may like a bit better.

For Thai in Portland, though, Lemongrass is my favorite. They don't have a huge selection on their menu, but what they do have they do it well. Go easy on the spices(like order level 1 with spices on the side), even if you think you can stand spicy food. I can handle some pretty spicy stuff, but level 3 had me sweating profusely and ready to pant with steam coming out of my ears. I don't even want to know what level 20 is like. :eek: It'd probably blister my intestines. I haven't been able to find a Thai place I like as much as them. So I wait 'til I visit Portland to satisfy my Thai craving. True!

boy in a kilt
10-16-2007, 06:24 PM
Go easy on the spices(like order level 1 with spices on the side), even if you think you can stand spicy food. I can handle some pretty spicy stuff, but level 3 had me sweating profusely and ready to pant with steam coming out of my ears.

She is not kidding. Sgtiger grew up with three levels of hot: spicy as hell, cauterize and spontaneous human combustion.

Dianyla
10-16-2007, 09:03 PM
Oh yeah, Lemongrass is awesome. It's a bit inconvenient for downtown, though, whcih is why I hadn't mentioned it. Every so often a posse of my macho coworkers heads over to grunt and sweat their way through a "who can order the highest spice level?" contest. The scale goes from 1 to 20. I believe they can't even go above about 14 certain times of the year because certain key peppers aren't in season. Most guys I know that do serious spice can only take about a 5 on the Lemongrass scale. :cool:

Also worth checking out is Salvador Molly's, unfortunately their suburban Hillsdale location and the eastside location are both a little tricky to get to from downtown via transit. They have these things called Great Balls of Fire. Basically, habanero-laced corn fritters, with habanero jelly sauce. If you eat all 5 and the sauce you get your picture on the wall. I've done it (twice! what was I thinking? :o ) and... all I'm going to say is that you need 1 day of recovery per ball. :eek: :eek: :eek:

Dianyla
10-18-2007, 07:20 AM
Oops, how could I forget:

Vietnamese: Silk (http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/41961076/portland_or/silk.html), aka Pho Van's swanky Pearl district cousin. Top notch vietnamese food and yummy cocktails. On NW 10th and NW Glisan (streetcar).

Haudlady
10-19-2007, 06:45 AM
Wow! I stay away for a few days, and look what happens! TE is the best.

I'll do my best to go to that coffee shop... I hope I can make it. I love good coffee.

There are some great recommendations here - thank you! It looks like I will be eating well...

Thanks for including all of those links, too! :D

plantluvver
11-12-2007, 09:22 PM
I live in Portland, and I am a member of the Chinese Garden. I can take you there as a guest. It closes at 5 PM. It is located at NW 3rd and NW Everett. All of the buses in Portland are free in the central part of the city, which is called fareless square.

I am not sure what else to say. Except bring your rain gear! Winters are mainly overcast, and drizzly.
Here is a link to the garden. If you are interested in other public gardens, I can take you to visit some.

http://www.portlandchinesegarden.org/

I strongly recommend that if you have a day to play around, that you visit the Columbia River Gorge. There are many waterfalls in the gorge.

Powell's books is interesting. It seems as if the store has gradually swallowed up all of the adjoining office buildings, which are now connected, with odd level changes between the rooms. I beleive that is is open until 11PM on every night.

http://www.powells.com/info/citytour.html

Have fun,
Mary

elk
11-13-2007, 12:27 AM
What part of New England?
I'm originally from MA and my DH is from Maine...I lived in NH, etc etc
In some ways, Oregon reminds us both of New England....probably Vermont...;-) If you get a chance to get out of the city...go west and you will see magnificent landscapes....

One more restaurant to add...for Middle Eastern is AL AMIR's.

ANyway. Powell's is not to be missed. It is the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi and it's an INDEPENDENT locally owned store too...They keep thier used books WITH the new so price shopping is a cinch!
Inside Powell's is a coffe shop, the Anne Hughes, that serves excellent coffee adn you can actually bring your books in there and read...I think it might even be the firs bookstore to have done that, mix coffee and books..it certainly was the first one I ever experienced 20 years ago....

NW23rd street and it's offshoots have gotten terribly chic...used to just be terminally hip and very funky...but the street is still lively, the food is good, the shopping is fun.

The Portland Art Museum isn;t far from your hotel. We have a great Asian collection, photography collection, and a few modern gems. Worth a visit.

If you rent a bike..or want to take a walk, do the East Side esplanade...a bike path that runs along the Willamette River...its a great way to see a part of the city.

please excuse the typos...late hour, sick girl...BAD BAD typist...:o

Haudlady
12-03-2007, 07:35 AM
It's almost time! I'm getting excited - I love to travel, but don't get to do it very often.

I'm looking for some more help, if you don't mind! I know, you have all given me such good advice already, but I'm looking for (more) help with lunch. It turns out that my classes will all be at the Oregon Convention Center, not at the Hotel... and now it looks like the lunch venues you recommended are too far away for me to make it! I'm disappointed - I've never tried Bento, and I really wanted to go to Tom's. (Hey! Maybe it will be easier for me to go to Stumptown, though, since it looks like it is between the hotel and convention center!)

So - can anyone give me some good lunch options near the Convention Center? :o THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

Plantluvr: Thanks for the offer to go to the Chinese Garden, but I don't think I'll make it. The class schedule is too restrictive!

Elk: I live in Central NH. I wish I would have time to get out of the city, but I'm guessing (again - that darn schedule) I won't. Oh well - am supposed to be working!!!