Travelogue: Portland, Oregon (May 2015)

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Our first stop in Portland: Heart Coffee. The wait for Tasty n Alder was about 45 minutes, so we conveniently crossed the street to this cafe, which served delicious lattes…

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Such clean and minimalist decor, it made for a great lazy Saturday morning.

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Potato Bravas

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“Duck… Duck… Steak!” Best of the dishes.

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Flat Iron (Washimi Wagyu with garlic roquefort compound butter)

Tasty n Alder is one of the top brunch places highly recommended by almost everyone who’s been to Portland. However, on the last day (in a future post) I had an even better experience at Screen Door. Anyhoo, brunch is wonderful in Portland but expect a long wait if you don’t get there by opening time.

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I’m not really a donut person. When my friends told me to go to Blue Star Donuts instead of the overhyped Voodoo, I obliged. Only because this was on the way to the famous bookstore, Powell’s Books (where I purchased many souvenirs…)

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OK well, I gotta admit, this was a pretty good donut.

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After spending a lot of time at Powell’s, we stopped by the Saturday Market. There are two right across from each other.

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Mango!

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The International Rose Test Garden was one of my top things to see in Portland. It’s FREE, it’s huge, and it has a gift shop that sells rose tea (BUY IT!)

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A lot of variety of roses, all different colors and sizes… some were as tall as I was.

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We also stopped by the Portland Japanese Garden next door, which was tiny and cost $9.50 per person… not worth it in my opinion because I’ve been spoiled by the one in SF.

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There was a special exhibition the day we went though, so that made up for it.

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When in Portland, must go to Salt & Straw for ice cream…

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We got the 4 scoop sampler — I enjoyed the variety and creativity, but it wasn’t anything mindblowing.

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Tidbit Food Farm and Garden – a small “food pod”, as they call it. Food pods are Portland’s term for a group of food trucks. There are several, but I chose this one; it had the most vendors open on a Sunday.

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I chose Namu, a Korean and Hawaiian fusion truck.

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This reminded me of Hawaii… the sauce was amazing, the pork was amazing, the EGGS!

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This was from a taco truck whose names I forgot (sorry).

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I love wall murals. They’re all over the Alberta Arts District. We stopped by the area just to admire them. However, my heart still belongs to Miami’s Wynwood Walls (see post here).

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Onward to Seattle.

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Travelogue: San Francisco (Day 3 of 4)

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One of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had — Taylor Street Coffee Shop! Highly recommended. I can’t rave enough about their Sailor’s Hash: Hash browns topped with an omelette with shrimp, crab, bacon, jalapeno peppers, and a heaping portion of smoked salmon on top. My mom had the french toast and she liked it, which is rare (she’s more critical than I am)!

We took 2 buses to get to the Japanese Tea Garden. Mom is very much into tea, Japanese anything, and flowers. This was perfect. It was free admission because we got there before 10am (every Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays 9-10am!)

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You can reserve a tea ceremony for $25 on Wednesdays and Fridays. I tried to do that but nobody picked up when I called… so instead, I sat near them and sort of experienced it…

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We got our own mochi and tea. They offer other food items as well. Check out the gift shop before you leave!

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Right next door was the SF Botanical Garden. How convenient.

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Next up on our itinerary was Japan Town — we took 2 buses again to get there.

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Japan town had 4 main buildings that house a whole bunch of restaurants, stores, supermarkets. The streets adjacent to them were lined with residential apartments that had a Japanese flair.

It was time to go. We walked to the cable car station and took the least popular one — California-Van Ness line.

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It was a short ride, we didn’t really have to take it but hey, why not?

After we rested up at the hotel, I asked mom what she wanted for our last dinner in SF. She said “seafood”, so I Yelped a restaurant nearby with great reviews — Kim Thanh (Vietnamese), it was AMAZING.

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Sugar cane shrimp — first, you place the shrimp in the middle of the rice paper, then vermicelli noodles and veggies, and then you roll it up yourself. Shrimp was perfectly fried and full of flavor!

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What they were known for was their salt baked crab, which lived up to the hype! Seasoned with salt and pepper, fresh and meaty!

This was a day of good food.