As of the last post, my trip to Portland had been quite adventurous. Coast --> beach time --> Seaside Arcade --> candy shopping --> crab --> crash.
My last full day was the only one that had anything actually scheduled. I love having relatively unscheduled trips so that things can be done as I feel, as opposed to what we thought we may possibly want to do from months back when I bought the ticket.
Something you may not know is that the Bob's Red Mill company, the very same one that makes all the fun grain cereals, high-quality flours, and other grain products is based in Milwaukie, OR, just a stone's throw from Ericka's house. Conveniently, Andrea (formerly of the Care to Eat blog) and Sarah (The famous MamaPea) also live there!
We scheduled a brunch meeting at 11 a.m. at Bob's Red Mill, but unfortunately the adorable Gigi was not feeling well… so Sarah took a rain check. Andrea and I met up though, and had a fantastic time eating delicious breakfast and lunch food, perusing the GIANT store, and walking across the street for Dave's Killer Bread.
I got a veggie omelet, cottage potatoes, and wonderful whole grain biscuits. I couldn't even come close to finishing the whole plate!
Andrea and I were too busy talking and shopping to remember to take a photo together, but it was SO great to finally meet her in person. While we were waiting for Ericka to come pick me up, Bob himself came walking out of the store! He looks just like his illustration on my hot cereal bag! I felt a little funny, but it was like a celebrity sighting for foodies!
So, after Andrea and I parted ways, Ericka and I decided to head out to the giant outlet mall just outside the city for a little tax-free shopping. Oregon has no sales tax, which, coming from the land of 10.25% is HUGE! A fleece, two work shirts, and new shoes later, we drove to New Seasons Market, a beautiful organic and local grocery store, for some local salmon to grill for dinner. But we had a schedule to keep, as I had an appointment at 6 p.m.
**Warning, I may get a bit sappy in the part that comes next**
So, the last time I was in Oregon was when my dad died. Granted, he lived in the town of Eugene, about two hours south of Portland, but even still… each trip out there as he got sicker, my sister and I took the long 4 hour flight, landed in Portland, Ericka picked us up, we went to her house for a bit of a rest, and then went to see our ailing dad.
So this trip, I took the long 4 hour flight, landed in Portland, Ericka picked me up… and then I got to go have fun. It was a bit odd, and yet oddly calming. There's something about making new and positive associations with formerly negative situations.
I'd made the decision a few weeks ago that, while I was in Portland, I'd finally bite the bullet and get the tattoo in honor of my dad that I'd been saying I was going to get for the longest time. So at 6 p.m. PDT, I did it. Well, Sarah at Oddball Tattoos did it, but you know what I mean.
That's my left ankle, and thanks to modern technology, a photograph of our wedding guestbook, and a handwriting sample, I now have Love Dad in my dad's handwriting permanently on me. I love it, and it's still healing (and quite itchy at the moment!)
WIth my new ink (and a wrap of saran wrap), Ericka and I went back to her house to cook dinner. While I don't have photos of the grilled feast (salmon, chicken skewers, burgers, potato packets) I do have photos of the vanilla cake with raspberry frosting we made.
Recipes to follow…
A recorded episode of Breaking Bad, some Tetris-like packing, and I headed to bed since we were getting up early for breakfast and another scenery adventure before my flight.
Breakfast was at Bridges Cafe, where the kitchen is 75% organic and the food is 100% delicious. A breakfast burrito with organic homemade chorizo, eggs, cheese, and onions topped with green salsa was mine. Oh, and grits.
Ericka enjoyed a scramble with spinach, red peppers, and some beautiful fruit. We ended up kind of trading… I ate fruit, she ate grits.
Then, a drive up the freeway and the next thing I knew, we were looking at some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. From the Columbia River Gorge up to Multnomah Falls was an amazing drive… and I have the photos to show you all.
The Vista House which has a remarkable view of the Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge had more shades of green than an all-green Crayola box… and then we went a bit farther to Multnomah Falls. There are no words.
There are dozens more photos, but I'll save your computer loading time. It's really amazing what nature can do, and I kept wondering what the Oregon Trail settlers thought when they came upon these magnificent views (besides fording the river, hunting for pixelated elk, and dying from dysentary).
Well-rested and happy, I boarded my flight ready to see Adam and the animals. I'm grateful for Ericka giving up so much of her time to show me around her wonderful city!
Food and cooking posts to resume soon! Thanks for putting up with my vacation posts, and let me tell you, if you have the chance, visit the Pacific Northwest. You won't regret it!