People are right about Portland

We spent about 12 hours hanging out in Portland last Monday, before our flight back home, and they were a VERY good 12 hours.  We had a really good day.  We spent the night just south of Portland, planning to sleep in.  That plan was foiled by a garbage truck in the parking lot of the hotel around 7:30am, but we were in no rush.  We checked out around 10, I think, and found an all-day parking spot in a lot downtown a few blocks away from Powell’s (!), which was the BIG reason we wanted to spend a day in Portland.

First, though, breakfast.  I spent 30 seconds googling all-day breakfast places in Portland, and I found a diner that sounded great.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t open, which was a little bit mysterious.  We were well within the hours posted on the door, and it specifically said it was open Mondays…but oh, well.  We took a walk and found another place that worked.  It didn’t look like much – it was travel-themed, Route 66-type, lots of souvenirs from road trips in the 50s, tacky decorative plates on the walls – but the music was GREAT, the waitresses (friendly) were all absent-mindedly singing along (so was I), and the brunch special was this egg scramble that had cauliflower in it.  Who thinks of that?  It was delicious.  Cauliflower, spinach, proscuitto, tomato, avocado on top.  Maybe something else.  SO GOOD.  And while we were there, we got the call from the property management company that our application for the house had been accepted, so YAY!

From there, we walked to Powell’s, and we didn’t come out again for HOURS and it was GLORIOUS.  We’d heard about it for years, of course, and I’ve been dying to see it.  I was not disappointed.  We stopped on every single floor and browsed nearly every single shelf.  It was overwhelming, in the best possible way.  Every shelf was a mix of new books and used books, hardcover and trade and mass market paperbacks, and the selection was varied and enormous.  After we toured the entire store, we stopped in the science fiction and fantasy section.  I didn’t come out of those shelves for at least two hours (maybe three).

The science fiction and fantasy section (which is enormous and comprehensive) reminded me entirely too much of what our bookshelves used to look like.  It was eerie.  Our personal collection was always heavily SFF, and this section had shelf after shelf of my favorite authors, with whole series represented (very different from your typical bookstore, but very much like what we had).  It felt like the best combination of used bookstore and library, and for the first time, I felt a twinge of regret about getting rid of so many of our books.  Just a twinge.

I stuck to my goals and DIDN’T buy ANYthing.  (John bought three books.)  We went for a wandering walk around the neighborhood, again with a restaurant I’d found online as our intended destination, but when we got there, it was a little fancy for how we were feeling.  There was an interesting looking place on the opposite corner, so we walked in there and were seated immediately.

I don’t remember what John had, but I had the spicy mac and cheese, and it was SO GOOD.  And while we were waiting, they brought us bite-size pieces of grilled cheese sandwich with lemon in it.  Sounds weird?  Was delicious.  The chefs were experimenting, apparently.  Dinner was really pleasant.

After all of that, it was only about 7:15, and we didn’t need to return our rental car until about 9.  We walked back to the car and realized that we’d parked right next to an arcade.  Serendipitous!  So we went into the arcade, John picked up a beer, we changed $5 for quarters, and we played Galaga and Joust and Tetris and Star Wars and X-Men and I-don’t-know-what until we ran out of quarters.  That was our signal to head to the airport, and thus ended our day in Portland.

It was a good day.


  1. momma betty

    I’m looking forward to visiting Portland with you. I’ve always heard it’s such a cool place. You may not remember that our friends Phil and Olivia bought his grandmother’s house in the town of Lake Oswego, about 9 miles from dt Portland. It also sounded like a cool, walkable small town but on the edge of a great city. They moved back to Oakland, I think, but I found this VRBO rental I’d like to try maybe when we come out there. Here’s one but it requires a month’s stay–although it does allow pets: VRBO Listing #737507. I think we could spend a year just gypsying from place to place: places on the coast, places in the mountains, Portland, Seattle, the San Juan Islands, Vancouver. The call of the open road. Better sell our house first, huh?

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