L.A. is a lot of things, but it doesn’t offer the same weird je ne sais quois of our neighbor to the north, Portland. Explore the city in all of its glory this fall when round trip tickets up to Oregon are weekend-trip-ably affordable. Get clicking on the Alaska and Spirit websites to find the best fares, generally about $115. Take advantage of the deals to go and see what’s going on in the City of Roses. Here are some ideas to get you started.
It’s going to be a good day when you roll out of bed at the Hotel Lucia, one of Portland’s best boutique accommodations. The hotel’s charms start with its historic roots, but it has a lot more to offer than its 1909 origin story. In addition to its modern comforts and chic design, Hotel Lucia offers Portlandia touches like housing honeybees on its roof. Taste the fruits of their labor at one of the hotel’s restaurants, where Chef Vitaly Pale uses their honey.
Ask a Portlander where to go for brunch and the answer is often Tasty n Alder. The place serves brunch daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., making it a great option for those struggling after a long night on the town. The move here is the chocolate potato doughnut with creme anglaise.
Oregon is a state of makers and artisans. Check out their wares in the afternoon and relish in the treat of tax-free shopping. Haunt features locally made clothing and jewelry. Swoop on discounted athleisure at the Nike factory store. Get lost at Powell’s Books, a bookstore that has been of the city’s most beloved attractions since 1971. If you partake, pick up psychoactive goodies at Serra, a high-end cannabis dispensary that sells craft edibles and more. Home cooks would be doing it wrong to miss a visit to Jacobsen Salt Co. + Bee Local Tasting Room to pick up artisanal hand-harvested salt and honey for pantry-stocking.
Refuel with lunch in the form of a fat sando from Stacked. Chef Gabriel Pascuzzi has a fine dining background that he’s using to make hearty, inspired sandwiches like the oxtail French dip with cast iron charred onion, crimini mushrooms, and havarti, on a hoagie roll with a side of rosemary jus.
With your stomach full, it’s time to see what’s Portland is bottling. The city’s brewing and distilling scene is on fire, with innovation pouring out all over town. Don’t miss Bull Run Distilling Company, a company making incredible spirits like a single malt whiskey using Oregon-grown barley.
The problem with dining in Portland is that you’ll never get to all of the places you want to try for dinner. It’s an impossible challenge, one we deal with in L.A. too, so go in knowing you’re never going to win at the painful game of choosing your restaurants. One solid pick is Kachka, hailed by many as America’s best Russian restaurant. You’ll find out why shortly after the first dishes hit the table. It doesn’t matter what you order, everything is delicious, from the briny house pickles to the pillowy dumplings. Herring Under A Fur Coat is a Russian seven layer dip worth writing home about, with stacked herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, and eggs.
Post-dinner, find your way to one of Portland’s world-class bars for a nightcap or four. Whiskey enthusiasts will melt at the selection of booze at The Multnomah Whiskey Library. Sellwood speakeasy Bible Club offers an experience you can’t find in L.A., even though it’s owned by an L.A.-expat. The bar is meticulously furnished with items from the prohibition era, including the glassware and door hinges.
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