My sister Lea and I got to go visit our little brother in Portland last weekend. It was an incredible trip — a birthday trip with my sister, and my very first time away from Mackenzie for more than 12 hours. Chris and Mackenzie had some amazing bonding time, and Lea and I got to make a lot of unforgettable memories together with Joel.
Here are a few of the highlights…
On Friday night Joel, Lea, and I had a quick snack on 21st street in Portland, and then Joel treated us to an incredible birthday dinner at St. Jack in Southeast Portland. We enjoyed the Cervelle de Canut (goat cheese, fromage blanc, shallot, and garlic) for our petit plate and the Gratin d’ Escargots (ham, mushrooms, garlic, shallot, fines herbes & gruyére crouton) for our appetizer. Joel and Lea both tried the dinner specials — Joel had quail, and Lea had an Ahi tuna niçoise salad. I had tomato tarte tatin (sweet 100’s tomatoes, carmelized onion, baby arugula, chevre stuffed squash blossom) from the dinner menu. It was all… incredible.
And then when we got home, Joel had a hazelnut and chocolate ganache cake waiting for us. His friend actually harvested the hazelnuts herself. It was amazing.
On Saturday we got up early and met Joel’s friend Amy for brunch at Meriwether’s, where Joel and Amy work. We all tried something different and shared plates. Joel had the Huevos Rancheros, Lea had the Northwest Eggs Benedict, and I had the Dutch Baby Skillet Pancake. It was amazing and the perfect start to our day.
After breakfast we headed out to Highway 101 to drive up the coast. That trip was… amazing. We stopped at a hazelnut orchard and picked apples by the side of the road, almost got caught, visited an incredible couple of vineyards, went to an olive oil orchard, got to do an olive oil tasting, had the very best crab cakes at a tiny side of the road restaurant, and then headed to the coast.
My favorite vineyard was Sokol Blosser. It’s a craft wine vineyard, and Jenny, the tasting room supervisor, blew our minds with her depth of knowledge and commitment to the craft. She was amazing and put to shame any other winery I have visited. I brought home three bottles of wine, including their Riesling (close to an ice wine), and I am still regretting not bringing home a bottle of the 2010 Pinot Noir. I am going to have to order it. I have never tasted a wine quite that memorable.
The coast was just amazing. There was one moment where we were standing on the top of an underwater cave, and the water rushing in felt and sounded like canons. It was breath-taking.
We also hit several points along the coast and built a fire on the beach. What a night.
On Sunday Lea and I spent a lot of time just walking Portland. We went through the Pearl District, visited several of the shops, including Bonnet and Thea Interiors (where we found a couple of awesome vintage maps), and had breakfast at Byways Cafe. We visited several shops, ending at Powell’s. We met Joel there and headed out to Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge.
After we got back from Multnomah Falls, we Skyped with our mom for her birthday, which was really fun, and then we went out for karaoke with Joel’s friends. It was fun getting to meet everyone and put faces with names. All of his friends were incredibly welcoming and sweet to Lea and me.
On Monday we went to Seattle. We went to Pike Place Market where we picked up some chocolate pasta and got coffee at the first Starbucks. From there we walked up to Post Alley, visited a few shops, and enjoyed world class clam chowder. After that we took a ferry across Elliot Bay, which was just absolutely gorgeous. We grabbed dinner on Capitol Hill and bought artisan roasted coffee from Victrolla.
It was an incredibly packed trip, without a lot of sleeping, but we made memories that will last a lifetime.