by Gabrielle Antonette
Portland has become sort of a dreamland for me. The weather always comes as a surprise (because the weather app is perpetually wrong there), which is nice. There's enough to do, but not so much that you feel guilty sleeping in, or even spending an entire day in drinking spiked hot chocolate and painting. There are lots of little neighborhoods and endless cute/sweet people to meet. It turns out, Portland is the perfect place to eat dinner alone at a fancy restaurant, make friends with the bartender, and get free cocktails and macarons.
There's a lot to be eaten in Portland, and really, never enough time. The following are places you've got to go for food and drink. broder is my favorite. I didn't even know I loved Scandinavian food this much (see perfectly cooked eggs and pancake balls below). Luce (small plates, grapefruit panna cotta, sweet decor), Dove Vivi (cornmeal crust pizzas with unconventional toppings), Ava Gene's, and Roman Candle are our preferred Italian spots. Little Bird is lovely for a classy night out (tiny macarons). Canteen and Portobello have some of the most highly addictive vegan dishes. Water Avenue and Stumptown Coffee accompany Blue Star Donuts (in this case, a raised donut topped with chocolate ganache and sea salt) perfectly.
Get intoxicated, responsibly, at Pepe le Moko (hidden below an oyster shop, but definitely easy enough to find), Clyde Common, The Bye and Bye, Interurban, and The Liberty Glass. Cure your hangover at Pok Pok. Contrarians may say that it's all hype, but if you can go at an off time on a weekday, you'll see that the Pok Pok people know how to do fresh, explosive Thai street food extremely well. Try the drinking vinegars.
To fill in the time between snacks, I encourage chilling at: Loyly (it's a beautifully designed day spa; we cannot even put into words how good it feels to spend a few hours there), Laurelhurst Theater or Living Room Theater (movies are remarkably cheap in Portland, at least for LA residents), Forest Park (a massive and lush urban park with endless trails of varying lengths and levels of strenuosity), Portland Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, Mount Tabor Park, Rocky Butte (one of the city's highest points, with a great view of Mt. Hood), and Lan Su Chinese Garden.