“This is the final boarding call for flight 789 to Portland,” a nasal voice projected across the gate. “Doors will be closing in two minutes. All passengers must have boarded the plane.”
In a mad dash–a flurry of plaid and black backpacks– I found myself sprinting across the airport. Heaving, gasping and practically dying as I leaned up against the podium and handed the attendant my boarding pass, I thought to myself, “This trip better be worth it.” Because it was off to a rough start.
Recently, I took a quick trip across the US to the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. It was a recon trip to decide whether or not Portland, the city of roses, was worth the hype.
I had heard from multiple sources that locals felt plenty disgruntled about the influx of young twenty-somethings moving into their city. Now, having visited, I see why–the small-town feel is just as present as the big-city energy, and mountains, oceans and everything in between are all just a jaunt away.
The location and culture seem, in a word, ideal.
Unfortunately, Portlanders, like those before me… it would seem I’ve taken a real shine to your city.
I discovered more Thai food here than anywhere else I’ve ever been, and all of it was delicious. The street food was cheap, unique, varied and incredible. Food truck parks were abundant. I ate my first olive oil ice cream at Salt and Straw. I enjoyed cold fried chicken on a sandwich at Lardo. My life was changed by coconut curry devoured in an unpronounceable Thai hole-in-the-wall.
Food, though, was only one of the many beloved aspects I stumbled upon here. The coffee scene struggling so hard to gain traction in the Rocky Mountains already thrives in Portland. In fact, enjoy these following pictures (because I’m a lattegram-er with no shame.)
As a barista grommet in Steamboat Springs studying under my perfection-driven lead barista/sensai, coffee felt like a huge priority. I visited so many shops I barely kept track of them all. The results thrilled me. I hope the residents of Bridgetown realize just how lucky they are. To see a coffee community already established and thriving inspired and encouraged my espresso-filled heart. It is possible! Life beyond disgruntled locals does exist.
In fact, it was over a killer cappuccino in the industrial district that we met our first Portland connection. (And by we, I mean my travel partner/boyfriend. I am now bringing blogging into my personal life–hello!)
“You are in the right city,” were the first words we heard. (I’m hoping to pursue a food writing career, my fella a ministry-driven leathercrafting business.) “This is a city for the creative.”
As if to prove it, this connection/new friend/former acquaintance of ours handed us a list. On it he had listed places to visit, apply for jobs or talk to friends-of-friends. He had scribbled it neatly on the backside of one of his notebook pages — the page featured here, to be exact.
This kind of tangible, written gem is invaluable to me. (I’m the girl that saves napkins from memorable restaurants, so paper mementos make me unbelievably happy.)
For the few days we were in town, everything seemed to fall into place. We met the right people at the right time and left with more friends than when we began. Not only that, but those we met were willing to offer their advice and open their lives to us.
I know I am soon to be one of those transplants so frowned upon by native Oregonians. But really, guys, did you expect to keep the secret for long?
It’s looking like PDX is my next landing spot… and I should be sorry. But I’m not. I’m really not.