I Left My Heart in the City of Roses


Last weekend I ventured to the small town of La Center, Wash., to surprise my mom for a milestone birthday.  Visiting 30 miles north of Portland, Ore., I knew I needed to take advantage of being so close to one of my favorite cities – the aptly named City of Roses is known for its many rose gardens, including a hill-top garden that overlooks the city.

To celebrate my mom’s birthday my family went to northeast Portland to an area called Alberta, for dinner at the hip and trendy Tin Shed. I was scanning the menu as our server listed off the specials for the day, but as soon as I heard the words “beer cheese” I was sold. With friends from Kentucky, I have heard a lot about beer cheese and how it is nearly impossible to find in California. Without ever having tried it, I ordered a bowl, and I did not leave disappointed.

After spending two full days with my mom and family, my boyfriend and I decided to get a hotel in the city for our last night to explore more (and shop!).  We decided to stay at The Nines, located in the heart of downtown Portland and somewhere we would probably never stay had we not found such a great a deal online. One of the reasons we chose The Nines is because of their rooftop bar, Departure, which was highly recommended on a list of places to visit while in Portland. Lucky for us, the Starlight Parade was taking place that night so we were able to see the entire parade while enjoying cocktails.

After the crowd from the parade died down we walked a few blocks to KASK – a saloon known for its unique and hand-crafted cocktails. The atmosphere was mature and intimate and the perfect place to spend our evening.

(1) The Rhea and Ripy (2) Our bartender’s take on Sacramento’s White Linen

The next day we made sure to visit a few more Portland favorites before going on a mini-shopping spree; the stores in Portland seem to have better selections and the best thing is there is NO SALES TAX. 

(1) At Barista, a coffee shop in the Pearl District: a latté with a tulip design and a yummy blueberry muffin

(1) At Mother’s Bistro: Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Greek Pasta (2) Bloody Mary with jalapeno infused vodka

Portland is a city that never ceases to amaze me. It presents incredible food, cocktails, microbreweries, and shopping – what more could I ask for?

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