The best birthdays I’ve had have been the no-fuss kinds; filled with good food, friends, and family. Throw in a weekend away and it’s golden.
I turned 29 last Wednesday and, after celebrating with Mike, a bottle of wine, and stuffed pasta shells, we were on our way to Portland early Thursday morning. Friends from Santa Cruz flew in later that night and friends from Washington drove in on Friday morning.
Since we all wanted to stay together, we opted to stay in an airbnb in Vancouver, WA vs. staying directly in Portland. Our airbnb was pretty baller but with 6 people and all the money we spent on XL Lyfts, I’m not sure I would pick suburbia over downtown again.
After some avo toast at home base, Mike and I headed into the city to enjoy our day together. Our first stop was a gem that my manger recommended called Knot Springs. You. Guys. This place. An oasis in the outskirts.
We treated ourselves to a 2 hour “soak,” forgoing any spa treatments or workout classes that are also offered there. We were greeted with plush, trendy patterned towels and a cup of hot custom blended tea. Then we showered (required before getting in) and were given a tour of the tubs. The whole idea is to alternate between warm, hot, and cold water to revitalize your system. (There are a whole bunch of other benefits they list but I forget them!) We spent the next few hours dipping in different temperatures of water, trying our hand at some light yoga in the sauna, and enjoying the industrial views (I know that sounds like a contradiction). Not a bad way to spend a Thursday afternoon!
We stopped for beers and fried pickle spears at Wayfinder after. Mike is picky about his fried pickles and prefers spears to chips. So, whenever we see spears on the menu, you can bet we’re going to get them. Wayfinder had good beer and looked like a cool spot to go to in the summer but it had nothing compared to our next stop, Product Row Cafe.
Mike and I love a good food crawl, and initially, that was our plan for the night – small noshes at multiple restaurants – until we sat on the enclosed patio at Produce Row Cafe…
The twinkle lights were dreamy. The wooden tables and wall paneling gave the place a rustic feel. The DJ playing mellow tunes set the right vibe.
…Plus, the cocktails and the company … intoxicating. 😉
We left full of nom food and good spirits.
The next morning we walked to a nearby coffee shop called Brewed Awakenings. I love when I find local spots that use good ingredients like this place did. I ordered a coconut milk cafe au lait and sipped it on our walk back. It was creamy dreamy and had the added bonus of keeping my hands warm while we got our steps in on the walk back. It was a chilly weekend up north!
Caffeinated and dressed in layers, it was time to head into the city for some sours. I love a good sour beer, and they paired perfectly with the baked brie we ordered as a snack.
We stopped at one more place (with legendary artwork in the bathroom, pictured below) for another round before walking to an event called My People’s Market that celebrated a diverse marketplace of multicultural vendors.
At the market we sampled wine, tasted ginger cotton candy, and browsed different booths with things from T shirts with political messages to essential oil rocks.
Next we filled up on bread, fresh olive oil, pasta, soup, salad, and all good Italian things at Nostrana.
On Saturday morning we explored the Japanese Gardens, which was as gorgeous as expected (and also had the biggest leafs I’ve ever seen). Aside from the chilly weather, it was fun to wonder around the gardens together, with plenty of pictures sprinkled throughout the adventure. 🙂
Next up it was time to warm up. …with sake and sushi (staying in theme of the day, obviously). We made our way to Bamboo Sushi and I had some of the best rolls I’ve ever had. The honey miso roll… drooling just thinking about it. Plus, what’s better than miso soup on a cold day?
We ended our day with adult slushies and karaoke at one bar (as you do) and then at dinner at Bye and Bye, a vegan restaurant that I was pretty stoked to go to. I ordered the BBQ platter that came with BBQ tofu, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. The food was good (!) but I think the atmosphere would have been better for lunch as it was pretty dark in there.
One more XL Lyft ride and we were back at the airbnb ready to hit the sheets (hi, weekends with late 20/mid 30 year olds!).
We’ll all be reunited again at mine and Mike’s WEDDING! ……in 6 months… what? time is flying. …should we have adult slushies at the wedding? 🙂