Eco Trip: Greenista Guide to Portland, Oregon – Part II

Summer may be winding down, but there’s still time to get away – especially with the holiday weekend coming up! We’re picking back up where we left off, sharing our top Eats and Sites in Portland, Oregon!

Where to Eat

One of best parts of traveling to a new place is sampling the local cuisine.  Portland is full of entrepreneurial eateries,  from food truck fare to upscale dining.  If you have some wiggle room in your budget, sign up for the Epicurean Excursion  with Portland Walking Tours.  For about three hours, you’ll walk around the city and discover small food businesses that make Portland unique.  The tour sites change frequently, but some of our favorite stops included trying the tomato orange  soup at Flying Elephant Deli and going behind-the-scenes at Pearl Bakery.

Stumptown Coffee is known as the coffee place in Portland, but independent Courier Coffee just down the block offers up some serious competition.  All the beans are roasted in small batches in Portland and come in a variety of different blends.  But don’t go there if you’re the decaf type – their specialty is caffeine-fueled beans.

From Left: Belgian waffles at Gaufre; Tea cake at Lan Su Chinese Garden; Chocolate souffle at The Farm Cafe; Macchiato at Courier Coffee; and view from Clyde Common (c/o OregonLive.com)

Just taking a stroll around downtown Portland guarantees you’ll stumble upon some seriously good food trucks, like Savor Soup House, The Gaufre Gourmet and I Like Thai Food.  The soup house offers tasty organic options, while the latter are filling and budget-friendly.

For a nice sit-down meal, head over to The Farm Café.  If you go during happy hour, there are some deals to be had at this adorable dining spot.  Plus the café’s sourcing policies are impeccable – the whole first page of the menu lists the Oregon farmers they work with, including Veridian Farms and Groundworks Organics.

For our meal, we paired local beer and wine with Williams Baked Brie, Wild Mushroom Gnocchi and a Farmhouse Veggie Burger.  And to complete the experience, we devoured the café’s Sunken Chocolate Souffle.  Everything was incredibly fresh and flavorful.

Feel like celebrating?  For a memorable meal, look no further than Clyde Common, located a few feet from the Ace Hotel.  Decorated as a European style tavern, Clyde’s served up one of the best meals we’ve ever had.  I have a consistent craving for their housemade pasta and locally-sourced roasted cauliflower.  Enough said.  Oh, just be ready to wait in line.

And lastly, thought it’s not organic or healthy in the least, make sure you swing by VooDoo Doughnuts.  It’s a Portland establishment.

What To See

Portland and the surrounding area are filled with picturesque natural spaces.  The Lan Su Chinese Garden is beautifully tranquil and has a lovely tea garden.  Built to resemble a 16th century Chinese estate, Lan Su is considered “the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China” and boasts more than 300 plant species.

The Portland Japanese Tea Garden, which borders the city’s Rose Garden in Washington Park, is equally breathtaking.  Located on 5.5 acres, the garden’s ponds, bridges and paths encourage quiet contemplation and peace.

From Left: Multnomah Falls; Pittock Mansion; Portland Japanese Garden; Lan Su Chinese Garden Pond

Not far from the garden stands Pittock Mansion.  The home was built in 1914 by entrepreneur Henry Pittock, a key figure in the revival of the Oregonian newspaper.  The well-kept mansion is worth touring, and on a clear day you can see spectacular views of Portland.

If history-in-the-making sounds more interesting, Portland Walking Tours also offers a great city tour that focuses on downtown Portland and landmarks like Pioneer Courthouse Square and Mill Ends Park, arguably the smallest park in the world.

To get outside Portland, take a drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway.  Along the way you can stop at the famous Multnomah Falls or go on a short hike to Latourell Falls or Shepperds Dell.

With easy access to plenty of green space and a thriving ‘go local’ culture, Portland is definitely San Francisco’s eco sister city at heart!

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