I was blessed to be able to spend an incredible weekend in Portland recently and I have been missing everything about that wonderful city since the moment I left! My original intent for traveling to Portland was to attend the Nutritional Therapy Association’s conference. Because I am an overall slacker, I didn’t sign up for the conference during the early bird registration time. Once I realized I was going to be able to attend, spending all that money to do so was not my idea of a good time. So instead I paid for one day of conference attending, and the rest of my time (and money) was spent eating, drinking and laughing in Portland with friends, old and new!
After my flight landed at a Portland full of sunshine (I like to think I brought Mr. Sunshine with me. You’re welcome Portland), I gathered my bags, picked up my wheels for the weekend and rushed to pick up my fellow NTP, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and BFF, Best Foodie Friend, Keirsten Peterson and we headed into town for an out of this world lunch at Olympic Provisions with the always delightful Caroline Potter. We shared a Spanish and a French Charcutrie boards loaded with sausage, salami, pâte, chorizo, brie, peppers and pickled vegetables along side some incredible sheep and goat cheeses. We also ordered several sides of their pickled eggs, which were mouth-wateringly delicious! I also indulged in the most amazingly spicy, super-duper-I-could-almost-not-handle-it, spicy Bloody Mary.
Later on, Friday afternoon we hit up Townshend’s Teahouse. I was planning on getting one of their amazing Brew Dr. Kombuchas on tap, but plans quickly changed when I saw all the amazing options that were available to me. So many options, so little time! As per my friends recommendation, I went with a boba hot tea. Boba is a Tawainese tea based drink with chewy tapioca balls or fruit jellies. I chose their coconut flavor with coconut milk. It was a bit sweet for me, but the warm boba was incredible. I had always had boba in smoothie type beverages. They were my go to drink in college because I had a boba place within walking distance of my apartment. I always ordered extra boba. Needless to say, this diabetic did not need all that sugar I was consuming in those large boba smoothies! Ordering extra boba was not necessary here at the teahouse. They filled my cup up with the delicious coconut tea and plenty of boba! Or bubble tea as we learned later in the weekend, everyone else seems to prefer that term! This place is seriously the coziest of places and I wish I had my very own Townshend’s Teahouse here in San Diego.
Dinner was not an easy decision to make since Portland is full of so many nutritious and delicious options. We opted for Verde Cocina in the Pearl District because it’s menu made my tummy growl and it was able to accommodate our party of four at our preferred time. Verde Cocina’s tag line on its website is NW farm-to-fork with a Mexican flair. Enough said! It is a 100% gluten-free establishment with fresh options for any eating habits. We started our meal with a Queso Fundido con Chorizo. I was anticipating a cheesy dish with some spicy sausage and a heaping pile of chips on the side. What we got was a dish full of cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and carrots topped with cheese and chorizo served with a side of homemade corn tortillas. For my meal I ordered a grass-fed carne asada dish. The plate in front of me was again loaded with veggies, the most tender asada and topped with some incredible salsa verde. The amount of veggies in each meal was spectacular. The fact that I didn’t leave a Mexican restaurant with blood sugars through the roof, a headache and a major sweet tooth is testament to how fantastic this place is. Don’t be fooled by all the healthy veggies, I also had an amazing strawberry jalapeno margarita! Need I say more!
After an amazing meal in Portland what does one do? They wait in line for 40 minutes for the world’s most amazing ice cream of course! Described as a Farm-to-Cone ice cream shop, Salt & Straw creates the most outstanding combinations of flavors to keep Portlanders and it’s visitors wanting more, hence the line! Flavors like Beet-tastic, Tropical Swirl, Honey Lavender, Arbequina Olive Oil, Stumptown Coffee & Burnside Bourbon, and Pear & Blue Cheese to name a few. The wait in line was not bad because of the company I was with and the fun topics we chose to discuss with each other and others in line with us. As a Type 1 Diabetic I try to not go to hog wild with desserts, as should everyone diabetic or not, so I opted for a single scoop of the Arbequina Olive Oil ice cream topped with Jacobsen Sea Salt. It was the most incredible ice cream I have ever had! The creaminess that the olive oil adds, mixed with the savory sea salt was an indescribable experience!
Saturday morning we ate leftover Verde Cocina for breakfast with eggs, and a heaping side of sauerkraut. The meal was even better the second time around! The rain was still nowhere in sight, and my good friend, Mr. Sunshine was still hanging around so we decided to take advantage of that fact and hit the trails. My favorite thing about the Pacific Northwest is, well basically everything! The options for an incredible outdoor experience are limitless. We decided to hit up Dry Creek Falls, which is about 40 miles east of the city. We packed a backpack full of waters, the most amazing crackers, salami, and cheese and headed out for an adventure. The trail is about 4 miles total with a beautiful waterfall to mark your turn around. It is an easy hike with a gradual climb and beautiful green trees as far as the eye can see! One of our friends is a trained herbalist so we were also able to do some foraging while we were there and nibble on some interesting greenery. After taking one too many pictures at the waterfall, we found ourselves a nice log to have our forest picnic!
After our “grueling” hike we obliviously needed to replenish ourselves by means of boba tea! We hit up another location that offers balls of magical chewiness called Tea Bar to check out their options. A very, sleek modern and simple place, Tea Bar offers a nice selection of delicious teas. It took me several minutes to decide between iced and hot. All of their options looked tasty. I opted for an iced Cardamom Matcha Boba Tea with no sugar and coconut milk and it did not disappoint! I need to find a local tea joint to satisfy my craving for Portland craft teas and boba!
Dinner Saturday night was again a hard decision. So many food options, so little time. After Instagram stalking a few of our favorite people, we chose to dine on BBQ based on a drool inducing phot posted by Michelle from Nom Nom Paleo. The place had a bit of a wait, but a bar with four bar stools was ready and waiting for us. We each got a tasty cocktail, mine being called the Sellwood Collins with vodka, aperol, fresh lemon, fresh grapefruit, vanilla syrup and soda water. It was a perfectly tart but refreshing drink. We also had to order a side of deviled eggs while we waited for our table, because they are sent from the heavens! Drinks and deviled eggs in hand, we sat down at our table to really grub down. Thank God for that role of paper towels on the table! We each ordered a different meat dish with sides and shared, like the geniuses that we are. Beef brisket, chopped pork shoulder, ribs, and smoked sausage equals meat sweats! We also tried their amazing collard greens, chopped slaw, creamy potato salad and seasoned French fries. Once the food arrived and all our social media shots were taken, there was a lot less talking and a whole bunch of content sighing.
Our first stop on Sunday morning before the conference was Baristas. A totally hip coffee shop with the most amazing beverage options available! I started with a winter shrub, which is a drinking vinegar often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices and use in cocktails. This delightful drink was made with balsamic fortified cold brew coffee, figs, fennel seeds, vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of can and maple syrup. It was amazing and I was so sad when it was over. To alleviate my sadness, I ordered a hazelnut latte on the way out. It was just as incredible as my AM beverage numero uno!
I have been dying to try this place since it was just a cart serving up Paleo friendly foods. I obviously hadn’t gotten the chance to hit up Portland since that desire started and now they have an actual restaurant which I was psyched out of my mind to try! A huge group of conference goers decided to hit this place up on Sunday evening and I am glad we decided to tag along. We wanted to try everything, but unfortunately the three of us couldn’t stomach all that food. So we narrowed it down to Buffalo Chicken Broccoli Ranch Wraps, Lamb Liver Pate with a ton of veggies, Beef and Squash Curry, Zoodles with Pesto sauce, and Bacon wrapped dates. Our beverages were kombuchas on tap, my favorite, and a steaming cup of bone broth. If you are ever in Portland make an effort to get here, several times if possible because everything is amazing! The owners, Heather and Joe are seriously the nicest people and they are working incredibly hard to make sure Portland has access to delicious and nutritious foods.
My last stop before my flight home Monday was to Broth Bar. The ladies of Broth Bar actually had a table at the NTA conference so we were able to chat with them briefly and purchase an I heart (a literal picture of the organ) bone broth reusable bag, which I love and have gotten multiple compliments about my snazzy bag at the local farmers market! I chose a beef broth with a steamed duck egg, kelp noodles, ginger, coconut aminos, turmeric and gomasio. It was beyond amazing.
If you do not read anything in this post, at least read GO EATING, DRINKING, and LAUGHING IN PORTLAND! You wont regret it.