Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Portland, Oregon: Jimmy's surprise birthday trip, and our first visit ever.

I know my next trip is suppose to be New York, but my friend Ashlie wanted to surprise her boyfriend Jimmy with a trip to Portland, Oregon for his birthday.I was invited and didn't want to ruin the surprise by mentioning it on my blog, since he reads it periodically.

So here's the surprise trip to Portland. It's also my first time visiting.

We took the first flight out at 6:30 am. So we were at the airport at 5 am. It's a bit too early in the morning for Jimmy.

Nothing like some pick me up. I'm not sure if this applies to all the venues at the airport, but Peet's Coffee wouldn't accept my gift certificate. They said that they are separate from the stores outside of the airport. I don't get it, but whatever. He did give me a discount though.

Alaska Airlines breakfast menu... looks delicious.




Part of a balance breakfast. Crown & coke, and a cookie.


Arrived in Portland around 8 am. Supposedly Portland's airport is ranked as the best airport in America for it's quality food, shopping & on-time departures.

Supposedly there's a big thing about Portland's airport carpet. They replaced it recently, but you can buy a piece of the old carpet, there are even shirts and socks based on the design of the carpet. I don't get it, but Portland's motto is "keep Portland weird"....but then again that's the same saying as Austin. I think PDXcarpet has it's own Instagram and Twitter.


Grabbed a Lyft and headed to our hotel. Our Lyft driver had some snacks and water for us.



Portland is very green and lush.








We stayed in downtown Portland at Hotel Modera 

The hotel was very nice and had a contemporary feel.

The front walk way with restaurant patio.

The hotel is also pet friendly.

While Ashlie was checking in and I noticed that the sofa in the lobby had outlets and usb plugs built into it. When you don't need them you can recess them back into the sofa. I want that in my sofa at home.

Our room wasn't ready so we headed off for a real breakfast.




My friend has family that lives in Portland. So I asked his sister Diane for food suggestions. She recommended that we try Pine State Biscuits.

Diane and her brother were joining us for breakfast. So we thought we would take a look at the menu while we waited for them.



While waiting for Diane we took a stroll down the block just to look around.




Fresh biscuits being made.

$2.50 for a beer, why yes please.

Ashlie had a mimosa



Ashlie ordered the biscuits and sausage gravy with an egg.

I got the Reggie Deluxe: fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and a fried egg, served between a biscuit and surrounded by sausage gravy. It was amazing. A must try if you're in Portland.

After our meal we headed back to our hotel.

Ashlie had scored us tickets to the Nike Employee Store from a friend. So we headed to the MAX (Portland's light rail)





The MAX took us directly across the street from the Nike Employee Store. It was about a 20 minute ride.



The Nike Employee store is not open to the public, it's only open to Nike Employees and to anyone that has tickets from an Employee. I believe employees are limited to 5 tickets a year.

Everything in the store is 50% off. I mean everything. They had Roshe Runs for $35, Free Runs for $45, Nike also owns Converse, so Chucks were $33. I didn't know they owned Hurley too. There was a small section of Hurley stuff.

After shopping we headed back to the Hotel.







Our room was finally available.



We were hungry again. On our way to the hotel from the airport we saw a block with a bunch of food carts. So we ventured out looking for it.



Didn't know exactly where the food carts were, but we found a bar and stopped by for a drink. Lotus Cafe and Cardroom






Noticed these slot machines behind a curtain. Was told video poker is allowed in Oregon.

I had an Old Fashion. It's wasn't that great.

I think Ashlie had the Grapefruit & Basil martini

Jimmy had the Devereaux: Bulleit Bourbon, St. Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling wine.

Our bartender was also named Asheley.

Before we left, we thought we would try our luck on the slots... video poker. Unsure what the difference is.


We lost our money very quickly.

We eventually found the food the carts.

and there are a lot of them.


A lot of people that I spoke too, told me that it's hard finding good Mexican food in the area.









I ended up getting a Paleo dish. I mainly bought it because of the picture of the dinosaur. I love dinosaurs.

I got bacon collard greens, with chicken and meatballs. The meatballs were dry, but the chicken and greens were good.

Ashlie got a chicken shawarma with fries and garlic sauce. That looks way better than my Paleo cup and she said it was good.

Jimmy got Pad Thai noodles which was also good. Thai food in Portland seems to be very popular.


We made our way back to the hotel. We saw the game room on the hotels website and wanted to check it out ourselves.

They had a shelf with some board games, giant Jenga, and poker chips.

They also had a large flat screen with a Wii U hooked up.

Shuffle board.

A pool table.

Another TV and I think this one had an Xbox 360 hooked up.

Giant connect four.

I don't know what this is called, but it's like skee ball, but with bean bags. Only thing they are missing is a Foosball table. The down side though is they don't allow any food or drinks in the game room. I wish we could just drink and play games all day.

We were really tired from being up so early. So Jimmy and I went outside and hung out. Ashlie headed upstairs for a nap.




Around 7 pm we headed out to dinner. My friend's parents owned a Sushi restaurant by the river.










Yomi Sushi is the name of the restaurant.


Fried Gyoza... Comes with more than 3, but we were so hungry that we started eating before Ashlie reminded me to take a pic.


House made white kimchi. Just like regular kimchi but without the spicey kick.

Freshly fried shrimp tempura. Omg this was good. I don't think I have ever had it this freshly fried. I wish there was more. Ashlie doesn't eat shrimp, but she really liked this.

For the cocktail portion I had a few Grey Goose and soda.

Fried soft shell crab. It's fried and you don't have to work for the meat. What more can you want?

Fried Philadelphia roll.

Fried Califonia roll.

Baked mussels with spicy sauce.


Tonkatsu: fried pork cutlet.

Dragon roll and I forget what the other roll was.

It was a lot of food for the three of us, but we finished it. It was good, but I kind of over ate though. After dinner we headed back to the hotel. Diane wanted to go out with us for the night.



We lounged around the front patio of the hotel while we waited for Diane.


Eventually we made our way to the restaurant patio for some drinks.




Diane took us to a section near china town. They closed off the intersection and let everyone roam around. Sort of reminded me of a very small version of 6th Street in Austin. There were bars and lounges everywhere.


Only difference is that all the bars and lounges charge a cover. We started at Fortune  it was a tiny bar. They charged $10 for guys and $5 for girls on a Friday night. I haven't paid cover in forever.


We hung out at Fortune for a bit, but the music wasn't to our liking.

Jimmy talked to the door men and they said we could have in & out privileges.


So we left and headed to Dirty Nightlife. The name definitely matches the venue.

Lots of lights, stripper poles and a young party crowd.

The main room plays hip-hop.

and the second room plays EDM/House music.

Lots of flashing lights to cause seizures.

We checked out both rooms and settled on the hip-hop room.

Ashlie likes to dance.

so does Diane.

Jimmy and I like to drink.


Jimmy really likes electric dance music, so we made our way back there.


At the end of the night we headed back to Fortune. Fortune plays more of a chill R&B music.


1:30 rolled around and we left for some late night eats.

We were pretty drunk so we decided to walk to the restaurant. On our Disneyland trip Diane would always gets into my photos doing this pose, and it just became a little inside joke.



I didn't know where we were, but apparently our hotel was only a 20 minute walk from the nightclub, and the restaurant was on the way.

Drunk Diane.

We came across another food cart area. I believe there are like 3 or 4 other locations like this.


We ate at a place called Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen.

Looks like Diane is starting to regret going out with us tonight.

Now being Vietnamese and coming from the bay area. The food was okay. This isn't traditional Vietnamese food. It's more americanized.

I don't even remember ordering chicken wings.



We made it back to the hotel after a fun night of drinking and being out on the town.

That's it for our first night.

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