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Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

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South San Francisco
posts: 46
reviews: 11
Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

There was a period in the early 1990s when my husband and I visited Seattle and Portland several times, and then we had our daughter and stopped coming up (did cruises, Disney, etc. instead). However, we've never forgotten Portland. It's possibly the only place I'd ever leave San Francisco for.

We will be driving up from SF to Portland (our first time driving this trip) starting on April 1st, and we are planning to stay through Saturday before driving back down. I can't remember all the hotels we stayed at, but McMenamins (didn't like it) and Hampton Inn Airport (new at the time) were two of them. I have no clue where we should stay this time around, so I'd like suggestions. There will be 3 of us, so we want a room with either 2 queen beds or 1 king and a sofa sleeper (a real one); a small fridge and microwave for warming up leftovers would be nice. We don't want to pay for parking, and I'd love to pay $125/night or thereabouts if possible. If we had to pick a place on our own without advice, my guess is that we'd go back to the airport area or Beaverton.

One thing I remembered about Portland was the great food, especially the seafood. My husband still talks about the wonderful crabcake benedict that he had one day there, but I can't remember which restaurant it was, and of course, it may no longer be around. "Jake's" comes to mind, but I'm not sure if that's correct or not. I think it was part of a local chain of maybe three seafood restaurants. I'd also like some restaurant recommendations. We're Chinese, and we believe there is great authentic Chinese food in Portland that may be comparable to SF. We'd also like to try a couple of seafood restaurants again. A great sole proprietor Italian restaurant would also be great. If there are any "if in Portland, you gotta try..." we'd like to know. I hate returning home and then finding out about places I should have visited. I'd also like to visit a couple of places that were featured on TV like DDD, Rachael Ray, or others.

As far as sites go, I've been to the zoo, Japanese Garden, Powell Books, downtown Portland stuff (wandered into many stores, walked around, etc.), and we'll probably do some of that again. If there are some great new places (in the past 15 years), I'd love to know about them. We may spend a day on the way to the Columbia River Gorge. What else can we do? I don't think we want to drive to Seattle this time around. In general, we're kind of conservative, don't do water sports, won't be skiing. We're more about walking around town, eating, visiting a museum or site, eating...


Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 7,476
reviews: 100
11. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

M&S sold out and IMHO they aren't as good or don't have the "spirit?" that the original owners did. We checked but didn't go back.

I saw a television show food editor who said Milo's City Cafe near the Lloyd District is the best for breakfast and especially crab cakes egg benedict. (he pointed out "not in Portland but in all the listening area")

I called the owner/chef and spoke with him briefly. He makes his sauce. Not canned or powdered. He said if you have special dietary needs he can accomodate you if you give him a heads up first.

Man! My favorite and I was there nearby at a concert on the 18th! I think we might make a trip quite soon. It's opening up new horizons for me.


Oregon coast
posts: 476
reviews: 69
12. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

The Saturday Market is fun and interesting.

South San Francisco
posts: 46
reviews: 11
13. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

Thanks for the info on PS Biscuits. We've made reservations at the Radisson Airport location. I would have booked the Inn at Northrup if we decided on a non-airport hotel. I printed out info on the art museum, Japanese garden, Lan Su Garden, OMSI, test garden, Columbia River Gorge, Central Library, Courtthouse Square, Ground Kontrol arcade, Zoo and will have the family figure out where they want to go.

We're also going to Salem to visit Wiliamette University as part of my daughter's college touring (we'll be going to Portland State as well).

Shopping: So... is there a particular one place that would be considered the best shopping mall in Portland? Is there a best unique shopping area as well? My daughter will be happy with Forever 21, but I remember being very impressed with the sole proprietor stores in the city.

Still looking for more restaurants... :) Thanks!

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Portland
posts: 1,457
reviews: 61
14. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

One last thing regarding Pine State Biscuits:

It was only their SE Belmont Street that 'closed', but it is relocating to a spot on SE Division in the coming weeks oregonlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2013/03/pine… . The PS on NE Alberta St. is still open daily (and at night on weekends) and the 'original' location, a booth at the PSU Farmers Market on Saturdays is open as well. Just in case you must have biscuits! :)

Restaurants I always love and recommend: Toro Bravo (tapas), Lovely's Fifty Fifty, Park Kitchen, Tasty N Sons, Gruner, Clyde Common, Biwa, Pok Pok (Pok Pok Noi in NE - same great food, but smaller menu and smaller lines!), Podnah's Pit (Texas BBQ), Bollywood Theater, Salt & Straw (ice cream)... I'm sure I'll think of more!

Shopping mall in downtown = Pioneer Place (between SW Morrison/Yamhill/3rd/5th). Otherwise you'd need to drive/ride MAX to Lloyd Center mall or drive to either Bridgeport Village (10 miles South) or Washington Square (about 7-8 miles SW).

Happy travels,


Dallas, Oregon
posts: 5,450
reviews: 300
15. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

When visiting Willamette in Salem, consider breakfast at Word of Mouth (17th near State) and lunch or dinner at La Capitale (High and State streets). Both are excellent and quite close to the WU campus.

South San Francisco
posts: 46
reviews: 11
16. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

OK, I finally have the entire itinerary figured out. Some of the eateries are purposely chosen while others are due to proximity to where we will be. For example, I threw in Voodoo Donuts cuz we were in the area :)

Think we'll be okay? Any "must try" that I should add? Or in lieu of? Thanks!

Day 1

Milo’s City Café

Oregon Zoo

Elephant Deli (pre-purchased sandwiches in cooler of car)

Portland Japanese Garden

Washington Park Train

Japanese Test Garden

Dinner at Podnah BBQ

Day 2

Brunch at Jake’s Grill - I think this is the home of the crabcake benedict we were looking for

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia Gorge Premium Outlets

Dinner at Screen Door

Day 3

Dim sum at Wong King’s Seafood Restaurant

Late lunch in Salem at Wild Pear

Late dinner at Portland Seafood Company

Day 4

Pine State Biscuits

Snack time at Thahn Long Bakery and Restaurant or Joe’s Burger

Central Library

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade

Lan Su Garden, 239 NW Everett St

Shopping at Pioneer Place

Dinner at the food carts at SW 10th St and SW Alder St.

Lloyd Center

Voodoo Donuts

Last Day

Dim sum at New Wing Wa BBQ

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
posts: 7,476
reviews: 100
17. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

Ahhh, another dim sum lover. Now we have two food groups in common. Crabcakes and Dim Sum...you can't be all that bad... ;)

Your list looks good but exhausting for me.. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Take exit 17 for the Gorge Outlets and when you are done there, make a left out of the parking lot and another left at the light. That will take you into and through Troutdale and start you on the Historic Columbia River Highway. You will drive by the Sandy River, and up the mountain in order to see more waterfalls.

With your schedule I think you will only make it to Multnomah Falls or past that to Ainsworth State Park and choose wether to go west on I-84. If you have the a little more time, Go a little bit more east to Bonneville Dam (exit 40) is very interesting if you have never been down into a dam. It's free and a beautiful estate. Then come back to Portland.


Mrs O

Edited: 1:38 pm, March 30, 2013
Oregon coast
posts: 476
reviews: 69
18. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

Our current 2 favorites are East India Co. and Karam Lebanese.

San Francisco...
posts: 1
reviews: 9
19. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

Wow, just came across your note. We are from San Francisco and going up to Portland April 1 st. We also have a son who is going to college in September, however, our other son went to Portland University about 10 years ago. Thank you for doing our leg work for some of these restaurants, we will try some of your choices in your itinerary.

South San Francisco
posts: 46
reviews: 11
20. Re: Revisiting Portland after Almost 20 Years

Mrs. O - We will go to at least the first one for dim sum, but I suspect we may try to pick a different genre of restaurant by then. After all, that's a food we have plenty of here. I just couldn't make decide.

Yeah, I'm always over-ambitious when I travel because I want to make sure we're not looking at each other blankly asking, "so what do we do now?" for 20 minutes. Time is a wasting! As my daughter asked the other day suspiciously, "Will this be like a NY vacation" which was extremely rushed like 4 museums a day "... or a San Luis Obispo vacation" which means waking up at noon, having lunch, shopping, snacking, watching TV at the hotel, eating dinner, watching TV at the hotel, snacking, and sleeping. I told her it would be in between (but secretly thinking it'll be more like NY).

Here's what I'm actually going to try to do that Columbia River Gorge day...

Vista House Gallery and Gifts

Latourelle Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls, Multnomah Falls Nature Center, and Booneville Dam

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

Eat at Basalt Rock Café or Baldwin Saloon (depends on how hungry we are)

Columbia Gorge Premium Outlets - want this to be the reward for my daughter after viewing scenary :)

Elaine - there are some great suggestions from others in this thread; we just couldn't do everything. I actually think we will get a good taste of everything. Have a safe trip. I'm going to send you a private message about college though. :)

For everyone else, I will try to write a quick review when I return.