Thursday, May 13, 2010

Farewell Portland, I'll Be Back!

My favorite wine shop in Portland:

Some more fun food carts:



Some parting thoughts.

I could live here. Why?

Public transit is amazing. Clean, new, frequent and cheap. The MAX goes directly from the Airport to downtown and it costs $2.30.

All public transport in the downtown area is FREE!

Best Airport in the country, the workers who checked me in at the United desk were actually friendly! Yes you read that correctly.

WiFi is Free throughout the airport and there are cute policemen on bicycles.

The airport actually has a nice restaurant (Stanfords) at least some good food - I just finished a fish taco made with Alaskan Halibut with a kick ass chipolte mayo (3 Tacos and rice or slaw $15).

Portland is lushly green, very clean, friendly and relaxed.

Sometimes I got the impression the people here had no idea what I was talking about. Like I was from another planet, but then when you think about it hard core long time New Yorkers like myself are indeed from another planet, we call it Manhattan.

There is a dedication and interest in food and the environment that is admirable. Servers in restaurants and wine stores can tell you what farm the pig was raised on or the growing methods used for the bottle of Pinot Noir your eyeing (organic and biodynamic in the instance of the wine I bought).

They have a real thing for coffee and beer, which I've mentioned before, but hey, you can never mentioned good beer and coffee too often. You could spend a whole month going from coffee shop to coffee shop and never sample every barista's macchiato (Tall Skinny and Bitter is a book about Portland coffee makers) or microbrew on tap.

They have a wonderful green market and CSA culture and the climate is so temperate and wet that things like Rosemary grow the size of large hedges!

They have one of the best Thai restaurants I've ever eaten at Pok Pok they even serve Som Tam (green papaya salad) with optional salted crabs, something I have only seen in Thailand.

The vintage stores an awesome and everywhere.

Counter culture Portland is like nothing I've ever experienced.

They even have good public art.

Sure it's slow and the downtown eerily empty, during the week most restaurants stop serving at 10, and despite the great public transit and all the bicyclists most people have cars and look at you funny if you don't. Public transit, like in so many cities in America, is something poor people take (NYC seems to be the exception).

Ultimately the pros way outweigh the cons and I for one can't wait to come back and hang out and explore Portland more.

1 comment:

Kurt Brown said...

Yay! Thanks for that travelogue. One of the perks of working at Intel were all the meetings in Hillsboro. Everyone else would stay out there in the burbs amongst the parking lagoons and corporate big boxes, but a few intrepid folks would always stay in downtown Portland. I grew to really like that town. Just the right mix of nice, intelligent, heart, and a dash of scruffy. You can really feel at home there pretty quick.

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