The City of Roses

September 10, 2014
Sunday, we started our day at the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. It was around the corner from the car rental, since they weren't open quite yet we decided to see what the fuss was about. There was a line out the door that built up down the street. It took us just under a half hour to claim our prize of a half dozen doughnuts. We kept ourselves amused with the doughnut names while we waited. They accept cash only. You'd think the armored trucks would do pick ups hourly for the draw this place seems to have.

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We drew all sorts of attention at the car rental with our pretty pink box. It was funny, that you would spot people all over the city at various times of the day with their very own pink box. After waiting in a lengthy line, we had keys to the Chrysler and we hit the road for Multnomah Falls. Meanwhile, we dug into our sweet snacks.

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The lemon chiffon crueller was my favorite pick. It was loaded with way too much icing, talk about a sugar rush! But it was damn tasty. Frank really enjoyed the Memphis Mafia fritter. It was a banana fritter loaded with chocolate and peanut butter drizzle and piled high with chocolate and pb chips. Rebel Donut in Albuquerque remains my favorite, but I'm happy we stopped to learn that "the magic is in the hole".

The drive to Multnomah Falls was like a dream. Seriously. It was like some alternate universe where the rules of road are obeyed. Drivers were considerate! I've never seen anything like it. Slow traffic stayed to the right, the left lane was used to pass. It was a thing of beauty!

Speaking of beauty, The Columbia River Gorge is gorgeous. The Multnomah Falls are a breeze to locate and view, unlike our waterfall experiences in Ecuador. It was a short walk to the bottom of the falls and an easy half mile (paved) hike to the bridge; it's about a mile to the top of the falls. The falls are the tallest in Oregon at 620 feet.

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I couldn't help but pet the furry trees. I wanted to name them all Jeffrey.

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Next, we stopped at the Bonneville Dam. Frank and I often visit dams, since we find them fascinating. The dam was named for the man who charted much of the Oregon Trail (who else sat in a group around an Apple computer in class and played Oregon Trail until they died of Dysentery?), it is primarily used to generate electricity, but also helps with flood control and river navigation. Additionally, it has a tremendous fish ladder. It was wild to stop and watch the Chinook Salmon (and others) work their way upstream. We also viewed them underwater, where the fish counts are done.

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We drove to hood river and had lunch at Double Mountain Brewery. It was suggested by our car rental agent. It's a super cute town loaded with wineries and breweries. The pizza was good, but frankly not all that special. We enjoyed a Cluster Fuck IPA and Sacre Bleu with our lunch.

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Then, we set off to find Mt Hood. We'd been in town two days and hadn't spotted it once. We drove to the ski resort but it was closed. We never got a clear shot of Mt. Hood, but we did see it. Mission accomplished.

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While in Portland, I had to see the St. John's bridge so that was our next stop. We also viewed it from Cathedral Park.

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I also wanted to visit the International Rose Test Garden, I might be allergic, but I love to see rose gardens. This was the largest collection I've ever seen. I now understood Portland's moniker, "The City of Roses."

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The Japanese Gardens are also located in Washington Park. Admission is $9.50pp, we passed on this one too. Instead, we set out for snack we sought out Devil's Dill Sandwich Shop. We opted for the No. 4 which has braised beef, cheddar, grilled peppers and onions, and horseradish aioli pressed between a mighty delicious ciabatta roll. I liked it but wished it had a crunchy or crisp element. It was a mushy mess.

We went back to the hotel to rest a bit and form a game plan for dinner. I wanted something uniquely Portland with farm to table dishes. My search led me to the Veritable Quandry. This restaurant has been a gem of downtown Portland since the 70's. It was near the hotel so we were able to stroll over and work up an appetite. There were so many delicious items to choose from we narrowed it down to Bacon Wrapped Dates, Duck Confit Spring Rolls, Poached Egg and Smoked Bacon Butter Lettuce with Crispy Cornbread, Chinook Salmon and Housemade Spaghetti with Eggplant and the Chocolate Souffle for dessert.

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The dates are stuffed with Chèvre, unfortunately, I do not enjoy goat cheese so these missed the mark for me (matter of personal taste), but it left more for Frank to enjoy. He found them very yummy, with crisp smoky bacon, sweet date, crunchy almond and creamy Chèvre. The spring rolls were right up my alley. I adore duck. The Wasabi ginger sauce was perfect for dipping. We shared the salad and it was simply tasty with a Buttermilk White Cheddar Dressing. The Salmon was beautifully prepared and served with a mediterranean medley of hummus, grain and vegetables. Frank's spaghetti was stellar. The noodles were perfectly al dente, the tomatoes were bright and fresh and the eggplant was so rich it seemed to melt like butter in your mouth. Dessert was the perfect end to a lovely meal and service didn't skip a beat. We fell for Portland all over again.

Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom on Urbanspoon Devil's Dill Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon Veritable Quandary Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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