Food, Books, Food, Roses, and Food In Portland, OR

The little town of Astoria, OR was just our warm-up for Oregon. After that overnight intro to this gorgeous state, we headed into the big city of Portland for 3 fun-filled nights of food, drinks, and a short exploration of Portland’s offerings.

The Bite Of Oregon

We love checking out the festivals that take place in other cities. We were lucky enough to hit Seattle during Sea Fair. And we were lucky enough to get into Portland for The Bite of Oregon, a weekend-long beer and food festival.

Our awesome CouchSurfing host Tony had two extra tickets for us to use, so we all headed over to Bite to sample a couple beers and some food. This isn’t just standard fair food (though that’s available too). This is a showcase by some of the state’s best chefs with a good dose of high-quality food trucks to boot.

After eating and drinking our fill, we met up with another of Tony’s friends and headed to…

The Adult Arcade: Ground Kontrol

Yes, you’re reading that right. Portland has an arcade for those over 21 only, called Ground Kontrol. Here’s a business opportunity for those of you trying to think of a way to work for yourself.

Get a bar and a liquor license, turn the lights down low and the music up high. Now fill the bar with vintage video games, along the lines of Rush 2049, Cruisin’, Street Fighter, Joust, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Pac-Man, and dozens of pinball machines. Charge 25 cents to play most games, 50 cents for a few. Enjoy a sell-out crowd.

Seriously, we actually had to wait in line for 10-15 minutes until enough people left that they could let us in. If for no other reason, this bar/arcade just might make Portland the coolest city ever.

Farmer’s Market

After our late night at Ground Kontrol, we were still up and ready to hit the farmer’s market at Portland State University. As we told you, we love farmer’s markets. You can’t beat the options for high-quality produce and meats, typically including a lot of options you’ll never see on the shelves of your local supermarket.

We knew that in a foodie city like Portland, the farmer’s market would be fantastic and we weren’t disappointed. It’s huge! We picked up a little pork, some peppers, and other vegetables so that Scott could make another delicious meal, this time a Pork Stir-fry with a Spicy Peanut Sauce. We barely hit any of the market before we’d found everything we needed and more.

Powell’s Book Store

If you’re literate, no trip to Portland is complete without a trip to Powell’s Book Store, the self-proclaimed “largest independent bookstore in the world.” Whether it’s true or not is unimportant. (Thanks for the suggestion, Turney!)

You pretty much need a map to get around this place. It’s a full city block of books on multiple levels of the store. At one point, we split up while Scott got coffees and Edie searched for her books. It took a text message to actually find each other again.

No matter what genre you’re looking for, you’ll probably find your book here.

The International Rose Test Garden

So let’s see…we’ve covered the foodie, the game nerd, and the book lover in ourselves. But we still had to satisfy the “loves to look at pretty things” part. So we went to The International Rose Test Garden.

This place is exactly what it sounds like: a testing ground for new rose hybrids. It’s literally several football fields worth of rose bushes of all colors. Orange, white, red, paint-speckled (like the one at right), pink…it’s all here.

Voodoo Donuts

And back to the foodie side of things. We were told that a trip to Portland requires a trip to Voodoo Donuts for a Maple-Bacon Donut.

We’re told that at one time, they served a Ny-Quil Donut and a Pepto-Bismol Donut. Alas, those are no longer on the menu. Apparently there’s something about serving medication in your donuts that the city didn’t approve of. Yeah, we don’t understand it either.

Forest Park

Forest Park was our final stop for a short hike. This 4,200 acre park is a dense forest that offers a 30-mile one-way trail for hiking, along with biking trails. We hiked in maybe 2-3 miles to this cool old stone building.

If you’re looking for something to do in the great outdoors while you’re in Portland, Forest Park probably has what you need. The 30 miles of trail in the park connect to the 40-Mile Loop system linking Forest Park to trails along the Columbia River.


Somehow we escaped Portland without a single photo of the city skyline. Nonetheless, there are plenty of photos of Knox with his CouchSurfing doggie friends and plenty of roses.