Eating our Way Through Portland Part One!

Hey hey heyyyy!!!! Been super MIA last couple weeks because we have been on the go (sandwiched between hospital shifts and trying to find some time for this weird, foreign thing called sleep?!). We decided a few weeks ago to visit Portland to visit one of mine and DJ’s good friends from college. Also, Portland is famously known for their eats, and we were about to fit in as much of this magical grub in as possible.

We left for the airport and first stop always?!?…..

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You knowww it!

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While waiting in the airport I decided to read.

I am trynaa to finish the fourth HP book, but for some reason I’m stuck on it. I have loved reading this series, but lately sooo many books have been vying for attention. I also go through genre stages. I flew through the first three of HP, then I went through a pop culture reading kick , then a “Fine literature kick” and now I’m on this thriller/mystery kick. My goal is to finish the series by the end of the summer!

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Now that DJ is twenty-five, we love to travel by getting an Orbitz package of a flight, rental car, and hotel to save some $$. Plus you get cash back that builds with each trip- it builds quick and is definitely worth it.

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Arrived!! We hopped in our rental car and began the drive to the hotel. The buildings in downtown Portland are eye-catching, there is art all littered all over the building’s walls, and standing art sprinkled throughout the city streets. Jay, our friend we were visiting, actually told us they are required to pay an Arts Tax. They take their creativity seriously and it is evident around every turn!

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We arrived at our hotel for the few days- The Nines! We were told by several people that this is a great hotel to stay in downtown. We usually just stay at whatever the most reasonable rate is, but we decided to try it out since the price wasn’t exorbitantly different comparatively to other downtown hotels & this was our summer vacation. The Nines has both a rooftop restaurant and bar and a regular gorgeous restaurant within it (Pictures to come!).

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Once again, the unique artwork continued as we checked in on the eighth floor.

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This is just what you imagine when you hear the word, “boutique hotel”. It is lined with turquoise walls, vibrant patterns, and cutesy touches.

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I’m huge on lighting (I truly think it can determine your mood), and this lighting was perfect. It was so warm, inviting, and calming.

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So fun!

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After settling in and shaking off the travel cob-webs, we went to Toro Bravo, a modern tapas destination in an area of gentrification in Portland.

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I made a list of restaurants and food trucks we really wanted to visit while we were there and this was right at the top. I love tapas style because you can try so many different flavors at one place. We did have a big dinner planned after, so we didn’t go too crazy (but I’d love to go back and try way more dishes one day!).

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They brought out a tasty lil complimentary bowl of corn nuts that were gone in no time… seriously where can we buy these just to have around the house?! I know I said we didn’t go nuts… but we went NUTS for these corn nuts. They were SO doggone scrumptious.

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Jay met up with us for the first time (wooohooo!). We had some light drinks and caught up excitedly on each other’s lives.

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The squid ink pasta with hazelnuts, anchovy syrup, and egg yolk was one of the big draws for this spot. I had squid ink pasta one time at La Mar in San Francisco, and to this day I maintain it was one of the greatest dishes I have ever tried. I wanted DJ and Jay to experience this magic. This dish was good, but it was certainly not on the level of La Mar’s.

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The star of this show was the oxtail croquettes with chili mayo. I’m not even sure exactly what this is made of, but I know it was darn delicious. If you go here these are a must! We actually were standing next to a couple in the elevator of our hotel talking about Toro Bravo, and I couldn’t help myself from popping into their convo and insisting that they try these gems.

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The boys also enjoyed the Moorish Lamb Chops a la Plancha with warm potato chorizo salad. I did sample a potato and it was potatoey perfection.

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We still had some time to kill before dinner, so Jay took us to one of his favorite local spots to hangout- Victoria!

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I love hanging with locals when we travel because they always know the greatest spots! This little dive is tucked away on a back street and wasn’t ridiculously crowded. Look how pretty this bar is with the warm lighting?

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I tried an aperol spritz.. I heard of this wine based drink mixed with soda water recently and it sounded so refreshing- it was yummy, light, and zesty. A perfect apertif!

Time for dinner!!! And oh, what a dinner it was. The rest of the night we declared our date night. We don’t have date nights in the summer often because of our competing schedules, but grab them while we can.

While researching vegan/vegetarian options (Portland is the land of plenty), this dinner came up. You have to make reservations because they only seat about fifteen people per dinner. This restaurant was unique to anything we have ever experienced. Everything they serve is from regional Farmer’s and entirely vegan.

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All patrons are seated at a long counter with a medley of Mumford & Sons-esque music playing in the background, mason jars galore, and fresh plants placed thoughtfully throughout. Quintessential Portland, right?

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Each seat has a name-tag as you come in so it’s easy to find where you should sit without playing musical chairs.

img_4464DJ and I scanned it over and after taking in the conglomerate of different fruits, spices, and flowers (yes flowers) I looked at DJ and said, “I have no idea what any of this will taste like”.

Luckily- every single thing was everything you could dream of and more. Wowza. We were blown away. I won’t bore you with the details, but the way I would describe every dish was fresh, vibrant with flavor, and dimensional. The servings were small, but with so many courses (and our Toro Bravo eats), we were very satisfied by the end. They made each dish in front of us, with the utmost meticulous attention (they used actual tweezers!).

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The vegan extravaganza began with some local seed bread with honey mustard. I’ll label each item that came next!

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Black bean fritter (our favorite on this dish) with first press canola, fermented rhubarb and spruce, and Kohlrabi parcel & yeast sauce

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Purple asparagus, fermented sunflower, and basil cream 

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Pickled sun choke with leek scape

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Cauliflower soup & Oregon Murtle

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Adirondack potato with wild watercress and herb juice

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Zucchini, romesco, and puffed quinoa

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Blue Oyster mushroom, wild garlic, and chives (and flowers!)

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Portobello, young carrot, snow peas, and savory sauce

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Kefir Refresher 

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Vegan flower water and candies

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Strawberry spruce yogurt and wild flowers

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Sprouted Dakota Black Peppercorn, rhubarb, and hazelnut milk (this was my favorite “sweet”!).

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And they even gave us a complimentary breakfast loaf to remember them the next day. How cute!

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It was some of the most savory bread I’ve ever tasted! It was so hearty & had cranberries sprinkled throughout that provided a nice sweet kick with each bite.

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Oh, and the views at night were stunning!

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In the morning, I woke up at 5:30 am and snuck in a nine mile run while watching the new season of 13 Reasons Why. This season is even harder to watch than the first. Anyone else watching? Thoughts? Anyway, I grabbed some fresh strawberries and cucumber water before heading back to the room to get ready for the day.

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After we headed to Pine State Biscuits for a breakfast of a lifetime. When people have asked where to go since we came back our first place is HERE. You MUST, and I mean MUST stop at Pine State Biscuits if you visit Portland.

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From the moment you step in, you are overwhelmed by smells of cinnamon mixed with coffee. By the time I ordered I was practically drooling.

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Jay met up with us and we all ordered at the counter.  We grabbed our coffee then found a comfortable spot in the outside patio with heaters blazing down to keep us warm during the early morning chill (it was about 7:30 at this point!).

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I had the vegan veggie reggie- Vegan sausage patty, tofu bacon and cheese topped with shitake mushroom gravy! Oh. MY. GOOOODNESSSS. One of the greatest creations of all time. I crave this.

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The boys both had the Reggie Deluxe (deluxe includes an egg).

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And we all shared the greatest cinnamon roll of all time. All parties agreed- one of the best flavors of the week. This cinnamon roll had a bourbon caramel glaze sauce.

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A truly unforgettable breakfast. In Part Two we head to Multnomah Falls & many other unforgettable eats were had. And a huge highlight- I had the privilege of meeting another blogger (eeek!!).. stay tuned.

And thank you to all those who have served, are serving, and family and friends who have and have had loved ones in the service. Today we acknowledge and remember your sacrifice and dedication to our country, and remember those who bravely lost their lives for our freedom. ❤

xo ❤

mack marie signature

62 thoughts on “Eating our Way Through Portland Part One!

  1. Girl thanks for making me hungry 😂 that cinnamon roll looks and sounds totally delicious. And that restaurant with all the vegan dishes sounds insane, plus looks really cool too. How exciting. Also totally jealous you’re reading HP! I finished my reread in January and miss it so much! Will have to read again soon lol. And I totally agree, lighting is so important and can fully determine a mood! Can’t wait to read part two hun! Xx

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    1. LOL!!! I’m telling ya, that cinnamon roll was on another level! You just motivated me to finish them up. Maybe I’ll devote the rest of today to finishing the fourth (one more challenge left!). Thank you so much for stopping by, beautiful!

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  2. Mackenzie!! Yum! All of the food looks soooo good, my mouth is watering! The Farm Spirit had some really unique & interesting dishes, wow!

    My boyfriend and I have been planning to make Portland our next trip, now I can’t wait to go even more!

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  3. Girl!!! All that food looks heavenly!! I’ve been to portland many many times before and going in August for my birthday but never stopped at pine state biscuts!! Will DEFINITELY have to try it out 💕

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    1. HI LOVELY!!! So soo good to hear from you ❤ ❤ What is your favorite food to eat/places to go/things to do?! I must know! How exciting you have this amazing place to look forward to!!

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  4. Looks like a wonderful (and delicious!) trip so far. I was in Italy earlier this month and had Aperol spritzes pretty much everywhere we went – I’ve been missing them since I’ve back!

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    1. It was too dang delicious. And aren’t they so refreshing? It’s more of an Italian drink right? I originally heard about it from some people after they came back from Italy too!

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  5. Yay a Portland update! And another mack Itinerary to follow if I ever make my way to Portland (which I will!)
    And you are a woman after my own heart…Peets!!!!!
    You can definitely finish all the HP books! I am your HP cheerleader girl!
    Ahhh i LOVE the murals!
    The Nines is SUCH a cute hotel! I am obsessed with it!
    Oh my avocado I just went into a food coma! Everything looks SO yummy!
    I love the concept of that vegan restaurant! That is SO cool! And everything looked so yummy!
    That Cinnamon roll looks SO yummy! Girl I have gone PAST a food coma! Eeekk I can not wait to read your next update! Another blogger? woootttt!!! I love that! ❤

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    1. Hehe- ALWAYS must start with Peets. I didn’t end up finishing the book the night I said I would. Idk what it is! I am planning on just going to Santa Cruz one day next week and sitting on the beach to finish it up. The cinnamon roll may have been the best thing on the trip- so yum!

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  6. I was so happy to see a Mack update! Man, Portland knows how to make a city stand out; all of the artwork is so pretty! I am ob-sessed with turquoise and teal, so that hotel is of course ah-mazing. Ohmyword how lovely! I appreciate all of the little details they included, especially using that fun wall pattern and chair. All of your eats are so drool-worthy. Your vegan dishes look so unique and fancy! Thank you for always doing such a fantastic job capturing your travels and experiences; your photos and writing are just perfect. Have a great day, love.

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    1. Awwww. I know I always say this, but your comments truly make my day! It’s like a little pep talk always! Portland is pretty stinking cool — have you ever been? You would love it! And their coffee is sooo good. And they have a ridiculous amount of awesome coffee shops to choose from. Next time I go back I want to try out more. And the food- goes without sayin’! PHENOMENAL. Thanks for reading girlfran!

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      1. I’m so very thankful that I can brighten your day! I have Portland on my bucket list of places to visit! I know Matt and I would absolutely love it, and it would be fun to do a coffee shop crawl of sorts in that city. Enjoy your Friday, love. XOXO

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  7. Would love to visit Portland! Your dinner sure looked fun and fancy – I always wish I were more of an adventurous eater so that I could have this type of dining experience! Breakfast was right up my alley though 🙂
    Can’t wait for Portland, Part Two!

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    1. SUSIE! How are you? So good to hear from ya! Hehe, definitely did not know what we were getting into with that meal, but had to try- definitely worth it. Breakfast was sooo good! Probably our favorite meal… then again hard to say. The sushi the next night was truly next level!

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  8. MACK<3 ❤ ❤ ❤ Portland, YES!! I actually love when you go visit places before I do because you document everything so perfectly its basically like having a preplanned itinerary to use 🙂 Firstly, I LOVE using orbitz or expedia for their package deals- I live by them and use them quite frequently, they definitely save a good chunk of cash. The Nines looks like a great stay, the interior gives off such an edgy appealing vibe, love that. I adore your taste for nice fine dining cuisine- you so fansaaaayyy girlfrand! These restaurants should seriously pay for you the shots you get of their dishes. Wait a minute, I just had an epiphany you need to do food photography as a side gig!! And I'll just go with you to eat it after the photo is taken 😉 I'm so happy you and DJ were able to plan a getaway! I haven't been able to catch up yet but I'm sure life hasn't slowed down yet so good for you guys to fit in a little vacation. I'll be back to read part dos!!

    xo, JJ

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    1. Oh shoot for some reason in the side bar your whole comment didn’t come up. But oh my goodness- biggest compliment ever! Pine state is the biggest must I would say!

      Isn’t orbitz the best? It’s like may as well just get money back on something you are purchasing anyway- I do hotels.com too sometimes… but that’s not quite as worth it. Since our date nights are few and far between in the summer sometimes we splurge especially out of town- but I joke that I wear the same clothes since eighth grade so I can spend more on food. LOL.

      AHHHH ok maybe that’s the greatest compliment?! (about the food photography!) I would love that. Gonna keep that in mind. But how does one even go about getting into that ? Haha. I’ll google it. Thank goodness for the internet. And yessss you get dibs on attending all my sessions to enjoy the meals with me after. We’ll virtually shake on it.

      This just put the BIGGEST smile on my face. Thank you thank you for stopping by, love! XO

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  9. Oh my! What a fabulous trip post! I just had breakfast, and I’m still drooling!
    The Farm Spirit food is so beautiful – my fave photo is the one with the snow peas: I can smell and taste the delectable veggies!
    And biscuits & gravy … wow! One of my favourites food memories from living in Texas – these look like seriously levelled up brekkie biscuits!

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    1. Thank you Ju Lyn! The snow peas was sooo tasty. It just blew me away with the versatility of the flavors. Oooo I have never had Texas biscuits and gravy but I bet those are some of the best. These are definitely a must if you ever go to Portland. So darn delish!

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  10. Thanks again for a wonderful blog that is leaving me so hungry here late at night! Pine State Biscuits looks sooooo good! What a wonderful trip and so nice you and DJ could get away! Miss you both, love you both! mom (And a shameless plug for my Cavs beating your Warriors!!!)

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    1. No no no you cannot say “your warriors!” blasphemy! LOL. No worries- we are holding down the fort over here 😉 We are going to game 2 Sunday! I just found out and am freaking out!!! MISS YOU! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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  11. Okay I got a stomach bug on Monday and haven’t had much of an appetite since then (thank you Alex for almost forcing me to eat lol) yet your food has me DYING for some of the deliciousness you indulged in. I’ve never heard of an art tax but I’ve heard Portland is pretty artsy so I can see why they would have one. It’s on my list of places to go visit actually!

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    1. Yayyyy! Ooooo that’s like the highest compliment that it gave you an appetite back. Isn’t that funny about the art tax? I didn’t know that existed, but I’m not surprised either that Portland has it! I hope you get to visit sometime soon!

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  12. I haven’t made it that far in the Harry Potter series. I ended up reading The Handmaid’s Tale while on vacation and just started Red Queen.
    Portland has been on my must see list. I’ll have to tuck away these restaurants! We did a package through Expedia for our Aruba trip. I think they really do save a good bit of money. My trip to Scotland had a lot of moving parts, but I did get hotel discounts because I book through them frequently (and have been using them for about 15 or so years). Every bit helps. I really need to get a travel credit card, but haven’t decided which one would be best for my usage.
    Can’t wait to hear about Multnomah Falls.

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    1. Oooo how is the Handmaid’s Tale?! I haven’t read the books, but am into the series on Hulu for sure. We are in the exact same boat!! You are so right- every bit adds up- but we haven’t pulled the trigger on a credit card either. I need to do more research thought because with as much as we travel, especially back home to see family, it would be ideal to invest in that. Let me know if you find one with super great perks. I don’t have the slightest clue! Have a great day, Amy 🙂

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      1. I liked The Handmaid’s Tale. I hadn’t seen the series or its previews (although I knew it existed) so I had no clue the premise of the book. I think I preferred it that way because the concept was so shocking.
        I’ll let you know if I figure out a good travel card!

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  13. The hotel is gorgeous on the inside I love the splashes of teal, it makes it look even more inviting and vibrant lol.
    And after reading your post I’ve realized why I have never been to these eateries: they lean more towards fine dining? And your girl is broke so we can only afford to go to so many places lmao. But I will definitely give Pine biscuits a try because that cinnamon roll looks to die for!!!!!!
    I also want to do some sort of segment of “playing tourist in my own city” to try different eateries lol.
    That vegan restaurant looks amazing though, I would really love to try it someday.
    I cannot wait to see what else you did and where else you went while you were here!!!!

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    1. Haha, we quite literally put our money where our mouth is. We live a pretty minimalistic lifestyle, and I seriously still wear clothes from years and years ago, but we LOVE to try new food. I’d rather spend the dough on physical dough than anything else. Baha. That was a horrible joke. But It’s probably our favorite hobby (eating), and when we travel sometimes we will splurge a little on things we couldn’t try locally. Especially in the summer we have a harder time scheduling date nights so we sometimes will try something a little more unique here and there. That vegan experience was a one and done type deal- worth the experience but only one time. haha. But I will say Toro Bravo is an excellent place to go with a group! You can split the dishes with a group and then split the bill too while trying a whole bunch. So yummy! Now, Pine Biscuits- no excuses 😉 I expect a full report sometime soon! XOXO

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      1. Lmao but that’s great! You guys are enjoying yourselves, I wish I had enough money to enjoy our vacations a lot more haha. And I’m the same way, I have clothes from 5 years ago or longer that I still wear, no shame!
        Awh that’s so great! I’m so glad you enjoyed the food here, there’s still lots of unexplored territory for us. I will definitely go to Pine Biscuits and Toro Bravo just cause I’ve never been to a tapas place 😊

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  14. As promised…thank you for sharing your wonderful Portland trip with us, I have a dear friend who lives in Portland and I enjoyed seeing it through your eyes (& tummy!)…I’m looking forward to Part 2 & 3!!

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  15. Before I became a mostly-stay-at-home-mom, I worked full-time for a fire safety company. And they sent me on a business trip to Portland, and it was an amazing experience. I LOVED the food scene… and I was able to try Peets coffee and tea, which is SO good!!! 🙂 My hotel wasn’t so nice looking though… HA! Wow, those pics are so incredible! I’ve always said that one day, I’m going to stay in a nice hotel… and I’m pretty sure I want it to look similar to that! 😉 So pretty!!
    And as always, your food pics look amazing! My brother is vegan, and he has traveled to Portland several times. He always says that it’s SO vegan friendly, which makes it a favorite travel spot of his.
    I can’t wait to catch up on your other posts!!

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    1. Hey girl!! Oooo that sounds like an awesome company to work for- getting to go to Portland?! Yes please! Oh my goodnesssss! I am at Peet’s right now. It’s my favorite. My goal in life is to be their ultimate ambassador lol. Ok, I think you may have read part 3 now.. but as nice as the hotel was it wasn’t work the price, you know? If you are gonna splurge definitely do it elsewhere 😉 It’s a great place to visit though if you are in town- the decor is so unusual and fun and the restaurants are fun too. And yessss portland is a vegan haven for sure!

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  16. Yay for getting away to Portland! I’ve always wanted to visit. I love that your first stop was Peet’s! An that you’re reading Harry Potter. That’s absolutely Jimmy’s favorite book series and he just read the series over the winter and was saying how much he loves it!

    Thanks for the tip on Orbitz for travel! I had no idea! How does the money thing work with earning cash back?! Botique hotels are so fun! If I ever visit Portland, I think I need to stay at The Nines!

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    1. Hi Allie! I need to get through the rest of the series, but I keep getting distracted haha. Need to focus!
      So with Orbitz every time you book a trip you get a certain percentage back depending on what you spend and where you spend (It’s different every trip), then you can choose to apply it to whatever trip you choose ( i usually apply it to airfare).

      And The Nines was exquisite, BUT I don’t recommend it for several reasons outlined in part three. Definitely worth a visit though to see their exterior and to eat at Urban Farmer (the restaurant inside)!

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