Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Portland with Kathryn


I was impressed with Portland from the moment I arrived. The train station is a lovely brick building with a pale stone interior. Wrought iron and colorful hanging baskets line the circular front of the station. My friend Kathryn, who I have known since I was three, lives near there with her husband and 3 children. She picked me up and we drove back to her home in Newburg, about an hour's drive from the train.

We drove through downtown Portland and down the I-5 and eventually arrived in her town. Along the way we passed countless drive- thru coffee/espresso huts/barns/stalls...with all sorts of creative names like "Coyote Joes" . It seems like Portland is way more intense about their coffee than the Bay Area. I knew Seattle was that way, but I didn't realize Oregon was as well. Not only are there tons of independent coffee places, but many of them are drive-thru. I guess that when they need their coffee they need it NOW. The next morning we stopped at the Coffee Barn which, as you might figure, was shaped like a tiny barn. House coffee came in the sizes of 16 oz, 20 oz and 32 oz. I was going to order a large until I realized that it was the size of a Big Gulp. And I thought Starbucks supersized everything...

Kathryn and her youngest boy , two year old Kullen, and I went back to downtown Portland the next day. There is wonderful public transit all over the city that is free in the middle of town. All day Kullen kept saying "Train! Bus! Car!" (He is very into transportation at the moment. ) Parking is only 95 cents an hour if you choose that option. The city blocks are half the size of normal city blocks and it is easy to walk around. The streets are lined with bricks and the buildings were interesting and beautiful. It drizzled a bit but not enough for an umbrella. In the heart of the city is an open brick plaza that has an ampitheater feel at one end. They refer to it as "Portland's Living Room" and it is used for all kinds of public gatherings, theater, dance productions... Along one side and in various parking lots around there were food stands selling crepes, burritos, Ben and Jerry's, smoothies and much more, and of course COFFEE.

A favorite dining experience for the locals seems to be the brew pub scene. There are lots of them around and so we went to one called the Rock Bottom Brewery for lunch. It was typical pub-grub. Afterwards we strolled down to the river. Kathryn pointed out the world's smallest park which was about a foot square. There was a cactus in it and it was located in the middle of the street on a divider. I took a picture of it and the plaque telling its history.

Another happening spot in Portland is 23rd Street. It is lined with cute shops and cafes and restaurants and there are great neighborhoods nearby. A chocolate cafe caught my eye and I went in and ordered an amazing hot chocolate drink which was just as good as the hot chocolate in Paris. Farther down the road was an incredibly creative "Soap" shop. They had soaps and jellies and bath bombs and facial scrubs in every flavor and scent you can imagine. I took a photo of some soaps that looked like chocolate cake and others that looked and felt like grape jello but then was told that no photography was allowed. I'm sure they are worried about people stealing their ideas.

About 2;30 we headed back to Newburg so that Kathryn could pick up her vivacious 8 year old daughter Kylie from her singing group and put Kullen down for a nap. Kathryn whipped up some garlicky spinach pasta and a platter of her home grown tomatoes and basil for dinner. There's nothing like home grown produce. We then packed up the car and headed up to their cabin at Government Camp on Mt Hood. I need to go to bed now so I will write about that tomorrow.


Blogger Melissa said...

Hi Amy!!!

Portland is adorable (can't wait to visit that chocolate shop!), the photos are beautiful (WHEN did you become such a techie?) and your stories are a joy to read. Maybe you being gone for 2 months won't be so bad after all :)
Much love, Melissa

5:59 PM  

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