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Visiting Portland: Sipping cherry gimlets and vintage shopping

August 19, 2011 |  7:00 am

he original "Portlandia"
A couple weeks ago, I visited Portland, Ore., for a cover story in this Sunday's Image section about Pendleton Woolen Mills and the new Portland Collection. It was my first time visiting the Rose City (other than watching "Portlandia") and I loved it.

I enjoyed wandering around the Pearl District on First Thursday, when all the art galleries and stores stay open late, and vintage shopping on Hawthorne in South East. Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ iced coffee kept me alert for hours,  until I settled into a cherry gimlet (made with local fruit, of course) at the Whiskey Soda Lounge.

Here is a rundown of some of my favorite places. And thanks to Esther Song at Tory Burch for her great recommendations.

Whiskey Soda Lounge's cherry gimlet

Higgins: Nice place to dine solo at the bar and sample locally sourced cuisine. Have a Pinot Noir and the Kakavia, a Greek fisherman’s stew.

Andina: Excellent Nuevo Peruvian cuisine. I could have made a meal out of the quinoa bread and three ajies, or Peruvian salsas.

Pok Pok and Whiskey Soda Lounge: Delicious Thai food from James  Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker. The Vietnamese fish sauce wings are to die.

Portland City Grill: Since it’s on the top floor of a high-rise, it has a great view of downtown and Mt. Hood. Live piano music and a busy bar scene with local wines and brews. Food is meh.

 

Shopping:

• Cargo:  A warehouse full of Asian imports and knickknacks, such as paper lanterns, Buddha statues and pens made from old electrical wires.

• Eden: “A garden of opulent curiosities.” Imagine a stuffed peacock, vintage kimonos, scented candles, Art Deco mirrors and design books. I picked up an Art Nouveau butterfly pin.

• Frances May: Men's and women's clothing from independent labels such as Rachel Comey, Vena Cava and Raquel Allegra. 

• House of Vintage: Room after room of inexpensive finds, including a $12 shocking-pink crochet knit top and $25 cowboy boots. Vintage Pink is another good store on Hawthorne.

• Idom: Locally-designed line of modern-looking clothing -- one-shoulder tops, asymmetrical skirts and the like -- plus accessories by Melissa, Tatty Devine and others. It's the cutest shop along 23rd street in Nob Hill.

• Lizard Lounge: Upscale workwear for men and women from Levi's, Stronghold, Mr. Freedom, Redwing and more.

• Mag-Big: Nicely curated selection of funky clothing, jewelry and artwork by local indie talent.

• Powell’s City of Books: An independent bookstore that takes up a whole city block and caters to every esoteric interest. Stocks used books too. My favorite find? A fashion history book titled "Men In Furs."

• Pendleton Home Store: This is Pendleton’s “experimental store,” and it does feel younger and hipper, mixing house wares and Indian blankets with vintage Indian jewelry and belts, contemporary accessories, Pendleton shirts, and skirts. I even spotted a lone pair of impossible-to-find Pendleton Vans sneakers on the sale shelf. Alas, they were not my size.

• Tender Loving Greens: Another great source for amusing local goods, including craftsy earrings, T-shirts and wearable, plush overstuffed mustaches. This town is mustache crazy. 

Sightseeing:

• International Rose Test Garden: I took a ridiculous number of photos.

• Oregon Historical Society: A great primer on the region’s history.

• Museum of Contemporary Craft: Exhibits cool work by jewelry, glass, ceramic and paper designers.

• Saturday Market: Weird and wonderful weekly market featuring work by local artisans, such as organic catnip toys made from recycled men’s pinstripe suits and garden gnomes in your likeness made while you wait.

Multnomah Falls
 
• Multnomah Falls: A 620-foot waterfall along the Columbia River Highway outside Portland. If you make the trip, stop in the charming town of Hood River for lunch at Double Mountain Brewery. The seasonal Devil’s Kriek Belgian-style sour ale with cherries is not to be missed.

-- Booth Moore

Photos, from top: The original "Portlandia," Whiskey Soda Lounge's cherry gimlet and Multnomah Falls. Credit: Kathleen Moore.

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