I had just a long weekend left available to conclude my Northwestern Adventure. Started in Calgary for the Sled Island Festival (read my Calgary blog- wow), 3 weeks ago, then roamed for about 2 weeks throughout Alaska (read my Alaska Blog – breathtaking) a bucket lister, for sure. I asked my pal and guru Drew Edwards to suggest a final nearby city to explore. Seattle and Portland are the two regional heavyweights, since Vancouver has already been plundered. (VC is great!) Seattle projects a cool image but, head to head, Drew says go visit Portland. Drew’s the smartest guy I know, nicknamed T$. So I buy my tickets and make my way south.
THURSDAY JULY 3, 2014:
Travel day from Denali to Fairbanks Airport by van. Plane is 5 hours delayed, rerouted back to Anchorage. Was to be in at midnight, now arriving 6 am.
So is Portland the great city I was expecting? Let’s see..
FRIDAY JULY 4th:
Exploring Pioneer Square, up on Morrison Street. My mind immediately scream “Light My Fire!!”, one of my favs from Jim and the guys. Just a few easy blocks from my hotel Vintage Plaza, a boutique from the Kimpton Hotels. Well done from top to bottom, excellent service. I’d stay there again and that, for me, says a LOT about a hotel. No hotel is perfect – I HATE hearing the maids go up and down the hallway knocking on every door “house keeping”…. “House Keeping” … Usually when I’m working / sleeping / reading….but whaaah poor me, right? 😉 Will SOMEONE PLEASE create an app or something so the maids don’t have to knock on every single door?? (Bravo to the maids and support staff, cleaning is a tough job, thank you all. I always try to leave my room as clean or cleaner than I found it, all towels in tub of course. And since the hotel soap isn’t organic then it stays in it’s shiny lil wrappers, all lonely and dry.)
Exploring downtown Portland, like all cities, is on foot. So this my first morning, I juice up, unsure exactly of the time, having just emerged from the land of the midnight sun.
If you’ve been following my blogs then you’ll know that I’ve got a ‘thing’ for manhole covers. They’re are always several in each city, and as a Sci Fi grownup, I wonder what’s lurking… though conveniently, downtown has some excellent street musicians to entertain me, squirrel, while I wonder / wander. Greenleaf Juicing Company is a local startup, college buddies or such. I slowly build my custom blend with the help of the friendly jucieers? Jucyiers? err, wait staff and by morning # 4 it’s perfect.
Well is does happy to be both a FRIDAY and JULY 4th, so as expected the already popular Tom McCall Waterfront Park is WILD and PACKED! My travel path is from downtown to the waterfront and as I meander, there are plenty of photo opps. I love the sign in the stairs that says “LOOK UP” right into the camera lense. I hear distant notes from Judas Priest’s prescient “Electric Eye” in my mental walkabout musical library. Ain’t just Rock and Roll Momma, it’s the future!
Of course I stop for a Liberty Bell selfie, as Ben Franklin is both a hero of mine and the originating force of my Entrepreneur Social Club based on his Junto Club, “In 1727 Franklin formed a small club for mutual benefit and improvement, called the Junto (from the Latin “iungere” meaning “to join”).
Gotta love a party that is 100% PACKED before 4 pm. Even the Fire Marshall himself had to stand outside holding his sign. =D So after a few hours of wandering, exploring and enjoying the waterfront, I made my way back slowly towards the hotel and dinner. This was after all, a short “night”, via arriving at 6 am today. And for a guy who throws 5 Star weddings and parties for a living, sometimes NOT being in the middle of thousands of drunk strangers shooting off fireworks might be a smart decision. Damn, I must be getting older, wiser or am really just running low on 2 hours of zzzzz.
Dinner at Piazzo.
SATURDAY JULY 5, 2014:
Electric Cars and Juicing. Exploring Portland’s Pearl District.
I always say if I had a parallel life, I’d spend it reading. I LOVE TO READ. So of course my sniffer landed my squarely in book store heaven, at Powell’s Book Store. I had to ask several people why it was so damn busy. It was PACKED!. Most everyone said that was a normal saturday, a few said it was actually a bit slower because of the 4th weekend. If every city’s bookstore had this much activity, then maybe the world would be more like here; educated, friendly, quirky, safe, clean and welcoming.
Dinner at El Gaucho: I wanted to love El Gaucho. The ambiance and the service were great however the WAY overpriced bone in ribeye was very disappointing. I’ve been to over 300 cities and 35 countries around the world never had ANY restaurant charge me $75 for a steak. (It was special of the night, told to me by my fabulous waitress Genesis, she was 5 Star, I didn’t ask the price and was expecting around $50). If it would have knocked my socks off I would have been (almost) happy to pay $75. I was not born with money, I’ve had to earn it. However they ribeye did not come close, and therefore I cannot recommend this restaurant, unless you want to throw your $ away on a sub par steak. Maybe a bad night, but if wanna be 5 Star you’ve gotta do it every time. It’s your $$, your move.
SUNDAY JULY 6, 2014:
Visiting the Portland Japanese Gardens was well well worth the short taxi ride from downtown. No need for me to say much, just enjoy a few moments and photos of ZEN =D
I was so relaxed after sitting quietly for about 30 minutes that I casually asked this kid, probably 14-ish who happened to be walking by to shoot a quick photo of my by this large tree. I couldn’t get enough arm extension for a selfie. How (internally) embarrassed was I that this kid only had one arm. Well he, like any 14 year old, grabbed it and shot it like it was nothing. I thanked him and smiled as I do when I experience something wonderful that makes me want to work harder, complain less and further my quest of becoming a better human. What a garden variety surprise that was.
Here’s a quick video from my Samsung Note 2 of the garden’s waterfall. Wow!
Lunch / Dinner at Caffe Mingo Italian Restaurant. So after last nights disappointing ribeye, though I enjoyed my experience at El Gaucho, as usual during the day I stretched, juiced and did a lot of walking. Working up a good appetite for a late late lunch. The gardens were just so spectacular, that I figured I’d eat nearby and well, how convenient. There’s a theatre right here and the new South Korean sci-fi film Snowpiercer is playing at 7 pm. Late lunch at Caffee Mingo (great reviews) then Cinema 21. Boom! Leisurely walk back to hotel, then a few hours blogging.
MONDAY JULY 7, 2014:
Blue Star Donuts happened to be at the right place at the right time as I was strolling down Hawthorne. I don’t eat (anymore) bread / wheat / pasta as I quit last year, and now while writing this I’m reading a MUST READ BOOK “Grain Brain” by Neurologist David Perlmutter. Anyhoo, back to donuts…so I walk in and check out this clean, modern donut shop. I keep wanted in put a “g” in doGnut because of a funny late drunken night back in the early 1990s with college pals Lara and Ted, who Lara always laughed about Drunken Dog Nuts. Luckily for spell check, Donuts wins out every time. So I ask the dug which to try, I just want a taste and he offers a taste, but I tell him I’m paying for a whole one – gotta support local small businesses. Again luckily (for me) two couples stroll in and we end up sharing 2 do (no G) nuts between the 5 of us. I think one was from Florida…or not. My Review on Google + was quite simple (and Hey Blue Star, claim for + page guys, come on!) “If you like doughnuts then come to Blue Star. It’s that simple. “.
Hawthorne area is a vibrant, funky, eclectic area that helps Portland keep it’s unique charm. There are lots of fun shops, restaurants, bars, and so this is just the tip of the proverbial.. and of course along the way I’m preaching the Google + to each local biz as they must understand that search is localized and with great reviews and being tied to the Google map then your local business will be found much easier by someone walking / driving around looking for whatever you might be selling. Aside from weddings, receptions and MItzvahs, and corporate events, we’ve hosted several high end Burlesque shows at NOVA 535 Unique Event Space in the last few years here in sunny St. Pete, Florida, always fabulous. Mayven Missbehavin, Gypsy Allure and their lovely ladies always delight the crowd. And well who doesn’t like boobies, right? They feed us, they keep us warm, I digress. I do love the always fun, fresh local graffiti scene, the paintings, the stickers and such. Cities without this raw flavour are BORING. And GREAT CITIES, like Portland have this fresh flavour and still are clean, friendly and have nice sidewalks. Cities that care take care of their streets and sidewalks. People that care about their cities make sure that happens. Thanks for your self love and respect! Getting from downtown to the Hawthorn / SE area did take me through this lovely neighborhood, reminiscent of Tampa’s Hyde Park or my own city St. Pete’s nearby Old NE Neighborhood. And BTW OMG I LOVE Hydrangea flowers!!
So are you creative? Entrepreneurial? A business owner or startup? A success already and you want to enjoy the energy of like-minded people while mentoring them? Then connect with the Entrepreneur Social Club, where we have fun while being productive, where we exclude religion and politics, while focusing on helping and enjoying our fellow Entrepreneurs and business owners.