Ahhh….nothin’ like familia

Portland, OR. A city that combines a bit of eccentric touch, with a granola feel and a dash of small town charm. But it could possibly be too big of a city for me, or maybe too spread out. The older I get the more I find myself migrating towards the quiet, the smaller areas with a dedicated lack of bright lights, big city. Except Manhattan, the only big city I truly would love to own a penthouse in….then again, who wouldn’t?

My time spent in Portland was relaxed. A lot of hanging out with the family: mom, dad, bro, sis-in-law, my nephew Avery and a humongous dog named Mr. White. I loved spending time with my family that I don’t see often enough. Here are some of the highlights from time well spent.

  • I tried to catch some of these shows that I always read about when I am in Spain but don’t get on TV – Glee, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars. A lot where music was part of the main theme. Every time music would come on TV Avery would make all of us get up and dance. Even Grandpa!! So picture this, five adults up and dancing with glasses of wine in their hands to entertain a 20 month old. He already has all of us wrapped around his little finger.
  • Celtic Thunder was in town!!! OMG! Commence teenaged screams. My parents, my SIL and me went (bro felt staying at home with Avery would be fine, he missed OUT!) Celtic Thunder was actually really good! I thought I would be bored out of my mind but by the end of the night SIL and I were clapping, singing and screaming like a bunch of love-struck teenagers. The ladies in the audience were going absolutely nuts, screaming out all of the boys names – Paul! Keith! Ryan! George! Is it true they don’t wear anything under those kilts? I tried to use my binoculars but the boys (men? who knows?) never twirled enough for me…… sorry. This also would mark the first time (but not the last) this trip I would be denied buying alcohol because I didn’t have my ID on me. Dad had to go buy me a beer. Thanks Dad!
  • My walks to the park with Avery and Mr. White. Memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. Avery running around the playset screaming and
    Washington Park

    throwing wood chips on the slide; Avery and I going down the big slide together, me sacrificing my dry sleeves to wipe off the rain from the slides so Avery wouldn’t get too wet. But most of all, just unconditional love to a little boy that I love very dearly.

  • A very lovely walk through Washington Park with my brother and Avery. Loved every minute of it, the company and the nature – perfect.

Food, food, food, I miss my American FOOD! My family favorites – steak and potato salad, chicken parmesan and cream cheese mashed potatoes, anything South Korean that JungEun cooks – all muy delicioso. But we also hit up some great restaurants:

  1. SABURO’S  Japanese Sushi House (1667 SE Bybee St., Portland). Small place and don’t forget to sign your name on the sheet outside to the left of the door. It was a long wait (over an hour) for a party of five but once seated it was worth it. The huge rolls and portions of sushi were fresh and tasty. And the prices can’t be beat. Go and bring your appetite!
  2. BOMBAY CRICKET CLUB (1925 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland) An Indian restaurant which was small but at least they take reservations, so no hour wait. The menu is extensive and the mango-ritas are delicious but watch out! They pack quite a punch. We ordered a variety of food – lamb, chicken, shrimp and all of it was excellent. You get to choose your level of spice and lemme just tell ya, that hot is Spiceee
  3. The Fishwife (5328 N Lombard St., Portland) Seafood restaurant with interesting food combinations. I had the Alaskan halibut baked with bleu cheese and red onion. Amazing. So good. The place is small (I am seeing a trend here) but there wasn’t a wait and our server was very friendly and helpful. Now I am craving fish and chips, with extra extra malt vinegar.

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Trick or treat smell my feet give me something good to eat

 Halloween morn arrived bright and early at 8am. It was 5pm in Spain and I read Time magazines until my cute sleeping friend woke to help me figure out her coffee machine. By noon we hit the costume store where I selected a lovely convict minidress and Donita, the gangster equivalent. Perfect, Halloween was ON. Donita had so many fun tourist ideas, the fish market, the Space Needle and a boat ride called the Duck but time was running a bit late, so next time Seattle, I promise!! After a quick stop at Taco Time with a very unsatisfied employee worker, we were off to Portland!

Oddly, once we crossed over the Oregon line our Oklahoma accents returned with a flourish. I am not sure if it was us getting tired or the fact that the state began with an O but the twang was back. And I liked it.

We arrived at my brother’s home with my nephew and orange margaritas patiently (impatiently?) waiting for us.  So nice to see my family, I never see them often enough. Avery changed into his spider costume and then was off to get some sugary sweets for Aunt Kim. He scored some good stuff – Nerds, Lollipops and Pixi Sticks were MINE. Now, time for the adults to celebrate Halloween.  My brother and his wife joined us out for Halloween at my mom’s goading and my happiness. It was such a fun night out with them and their friends. So much better than Donita and me going out to random bars and getting hit on by random men (hey, we’re cute, it happens a lot), but no worries my handsome German, they all pale in comparison to you….cue romantic music.

So, Halloween! Donita and I checked into the Hotel Deluxe in Portland. Awesome hotel, fabulous price, muy delicioso brunch….and just call front desk if you need ANYTHING. We spent most of Halloween at the hotel bar, The Driftwood Room, with our group of eight. I thought my department of corrections outfit was really cool and was in the mood for breakin the law….don’t worry, never did. A few went out to smoke and I was telling the rest of the table that I was the jail doctor because the word DOC was on my left front pocket. We made up silly jail doctor stories and when Donita came back from the smoke break I proudly proclaimed:

me: D, I am a DOCTOR. See, it says here (as I underlined the word DOC on the front of my outfit with my finger). DOC.

D: (grabbing my shoulders and turning my back to her) Um, no, you are Department of Corrections. As it says on the back of your dress.

me: (light bulb, blonde moment) OoooooHHH!!! Wow….damn, I thought I was a doctor!! Whatever, still going to be a doctor. Another vodka tonic please!

 

Soon The Driftwood closed and we hit a dive bar around the corner where we played the Jukebox and pretty much goofed off acting completely stupid. What’s new? The drink of choice was Sweet Tea Vodka. OH MY GOD! You mean I can have sweet tea as an alcoholic drink too? If you live in the south you know about sweet tea. It was goooood. Sweet Tea Vodka (mixed with Sprite?) , a Jukebox, hilarious time with friend and family – it will be a Halloween I will never forget. Soon, the dive bar was closing too, Donita and I grabbed handfuls of candy from the basket and ran out the door.

the crew at the Driftwood
D and me under the Oregon Beavers sign…hehe
notice the sweet tea to the right…

November 1st arrived nicely without a hangover and some scrumptious brunch at Gracie’s Restaurant in the hotel. My favorite breakfast ever was on the menu, eggs benedict, each of us ladies ordered one and shared – the classic with bacon, smoked salmon, baby spinach and wild mushrooms or Dungeness crab and Oregon Bay shrimp cakes. YUM. My brother had the corned beef hash which looked really good too. Sadly, once brunch was over so was my time with Donita. She was meeting BF#2 (or was it #3?) before she headed back to Seattle. D….you are a rockstar. Thanks for the escaped convict/gangster memories.

Next up: Hangin with the fam in Portland and the exciting world of Celtic Thunder.

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