Thursday, January 5, 2012

Voyager Bien: My Portlandia

Thanks to Portlandia, everyone who didn't already know the Northwest's sweetheart intimately now thinks they do. Six years after leaving the sleepy Rose City behind, I visited at the close of the summer (AKA Portland Oregon's one month of absolutely perfect weather) for another tango with my beloved former home. Yes it's saccharinely adorable as ever, but there is —and always has been— a lot more to it than eco-friendly hipsters making art, with birds on it.

Yes, bike racks have knitted koozies

Surely one of the utmost highlights of 2011 was wandering Portland's lush summer streets, agenda-less, seeing where the days took us. One afternoon landed us in Ladd Circle park and rose gardens where friends transformed a neighborhood roundabout into a gilded picnic for several lingering daylight hours.

Joel from Courier Coffee produced cold brew pint jars from his Chrome bag

Reunited with old friends, what better to do in Portland than garden party?

We congregated at Andrea and Bruce's quintessential Craftsman bungalow in Southeast, overgrown with gorgeous foliage, fruit trees, and a rich vegetable & herb garden out back.

With a trip to New Seasons (my favorite market, period) and a supplemental walk through the garden we effortlessly had a beautiful summer menu in the works. Friends sipped crisp Oregon white wine and gin blackberry cocktails as we prepared the meal.

Judah made a vegetarian risotto with oyster mushrooms, lemon and white wine. To have alongside I prepared succulent peaches with goat feta, basil and Nasturtium blossoms; shaved summer squash with fennel and lemon; and kale & avocado salad.

Then Brooke's peach and blackberry chocolate upside-down cake knocked our socks off! And led us into another favorite Portland pastime... wandering to the closest neighborhood watering hole for inexpensive whiskey cocktails and if you're lucky an accidental dip in a koi pond (don't ask).

All week I will be featuring my Portland adventures. And boy were there a lot! From distillery tours to coffee roasters, sausage mongers to cider houses. Keep it tuned...


  1. Nathan, we are still sighing over that lovely meal. And oh so grateful for your courageous defense of the homestead from the evil raccoons. hearts, Andrea

  2. I have enjoyed my times in Portland quite a lot. "Back in the day" I used to go there often for work. I loved the city but hated the weather. So I am happy to see Portland in these pictures, all sunny and summery, and idyllic! GREG

  3. What a wonderful day! I am missing PACNW summers so bad now. Sad I didn't go to this picnic party... you should come back again soon! We could have a sad and gray farmers market picnic complete with panchos and waterproof cheese.