In Portland we stayed with my Dad’s cousin Jim, and his wife, Hanmi. Jim and Hanmi have a beautiful home in a great location. They’re only a couple blocks away from Hawthorne street, which is one of Portland’s main drags with a lot of quirky shops and restaurants. They weren’t home when we got there but they gave us directions on how to let ourselves in, where we were greeted by their dog, Django.
After we showered the campfire smell off ourselves Jim arrived home and gave us a tour of the house. Then we were hungry and decided that sandwiches sounded good, so Jim took us on a walk to East Side Deli on Hawthorne. On the way there Jim glanced back at us, said we looked too much like tourists, and then immediately turned into a thrift shop. He bought the boys some funky shirts and sunglasses for myself so that we would blend in more with the Portland vibe by standing out.
Next we stopped at Portland Cider House and sampled six different ciders. James and I liked the vanilla bean one, which the bartender had recommended. It was an unusual flavor for cider, but delicious! When we finally made it to East Side Deli, Jim made us pick fake names to give for our sandwich orders. He says life is short and we need to have more fun with it. He makes every day little things like ordering food into a game. The sandwiches were amazing, and big enough that the boys were able to take half of theirs home for later.
Once we got back to the house Jim and Hanmi started setting up for a bluegrass band practice they were hosting in their house. They are both part of the band as well as a few others, and are highly involved in Portland’s music scene. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay and listen to them for very long since we had plans to go out and meet up with my good friend Adel.
We met Adel and her friend Leo at a German bar called Prost. They had a stout I really enjoyed, as well as some banana beers which were sort of weird but the boys liked them well enough. It was great catching up with Adel, and she took us on a bar crawl down Mississippi Avenue. After Prost we went to the Rambler, Interurban, and Mississippi Studio’s Bar Bar. We had a lot of fun at all of these places and it was one of the best nights of the trip so far. Bar Bar also had some great fried pickles.
The next morning, despite being a bit hungover, we walked about half an hour to an English bar called the Toffee Club to watch the England v. Belgium game. It was packed full of England fans and we weren’t able to get seats, but we did manage to get some breakfast sandwiches to eat while standing up. We spent that afternoon in the park near the house playing soccer and volleyball and football.
That night we grabbed dinner at a Mexican food cart called La Morenita. James and I got some delicious street tacos while Sean opted for the burrito. Then we went back to the Portland Cider House and got ourselves some full sized glasses of that vanilla bean cider we had sampled the day before. There we met my cousin Rachel and went to McMenamin’s with her.
Rachel is friends with an up-and-coming rapper/hip-hop artist called Lord Lawrence, who happened to be playing a gig that night. We decided to go check out his show. There were several performers before him and it was a small venue which was cool because it felt like we were a part of Portland’s niche underground hip-hop scene. Rachel and I got to talk and catch up between sets which was nice, and the boys really enjoyed Lord Lawrence’s performance. They say he’s the next Post Malone. After the gig we tried some delicious vegan pizza over at Sizzle Pie, and then headed to Portland’s famous Voodoo Donuts.
The next morning Jim gave us some advice on the best stops to make on our drive down to Crater Lake. Then he came out to breakfast with us at a food truck right next to La Morenita called Fried Egg I’m in Love. I had an amazing breakfast sandwich, while the boys loved the vegan burritos they got there. We stopped at another thrift store where Sean ended up buying the shirt he would later wear on the 4th of July: Uncle Sam cradling a bald eagle in his arms with the words “Tell me another story about freedom.” Then we went to another donut place called Blue Star Donuts, which Jim claims is even better than Voodoo. It was here that James fell in love with the maple bacon donut and he has been dying for another ever since.
The last thing we did before heading out of Portland was fill up our water bottles in Jim’s kitchen. He was astonished to see that we didn’t have any stickers on ours and immediately pulled out a box of stickers from various places and had us start decorating our water bottles. Now they are almost completely covered and we make a point of getting stickers from the various places we have been on this trip, just as we make a point of coming up with fake names anytime we order anything.
Want more? Read about our next set of adventures in Crater Lake and the Redwoods!