Just got back from a fun 3-day trip to Portland. I didn't really do too much of the tourist thing because I was primarily there to spend time with my friend Inese and her baby, but I still managed to enjoy quite a bit of the city.
Of course I was most thrilled about the food scene there. Amazing restaurants and impressive produce at the Farmers' Market. And lucky for me it was the peak of the berry season–my favorite! There is such a great variety of berries–very high quality and also so inexpensive compared to what we pay for them in the Bay Area. I was gorging on them at every meal!
I also had the chance to spend a morning at Powell's Books and had a hard time tearing myself away. I could have spent all day (all weekend!) in there. Room after room of amazing books. Just an overwhelming selection and in such a satisfying literary environment. All the things I didn't even know I was dying to read! I know it's a cliche to rant about how corporate chains pale in comparison to independent retailers but this is such a screaming example of that it's hard not to note.
The other thing I really appreciated about Portland was the very apparent DIY ethos that permeates the culture. In stores and results and in local press you really get a strong sense of a youthful and vibrant community that takes a hands-on, personal approach to life. I really appreciate that independent, can-do spirit a lot. One of the craft blogs I read, Angry Chicken, is based in Portland and is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
Can't wait to go back!