Portlandia! (Part I)

Travel brings power and love back into your life.
— Rumi

I recently returned from my third trip to Portland in the last 5 years, and each time I visit I love the city even more. I will live there someday, for sure. The reason for this trip was two-fold: 1) I was long overdue for a fun getaway, and 2) to spend time with my extended barre3 family and to attend the 8th Annual barre3 in the Park event. 

What can I say? The 4 days were jam-packed with MAGIC, amazing eats, long walks around the city and in Forest Park, booty-busting barre3 classes, and much-needed time spent watching the clouds roll by and listening to the leaves rustle in the breeze. While I didn't want to leave, I came home to San Diego with a full heart and nourished soul (and belly).

My love for Portland runs deep, and here's why:

1. tiny houses galore!

Portland is basically tiny house nation - there is a Tiny House Hotel, a Tiny House Village, Tiny House how-to workshops, and Tiny House architects and designers everywhere. Totally rad (and phew, that was a lot of "Tiny House" in one sentence). I won't lie - I constantly daydream about living in a tiny house ... and I finally had the chance to stay in one during this trip. Life achievement unlocked!

Despite my initial Airbnb debacle in trying to find lodging in Portland (which was an amazing lesson in learning to go with the flow), I found the most amazing tiny house in the Boise District - Roho 359! Roho 359 stands for the fact that it is a Rotating House that rotates 359 degrees - how cool is that?!

The house is super compact, coming in at 144 sq. ft., and the design is incredible - beautiful cedar flooring and ceilings (love that smell!), modern everything, and gigantic windows with gorgeous views of the backyard and trees. I spent many hours sitting outside and gazing up at the trees. So peaceful and glorious.

Check out this article on Slate for more info/pics of the house - I highly recommend booking this place (very reasonable price!), and the owners are super kind and helpful. I will be back for SURE.

2. food lover's paradise!

{Vulnerability moment}: In healing from my health crash 5 years ago and navigating all of my food intolerances (gluten, dairy, soy, and avoiding all grains for the most part), the thought of traveling and eating out really stressed me out for a long time. Thankfully, I've biohacked my perfect diet and supplement protocol since then, but traveling can potentially throw it all out the window if the restaurant/grocery store options aren't aligned with your health needs. Perhaps you can relate!

Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about that in Portland. Honestly, it is a healthy food-lovers paradise. I was blown away by all of the vegan/plant-based, gluten-free, and Paleo options. I ate my way through Portland and didn't have a negative reaction once. Huge win. Here are some of my favorite places (in alphabetical order):

Live Nachos; Photo courtesy of   Travel Portland  . 

Live Nachos; Photo courtesy of Travel Portland

Matcha Cheesecake (Raw, GF, Vegan)

Matcha Cheesecake (Raw, GF, Vegan)

Blossoming Lotus 
(1713 NE 15th Ave, Lloyd District) 

Blossoming Lotus was the final stop for dinner one night after a loooong, epic city walk in 100 degree heat. I was wilted, to say the least, but this meal revitalized me in a major way. Blossoming Lotus serves organic vegan fusion world cuisine with amazing raw/live food options.

Two words: Live Nachos. OMG. The menu describes it as "live chips with topped with nacho cheese sauce, pecan chorizo, onion, tomato, scallion, avocado, cashew cream cheese, cilantro". I describe it as heaven in my mouth, not to mention it was GF, Vegan, Raw and Soy-Free. Obviously, I don't eat nachos very often, but this totally hit the spot and was very filling. I also shared a coconut curry, and then ...

... Matcha cheesecake. Double OMG. It was so good that I am soaking cashews as I write this to recreate it (recipe to come!). If you are ever in Portland and want satisfying, delicious plant-based cuisine, go here!

Photo courtesy of   PDX Monthly  .

Photo courtesy of PDX Monthly.

Crisp Salads
(3901 N. Williams Ave, Williams District)

Yes, I am a rabbit and love salads. Try the Kaleo Paleo: spinach, dino kale, cabbage, broccoli, avocado, cucumber, chicken breast and basil lover's dressing. I also added roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes. The best part of Crisp is that they will chop your salad into large, medium, or fine pieces depending on your preference. Love that! I also loved the outdoor seating, and it is located in a really cute neighborhood!

Photo Courtesy of   Nom Nom Paleo  .

Cultured Caveman
(220 SW Stark St, Downtown)

Portland has over 500 food carts, organized into food cart pods. Thai, Indian, Mexican, Korean, Mediterranean, Greek, Egyptian and so much more - it seems like every kind of ethnic food is represented. Amazingly, there are vegetarian, gluten-free AND Paleo options too. I've heard SO much about Cultured Caveman from the Paleo community, and I was on a mission to find its Downtown food cart for a good noshing session. Their motto is "love your belly", and that's exactly what I did!

The food was absolutely incredible: bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed dates 😍, Brazilian pulled chicken, Ethiopian cabbage, and Sweet Potato Mash. My belly is rumbling just thinking about it. Next time I am visiting, I will definitely check out their brick and mortar restaurant in Kenton

Photo Courtesy of   Team Yogurt  .

Photo Courtesy of Team Yogurt.

Eb & Bean
(1425 NE Broadway, Lloyd District)

Did I mention that it was 100 freaking degrees in Portland while I was visiting? Holy heck, it was intense - it hasn't even been that hot in San Diego this summer. Therefore, a cold, sweet treat was an absolute must. While I *really* wanted to try Salt and Straw, I was in search for a vegan alternative. After a little bit of Google sleuthing, I found Eb & Bean. Perfect!

I tried the Palm Sugar Peanut (cashew milk-based), and Double Almond Cherry (almond milk-based) with vegan dark chocolate chips and roasted hazelnut pieces. It was divine. I don't indulge in sweets too often (except for that matcha cheesecake on this trip, and occasionally 70%+ dark chocolate), but this hit the spot on a brutally hot day.

If you can believe it, this is just a fraction of the amazing restaurants and local establishments I visited. Stay tuned for Part II and Part III, coming your way soon!

Have you ever visited Portland? What/where are your favorite places to go? I want to know!