Our time in Portland was packed with so much fun, I feel I need a little downtime after which is a successful getaway! Friday we packed in a lot just having fun and exploring. We started the day early exploring Downtown Portland on foot where it was very foggy and chilly. I fully enjoyed the weather, it was a nice change of pace from our dry weather.
We walked for just under a mile before reaching Voodoo Doughnuts which I was excited to see finally after hearing so much about them. There were some, uh, interesting shaped doughnuts that might offend some, but I loved the edgy vibe and selection of vegan doughnuts. Not sure what to get, I selected four doughnuts for us to share including a delicious apple fritter monstrosity, crazy cookie and caramel topped doughnut and two fun vegan cake doughnuts. Yes, this was a splurge!
And not an expensive one at all, 4 huge doughnuts and two coffees were about $11 and way less than I was expecting for such a famous place. My favorite was probably the apple fritter – it was crazy sweet and decadent with crunchy and chewy textures. The cake doughnuts were great too, well they were all great!
After we continued to explore the downtown area coming across shops and an interesting mall that was partially underground. And tons of food trucks and trailers everywhere, even little strip “malls” of food trailers/shacks that are very popular. I really liked the Made in Oregon store, very touristy, but lots of fun products celebrating the area.
There are also these strange fountains that are like always running drinking fountains? Couldn’t figure those out! Turns out they’re Benson Bubblers, iconic drinking fountains for the area.
We also got thoroughly lost in Powell’s Books, so many levels of new and used books and fun products and a great step workout.
And did a little shopping at the Dr. Marten’s store which a nice display of the vegan friendly shoes. I just wish they had more of the girly styles for the vegan options like the cute boots with heals. But only the clunkier flat boots and shoes were available in vegan which make my feet look way too huge!
Then we slowly made our way back to the hotel stopping in shops along the way to take a break before heading out again.
We took off in the rental car to check out the Portland Japanese Garden which was a short drive from downtown. And it was very popular for a Friday, parking was packed. We got there for the last hour they were letting people in and that worked out perfectly because premium parking spots were opening up as people left and an hour was the perfect amount of time to explore and take in the gardens and fall foliage with the afternoon sun.
And it was beautiful! We explored winding paths around waterfalls and gorgeous trees, sculptures, patios, etc. The cool and fresh air and peace were heavenly and so nice that this little getaway is so close to downtown.
And with perfect views of downtown.
After Voodoo Doughnuts, we decided to skip lunch knowing that dinner was going to be equally decadent and it was! After the gardens, we drove for about 30 minutes in traffic to cross the river into the St. Johns area to try another famous place – Homegrown Smoker. It’s a vegan BBQ and comfort food restaurant that was worth the drive!
When we got there, hubby was so excited he was planning to order multiple plates of sides to try everything. We started with the 4 option combo plates where I got the BBQ seitan “ribs”, BBQ soy curls, sweet potato fries, and mac n’ cheese. Hubby for the ribs and mac n’ cheese too, but decided to try the beans and BBQ “chicken” with his. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was shocked at the massive pile of food on the plates they delivered! So was he! We tried, but could not get through the entire plates! It was all delicious, the seitan “ribs” were a little dense and very filling. I liked them, but if you’re not a huge seitan fan, get the BBQ soy curls instead because those were awesome marinated in flavor and texture. The mac n’ cheese was also excellent with their own sauce and I really liked the fries. Such a treat and we’ll need to make a stop again on our next visit!
We needed to walk after that much food! Luckily there are great shops, bars, and more vegan restaurants and restaurants with vegan options in that neighborhood. And it was very dog friendly with people dining with their pups on patios, so fun. I really enjoyed checking out the crazy products in the shops.
We took a different route on the other side of the river back to our hotel, enjoyed the scenery, and crashed with a bottle of wine after such a fun day.