So I moved to Berkeley, CA about two months ago. And this past weekend my boyfriend and I traveled home. We flew into Portland and drove to Olympia for a family reunion. We swam for two days as it was 90 plus degrees. Got a little heat exhausted an burned…which was our bad. Sunscreen at 12 SPF is not as good as you would think. We played a lot of cribbage and enjoyed a three hour poker game. I won a couple hands, two with boats (aka: full house). It was an exciting game! Everyone was getting some fantastic hands and with 8 players that doesn’t always occur.
Our plan was to hit up our old stomping grounds, which we did, but I didn’t expect it to turn into a rediscovery of our home of the past. So far, places we have passed a thousand times are being found. This little cafe, Cafe Dharwin, situated as you climb 10th to Capitol Hill is a pretty sweet spot. We admired the blinds, light in color and probably made out of thin bamboo, kept the sun from destroying us but also allowed light to come streaming in. I had a morning glory muffin. Delightfully hearty. We only came here because we were waiting for the Roanoke to open. It’s a tavern with Ping Pong tables, but shh it’s a secret spot that we don’t want people knowing about because we didn’t have to fight for a table. We found out that the building sold and the Roanoke is being threatened to close. I’m crossing my fingers that miraculously it stays open. It’s a classy dive bar and those are hard to find.
What else did we discover you ask? A bunch of newly opened cafes/eateries on Ballard Avenue. There’s a pretty cute Gelato spot, a Fresh Flours (coffee shop serving Stumptown coffee) and a vegetarian Thai restaurant. As a pescatarian, I will remember this place and try it next time I’m in town.
We also visited Cal Anderson Park where we sat on an art installation with grass and a (unattached) watering can. It was called “SLANT” per it’s positioning. Some Capitol Hillians stopped by and told us the watering can had been there for weeks and were surprised it was still there as were we. We then walked down to see the city just above the freeway. On our way back we were taken to Thomas Park. It was a tiny park but perfect for a break although not mosquito free.
The next day I was on my own. I sat and read Hellcity at Vivace. Vivace is some of the best coffee in the city next to Herkimer. I can say this as I spent six years in Seattle trying as many coffee roasts as possible. Excuse my snobbery, but it was an earned snobbery. I then walked around and to my surprise I found a bookshop that I never noticed before. It is across the street from Roy Street Coffee (don’t be deceived, it is owned by Starbucks!) and aptly named: Ada’s Technical Books. I found a book I haven’t found easily but it is rather famous in the comic book world, maybe you’ve heard of it, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. I am very excited to add it to my comics library.
I definitely feel that my trip to Seattle out of the three cities we visited on our vacation was the most enlightening. I left Seattle feeling it was time, that I had seen it all but I now have a renewed view of it, and am excited to explore it all over again in the future.
Ross and I had dinner with my dad and Ross’ parents at my Dad’s new place in Camas, WA before we headed to Portland. By the way, Camas is super cute. My sister, Kurin, came out to see us and we all spent the next day in Portland. She had never explored Portland because she grew up in central Oregon and no one had ever taken her there! Ah Portland, I will always love thee for you were the city that was there for me. Considering I have spent a lot of time in Portland, we decided to go to places we had never been.
First off was to try Mother’s Bistro located in SW Portland. I had heard great reviews from friends and am pleased to say it lived up to it’s reputation. Adorable decor coupled with phenomenal food. It’s a very busy spot as it is a bit small but worth whatever wait there may be. Next we ventured to NW Portland, hitting the Pearl District along the way. We stopped at West Elm which we later realized we had been to in Emeryville, CA. It’s a furniture store, kind of like an upgraded IKEA. They probably wouldn’t like that description but oh well. We went to Portland Bagel Company on 23rd and it was great! It used to be a NOAH’s Bagels. It was more impressive, not to knock NOAH’s as I love their bagles but PBC was less chain feeling and more homey.
We parted from my sister in the afternoon and rode the Max out to my mom’s in Hillsboro for dinner. The next day my mom and I got our toes and hair done. Ross spent the day golfing with my dad, aunt and uncle. We met up with them later and had dinner out in Salem where my aunt lives. The next day we flew out of Portland for a super quick flight back to Berkeley.