Adventures In Portland.

Happy Monday!  I have a lot of fun things in store this week – a marathon recap, a baby update, an amazing pasta recipe, and more.  But first you have to indulge me and hear about our trip to Portland this weekend.  Even though we’ve been in the Pacific Northwest for over a year now, we still hadn’t been to Portland.

Casey was originally supposed to be running the Rock N Roll Marathon next Sunday in Seattle.  But a new work assignment meant he was going to have to miss it, which was pretty disappointing given that he’s trained for several months.  Some Googling and planning later, we booked a last minute overnight trip to Vancouver, WA – right outside of Portland – so Casey could run his marathon this weekend. 

We decided to save on hotel costs and just drive up early Saturday morning.  Very early.  The kids slept in the backseat.

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While Casey and I chatted and took in the incredible mountain scenery.  We lucked out with a gorgeous day!

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Three hours later – we arrived!  We drove straight to the expo so that Casey could get registered and ready (online registration had closed). 

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After a long drive, Cullen was very happy to be out of his car seat. 

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We checked out the expo for a bit, and Casey picked up some shot blocks to eat during the race.

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The mile markers were all lined up outside, and ready to be placed out on the streets.  I was really impressed with the organization and professionalism of such a small race!

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They even had Bart Yasso has the master of ceremonies!  We saw him announcing the finishers of the 5K race.  I love Runner’s World!

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Vancouver was a really cute little town, and we had fun walking around and exploring the marathon area.  I was so happy we were able to find Casey an alternative race to run!

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An early morning and a long car trip left us all starving for lunch.  I had solicited some recommendations for best Portland food on Twitter, as well as from Sarah.  It was pretty clear we needed to go to Blossoming Lotus

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We were able to score a private little table outside, which was awesome.  Warm and sunny with a nice breeze made it perfect for dining al fresco, and having Cullen outside is MUCH easier than worrying about him disrupting other people’s meals inside. 

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So happy that Sarah was here to go with us!  She’s been a huge help with Cullen already.  I’m never letting her leave.

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I started with this amazing white rose kombucha.  I hadn’t tried this brand before – they had so many great flavors!

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Our table split an order of the Live Nachos – spiced tomato & walnut chips, zucchini tahini nacho cheese and ground pecan chorizo, topped with red onion, tomato, cilantro, scallion, cashew sour cream, and avocado dressing, served with a lime wedge.  Wow.

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A lot of the menu items had something called soy curls, which I was initially sort of wary of (I don’t like most of the fake meat stuff).  I asked the waiter about it and he explained they were actually less processed than tofu, and free of any chemicals or additives.  You can read more about them here

I ordered the Crispy Thai Wrap – Thai spiced barbecue soy curls, crispy rice sticks, carrots, cucumber, red cabbage, and romaine lettuce, with sweet ginger dressing, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla (with extra avocado).  Ohhhh my word.  The soy curls were absolutely AMAZING.  Hands down the best vegetarian meat-like product I’ve had.  I actually don’t really like things that mimic the tastes and textures of meat, but this was out of this world. 

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Sarah got the Crispy Thai Salad – same thing in salad form. 

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And Casey got the Live Falafel Wrap – walnut & brazil nut falafel, tahini-cilantro pate, cucumber, onion,and tomato, wrapped in collard leaves, and served with cashew sour cream.

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While we ate, Cullen snacked on some dried blueberries and apples.  He is an eating machine!  For every bite I took, he demanded one too.

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After lunch we headed out to explore a bit of Portland.  We were told not to miss the International Rose Test Gardens, and I’m so glad we didn’t!  We saw incredible views of Mt. Hood…

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And wandered through gardens filled with so many beautiful and fragrant roses. 

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I wish my mom could have been there.  She and I worked together in a floral shop for a few years, and flowers have always been a fun bond for us.

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It was gorgeous and sunny and such a nice place to spend the afternoon with my favorite people.

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After the gardens we headed back to the hotel to give Cullen a break from both the car and the heat.  He’s at an age where all he wants to do is crawl and climb, so it’s hard to have him cooped up in car seats and strollers for too long. 

We had hoped to go to Portobello for dinner, but after arriving and hearing there was a 90 minute wait, we had to go with plan B.  We swung through Nicholas Restaurant and ordered a huge bag of takeout.  We headed back to the room to eat and let Cullen get to sleep. 

When we booked our hotel room, we booked a suite specifically so we could sleep separately from Cullen.  It’s really hard to sleep in the same room with him now – every sound and motion startles him, and he always wants to be part of whatever is going on.  We were surprised to get to our room and find that our “suite” wasn’t much of a suite at all.  There was a separate bedroom and living space, but there was no actual door separating the too – just a half wall.  Oops.

So the Pack N Play ended up in the corner by our bed…

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And the three of us huddled behind the half-wall, hiding from Cullen while we ate our dinner.  Luckily we were so busy stuffing ourselves silly, it didn’t matter that we had to talk in a whisper so we didn’t wake him up. 

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This was some of the best Mediterranean food I’ve ever had.  Hummus, baba ganoush, spinach pie, falafel, tahini sauce, mixed salads, endless pita and more.  We ate and ate and ate.

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And then all collapsed into bed to get ready for a very early wakeup call the next morning.  Marathon recap coming up next!