Saturday, October 13, 2012

How We Are Avoiding The Seven Year Itch Thanks To Portland

I was a bit disappointed in myself this week for not prioritizing this post, but I realized that my procrastinating nature has served me well.  I've been looking forward to reliving this vacation all week and I'm so glad I waited until I had time to write it, enjoy it, and reminisce about one of the coolest weeks of my life.  We had a good first week back to work so we have nothing to complain about, but we talked about what we would be doing if we were in Portland RIGHT NOW.

So, let's get to it shall we?

Day 3 of this adventure also happened to be our seven year wedding anniversary.   Wheeeee!  We started the day with the goal of exploring as much as possible.  The day before had been spent with the road trip to the coast, so we wanted to stay local and soak in the city.  We started in the Pearl District where we found a shop that Eric proceeded to spend the better part of an hour in.  It was awesome.  Billy Galaxy's was one of those tiny shops you dream of when you're a collector.  It was packed from floor to ceiling, wall to wall with toys from the 70's & 80's and who knows what else.  I could tell by the way his eyes lit up that he needed at least an hour to explore this gold mine, so I wandered up the street to Powell's City of Books for another look.

I want to take this opportunity to make sure that all of ya'll realize what a huge deal this morning was for us.  Of all the cool shiz we got into on the vacation, these are the moments that we long for the most now that we're back in Fresno.  The moments we can't wait to live in real life.  Eric is somewhat discreet about his vintage toy collecting but to know him is to know his passion for it.  It's been his hobby since before we started dating.  He loves the hunt for obscure toys from his childhood.  To be casually walking down the street and find a place like Billy Galaxy's could only happen in a town like Portland.  This is why I refer to Portland as our version of Adult Disneyland.

 I, on the other hand, feel the same about books.  I love a good book.  I have vivid memories from elementary school of trying to discreetly read The Baby Sitter's Club under my desk during math or some other useless subject.  I LOVE TO READ.  I love collecting books as much as I love reading.  So for Eric and I to spend a few hours a few blocks apart from each other, each submersed in something we are passionate about, well, this is what it's all about for us folks.

Eric came looking for me at Powell's after an hour or so to tell me about the things he'd found in Billy Galaxy's.  We walked back to Billy's together so Eric pick out what he couldn't live without.  The neatest part of the Billy Galaxy's experience for me was seeing the nod of approval from the guy who owned it, who I assume was Billy.  Eric bought things that were apparently awesome finds for a toy hunter, things only a true obscure toy hunter could appreciate.  Awesome. Eric made his purchases and once we confirmed Billy would safely mail them to Fresno, we were off to search for lunch.  Since there are options a-plenty in Portland we looked to Yelp for a suggestion.

We ended up at The People's Sandwich downtown.  As we were walking to this spot for lunch we passed it.  VOODOO DOUGHNUTS.  Perfect!  The universe lined up and without knowing it we'd picked a spot for lunch that was conveniently three blocks from Voodoo.  At The People's Sandwich I decided on something light (more room for doughnuts, you understand) and it was a good pick.  A typical caprese for the most part, basil and spring mix, grape tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella.  Eric decided to get the Argentina Arrabiata that was a tasty mix of salami, ham, mortadella, pepperocini's and a few other yummy ingredients.  Both sandwiches came with homemade potato chips and a Tootsie Roll.  How cute!

Eric's is on the left, mine is on the right.  See the adorable Tootsie Roll?

After the sandwiches we hightailed it over to Voodoo doughnuts.  Voodoo is a pretty famous because their toppings are less than traditional.  They get real creative up in there with the flavor combinations.  With toppings like Fruit Loops, Captain Crunch, "grape dust", and bacon it's no wonder they're notorious.  We also confirmed that Voodoo is as big a deal for locals as it is tourists.  Without further ado, I give you...Voodoo:

My pick with was the "ODB" or, The Old Dirty Bastard.  And dirty it was.  Deliciously dirty.  Chocolate frosting dipped in crushed Oreos then drizzled with peanut butter.  *mouth waters*  Eric's picks were the maple bacon bar (which my Aunt Carol hysterically referred to as the "Lady Gaga Meat Shoe").  Captain Crunch was the third pick, and I must say it was a close second to the ODB.  Odd, I realize, but tasty nonetheless.  There was a cute little coffee shop right next door where I ordered a delicious latte, but I was too busy digging into these little treasures to stop and take a picture. 

Don't judge us people, when in Rome!

After we stuffed ourselves silly with doughnuts we kept up exploration of the city.  We drove up to Washington Park to peep out the Japanese Gardens and attempt to walk off some of the Captain Crunch and bacon, but this was as far as we got:  

Unfortunately, the hours of operation had changed two days prior so the gardens closed promptly at 4 pm which happened to be the exact time we arrived.  We took the opportunity to drive through the neighborhoods surrounding Washington Park and laaaawd, there were some gorgeous homes!  The road was twisty and narrow so it was hard to stop for pics, but just picture The Shire from Lord of The Rings if The Shire was million dollar real estate.  Adorable hobbity homes that were unassuming but had the casual elegance of one million plus price tags.  We talked about the possibility of robbing a bank, and if successful which house we'd buy, but decided that our doughnut consumption a half hour before negated the swift escape required for a bank robbery.  I'm pretty sure people fleeing the scene of a robbery shouldn't be carb loading on doughnuts.  

Eric decided to take matters into his own capable hands and navigate me to a "surprise" for our anniversary.  Now, I love a good surprise.  But I prefer the kind of surprise that involves said surprise being divulged spontaneously and right that very moment.  Anticipating surprises has a tendency to bring out the control freak in me.  Eric navigated me back across town and when I saw the sign for what was in store for me, my jaw dropped.  Take a gander:


That's right folks.  Eric surprised me with a trip to Portland's Tub & Tan. This is a facility wherein one rents a room by the hour with a private Jacuzzi.  I know what you're thinking.  It's probably EXACTLY what I was thinking.  And it probably involves an image similar to the one found if you click right HERE.  Now, if Drew Barrymore is to be involved with anything I have the opportunity to partake in, I'll take what I can get. Even if it means meeting "the great Eagle spirit".  I thought a soak in a public hotTUB would certainly result in spiced meats, jackrabbit haunches, and Lovers so I was a smidge skeered. Alas; there were no swingers in sight.  We enjoyed a perfectly relaxing hour in an outdoor room next to a waterfall.  A little disconcerting at first, but the staff was so friendly and professional they quickly eliminated any fear of running into Rachel Dratch and Will Farrell.

It was a fun time.  There was no roof on this room, a private bathroom w/ shower, fireplace, music with no less than 90 options, and LOCKS ON THE DOORS.  It was a great surprise, and a story we'll always have fun telling.  I think this is the insurance policy that our marriage will not be suffering from the oft reputed "Seven Year Itch".   Thank you Eric!

After the soak in our hotTUB we did more wandering around 23rd Avenue for shopping and the best manicure ever (while Eric people watched from the side walk).  We decided in light of our anniversary we should celebrate with our favorite food.  Again. Since Portland has no shortage of places to try, pizza it was!  23rd Avenue had several options, but we chose a place called Pizzicato.  Once again, an excellent choice.  We sat at one of the cozy sidewalk bistro tables and ordered what sounded good. We started with the artichoke and spinach dip, which we quickly agreed was probably the best we'd ever had.  

It was the perfect serving.  A little cup served with freshly made garlic pita strips and lemon.  
Ya'll it was delish.  
What more can I say?

I realize it doesn't look like it here, but these were personal sized pizzas.  I swear.  Why try to deny the food consumption taking place at this point?  Eric ordered the Pepperoni Supreme that came with mushrooms and pepperocinis.  Kind of spicy, perfectly delicious.  I went with the Quattro Formaggi that came with goat cheese, fontina, Parmesan, bleu cheese, and mozzarella.  Oh, and some roasted garlic to keep it spicy.  We shared them and still managed to have a doggy bag.  Great service, great wine, great food.  Another spot that I'm sure will be a favorite when we live there. 

Because we will.

This concludes day three of the Portland adventure, but stayed tuned for the most often asked for ECETTI Ranch post.  You won't want to miss it, it's a fascinating tale!  

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