A Local’s Guide to Portland: Yours Truly

Amber and Eleanor

For this weeks Portland city guide I decided to fill out one of my own and share some of my favorite spots around this wonderful city I call home…

Where to get a facial/massage:

Bonneville hot springs resort and spa. Ok, ok I realize this is not in Portland. It’s about an hour outside of Portland but I honestly haven’t gotten a ton of facials and spas, sadly. The one year I did it was at Bonneville hot springs and it was INCREDIBLE. For Mother’s Day, Daniel got me a soak in a beautiful clawfoot tub and an herbal wrap, which is exactly what it sounds like. I was wrapped in herbs and literally fell asleep right there on the table. It was glorious and I can’t recommend it enough. As far as places in the city go, nearly every single person I’ve asked to do these Portland guides has recommended Loyly so that’s next on my list.

Where to shop for your man:

Pearl Specialty Market and Spirits. My husband has a deep appreciation and love for bourbon and this spirits market is one of the best I’ve found in Portland. They offer Oregon’s largest and most extensive selection of  artisanal liquors, Oregon made craft beers, speciality wines, etc. I also love that it is a “touch-and-feel” liquor store, with all products on display for you to pick up and examine for yourself rather than having to view them from behind the counter.

Other than bringing him home a beautiful new bottle of bourbon, I’d take him to all the whiskey at the Multnomah Whiskey Library. 1,500 different kinds of whiskey, people. 1,500. I’m like wife of the year after a night out to this place.

Multnomah Whiskey Library

Where to shop for your home:

Appetite. I used to live by this lovely little store and visit it all the time. Two sisters own the darling little shop and fill it with their lovely handprinted textiles and found vintage treasures. Its all very affordable too so I can never seem to leave without taking something home.

Maven Collective. Another beautifully curated vintage home goods store. I’ve never come across a piece in Maven I don’t love.

Canoe. I mainly go here to ogle. Everything is beautiful, clean, and modern.

Schoolhouse Electric. We are slooooowly replacing all the light fixtures in our home with fixtures from this dreamy place. Everything in this store is so timeless, beautiful, and completely functional. I love, love, love that about it. Also, I can’t seem to leave without taking some of Anna Mara’s beautiful fleurs with me.

Where to shop for kiddos:

Branch Birdie. One of my favorite boutiques in Portland. I love that everything in Branch Birdie is both functional and unique. And I love that there is a little something for everyone; mamas, kids, and even your home. There is also an amazing play area for kids in the boutique, giving you a chance to browse by yourself without worrying about your little ones getting into something they shouldn’t. You can learn more about it here in an interview I did with Anna, the owner of Branch Birdie.

Where to shop for yourself:

I am a big fan of the beloved Palace. It is so well curated. I don’t think there is a single thing in that store I wouldn’t wear or use.

Una. Another place I go to ogle.

I am kind of a crazy plant lady so spending an afternoon in a nursery is just as good as trying on clothes and beauty products to me. Cistus Nursery is probably the most beautiful nursery I’ve ever been to. It has these big green houses that feel and look like Belize, full of all kinds of tropical plants and huge, gorgeous succulents. And then their display gardens…I could spend the whole day exploring and lounging in them. It is other-wordly beautiful. It’s a good thing it’s tucked away on Sauvie Island. If it were any closer, I’d come up with all sorts of excuses to go there every day.

Where to thrift:

Sabi and Friends. A little vintage home and garden shop in St. Johns. Their stoneware mug collection is unreal and they have a wealth of other vintage treasures–all very reasonably priced!

I also have had really good luck at that big Goodwill on SE 6th Ave. They have a large selection of just about everything.

Where to get a sweet treat:

Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry. This is our neighborhood coffee shop and bakery and we couldn’t be happier about it. The coffee, of course, is excellent — serving the renowned Stumptown. But it’s on the baked goods side of the equation that Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry really shines. All of the food preparation happens in the open kitchen at the back of the cafe, and the assortment of morning pastries — sweet or savory scones, cookies, quiches, tortes, cakes, etc. — are made fresh each morning. They are all incredible but my favorites are their  almond streusel coffee cake and veggie quiche. They are both everything a coffee cake and quiche were meant to be. Please be warned: once you try this said coffee cake and quiche you may no longer be able to live without them.

Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry

Pie Spot. Oh how I love these little pies. The two owners, Jessica and Ashley, hand form each of the individual pie holes or, fondly referred to as, “pie cupcakes” and fill them with love. The crust is killer and with flavors like chocolate hazelnut, blueberry ginger, s’more, and a seasonal like bourbon peach, you are guaranteed the need to be rolled home.

Eb & Bean. The most darling, new frozen yogurt shop. I was so excited when I heard about this place because there really isn’t any quality frozen yogurt places closer-in the city. Eb & Bean serves quality, organic dairy paired with awesome, artisanal toppings, some of which are from other local places here in Portland. Eleanor loooved it. Frozen yogurt, sprinkles, and a big friendly polar bear on the wall…what more could a toddler want?

Pie Spot

Eb & Bean

Where to get a fresh juice:

Sip. My favorite green juice is the tropical greens. Lots of greens and some pineapple and agave that make it sweet and refreshing. For a real treat, I love the Maca Madness. It has maca, almond butter, dates, and other sweet, creamy things that literally make it taste like a milkshake — without the guilt. It’s perfect.

Where to get a cheap eat:

We are obsessed with Tamale Boy right now. A new tamale place that just opened up done the street from our house. I love their commitment to tradition, quality, and accessibility. The tamales are no more than $4.50 each. Our favorite are the oaxaquenos tamales, banana leaf wrapped tamales. They are a bit sweeter and more complex in flavor than the original cornhusk wrapped tamales (though these are delicious too!). We also have been loving their amazing outdoor patio this summer!

Tamale Boy

La Taq. (Can you tell mexican food might be my jam?) Another relatively new place that’s near where I live. They make a mean margarita and everything on the menu is under $8. Oh, and their queso is pure heaven.

Where to wine and dine:

Yakuza. Definitely the best sushi and Japanese fare in Portland and the best burger. Sounds weird, I know. But, that’s what makes Yakuza noteworthy. It will “reliably surprise and impress.” The house-made spicy ketchup blended with the arugula and contrasted with the goat cheese on that burger…and don’t even get me started on the shoestring potatoes on top. Good lord. They also have this creative drink menu which is amazing. Try the beet, vodka cocktail. It’s crazy good.

Luce. Such a pretty little market and restaurant that can make your italian to stay or to go. Fresh made pastas, lovely wines and olive oils, and this ravioli stuffed with nettle pesto I’ll never forget.

DOC. Owned by the same owner of Yakuza (and Nonna, mentioned below). If I owned a restaurant this is what I’d strive for it to be. From the aesthetic to the food. DOC is an italian restaurant that reflects a love for the seasonal flavors of Oregon. The freshest, local ingredients all thoughtfully paired with outstanding wines and delicate cocktails. I not only love the food at DOC, but I love the experience. It is unique and intimate. It’s a tiny space and when you walk in you literally step into the kitchen. You can watch your meal crafted from beginning to end! It’s such a lovely experience all around.

Where to imbibe:

Expatriate. I don’t think I could order a single cocktail here I wouldn’t be happy with. I’ve ordered tequila cocktails to bourbon cocktails here and all of it has been amazing. And their drinking snacks are totally addictive. I’m thinking about both the cocktails and snacks for days afterward.

Nonna. Negronis on tap, need I say more?


Where to brunch:

There are too many!

Sweedeedee. The sweetest little swedish-inspired cafe. I love all their beautiful canned goods and stoneware mugs displayed. Their breakfasts are very simple, but delicious. I usually go for the Sweedeedee breafast plate.

Broder Nord. Another swedish-inspired place. Their herbal-infused bloody mary’s are my favorite, along with their smoked trout hash and beautiful aebleskivers.

P’s & Q’s Market. This market was the one thing my neighborhood was missing when we bought our house a year and a half ago. So when it opened, we were thrilled. It’s the cutest mom and pops market and restaurant. We’re totally in love with it, especially walking there on a lazy Saturday morning and grabbing brunch. They have these biscuits and tomato gravy that call my name every time we go for brunch. I guess it’s a midwest thing. I’d never heard of it before and, at first, it just sounded weird to me but I gave it a try and there’s no going back.

P's & Q's Market

Where to take the kids:

Jamison Square, a water park, and Arbor Lodge Park (it has an amazing sandbox which is Eleanor’s favorite right now), in the summer. OMSI during the fall and winter.

Jamison Square

Jamison Square

All photos are from my Instagram. If you’d like, you can follow along for more of my adventures around Portland and beyond!

Now your turn! Like and comment on this post:

Add Comment

Thoughts? I'd Love To Hear Them:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *