PNW - Part 2: Portland

August 26, 2016

Our family traveled to the PNW earlier this month. I shared a little about our time in Seattle in a previous post. We started our PNW trip in Seattle and took the Amtrak down to Portland. We ended up booking a place to stay through Airbnb (I share a little about my Airbnb experience below).  Portland was quite different from Seattle (besides it being very green). It had a very old, hipster, super chillax vibe. Tons of small shops and restaurants hidden within residential areas. Lots of bikers and people with tattoos. Super friendly people and lots of coffee shops. Not sure if it's a place that I'd be able to call home, but I'm glad I finally got to visit.

I thought we ate a lot in Seattle, but that was nothing compared to how much we ate in Portland. I think we ate every 3 hours. It was non-stop. Even though I was full, I just kept eating (the food is definitely cheaper over there). In general, I liked the food in Seattle better, but here are some places I'd recommend (mostly breakfast places).

Top places to eat in Portland (ranked):
  1. Tasty n Sons - This place was amazeballs. Everything was delicious. I ordered the steak and cheddar eggs with cornmeal pancakes. The only complaint was that the meat was a bit tough. I also recommend the polenta and sausage good! Their chocolate potato donut was good too.
  2. Bing Mi - This place is located in downtown in a food cart. They have crepes that are Chinese inspired. It was surprisingly good! I'd definitely recommend.
  3. Lardo - This was the first place we ate at when we arrived in Portland. If you want a good sandwich, this place is great. 
  4. Screen Door - I think this was place was overly hyped. We waited a really long time to be seated, so by the time we sat down, I was expecting something great. The chicken and waffle dish is their best seller. It's pretty huge. Our chicken was too tough though, so we were a little disappointed. All the other dishes we ordered were good though.
  5. Broder - Went for breakfast. Everything we ordered was good, no complaints. 
*Blue Star Donuts - Where do I even begin. I went in with no expectations...and I fell in love at first bite. These donuts were stanking good. My favorite was the buttermilk old fashion. I like the simple ones. Their dough isn't your usual donut dough, and that's probably why I liked it. It's more bready and its thicker. I loved them and now I crave them all the time. We have one here in CA, but it's all the way in Venice! I'm praying they open one up in the OC soon.

Things to do in Portland:
  • Hike - Multnomah Falls is probably the most popular place to visit when in Portland, so we made sure to stop by and takes tons of pictures. We did a short 2 mile hike - roundtrip (Wahclella Falls Hike). I'd recommend this one if you have kids.
  • Alberta Street - This is a long street with tons of small shops and restaurants. We just walked around and the girls were able to take a nap in the stroller.
  • Downtown Portland - There's one section in downtown with dozens of food carts. I think they're open all week. Lots of different types of food to choose from. We grabbed some food and found a little park (Director Park I think) to eat.
  • Portland University Farmer's Market - I believe its every Saturday. We got there towards the tail end, but it was still pretty crowded. It's pretty big and there are tons to eat and buy.

PNW - Part 1: Seattle

August 19, 2016

I finally got to visit the PNW! Seattle and Portland to be specific. People have always told me that I'd really enjoy the PNW..and I must say, they were correct. This was our first trip as a family of four.  Erin had already been on a plane a few times before, but I could tell she enjoyed traveling this time around (probably because she's older). She was beyond excited to ride on an airplane and she was so looking forward to seeing her uncle and riding in his car. The girls did great on the flights and other than Ava having trouble sleeping at night, I'd say this trip was a success! We lucked out with the weather too. It only rained one day (only for a few hours) in Seattle and it ended up being a lot cooler than expected. We even needed a jacket. Score (I hate hot weather)! Ken's brother lives in Seattle, so we were able to crash at his place and even got to drive his car while we were there. Tons of money saved right there! 

I definitely liked the vibe in Seattle. It was SO green. The city had the right amount of chill and hustle. It was nice getting away from the crazy hot weather here in socal and it was also great seeing old friends. I feel like we could have used a few more days there. I guess we'll just have to take another trip back up (maybe sans kids?).

We walked tons and ate tons. Here are a few highlights.

Top places to eat in Seattle (ranked):
  1. Pike Place Chowder - Their claim chowder is seriously so yummy. The line was long, but it went by fast. Took about 30 minutes to get our food. So stanking good.
  2. Bakery Nouveau - Everything at this bakery was delicious. It was like heaven for me because I love pastries and sweets. I got the quiche Lorraine and a bunch of other pastries. Ken got the baked ham and cheese croissant.Two thumbs up!
  3. Ellenos - I'm not a huge fan of Greek yogurt, but this one is really good. Wish they sold it down here.
  4. Un Bien - These sandwiches were quite delicious. I'd recommend the seared scallop and Caribbean roast.
  5. The Crumpet Shop - This place has cute little crumpets with all sorts of topping choices. Didn't really know what a crumpet was before eating here, but they're like muffins that are crispy on the outside and chewy/spongy on the inside. My favorite was the butter, with fresh preserves and ricotta cream cheese.
*Shiro's - This one isn't on my list above, because we didn't actually eat this while we were in Seattle. We wanted to eat some sushi, but we just couldn't make it happen. Ken's brother ended up driving it down to us in Portland! The fish was great and that seriously tastes like cake.

Things to do in Seattle:
  • Hike - Lots of hiking trails around Seattle. It rained the day we decided to hike so we had to cut it short, but we just hung out by the lake and soaked in all the fresh air.
  • Pike's Market/Downtown - Lots to do and see in downtown, especially around Pike's market. I wish I lived there so I could buy and take home some flowers. The flowers are so cheap in Seattle!
  • Space Needle - We didn't go up the Space Needle, but we got to see it. We went over to Kerry Park to take pictures of the skyline.
  • Gas Works Park - This park doesn't really have a kids playground, but it's really big with tons of grass. Erin was able to run around and play with rocks and whatnot. We also brought our lunch and had a little picnic. This park has a great view of the city too.

Erin is Three!

August 12, 2016

I can't believe I have a 3 year old! My goodness, it's amazing how slow and how fast these 3 years have gone by. It's been such a joy watching Erin grow up. She's such an amazing little girl with tons of personality. She's got a whole bunch of sass and attitude, but she's also so affectionate and sweet. Currently, she's not the best listener and her stubbornness is like a 7.5/10, but I'm sure its just a phase (hopefully). She may not be the most outgoing or adventurous, but she's quite the observer and that makes her so thoughtful and helpful. Love her so much!


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