The strange wee city of Portland, OR

I’m shit at posting- i know, please forgive me! 

Here’s an extremely large post with the main things I did in bold in case you only want to read a certain section xx

Nearly 3 weeks ago I took an Amtrak from Seattle,WA to Portland,OR. At the train station I met this awesome guy from NZ and we immediately started chatting because of our accents. The train ride was really nice and had some pretty scenic views. I chose to pay a little more to take the train as it was more comfortable and had better views than the bus! I arrived in Portland at 11.30am. My first impression wasn’t great. The train station is located within Chinatown, which has a huge amount of homeless, drug users, and a few scary people. I got the bus to my accommodation with was located in this amazing, quiet, safe area in Northeast Portland. One of the great things about the public transport there, is that it’s only $5 for a day pass! After dropping my bags off I took the bus to Buckman, where I went to the Vegan MiniMall, checking out Food Fight Grocery, Sweet Pea Bakery and Herbivore clothing- which was my dream to visit when I first went vegan at 16. I bought a whole heap of chocolate, hazelnut milk coffee, a fruit tart, and a vegan shirt.

I then bused back to Chinatown/Old Town where I went to the Chinese Gardens and then to take a photo of the Portland, Oregon sign. The Chinese Gardens were absolutely beautiful, and it’s not overcrowded, so a nice place to walk around and clear your head. The have these fortune teller sticks there where you’re meant to gently shake the container until a stick falls out- I tried but all the sticks fell out when I shook it haha, so I didn’t end up reading my fortune.

I then went to the famous Voodoo doughnuts, but the line was too long, so I bused home, and planned out the rest of my days.

On Thursday morning I had booked a tour to the Columbia River Gorge. I really wanted to see this, but had an extremely hard time finding tour companies that were running in winter/spring. I ended up finding a half day tour through Hub World Travel, which was great as it only required 2 people to run. The tour was $60, plus I tipped $10, so it was kind of expensive, but so great to see! The tour guides girlfriend was from NZ, so we had a lot to talk about. Plus two older lovely ladies were also doing the tour, and we exchanged travel/life stories. It was really great to be with such lovely people!

After the tour I wasn’t feeling to good, so I had a rest, then went on a walk to Alberta, which is this awesome. hipster like neighborhood with tons of food carts, thrift stores and coffee shops. I went to Back to Eden Bakery (another famous vegan bakery) and ordered a whole bunch of food, then went to the Green Monster food truck (my amazing salad is pictured below!), and then walked around the neighborhood before walking back home. It was an hr walk each way, so by the time I got back I was feeling completely refreshed.

I skyped with a lovely friend of mine back in NZ, then arranged an interview with this Nanny Agency for when I move to England.

Friday morning I got up early and bused downtown. First stop was Voodoo doughnuts as they’re not as busy in the morning (although I was still in line for about 10 minutes). Not too sure what doughnut I got, as I just asked for their most popular vegan doughnut, but it was delicious! Highly recommend them! They are cash only though so make sure to bring plenty of cash! I left the doughnut in my bag, then ate it that night- hence the reason it looks unappetizing

I then headed to Powell’s Bookstore, and oh my goodness it was huge! Thousands of both new and used books- you could find whatever you wanted! I bought one of Chelsea Handlers books, and then got ‘The Secret Seven’ for my host kids. 

After Powell’s I took a bus to the Pittock Mansion. It was about a 15-20 minute uphill walk to the mansion, so just be aware if you’re planning on busing there! The Mansion was incredible. It offered amazing views of Portland, and for a small fee you can explore the mansion, learning about it’s history and getting a glimpse into the late 1800′s/early 1900′s. When I was taking photos out back I ran into the ladies I’d met on the tour, and we chatted for a bit, before I left to go to the Japanese Gardens.

It took quite a while to get to the Japanese Gardens as the walk was quite confusing, but I made it in the end. The Japaneses Gardens were beautiful- a little bigger and more popular than the Chinese garden. I think the garden did a great job in representing the Japanese culture- and I’ve heard many people comment that this is the best Japanese garden they’ve ever been to!

Next was the Rose Test Gardens which is literally about a 2 minute walk from the Japanese Gardens. Unfortunately the roses weren’t in bloom, but I can imagine that this would be beautiful in Spring!

After the gardens I bused to downtown Portland and walked around for a little before saying goodbye to Portland and heading back to the house. 

I caught an 8am Bolt Bus back to Seattle the next morning. Portland was incredible, and I could definitely see myself living there! At first I was taken a back with how polite people are there, but you get used to it pretty fast haha.

The Club from Rose Bakery Cafe in Corona Del Mar 😳 Fitting your mouth around this bad boy is a delicious joke in itself! #ocfoodie (at Rose Bakery Café)

Rose Privée de L'Artisan Parfumeur au salon de thé Rose Bakery au Bon Marché Rive Gauche

Rose Privée de L’Artisan Parfumeur au salon de thé Rose Bakery au Bon Marché Rive Gauche

Tous ceux qui habitent ou visitent Paris en ce beau mois de mai pourront se rendre au Bon Marché Rive Gauche et surtout au salon de thé Rose Bakery où L’Artisan Parfumeur et Rose Privée ont une mise en avant digne de ce nom.

Rose Privée au salon de thé Rose Bakery

Au mois de mai, outre le muguet, la rose est également fêtée. La Rose de Mai porte donc bien son nom et puis la rose, c’est la…

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Macarons from @asaltandbuttery! Yum! #BirthdayCake #ChocolateSeaSalt #LavenderHoney #BlackCurrant #Rose and #MatchaJasmineHoney! Can’t wait to dig in! #macarons #macaron #frenchmacarons #frenchmacaron #french #frenchpastries #pastries #pastry #frenchpastry #food #foodporn #yum #yummy #noms #omnomnom #bakery #bakeshop (at Asalt & Buttery)

La Delice Pastry Shop

You don’t even need to look up La Delice Pastry Shop to know exactly where it is.  Just follow the aroma of their delicious deserts.

La Delice is filled with an assortment of over 30 kinds of cakes, pastries, and muffins, giving customers a wide range of choices that is hard to find in the modest bakeries of Manhattan.

“I looked through their window and saw piles and piles of desserts,” said Violet Brooks, a fashion design student at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.  “At first I was a little overwhelmed by the selection, but I went inside because I was sure they would have something I like.”  The pastry shop is the closest place for her sweet tooth when she is in her dorm.  “I like that it isn’t a bagel shop and that it isn’t Starbucks,” she said.

La Delice is about the size of a high school classroom, lined with baked goods on all four sides with a gap for the door.  On one end are the cheese Danishes, chocolate cigars, French macarons, and the like. Directly across is a display case with fruit tarts, cupcakes made to look like Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, and whole pies made from a variety of fruits including pineapple.

Open since 1935, La Delice is a mom-and-pop shop that prides itself on hand-made desserts using traditional baking techniques and quality ingredients. The current owner, simply known as George, went to culinary school in Greece and bought the pastry shop from its founder in 1976.

Even with its promise of both quality and quantity, La Delice remains affordable with handmade cookies starting at $14 per pound with a minimum purchase of one-fourth of a pound. You can take home a whole pie for $12.

“Only a couple of things are pricey like the macarons at $6 for one-fourth of a pound,” said Anna Gonzalez, an Italian and history major at NYU who lives nearby.  “Other than that, I think $4.50 for a small fruit tart is fair.”

Lizi C. has mixed feelings about La Delice and took to Yelp to post a review.  “Excellent selection with huge variety,” she wrote.  “I think it’s probably a bit of a double edged sword because there is no way that everything could be fresh.”  She said that fresh food is either a hit or miss.

The entire shop has a vintage feel to it, both inside and out.  Outside stands a friendly looking and pale mannequin baker complete with flowing apron, thick eyebrows, and a slight smile.  The name of the shop is written in three fronts, “La Delice” in cursive, “Pastry” in block letters, and “Shop” in a casual handwriting print.  Inside, the walls are covered in pictures of wedding, communion, and birthday cakes they have made.  The pastry chefs are friendly and willing to explain what each dessert is made out of.

On the left window of the shop, a city required health inspection card clearly displays its most recent grade in blue – A.  Mandatory since 2010 under former mayor Michael Bloomberg, restaurant inspections occur at least once every year, or more if necessary, and the grade received must immediately be made visible from outside the restaurant.

The grading system consists of 68 possible violations, sorted into three categories: public health hazard, critical, and general violations.  The violations range from food “contaminated by sewage or liquid waste” to inadequate lighting, according to the city’s Guide for Food Service Operators.  Each violation corresponds to a certain number of points and generally the more severe the violation, the more points. Restaurants earning fewer than 14 points receive an A.

La Delice has two violations equaling 12 points since their inspection last April.  They are due for another one this month.

Cindy Valenzuela, an NYU film major that lives in Gramercy Green, goes to La Delice for their specialty cakes. “I had a cake made for my roommate’s birthday in the shape of an iPhone,” she said.  “It looked just like the real thing.  Every detail from the icons to the speakers was perfect.”  She said she also considered the Starbucks coffee cup cake.

AY W. turned to Yelp to share her experience, which is every customer’s worst nightmare: moldy food.  “Beware!” she started her post with a warning to readers.  She wrote that halfway through her cake, she “peeled off the remaining wrapper and discovered green mold.”

Despite the off-putting review, people continue to go to La Delice for their cannoli that seem to be a hidden gem in the Rose Hill area dominated by Indian restaurants.  Their regular cannoli, which come in vanilla and chocolate, are the length of an iPhone 6 and as thick as a quarter.  A mini cannolo is half that size.

The fried pastry dough shells are perfectly circular and crunchy, filled with sweet ricotta cheese and chocolate chips that are chilled, but won’t freeze your teeth.  Dusted with confectioner’s sugar, they can be finished in three delicious bites.