Day 2 started a bit slow. Since we were out late, we slept in. I woke up first and decided that I should get in some miles before starting the day. It was July 1st and I like to run on the first of each month to set the tone for the month in running. Rather than attempting an outdoor run (also because I didn’t bring my running belt nor my GPS watch), I elected to do a treadmill run. I haven’t run on a treadmill in many years.
The hotel had a very nice fitness room (available 24/7 with your hotel key card). There was a combination of treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bike, weight machines and free weights. I hopped on a LifeFitness Treadmill, which was pretty cool because each one had a screen that showed your progress but also doubled as a TV. The hotel provided free headphones that you could plug in so you had sound. At first I started my run with no headphones and just watching TV without sound. After about 1 mile I hopped off and got me some headphones. I forget how hard it is to run on a treadmill sometime. I started with a 5 minute warmup at a speed between 4-5 mi/hr. I then upped my speed to 6 mi/hr and ventured into the 6.5 mi/hr range to try to average out to 10 min/mile pace (6 mi/hr for the entire run). My run effort level was higher because I had been drinking and eating a ton the day before. I ended up putting in a little over 4 miles at an overall just under 10:15 min/mile pace.
After I was all cleaned up, we headed on out in search of brunch. One place that I wanted to try was Tasty n Sons. We bought another TriMet day pass and hopped on a bus. We took it 20 minutes north of city center (east of the river) into the Boise neighborhood. By the time we arrived (around 11 am), the place was packed and the line of people waiting for a table spilled out the door. We put our names down and had some coffee while we waited. An opening at the small bar (it sat 7 total) allowed us to get a table a little earlier than normal (we still waited about 50 minutes). We split one of their Chocolate Potato Doughnuts, which was fairly light. I had the Fried Egg and Cheddar Biscuit with Fried Chicken. A big reason we went to this restaurant was that my wife wanted to try Shakshuka (baked eggs n tomato stew with merguez sausage), which came with some grilled bread slices. Shakshuka is a dish of North African origin and now is popular in many Middle Eastern countries. It was rather tasty and I’d definitely have it again given a chance. I had a bourbon cocktail since I already had my coffee and hey I was on vacation! We chatted briefly with the bartender and got some ideas on places to check out.
After lunch we walked around the Boise neighborhood some but jumped back onto the bus to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Old Town Chinatown. I’ve noticed that in almost every city in the US, the Chinatown region is also where a lot of the homeless people live and Portland is no exception. The Chinese Garden was an interesting experience. We learned that there is a sister Chinese Garden in China. There was some other interesting stuff that I learned but have since forgot, I’ll just leave you with some pictures of the place.
From the garden we walked up back towards the Pearl District for a snack. Back in 2012 when we visited, we made the obligatory stop at Voodoo Donuts. My friend Tim, who has lived in Portland for a few years now, said that we needed to check out Blue Star Donuts because it was much better than Voodoo. I will say that Blue Star has some more innovative and intriguing combinations of flavors. We tried two different flavors: 1) Blueberry Bourbon & Basil Donut and 2) I can’t remember
We finished just in time to walk back to our hotel, The Nines, for happy hour at the rooftop restaurant Departure, helmed by Top Chef Alum Gregory Gourdet. One of my good friends from San Diego was a college roommate with Gregory and she said he used to cook her awesome food. Happy Hour is on a few rooftop balconies that overlook the city.
We ordered some cocktails as well as some snack foods (Departure Wings and Vegetarian Maki Roll of the Day). The Departure Wings were fabulous and even though my wife doesn’t normally eat wings, she loved these. They were basically like popsicle sticks of tender chicken in a crisp outer shell.
After taking a break in our hotel room we headed off to find some dinner. Another place that we both wanted to try served chicken rice. So off we went to Nong’s Khao Man Gai off of E Burnside just across Burnside Bridge via Bus. I guess Khao Man Gai roughly translates to chicken and rice. The dish is deceptively simple yet yields some good flavors. It was a nice little meal to cap off our Friday.
Guess I did have enough to separate out Day 2 from Day 3 and 4.