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Trip Report Lcuy's quick Trip Report- Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho

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I have a sister who moved recently to Boise, Idaho, and invited us for Thanksgiving. We flew from Honolulu to Portland Oregon, to pick up MIL and Daughter, then onto Boise.

We’d originally booked two nights at the Fifth Ave Suites in Portland, but a few days prior to our trip, I got an email from Hawaiian Air that our flight was rescheduled for eight hours later than planned. Not only would we now be on a “red eye”, but we’d miss one night in my favorite hotel!

Our first day was spent on errands with daughter and seeing her dog graduate from puppy school. We had room service dinner from Red Star Tavern in our hotel(excellent!).

The next day we stopped at Everett Street Bistro for lunch. Fromage plate, several soups and salads, creamed spinach, and excellent crab cakes.

We then flew on Southwest Air to Boise, where we stayed at my sister's house on a little canal that feeds into the Bosie River. There were ducks, mink, and squirrels all over! The weather was very chilly (it snowed one day) but it didn’t stop numerous fisherman from casting in the river nearby!

Boise’s downtown is attractive, low rise and was decorated nicely for Christmas.

We had a tasty soup and sandwich meal at Brick Oven Bistro
801 Main St.
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: (208)342-3456
Fax: (208) 384-0266

Also a very good informal Mexican dinner at
2117 12th Ave Rd
Nampa, ID 83686

Our “nice” dinner was at Cottonwood Grill on Saturday night.

Cottonwood looks like a big ski lodge, but is right on the river. The food and service were lovely, and prices very reasonable. They served the best Dungeness crab cocktail I’ve ever had. Only negative (to us)was that it is one of those places that serves HUGE amounts of food. Way too much to finish, and having lots of leftovers from Thanksgiving, we were not inclined to take home doggy bags.

We drove up to Bogus Basin one day to do some inner-tubing in the snow. The resort was closed, but we’d bought equipment from WalMart and there was just enough snow that we were able to use the tubing hill. Long hike up without the tow rope though!

Back in Portland on Sunday, we stayed at the Avalon Hotel and Spa. The hotel is down at John’s Landing, halfway between downtown and my daughter’s college. I would normally sugesst that people stay in Downtown, but this is a nice alternative on a quiet stretch of the Williamette River. We’ve enjoyed their restaurant in the past and there was a $129/night special (with $24 breakfast credit and free parking) so gave it a try.

I was very pleasantly surprised. The second floor room had a great river view and was very comfortable. The bathroom had separate shower and tub, and a speaker to broadcast the TV in there. Very “spa” looking. Front desk, valet, and restaurant all were great. We didn't have time to try the fitness room, spa or library.

The only thing that I didn’t like was the balcony...it is separated from the neighbors balcony only by a canvas ‘kite’ sort of thing. It was too cold to sit out there, but I think you’d be able to see into the neighboring room if you did.

Dinner was at Andina Restaurant in the Pearl District. Fabulous meal! The food is Peruvian, but with a heavy Portland influence. Plates come in small, medium or large, with lots of fresh veggies, quality seafood and wines, and attentive service. My favorite meal of the year. There is a very nice wine bar downstairs as well.

The next morning I took my DH to the Airport, then went back to the Avalon to pack. (I’d be staying with a friend in the SE Clinton district for the next week). Of course, I fell asleep and woke just in time to check out at noon!

Finally got my chance to GTG with Scarlett on this trip! We met up in the Pearl District for a walk ( in the snow!) with the adorable Pup. Scarlett and I had spoken on the phone in the past, but never met. We stopped for pho at Silk (formerly Pho Van, I loved my coconut milk based seafood pho) and shared lots of stories. She’s one of those women that you immediately want for your best friend, and the afternoon went very quickly!

Tried out some new Portland restaurants:

Sinju (Japanese)on 10th and Johnson.

We had a “tatami room”. Although it had no tatami, it was a nice private room. Six of us ate family style with several sashimi, sushi, tempura, noodle and fish plates. All came with miso, vegetables and salad. The cocktails were were excellent as well, and we noticed lots of the crowd was there for just drinks. Friendly service. Highly recommended

The Press Club on SE Clinton and 26th:
A wine bar, set up kind of like a coffeehouse with lots of little tables, free internet, electrical outlets at each table, and a wall of interesting magazines. They specialize in savory and sweet crepes, but have sandwiches, pasta and a long wine list with many by the class. They had a book signing one night, and a Jazz quartet another. I had an incredible caprese salad, Salami sandwich, and cinnamon crepe for lunch one day, then came back for the same thing another evening! Came back another time and had an awesome hot chocolate.

Taqueria Nueve
28 NE 28th Ave (503) 236-6195

Tiny place with a small menu. The food was excellent, but the menu very limited, and many of the dishes featured sort of “exotic” meats. We left still hungry, and solved that with a visit to Pied Cow for dessert.

And some old favorites that we had to return to:

Sub Rosa: Another at SE Clinton and 26th- very small and cozy with excellent salads, vegetables, pastas, and my favorite hand tossed pizza.

Esparza's Tex Mex Café
2725 SE Ankeny St (503) 234-7909

This is the kind of Mexican food that I grew up on! Fresh fried chips and salsa, lots of choices, outlandish decor.

10 NE 28th Ave (503) 232-3555

Tiny place that serves great PNW tapas- you check off your choices and plate size on an order form. Nice wines and desserts.

Pied Cow Coffeehouse
3244 SE Belmont St (503) 230-4866 -
Their ‘small” sundae had two scoops of ice cream smothered in caramel sauce with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Service is iffy, but worth the wait if you’ve got a sweet craving.

Bread & Ink:
We go here for the breakfast- eggs and peppered bacon with potatoes and homemade scones.

Bijou Cafe,
Another wonderful spot for breakfast

Only go for their sweet potato fries and seasonal milk shakes. This week it was pumpkin.

Elephant’s Deli on NE Burnside and NE 22nd
Take out or eat in, they have lots of cheeses, breads, deserts, salads, soups and hot dishes.

Cafe Mingo- Three of us popped in and sat at the bar. I hadn’t been here in a long while, and this visit made me wonder why. Healthy, hearty Italian fare, good wine choices, and wonderful desserts. The poached pears were out of this world. Nice bar location- we enjoyed talking with the servers and others seated next to us.

Papa Hayden (the Sellwood location),
We stopped in for lunchtime desserts. They were huge and full of wonderful fresh fruits. Wished we were hungry for lunch as the salads others were eating looked delicious!

Everett Street Bistro (for a second time on this trip). I’ve been here several times and love their fromage sample plate, hearty soups, clams, and other Bistro fare. My daughter wanted to go here, since I'd raved so much about it. We went in for a late lunch. Don’t know if it was the time of day, or what, but the service was totally indifferent and the food terrible. The fromage plate was just slopped together and only about half the normal amount, we had to ask for bread, and the herbed fries sat on the counter for eight minutes before they were served. Our waiter went to meet with a wine salesman and never came back; I paid at the counter! My daughter said she couldn’t understand how I liked this place, and said she wouldn’t be tempted to return.

Didn't do a lot of shopping but had some fun at Cargo, in the Pearl. Lots of hip asian imports- clothing, furniture, jewelry, statues, books, art and home items.

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