Monday -Mental soundtrack ---> Mogwai 63 degrees and sunny in Portland, which means everyone is laying out on their lawns and firing up their BBQs. -A vegan PB&J shake at Back to Eden Bakery. -Enjoying the sun myself up in the International Rose Test Garden. -Dinner at Screen Door: Fuji apple salad + slow-stewed beluga lentils + mac and cheese + cornbread + a slice of creole pecan pie. -Mt. Hood and waterfalls and gorge and sunset on the drive to Hood River.
Tuesday -Mental soundtrack ---> Phosphorescent -Orienting myself in daylight with a stroll along the waterfront, past the geese and the fly fishermen and into downtown. -Breakfast at Doppio: an Oregon chai + OPA's Super Cup. -Tracing gorge history from Ice Age to present day at the truly absorbing Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. -Lunch at Petite Provence in The Dalles: an Arnold Palmer + a quinoa and apple salad + an apple-rhubarb tart to go, the latter to be eaten on top of a waterfall. -Said waterfall was at Starvation Creek State Park, where I fought off my fear of heights to clamber up mossy boulders alongside rushing water. -Local brew pub crawl: a Wit (and fries) at Pfriem + a Session Premium Lager at Full Sail + a 1st Crack at Double Mountain. -Absolutely divine dinner at Kin: house-made ginger-lime soda + a kale salad with roasted walnuts, dates, parmesan, shallot-honey vinaigrette + gnocchi with tomato pomodoro and parmesan + coffee gelato. Thank you, Roman and Amy!
Wednesday -Mental soundtrack ---> Neko Case -Breakfast at Ground: a salted caramel mocha + breakfast sandwich with egg, white cheddar, tomato, avocado, veggie sausage, sriracha. -A little window shopping along Oak, including an ogling of the gorgeous Moonshine MFG skateboards at Doug's. -Heading down 35 past alpacas and lavender and orchards as far as I could get before hitting a sign that said those without snow tires shall not pass. Though reportedly I could have disobeyed and driven right up Mt. Hood to Timberline. -Admiring the kiteboarders and enjoying some beach time down at the Event Site. -Lunch at Solstice: a local lemonade + a Vegan Boy pizza. -One of the more awe-inspiring bike rides I've ever been on up on the Historic Columbia River Highway, vistas at every turn, through the vintage twin tunnels high above Mosier, on my killer rental from Mountain View Cycles. -Enjoying the camaraderie (and the Green Flash Soul Style) at Dirty Fingers, where the bar doubles as the bike repair station, and sneaking next door to 10 Speed for a chai to balance things out. -A progressive dinner through downtown Hood River: an Everybody's Hoedown Brown and curried artichoke dip at 6th Street Bistro + a ginger-apple soda and squash soup and mâche salad at Celilo + chai crème brûlée at Brian's Pourhouse.
Thursday -Mental soundtrack ---> Bosco Delrey -Breakfast at Egg River Cafe: a chai latte + poached eggs with romesco sauce, spinach, mushrooms over polenta. -Tastings and bottles from some exquisite local wineries: Subduction Red from Syncline + Malbec from COR + Rosé from Domaine Pouillon. -Lunch at River Daze Cafe: an orange cream soda + a beet-kraut and avocado salad with goat cheese dressing. -A hike up the 2nd Street stairs and along the Indian Creek Trail. -More window shopping on Oak and drooling over all the Ace & Jig items at Plenty. -A perfect last dinner at the utterly charming Rack & Cloth: homemade cider + white bean soup with sorrel + delicata squash fries with sweet chili aioli + a cherry-chocolate chip cookie. -The sunset over the river.
Friday -Mental soundtrack ---> The Juan MacLean -Breakfast at Stoked: a chai + a cherry-ginger scone. -One last gawp at gorge history and artifacts at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. -Lunch at Carte Blanche back in Portland: the Important Helmet for Outer Space with crispy glazed tofu, miso-buttered mushrooms, leeks, kale, brussels sprouts, coconut jasmine rice, ginger-pineapple-lemongrass slaw, crispy shallots, cilantro, toasted peanuts, sesame, pickled fresnos, lime. -Full-service gas.