Traveling to Portland, Oregon

November 4, 2014

Portland Oregon_ boats and bridges_ photo by D. Kelley

After hemming and hawing over the dates - and waiting for my husband's frequent-flier miles to get high enough - it's finally happening: I'm headed to the States for the holidays. It has been over three years since I've been back in my home country and five since I've spent a Christmas outside of Germany. At this rate, I wonder if what used to be reverse-culture shock during my trips 'home' will now just be culture shock from the way of life that is now so foreign to me.

What has me particularly excited is that I will be spending a month at my parent's new home in Portland, a city I have never been to, so it will feel like a real holiday. Consistently voted one of the best cities to live in, both in US and internationally, Portland is clearly more than just the hippie-vibed ridiculousness of Portlandia. Apparently, it reminds my mom a lot of her previous laid-back home on the California coast, just without all the drug problems and weekly stabbings. It also gives Berlin's lush green spaces and waterfronts a run for their money. Add to that a West Elm and a Target, and I'm already a fan.

But really, aside from seeing my family for Christmas, one of the things I'm anticipating most is the food. More importantly, all the gluten-free food. Ever since my celiac diagnosis, travel as a way of life for us has taken a major hit. Everything from jetting to to far-off lands where they don't understand what gluten even is to just staying with friends whose entire kitchens are contaminated with the stuff, eating safely away from home has seemed a dangerous prospect. But Portland, oh wonderful Portland, has countless restaurants and food trucks - and even a brewery, for goodness sakes - that are 100% gluten-free. That means I can eat out at any number of spots without hounding the wait staff for every details of their food preparation or risking accidental glutening from an unknowing kitchen and set my already glacially-slow recovery back even further. Compared to the few Berlin spots I can eat at worry-free, it seems Portland is a celiac's paradise.

Of course, somewhat begrudgingly, I will have to do more than eat. I am greatly looking forward to exploring this beautiful city and hopefully some of the surrounding areas. So if anyone has any recommendations of great things to see and do, or great gluten-free restaurants, please let me know in the comments. In the meantime, will be counting the days until I get there, watching Portlandia and planning my tour of GF baked goods and food trucks.


*Thanks Mom, for the lovely photo.

6 comments:

  1. How awesome! So great to be able to visit family for the holidays, and in a "new" location as well. We're off to visit my parents for Thanksgiving, and since they moved from California to Tennessee after I moved to Germany, it's also a new to us place... which makes it even more exciting. You will have a blast in Portland!

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    1. Thanks, Natalye. How funny, as my parents moved first to very southern Illinois, not far from Tennessee, but my mom couldn't take the weather. I think we'd both rather have earthquakes than tornadoes. I hope your parents are settling in well in Tennessee and that you have a great visit for Thanksgiving.

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  2. How exciting! Some Portland must-sees: Powell's bookstore, Stumptown coffee, the Japanese Garden, and you'll can have an awesome view over the city while sipping cocktails at City Grill. You'll love it!

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    1. This all sounds great! Thanks, Mandi.

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  3. Portland is gluten free eating heaven - you'll have such a great time! Sometimes my husband and I road trip down there for the day just for the food (and okay, the awesome little shops too). Some of my favorites are Teote, Hawthorne Fish House, Harlow, and Verde Cocina. There are also oodles of bakeries to try like Petunia's, New Cascadia, Tula, and just outside the city there's Kyra's Bake Shop!

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    1. What an awesome list! Thanks, Adina. I've done much drooling over Petunia's menu already. I can't wait!

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