I returned home late last night from an extended trip to Portland for RailsConf 2007. My wife, Kelly, and I decided to go early and check out Portland since neither of us had been there before. Portland is a great city. They have a vibrant downtown area, great public transportation system, and all the outdoors activities you could want. The city is fairly close to the coast and is also close to skiing destinations.
For this trip we decided to stay in the heart of downtown Portland at the Hotel Monaco, a boutique hotel owned by Kimpton hotels. The hotel itself is close to the MAX light rail system and is only blocks from the Portland streetcar. Both are free within a certain area of the city called Fareless Square.
The hotel staff were great. Since we were also there celebrating our anniversary, the front desk staff sent up a hand written card, chocolates from Moonstruck Chocolates, and a bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle. The Hotel Monaco also offers a complimentary wine and beer sampling every night from 5pm – 6pm. I couldn't be more pleased with our choice of hotels and would highly recommend the Hotel Monaco to anyone traveling to Portland.
Chinatown was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but has a great classical Chinese garden that I could have spent many more hours exploring. We also had some great Dim Sum for lunch, but I can't remember the name of the place (I think it was on 3rd and Couch St. near the Hung Far Low building and was painted blue).
The best food we had in Portland was in the Pearl District. Two places were particularly good. For dinner Monday night we ate at Oba! where I had roasted butternut squash enchiladas and Kelly had prime rib coyotas (like flautas). We also had the queso fundido appetizer that was oh so scrumptious. On Tuesday morning we had breakfast at the Everett Street Bistro. It was awesome! I had the Grand Marnier French Toast and Kelly had the Dutch Baby (German style pancakes with caramelized apples, topped with powdered sugar). If you're in the mood for a little coffee, try Stumptown Coffee. We had so much great food in Portland that I can't do it justice. My advice to anyone is stay away from chain restaurants and sample all the local places. Portland is overflowing with great local restaurants.
On Tuesday, we took the MAX light rail to Washington Park. This is also the home to the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, Japanese garden, and International Rose Test Garden. We hiked through Washington Park from the MAX light rail station to the Japanese Garden. On the way we got some good pictures of Mt. St. Helens and of the surrounding forest and vegetation. By far the best picture Kelly took was in the Japanese Garden… wow!
Portland is an amazing city – both Kelly and I would love to return. Hopefully we'll get the chance next year as the conference organizers indicated RailsConf 2008 will be in Portland again!
I plan on posting a few articles on my thought about the content from RailsConf 2007. Stay tuned…
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