Our time in Portland and Eugene was mostly spent visiting friends and drinking. I dropped off Paul and then headed to the airport to pick up from David who was flying in from Boston to do the last leg of the trip with me.
We stayed with friends here and basically hung out in pubs, juice and coffee houses, bistros and wine bars in Portland’s Pearl District. Here they have transformed historial industrial buildings into retail storefronts, restaurants, galleries, lofts and townhouses. There’s also Jamison Square with more than 100 shops and galleries, including a few outdoor stands where you can try numerous flavors of honey – we were there for well over an hour.
During the day, we hung out with friends in the burbs and their kids and at night, ventured into Portland’s hot spots, including the Fulton Pub off Nebraska, a very Boston-style Irish pub that old grade school buddy Jack Kearney recommended. I had not seen Jack for ten years so was great to catch up “East Coast” style.
We also hit the local music scene, including Candlelight Cafe & Bar for blues on 5th Avenue, the Fez Ballroom on 11th, Jimmy Macks on 10th, the Blue Monk on Belmont and Berbatis Pan on Ankeny.
Fresh juice and wheat grass sitings at Bibos Juice Bar in Portland and New Odyssey Juice & Java on 10th and Willamette in Eugene. I promised the owner I would blog about his cafe. I must admit it is the only fersh juice bar I have found where in one sitting, you can have an avocado shake, a wheat grass shot, papaya with carrot and dark chocolate filled with cherry liquor. I tried it all, which reminds me of a fixation I had in Portland with chocolate.
David and I discovered a wonderful chocolate shop and I went to town. Following the splurge in the shop, we ended up all afternoon and evening in a corner Italian restaurant I can’t remember the name of drinking South African Shiraz with nearly frozen premier dark chocolates.
In Eugene, we probably hit even more restaurants and bars. Eugene is clearly a college town, less cosmopolitan and yet we felt more at home here than Portland. Small, funky and eclectic, we ate like students at an Ethiopian eatery on the main drag and a quaint Indian veggie place called Poppis Alatolia on Wilomette….and then danced until we dropped at John Henrys, Good Times (blues jam), Lone Star Bar and Grill, the Luckey’s Club Cigar, Cafe Paradiso and sneaked into the Duck Inn on 6th to see if they really were going to do Karaoke all night long. I’m getting too old for this. Time to get back to some inland country and thereafter the coast, alas.
A few other places worth noting in Eugene is the Sweet Life Bakery, and Chowya Pra and Italian Bepe restaurants. We ended up staying in a motel adjacenet to the Karaoke hotspot in town – this “all American” pastime I have been avoiding for years keeps following me.
We lounged at four places in one night: Luna on Broadway, which is a dark jazz place better saved for a hot date and Macs at the Vets which had old band blues – certain to get me on the dance floor….I had to stop in briefly to Sam Bond’s Garage on Blair, which touts the younger college crowd. The Hot (but extremely young) Wisely was playing there. Damn, he photographs well.
It also appears that Bikram yoga has just swept the nation, at least in many of the major towns and cities. Eugene had a center on Charnelton and offered $20 specials for two weeks of unlimited yoga. We didn’t have time for the hour and a half workout in a 104 degree room…..I’m saving that for San Francisco.