I'm just starting to discover all the reasons why the locals say Portland is the best place to be during the summer. Sunshine-filled days seem to linger on lavishly around here. The City of Roses lights up with even more creative energy and vitality when the clouds finally clear and bare legs start to appear. As seen on my Instagram and Twitter, I certainly haven't stopped exploring since I moved here in January. Now that summer has finally arrived, I'm seeing this city in a whole new light with new and old friends alike.
My friend Morgan from Gonzaga University popped into Portland for a whirlwind of a weekend and I was happy to be her personal tour guide. I took her to my new favorite coffee spot on the East side: Good Coffee. While the name may be nothing short of blunt, this coffee shop puts an emphasis on amazing customer service, living up to their motto of "be good to one another." I initially discovered this place on social media, where two of my favorite local Instagrammers (Drew and Gjeryl) photographed the iconic entryway. Upon my first visit I met two friendly baristas, Ester and Chancellor, who made me feel like I just comfortably waltzed into someone's (beautifully minimalist) home. Morgan ordered an iced coffee and I ordered an iced mocha, which was all the more refreshing during the morning heat. With an inviting interior, knowledgeable coffee connoisseurs and delicious Coava varieties, Good Coffee might as well be my new second home.
While on the East side, I brought Morgan to ¿Por qué no?, an iconic taqueria where the line is always out the door. Naturally, Morgan, Cyril (another friend from Gonzaga) and I ordered tacos because ordering anything else there would be borderline offensive. The indoor/outdoor space filled with Mexican tchotchkes offers enough taco varieties to make decision-making extremely difficult. So many options, so little room in my stomach. The Barbacoa and Chorizo tacos I devoured were full of flavor and fresh ingredients. I paired my meal with a pomegranate margarita because why the hell not? I'm always down for a mid-day drink.
Later that weekend, Morgan and I settled down at Pastini Pastaria for a hearty Italian meal. While heavy carbohydrates may not traditionally be the best idea on a sultry day (food coma alert), we needed the energy after the endless exploring we did. The downtown location of this collection of Oregon restaurants resides in a historic studio building overlooking Director Park. I'm a big fan of their cheesy, baked ziti with grilled Italian fennel sausage that's smothered in tomato-cream sauce. Every Wednesday this summer, all Pastini Pastaria locations are offering half-price wines as part of their "Summer Wine Wednesdays." If that's not a reason to enjoy one of these bistros, I don't know what is.
I can't imagine a better place to partake in Happy Hour than at a rooftop bar. My friend Jordan invited me to Departure, a hotel hideaway overlooking downtown Portland. Perched on the 15th floor of The Nines, Jordan and I marveled at the breathtaking views and futuristic aesthetic of this lounge. Predictably, I gravitated towards a French favorite at the bar: a French 75. This luxe libation is made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. When I'm not drinking rosé, I've decided this cocktail will be my summer go-to. Honestly it's so hard to choose, so don't make me.
I can always count on Jordan to take me to the most Instagram-worthy locations in Portland. After healthily hydrating ourselves with champagne, we descended to the Eastbank Esplanade to capture some sunset shots of the city's skyline. This dock is bustling with teenagers looking for a quick swim, old folk breaking a sweat in long canoes and fashionistas looking to photograph their outfits in the rich hue of the golden hour. Sitting out here, waiting for the sun to go down was so calming, especially with someone as chill as Jordan. The sparkling Willamette River and sharp-edged buildings cutting against the pale yellow sky created a spectacular scene.
I'm filled with excitement knowing that these experiences are just the beginning of my first #PDXSummer.