Webs Weave through Portland

Our friend John Minagawa-Webster (aka Webby) and his wife Mai brought the sun (and a bottle of Four Roses single barrel bourbon) from Louisville to Portland last weekend. We were stoked to meet Mai for the first time, and of course she was awesome, but we were also overjoyed to have ridiculously perfect weather in the 60s and 70s with sun, sun, sun. Perfect weekend for a Portland immersion!

John and Jeff met via Michigan State soccer, so there was only one thing on the agenda for Friday night: watch the Michigan State/Duke basketball game. Ugh. The outcome sucked, but we drowned our sorrows with pitchers and a veggie pizza at Silver Dollar Pizza Pub before snagging a couple pints of ice cream from Salt & Straw to eat around the fireplace on our back patio.

Relaxing in our Nikes atop Angels Rest hike

Relaxing in our Nikes atop Angels Rest hike

Earlier that week I had polled my co-workers on their favorite Columbia Gorge hikes and Angels Rest emerged as a favorite, so Saturday morning we headed out for a hike. But first we grabbed breakfast at the Portland Farmer’s Market, where hula-hoopers and mesmerizing hang drum musicians dazzled the four of us. Mai even scored a free CD from a barefoot man playing the hang drum, which provided the perfect soundtrack for our short drive to the Gorge!

The 4.8-mile roundtrip hike zigzagged up and down 1,500 feet of elevation change. We trekked through fern-filled woods and charred remnants of a forest fire, over a creek and rock piles, to a jutting peak with a glorious 270-degree view of the Gorge. Surprise, surprise, it was a beautiful hike. Even better, I wore a tank top for most of it – it was that warm out! We worked up an appetite so we stopped at McMenamins Edgefield, a 74-acre piece of heaven with a cluster of bars, restaurants, a hotel, par-3 golf course, winery, hotel, gardens, concert grounds and anything else a red-blooded adult could want. Back in Portland, we chose the “catch-inspired” Riffle for dinner since Louisville isn’t well-known for its seafood. It was our first trip to the restaurant, which was good but a little spendy for my taste.

Easter Sunday we arose for a quick, bread-y breakfast at Little T American Bakery – which I LOVED – and a winding drive through Mississippi and Alberta neighborhoods before dropping John and Mai at PDX Airport to head back east. 😦 Let’s hope we see them again soon, maybe even for a trip to Thailand to visit John’s parents. *crossing fingers*

Jeff and I spent Easter evening at Genaro and Felicia’s shiny new home in Beaverton. G+F invited Stephen, Jennifer, us and Cooper over for egg dyeing, cornhole/bags and a backyard BBQ. We soaked in the rays, played with Coop and Giggs, and we apartment-dwellers dreamed of the day when we’ll own a nice house with a big backyard. Someday!

John and Mai watching the State game at Silver Dollar

Mai and John watching the State game at Silver Dollar

Musician playing the hang drum at Portland Farmer's Market

Musician playing the hang drum at Portland Farmer’s Market

Mai looking like an angel at the start of our Angels Rest hike

Mai looking like an angel at the start of our Angels Rest hike

Crossing over the bubbling brook along the way

Crossing over the bubbling brook along the way

Towering trees!

Towering trees!

Here come the hikers: Jeff, Mai and John

Here come the hikers: Jeff, Mai and John

Nearing the top of our climb

Nearing the top of our climb

Webby striking a pose above the Gorge

Webby striking a pose above the Gorge

Jeff enjoying the ridiculous views

Jeff enjoying the ridiculous views

The gorgeous Columbia River Gorge

The gorgeous Columbia River Gorge

We hiked all the way from river-level! (You can see part of the trail in the fire-burned area)

We hiked all the way from river-level! (You can see part of the trail in the fire-burned area)

The work of a thoughtful, romantic high-schooler?

The work of a thoughtful, romantic high-schooler?

Jeff, me and Mai roaming around Edgefield

Jeff, me and Mai roaming around Edgefield

A warm evening outside Caps & Corks

A warm evening outside Caps & Corks

Baked goodness at Little T American Bakery

Baked goodness at Little T American Bakery

Jennifer and Stephen playing cornhole/bags in Genaro and Felicia's backyard

Jennifer and Stephen playing cornhole/bags in Genaro and Felicia’s backyard

Cooper's happy buddy Giggs

Cooper’s happy buddy Giggs

The proud new homeowners chilling with Giggs and Cooper

The proud new homeowners chilling with Giggs and Cooper

As a side note, I also checked out a couple new spots around town last week:

Raven & Rose: The local hype is legit – this revamped historic Ladd Carriage House in downtown PDX is pretty fabulous. It’s cozy as cozy can be with its wooden beams, couches circling a fireplace, and cushy high-table chairs. (And a pool table, big reason to go back!) In the upstairs bar, The Rookery, the bartender crafted my book club compadres and me some delicious off-the-menu cocktails, such as my gin-lemon-honey concoction, based on our favorite songs and other random bits of information. Loved it.

Hatch Restaurant and Bar: Despite its odd strip-joint/pirate-ish logo – and the fact there was barely a soul there on Wednesday night – Hatch’s $4 margaritas and $5-off Mexican skillets were pretty tasty and affordable. My co-worker/friend/book clubber Kristen and I faced the challenge of finding a restaurant that neither Jeff and I nor her and her boyfriend Jesse has visited, so we latched onto Hatch. Now we have to track down this Killer Burger place that’s also operated by the Hatch owners.

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