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  • Writer's pictureIsla Ramie

Keeping it Weird, Portland!

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Oregon was the final puzzle piece in our quest to visit the 48 contiguous states. We still would need Alaska and Hawaii to capture the coveted 50 and check off the bucket list for that goal, but Oregon was a big win and a feather in our cap. We were filled with excitement and ready to "Keep it Weird" in Portland, gorge ourselves on donuts, and then exercise by hiking (and Sasquatch hunting) some of the gorgeous trails the state has to offer.

Oregon and Mother Nature had other plans.

Oregon is known for many things, including the most strip clubs per capita of any state in the nation, breweries, donuts, cheese, Sasquatch sightings (it is #6 behind Washington), the deepest lake in the U.S., and full-serve gas stations (which we learned about the hard way). We were only visiting for two full days, so we had to pick the most important things. Sadly, strip clubs didn't make the cut much to Micah's chagrin (kidding), but donuts were high on both of our lists. The final list consisted of hitting seven donut shops, ten waterfalls, a brewery, and Crater Lake National Park because we have the National Park Bucket List going. We figured, if we were lucky, we might catch a glimpse of Sasquatch on our 10-mile hike in Silver Falls State Park. Silver Falls is known as the crown jewel of the Oregon State Parks system with waterfalls that you can walk behind. I purchased a new ND filter for my phone to capture those iconic misty waterfall shots you see on Instagram that look like drapery and an Osmo 3 gimbal to shoot some steady video for once. We were ready.

Micah and I had been gearing up for the trip by taking nightly walks to boost my endurance. Since nursing school, I have let exercise take a back seat to stress and potato chips. I was committed to change in order to be able to see those waterfalls. Down almost 10 lbs, the day of the trip was upon us. I was reasonably sure that I would eat back 10 lbs. of donuts while on vacation. Still, I figured it was a small sacrifice to bring you, my dear reader, the best Portland Donut information, essentially sacrificing my waistline so you wouldn't have to. What're a few pounds for a friend, no? We boarded the plane and settled in for the longest day, a four-hour flight from Boston to DFW, and then another five hours to PWD. Painful. We arrived in Portland close to 7 pm and were excited to get to dinner. I hadn't eaten anything substantial in preparation for the positively reviewed Russian restaurant called Kachka and, of course, donuts. As we walked into the parking garage, you could smell a campfire. We thought that was pretty strange because we were in the middle of a major city, but didn't question it much until the rental car lady said the smell was wildfire smoke blowing in from Washington State. We still didn't think much of it because Washington was north, we were heading south and wrote that off as a happy coincidence.

As we proceeded to get the shakedown from the Enterprise car rental lady, the wind whipped through the structure, kicking up sand and dust. Suddenly we were standing in the dark with the rental lady trying to upsell us (because they didn't have any cars in our pre-ordered economy class) as the power went out. After a few minutes of looking at vehicles by the light of a cell phone, I was beginning to think Portland may be taking the "Keeping it Weird" thing a little too far. We escaped the garage after dodging an extra $150 per day in insurance upgrades ("Thank you, no. If I wreck your car I will buy it from you. I am 50-years old and I have rented a lot of cars before, I will take my chances." ~Micah). And we were off to score some legendary Voodoo Donuts because dessert before dinner is how we roll.

The Davis Voodoo location was on the way to the restaurant, so we decided to hit them up, forgoing any crowds waiting at the Old Town store. It was a good choice. Absolutely no waiting; we walked right into the very tidy store and purchased our first donuts of the PORTLAND DONUT ADVENTURE!!!! (You can check out my Yelp review from Voodoo here and follow me for more delicious suggestions) We were hypnotized by the donut carousel but finally settled on the Maple Bacon, the Key Lime (recommended by the cashier), and the very cool Voodoo Doll. Final verdict...these donuts are some of the best we have had, but let us not get too ahead of the story.

After Voodoo, we went to Kachka Alfresca (review here). The evening was windy and smoky as the hostess guided us to the table, "Hold on to your belongings, or they will fly away." she added casually, as she showed us to an oilcloth covered picnic table with tropical flowers on a bright pink background. Each table was under a pop-up tent, which made social distancing pretty perfect. The mood was set by twinkle lights and what sounded like 80s pop Russian playing in the background. Actually, I have no idea what era the music was from because I have never listened to Russian music before.

If you are ever in Portland and looking for an adventure in flavor, try Kachka. We had never had Russian food before, so this was exciting and reminiscent of the Polish food I remember growing up. I am getting hungry talking about food so take a look at the pictures. Needless to say, we had a very romantic albeit windy evening at Kachka, and then we headed out for our last donut stop of the evening at Sesame Donuts.

Have you ever been to Dunkin' Donuts? Well, Sesame is a lot like that. We went to the conveniently open for 24-hours location in Beaverton, and we ordered a toasted Sesame donut, assuming it was the signature donut and a raspberry cheesecake variety.

Sesame Donut

Both were good. The sesame had a nice crispy nutty flavor that was almost a cross between a butternut and a peanut coating in texture and taste. They were slightly dry, but heck, it was 10:30 pm, and the early bird gets the donut. The prices were lower than Voodoo, but you didn't get the same ambiance, and the sizes were smaller overall for the donuts we chose. If you are having midnight munchies, Sesame in Beaverton will probably fit the bill for coffee and a quick snack. Otherwise, it was your run of the mill donut. With a full belly, we tucked in for the night, excited to get started early the next day, opening a couple of donut shops and taking in the waterfalls. Sadly, while we slept, the universe was creating alternate plans.

Here's to Donut Dreams and Waterfall Wishes!

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