Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Daytrip to Portland

One of the best things about living in Salem is it's prime location. One hour from Portland, one hour from the beach, one hour from the mountains (skiing in winter, camping and hiking in summer), one hour from Eugene. In some ways it's the perfect location.

Yesterday, I took a day trip up to PDX to visit a friend and just get out of town for awhile. It was one of the best days I've had in a long time.

We started out by picking up a copy of the Portland Mercury and Willamette Week at the local bar. We ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, some tater tots, and wandered out to th patio to sit in the sun and enjoy our selections. It was warm, the beer was crisp and cold, and the tots, oh my. It's been a long time since I indulged in a treat that harkens back to elementary school days!

After looking through the music section of both papers, we settled on an early performance by the Little Sue Band at the Laurelthirst Public House on Glisan. It was their happy hour music and there was no cover. It was perfect for us because we didn't want to be out too late since I had to drive back to Salem and my friend had to work at six in the morning.

The Laurelthirst is a nice, dim, bar with open brickwork, a long bar, and cozy booths. Their food selection was a little limited, but their beer and wine list was perfect. The majority of their food was either vegetarian or poultry selections and although we were a little nervous because of the ratty piece of paper that was their menu, we ordered the nachos. The server suggested we add the beans or turkey chili since it was only fifty cents extra. We added beans for a total of $5.50. Wow. They really loaded them up and we ended up with a nice little dinner to share.

It was a good thing we shared our dinner because I somehow had gotten it into my mind while reading the papers earlier, that I needed to try out Voodoo Doughnuts. Now, I've been hearing about this place for awhile. It's gotten rave reviews. I don't even like doughnuts very much, but I just had a hankering to try this Portland hotspot. So we drove over the Burnside Bridge and circled the blocks a few times looking for a spot to park long enough to let us pick up some doughnuts. This is quite a feat on a Saturday night in downtown Portland, let me tell you. But, we finally did find a spot, walked over to the Voodoo store on SW Third Street. We had to make our way past the homeless beggars and the heroin junkies, but, boy was it worth it! Doughnuts of all shapes and sizes, with toppings you can only begin to imagine: Fruit Loops, bacon, M&M's, etc. It was amazing. People crowded into the tiny storefront, scooting between other customers to get a look at the doughnut case, make their way to the ATM (it's cash only) and find the end of the line again. Fortunately, the line moves quickly, but it never really seemed to get any shorter. We ordered a half dozen doughnuts. We each picked three, although we got a couple of the Portland Cremes (chocalate covered bavarian creams) a blueberry, an old fashioned, and a cruller. We made our way out with our pink box of doughnuts, back through the crowd of drooling doughnut customers, found our car (mercifully safe in a rather scary area of Burnside) and headed back home to enjoy our doughnuts with a cup of coffee.

If you've never had a Voodoo doughnut, I'm not going to try to describe them here. Just go get one yourself and experience the richness, the textures, the extra little oomph, that makes people drag themselves across town on a cold night to stand in line for these delicious concoctions.


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