19 Hours in the Rose City: Part II
Porch light // House of Lolo // Kohler // Anthropologie
Back in Portland. Part I of this trip sadly ended as we parted ways from Kaitlin after recouping in her awesome apartment. But we were excited to explore the city and I had one core goal for the day.
But there is something about visiting a new city or parts previously not seen that creates a lot of distraction and digressions from your initial goal. And so it was with all of these places located in the Pearl District. I decided to clump them all together because in the moment that's what it felt like, a huge chunk of time somehow disappeared from us and we had hardly moved a block to the bookstore. It was really fun though. Porch Light Shop especially charmed the pants off me. It was the succulents in their window display that caught my eye and Kerby and I decided to take a quick peek to see what all they had to offer. There was quite a bit.
They carry a wonderful mix of new and old. The store is a collection of rustic furniture, rugs, ceramics, stationary, and skincare items. There is an affinity and an appreciation in Porch Light for character and quality. Though I wanted to buy much more, I left happily with two really cool graphic posters from a company called Cavallini Papers & Co. based in San Francisco.
We then stopped in this clothing boutique called House of Lolo, which had beautiful collections of dresses, tops, shoes, and jewelry. I told myself no, I could touch but not buy, and so dreamed a little as I looked at the details of a lovely black romper. Oh to dream. And the dreaming continued at both Kohler (a nation wide plumbing store) and Anthropologie (A clothing and home goods store that remains my greatest weakness in all the land). I have a dream to get new plumbing fixtures for my bathroom as well as own 95% of Anthropologie's items. Below are displays at the Anthropologie store. Their displays amaze me every time I walk in and though there are 3 stores in the greater Seattle area, there is a uniqueness to each location. Portland's is no exception.
Home to over 1 million books. When I read that statement I was concerned that my mind and body would not be able to handle such an amount, let alone in one building. That is the LENGTH OF A BLOCK.
Thankfully, I survived.
And in truth, I thrived. It was a dream that was wonderfully organized and easily navigable. Due to our great detours, Kerby and I didn't have much time before we needed to check the meter. So I had a game plan, which was hard to follow because I wanted to explore so much. Powells is a perfect place for exploration, for perusal and strolling at your own pace. I think that's what I liked about it, it felt easy going and relaxed. Of course the throngs of people moving in and out of their bold color coded rooms does create a lot of stimulus and slight stress. But the atmosphere was engaging and welcoming.
Community is valued here. You can tell as much in the local art gallery on their top floor, the various boards with info on Oregon authors and literature, the friendly staff. I could have spent hours more there. And it seems to be an essential element since their beginning in 1971. As an independent bookseller that has grown great lengths over the years, I imagine it would be easy to slip into a corporate beast where you lose connection with the people you serve. With all of the signs I read of author readings, writing workshops, and artist highlights, I think there is great value here in this amazing bookstore.
The artist highlight on display during my visit was Bailey Cain of Knickerbocker Art Studios. The pieces are beautiful watercolor depictions of different animals and sea creatures, most notably whales, which her story tells how they've inspired her work.
When I come back to Powells, I will definitely give myself at least a few hours. Time is needed to really revel in a good word. There are a lot of good words here.
Quintessential to the experience of Portland. That is should you like doughnuts, which I certainly hope is the case, but no judgement if not. If you are not a particular fan there is still a great deal to appreciate about the "magic in the hole". Just walk by the modest building distinguished by pops of pink, whiffs of sweet dough engaging your senses, a line of 30 people stretching out of the door, and more pops of pink moving through the streets of Portland as people take their doughnuts in Voodoo's signature boxes. It is a sight to see. Their doughnuts are amazing, the combinations quirky and clever, and tantalizing to the taste.
Located across the country, you'll find Voodoo in Eugene Oregon, Denver Colorado, Austin Texas, and L.A. California. Its roots are in Portland, the owners Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon endeavored to learn all there was to know about doughnut crafting and in my unprofessional but seasoned opinion, they succeeded greatly. It was also great to read their story and of the tale of Brad Pitt's involvement. He ate my favorite...the bacon maple bar. The sweetness of the maple complimented by the saltiness of the bacon on top...Lord help me.
Expect long lines and they only accept cash though there is an atm inside as well as one outside of the venue next door. It is worth the wait.
The last stop of the night, made at about 7:30, was a good hour later than our initial departure time. So it is with travel. Plans change and get extended, it's all a part of the experience. I believe wholeheartedly in going with the flow of your decisions.
After getting our doughnuts at Voodoo we realized we had about 15 minutes to make it back to the car before our parking time expired. Sadly Portland requires payment on weekends (grateful most of Seattle doesn't). With our pink boxes in hand we sped through the downtown area trying to find the quickest route to the car. In so doing we happened upon a restaurant with the coolest sign. The large windows were all open and along the back wall was HOLSTEINS, bold and cool and inviting. So we decided as soon as we confirmed that we neither got a ticket nor a tow, we'd come back for Holsteins. Absolute best decision.
The design was comfortable yet luxurious, the familiarity of a diner but with a sophistication of an urban oasis that was welcoming and fun. A life size neon pink cow, signature of the multi location restaurant, and bright pop art on the ceilings made for a really interesting ambiance to enjoy a good meal in.
Good doesn't actually suffice in describing the burger I ate. I love cheeseburgers. I love them far greater than what most would deem healthy and I am working on that. This restaurant did not help. I ordered their Rising Sun burger, which was heavenly. It had the perfect balance of creative toppings like tempura avocado and crispy yam on top of juicy beef held together confidently by a solid brioche bun that didn't lose its form despite the spicy mayo and teriyaki glaze seeping every bite.
Yes, there is an art to it.
Portland is an amazing city that definitely deserves a visit and many returns. There is a familiarity to it, many of its features like Seattle; the artistic expression, blend of nature and urban life, and a charming character. All of it is great to experience and I've hardly scratched the surface. Such a unique and inviting destination that has way more stories to tell.
I'll be back Rose City!