Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 6: Portland Trains, Trams, Trolleys, Trails ...and tacos and tasty Italian fare

A couple of days ago while we hiking up to the Council Crest area of Portland on the Marcum trails, we noticed signs for the Wildwood Trail and the 4T trail. 4T stands for train, trail, trolley and tram. We did a little additional research and decided that on our last day in Portland, we would 'take it easy' and do an "urban hike."  We were both surprised to find out that Washington Park has an extensive trail system and quite a few nice views and forest walks on this 4T trail.

Portland food trucks at the bottom of the tram

The view of Mt Hood from the top of the tram at Oregon Health and Healing Science Center...aka the hospital.

A wonderful view of Portland from the tram. No wonder they call it the city of bridges.

Paul admires the view from the tram.

The other car

Downtown vista from the tram.

A look down at the tram station with hundreds of bikes awaiting their owner's return.
 If you do this hike "correctly," you begin at the zoo by MAX and walk over to OHSU via the Marcum trail and through Council Crest  and then taking the tram DOWN. One advantage of this approach is the ride down is free and it costs $4.50 to ride up it. We, of course, did not follow directions, having already walked a good distance on the Marcum and over to the Zoo a few days earlier! But it worked out just fine.

Beautiful and fragrant lavender in some person's yard 

A birch bark cherry tree. 

I think if I could subtitle this trip it would be Paul looking small amongst big trees. These were not only gorgeous, it literally smelled like cotton candy walking through them. Go figure.

A good map of the many, many hiking options in Washington Park
 The walk was lovely, pretty low key and took us through neighborhoods, forest trails, parks and city scapes. We would highly recommend the 4T hike to anyone. If you are not a big time walker, you can always substitute a train or trolley for the trails.

We do want to give a shout out to one of our very favorite restaurants where we had "brunch" today. Santeria on the corner of Broadway and Ankeny pretty much never fails to deliver an unbelievable and pretty cheap meal. Don't be off put that it is located on the side and connects to Mary's striptease parlor. You cannot see or hear the goings on there--although Paul conveniently had to go to the restroom by passing through the club :) It's open till 2 am and also has breakfast all day.

Paul had a chicken enchilada and I had WHEN PIGS FLY. Three different and tasty pork tacos.  Even the rice and beans are amazingly delectable. 

By 1pm when we ate our first meal of the day, these chips and house made salsa looked like a godsend.

Even Paul agrees that Santeria makes Chipotle look like Taco Bell.

It's cool that the bus stop is etched but the shadows it casts behind is even better.

A not unusual utilization of "Parris time" at bus stops. 
 Once we completed this great hike and public transportation extravaganza, we had covered a lot of Portland and many great views and neighborhoods. From there, Paul was anxious to try out some additional Patricia Green wines. We heard from our waiter last night that Oregon Wines on Broadway not only stocked a good number of them, but had a specialty pinot noir called Broadway that they sold ONLY to that store. So off we went to find the holy wine grail.

Oregon Wines on Broadway sells wine, ships it and also gives you chance to sample. You can buy a whole glass or a taste (usually $2-$3) of a variety of Oregon wines.

A happy man who found his Patricia Green wines at Oregon Wines. He almost smiled. It was that good.

Paul went all in and tried the Patricia Green Broadway, sold ONLY in this store. I tried the three pinot sampler. All different. All good.
For dinner tonight, we decided to go to a nearby restaurant that got rave reviews, including in the New York Times, Ava Gene. This is Italian from the appetizer to the dessert. We had lovely cocktails. Paul's was a Blue and Green Gin and Tonic with blue green algae from Klamath Lake. Not something we often see in downtown Knoxvegas! We had Italian ham and a really great ash-covered cheese out of Petaluma, California as our "warm up." The salads were weird but yummy. Ours was radishes, goat cheese, hazelnuts and grapes but they had many strange bedfellows in the greens and veggie sector. Our primi course was a simple but tasty house made spaghetti with tomatoes and basil and the secundi was a pork in peppers, including pepperoncini. Spicy but really great. We had to call the wine steward over to help us with the extensive Italian wine list and ended up with an amazing 1998 vintage. At the end, after splitting all these courses, amazingly we still had a little room for the house made sorbetto. Thank heaven we walked 10 miles today!

This has been a really good trip to Portland sampling a lot of great outdoor activities, fine dining opportunities, some culture, some increased familiarity with the neighborhoods and all that topped off with some entirely tolerable weather. It will be hard to say goodbye to our adopted city in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately we can "wean ourselves" a bit with an exit point of Walla Walla--a town so nice, they named it twice!
Ava Gene on Division and 33rd street

Inside view with full on perusal of the kitchen

Paul's Ponderings:  We've been very lucky on weather this week and today was no exception....beautiful blue sky and very temperate.   After a bit of a slow start to the day, we headed to Santaria, which used to be open until 4 am downtown and now appears to have "reduced" its hours to be open until 2 am.   It's very good and cheap Mexican food is the bottom line.   I have an indelible memory of a previous visit to Portland where we went to see a show by the New Zealand band "The Clean" on the east side of the river and ended up walking back to downtown via some very odd route very late (no buses or trains by that time).   We were starved and staying at the Vintage Plaza on Broadway and I recalled Santaria was open late.   We went in there at 2 in the morning or so to have a meal and it was packed with people!   They do have Mexican breakfast foods all the time, so we had eggs and salsa.    If you are in Portland and like Mexican food, it's a great choice.

We had a bit of an urban hike as well....Portland is full of greenways and parks that are easily accessed from main roads or public transit, so we hiked from the zoo, down to Burnside, into town, the back up via the tram to OHSU and down.   We finished up on Broadway with some nice wine tasting.   

Tonight, it was dinner at Ava Gene's, a place that was new to us.   Once again, a great meal in Portland!    Tomorrow it's off to Walla Walla and a whole new scene....

No comments:

Post a Comment