Hood River and Portland Accomodations

12 Jul

Travel and Accomodation Updates

*Flights from San Diego to Portland for our wedding weekend are just $129 one way on Alaska right now if you leave Thursday and come back Monday. Pretty much as good of a deal as you can get and some are non stop flights!


*We’re hearing about some movement in the hotel room market the weekend of our wedding. If you’re still looking for a room, it might be a good time to check back with some of the hotels in Hood River. We know for a fact some people have cancelled rooms at the Best Western Hood River Inn, so that might be a good place to start.

Best Western Hood River Inn
1108 East Marina Way
Hood River, OR 97031

*The cut off date to book a room in our block at the Ace Hotel is this Friday, July 15th. If you’re coming to Portland early and need a room for Thursday and/or Friday call the Portland Ace Hotel and ask for the Chiotti/Hatfield block of rooms. If you have any trouble email Kim Riggs at kim@acehotel.com or call her at 503-546-8508.

Ace Hotel
1022 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Hood River:

Unfortunately, I have been unable to block hotel rooms in Hood River because every hotel I’ve spoken with says you have to have an event with them to receive this service. Because of this, I encourage you to book your rooms as soon as possible. Hood River is extremely busy in the summer and rooms fill up quickly. Below is a list of all the hotels I would recommend at various price points. Camping or renting a house are also options. Beware, many of the rentals have a three to four night minimum.

Columbia Cliff Villas

Right next door to the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel, the Columbia Cliff Villas have breathtaking views of the gorge. The hotel is a little ways outside of Hood River, but a short drive to downtown. $229 – $295 a night.

3880 Westcliff Drive
Hood River, OR 97031

Oak Street Hotel

This bed and breakfast was built in 1909 and is a short walk to downtown. They told us they have quite a bit of availability and room rates range from $129 a night for double occupancy to $149 for a suite, which can sleep 4.

610 Oak Street
Hood River, OR 97031

Columbia Gorge Hotel

This historic hotel is located a little outside of town, but is situated in a beautiful location right on top of the Columbia River. Last we checked, for the night of August 20th they had 6 rooms at $269 and 14 rooms at $299 a night.

4000 Westcliff Drive
Hood River, Oregon 97031

Best Western Hood River Inn

The only hotel with beach front access in Hood River, the Hood River Inn is nicer than your typical Best Western. They recently told us they only had one room left for Saturday the 20th, a two bedroom suite at $275 a night, but blocked rooms may come available mid June. It’s such a big hotel, it seems like availability changes daily, so still might be worth checking in.

1108 East Marina Way
Hood River, OR 97031

Hood River Hotel

A historic hotel right in the middle of downtown Hood River, the Hood River Hotel is great if you want to be walking distance to all Hood River’s great shops and restaurants. It is currently fully booked for the night of August 20th but they told us blocked rooms may become available in August. If you really like the idea of staying in historic downtown Hood River, it might be a good idea to book a room somewhere with a good cancellation policy and then check back in with the Hood River Hotel in early August.

102 Oak Street
Hood River, OR 97031

House Rentals

www.gorgerentals.com-website says some have 2 or 3 night minimums

www.hrvacations.com-4 night minimum

One of our friends is renting a place for the weekend and did a bunch of research. Below are a list of cute places that have availability. She told me some have a two night minimum.
http://www.vrbo.com/310935 ($175/nt plus cleaning and tax. This one is downtown.)
Adamsview http://www.hrvacations.com/rentals/3-bedrooms/#adams ($185/nt)
Hang Ten http://www.hrvacations.com/rentals/4-bedrooms/#hangten ($255/nt)
Sweet Retreat http://www.hrvacations.com/rentals/4-bedrooms/#sweetretreat ($280/nt)
http://www.vrbo.com/228837 (3 nt min $475/nt + 9% tax + $150 cleaning fee, 15 min from downtown) – It’s gorgeous but a little further out
http://www.vrbo.com/343411 – ($295/nt) very nice place!)


Bridge RV Park

Campground with full RV hookups. It’s on the Washington side of the gorge, right across the Hood River Bridge, and is a short drive to downtown Hood River. We have a couple campsites reserved here, so if you’re interested let me know


Viento State Park

This is a great campground walking distance to downtown Hood River. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take reservations and is first come first serve so it’s probably only a good option for those planning on getting to Hood River on Friday.

309 State St.
Hood River, OR 97031


The Ace Hotel

Justin and my favorite hotels in the country are run by this super hip hotel chain. Ace Hotels show affordability doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. While the hotels don’t offer all the luxury amenities of other hotels, they more then make up for it with their cool vibe and unexpected touches like vintage photo booths in the lobbies. Some rooms have shared bathrooms, a way to keep the costs down, but many do have bathrooms en suite. The Portland Ace is in a great downtown location and the restaurant/bar in the hotel, Clyde Common, is one of my favorite happy hour spots in the city.

We have a block of rooms at this hotel August 18th and 19th at various price points. It’s up to you whether you want to stay one or two nights. If you’d like a room, just call the Portland Ace and ask for the Chiotti/Hatfield block of rooms.

1022 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Hotel Lucia

Another hip hotel in a central downtown location is the Hotel Lucia. I’ve stayed at the Hotel’s sister location in Seattle, the Hotel Max, and liked the hotel’s artsy, modern aesthetic. I’ve heard great things about the Hotel Lucia. There’s a great Thai restaurant called Typhoon on the ground floor. Rooms start at around $150 a night.

400 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205

Jupiter Hotel

The Jupiter is a midcentury modern, boutique hotel with a quintessentially Portland feel. The renovated motel is on the east side, but is short drive to downtown and close to lots of great restaurants in the burgeoning East Burnside neighborhood. It’s also a great deal. Rooms start at just $104 a night.

800 E. Burnside.
Portland, OR 97214


Central California

30 Jun

A true food and wine lovers paradise, I’ve dreamed of visiting Napa Valley for years. My fiancé and I finally made the trip and I was not disappointed. I was delighted to find a downtown Napa undergoing a major revitalization with historic renovations, a beautiful riverfront and delicious restaurants around every corner.  The postcard perfect towns of Yountville and St. Helena also have great dining options.


Oxbow Public Market

Inside Oxbow Public Market

This permanent indoor market is a bit overwhelming for a foodie like me. Too many amazing choices! The founder was Project Manager for the Ferry Building in San Francisco and it’s easy to see the connection. The Oxbow Public Market even has some of the same vendors like Hog Island Oyster. Oxbow is a great place to grab items for a picnic or eat in. There’s a gourmet taqueria, an organic ice creamery, a Ritual Coffee Roasters and a Kara’s Cupcakes just to name a few. The market also hosts an outdoor farmer’s market ever Tuesday and Saturday morning, so if you go then prepare to be even more overwhelmed!

610 and 644 First St.
Napa, CA 94559


Redd may get overshadowed by Yountville’s iconic French Laundry, but it is absolutely delicious and a good choice if snagging a table at Thomas Keller’s legendary restaurant alludes you. The first venture for Chef Richard Reddington who has worked in such kitchens as Jardiniere in San Francisco and Napa Valley’s Auberge, Redd serves inventive, regional cuisine in an elegant, modern setting. The dinner menu at Redd is made up of entrees, and decently sized small plates. If you’re having trouble making up your mind do what my fiancé and I did and eat tapas style. Everything we had was delicious, but the risotto with lobster and meyer lemon and the yellowfin tuna tartare were true standouts.

6480 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599

The courtyard outside Bouchon

Bouchon Bakery

If you think Yountville is a tad too perfect, eating at Thomas Keller’s idealic French bakery might put you over the edge. Sitting in the courtyard outside, you feel literally transported to a quant café in Provence.  You can’t really go wrong with any of the pastries. My fiancé and I had zero self control and ordered one of just about everything, but we especially enjoyed the banana muffin and a sort of open-faced strawberry, almond croissant.

6528 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599

Ad Hoc

Another Thomas Keller establishment, we did not have the pleasure of eating here, but we peaked our heads in and loved the laid back vibe and look of the homey comfort style cuisine. Ad Hoc serves a four course, prix fix menu five nights a week and is much more affordable then Keller’s nearby French Laundry. When we popped in they were serving fried chicken, which looked delicious. We’ll be back!

6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599


This Michelin starred restaurant in downtown Napa is a truly unique concept. A restaurant and yoga studio, Ubuntu takes local and sustainable to a whole new level. Much of the vegetarian restaurant’s garden-fresh menu comes from its own biodynamic garden. The interior has a modern, zen aesthetic. Dishes like warm focaccia with truffled pecorino and apricot/almond agridolce, will leave even a meat lover like me going bring on the veggies. Many of the dishes can also be prepared vegan.

1140 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559


Iron Chef star Masaharu Morimoto opened his first west coast restaurant in downtown Napa’s new riverfront development last year. The Asian fusion food is a tad spendy but extremely fresh. I like the large light filled space right on the boardwalk, overlooking the Napa River.

610 Main St.
Napa, CA. 94559


The view from Farmstead's patio

This farm to table restaurant was exactly what my fiancé and I were craving one night, simple, seasonal cuisine served in a beautiful outdoor setting. Farmstead also has a beautiful interior. Housed in a former nursery, the 110-seat restaurant has a modern yet rustic feel. The restaurant is owned by Long Meadow Ranch and serves the ranch’s all natural grass fed beef. We had the sirloin with arugula and potatoes and the rock bass with sausage and cioppino broth. Both were delicious. Perhaps our favorite thing about Farmstead though, the unbelievably cheap $2 corkage fee. The proceeds are donated to local community serving non-profits.

738 Main St.
St.. Helena, CA 94574


Napa River Inn

Napa River Inn's entrance

This reasonably priced hotel is located right on the Napa River in the historic Napa Mill.  Built in 1884, the red brick building has been beautifully restored and iswalking distance to the Oxbow market and many of Napa’s best shops and restaurants. There are also some great restaurants and shops located in the hotel complex.

500 Main St.
Napa CA, 94559


Wine Taste

View from the porch at Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

The tasting room at this winery is located in a house that feels ripped from the pages of a Pottery Barn catalogue, but in the best possible way.  Guests are served tastings out on the wrap around porch surrounded by lush gardens. At $20 a piece, the tastings aren’t cheap, but the pours are bigger than average and can easily be shared. Guests are encouraged to walk around the property. Be sure to check out the  iconic red barn. It was built in 1884 and still houses winemaking facilities today.

8815 Conn Creek Rd.
Rutherford, CA 94573


This Napa green certified winery has two tasting rooms, one in Carneros and one in Calistoga. We visited the latter, which featured friendly servers and a small modern tasting room. The tasting fee is $15, one of the more reasonable in the valley. The Calistoga location also has a great outdoor picnic area and is one of the only wineries where you’re allowed to bring your own food.

4550 Silverado Trail
Calistoga, CA 94515

Buena Vista

A courtyard at Buena Vista

Considered the oldest premier winery in California, Buena Vista feels like a slice of Europe. The original ivy covered stone structures are still there nestled in the hillside. Tasting’s are only $10 and last I checked you could print a two for one tasting coupon on the winery’s website.

18000 Old Winery Road
Sonoma, CA 95476

Ehlers Estate Winery

Another historic winery, Ehlers’ tasting room is located in a beautiful stone structure built in the 1800’s. The wine is all estate grown and 100 percent organic. It’s delicious, but you’ll pay for the privilege of tasting it. The tasting fee is $25 a person. You may feel better about it though when you know one hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of Ehler’s wines go to a non-profit dedicated to funding international cardiovascular research. Appointments are recommended.

Outside of Ehler's tasting room

3222 Ehlers Ln.
St. Helena, CA 94581

Visit Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls

About a 4-hour drive from Napa, Yosemite could easily be its own trip, but my fiancé and I love to rough it then pamper ourselves so we decided to combine the two destinations into one road trip.

Yosemite is a place every American should see.  Our national parks are true treasures and this one may be the crown jewel. We drove in on Big Oak Flat Road. The view after you pass through the tunnel is jaw dropping and almost seems like something out of a Pixar movie. The lush valley unfolds in front of you with a huge waterfall at the end cascading down to the valley floor.

We did not have reservations, but we managed to snag a camping spot at Camp 4. Campsites are shared and the facilities are nothing great, but at 5 dollars a person it’s a steal. I also like the communal atmosphere. The Yosemite Falls trailhead is basically in camp. We hiked to the top of Yosemite point (about 9 miles roundtrip).  The trail is extremely steep and not for beginners, but you get to see the falls from pretty much every angle and the view of Half Dome from the top is spectacular.

The Ahwahnee Lodge

Don’t leave the park without a visit to the Ahwahnee. The historic Lodge’s dining room complete with a 34 foot tall beamed ceiling is stunning and serves a legendary brunch on Sunday.


New York City

29 Mar

The Empire State Building

When I go to New York, I stay up later, stand on my feet more and eat more decadent food. I find the pulse of the city infectious and it gives me energy I didn’t know I had. While I often pay for it with a cold by the time I get home, I never regret taking full advantage of my trip to the NYC.

Super Secret Spots:


My fiancé loves this hidden bar inside gourmet hot dog shop, Crif Dogs. Access to PDT, which stands for Please Don’t Tell, is through a vintage

PDT is inside this gourmet hot dog shop

phone booth. You pick up the phone to speak to the hostess. If there’s space for you, they’ll let you through the back of the booth. It’s a trip! The sexy speakeasy serves classic cocktails and an abbreviated menu from next door. This bar has gotten pretty popular, so reservations are recommended.

113 St. Marks Pl.
New York, NY 10009

Kuma Inn

This restaurant on a nondescript Lower East Side street serves absolutely delicious Filipino Thai fusion. Located on the second floor of an apartment building, it’s a bit of a hidden gem. Dishes are served tapas style and are very affordable. It’s BYOB with a small corkage fee. We grabbed beers at a mini market around the corner, but feel free to bring sake or a bottle of wine. I recommend reservations. It’s a pretty small place.

113 Ludlow St. 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10002
Between Delancey and Rivington’212-353-8866

Milk and Honey

This supper secret speakeasy is typically members only, but through some persistence, (and graveling) we were able to get in for a pre-dinner drink. Milk and Honey takes the prohibition theme seriously. There’s no menu, you just tell the waitress what type of spirit and flavors you like and the bartender will whip up one of the most expertly mixed cocktails you’ll ever have. Don’t do what I did and ask for vodka (apparently it wasn’t served during prohibition and adds no flavor to your drink so M&H doesn’t have it). I fear revealing the location just wouldn’t be right, but through online searching my fiancé and I were able to find contact info, so we encourage you to do the same.

Mexican style corn at La Esquina

La Esquina

This upscale Mexican restaurant is located deep inside New York’s iconic Corner Deli. Reservations must be made three weeks to the day of your desired time. When you get there, you’ll talk to a bouncer standing by an unmarked door in the deli. They’ll lead you downstairs, past the kitchen to La Esquina, the dark, sexy Mexican style brasserie. Margaritas are delicious as is the fresh, authentic cuisine. I love the grilled corn with cotija cheese and lime.

114 Kenmare (Between Kenmare and Lafayette)
New York, NY 10012

Angel’s Share

Tucked away inside a Japanese restaurant, this elegant bar is not easy to find but well worth a visit. There’s a strict no standing policy, so you’ll only be allowed in if seats are open. I recommend going early in the evening or mid week when it’s not so busy. If you get sat, hopefully it will be in one of the booths by the big window where you can stare at the hustle and bustle of the city. An absolutely ideal spot on a cold winter night!

6 Stuyvesant St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003

Coffee/ Bakeries:


Baked in Red Hook

Getting to this bakery deep in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood is a bit of a trek, but worth it. Specializing in updates of old classics, their cupcakes, cookies and cakes (like the Sweet and Salty, layers of chocolate cake with salted caramel and chocolate buttercream) are all delicious. The Baked Brownie has been called the best by many, including Oprah. The Baked franchise also has two excellent cookbooks.

359 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Jack’s Coffee

Jack’s serves delicious fair trade, organic coffee on an adorable West Village Street. The space is small, but if you’re able to snag a table, it’s a great place to read the paper and grab your morning cup a Joe. The shop also serves delicious homemade pastries. The chocolate chip cookies are amazing!

138 West 10th St.
New York, NY 10014

Momofuku Milk Bar

David Chang’s New York City restaurants like the Ssam Bar and Ko have a cult like following, but my favorite Chang establishment is the Momofuku Milk Bar. This dessert haven is a kind of gourmet Dairy Queen with unusual soft-serve flavors like cereal milk, and candy bar pie. The cookies and cakes are also delicious. I highly recommend the banana cake, a heavenly concoction of banana cream, hazelnut crunch and fudge.

207 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Billy’s Bakery

Magnolia seems to get all the buzz, but I prefer Billy’s in Chelsea.  It has a similar old-fashioned feel and serves delicious classic American baked goods.  The cupcakes are extremely moist and I love the simple but well executed flavors like red velvet and banana with cream cheese frosting.

184 9th Ave. (Between 21rst and 22nd)
New York, NY 10011



Taim's storefront in the West Village

This tiny shop in the West Village is all vegetarian and serves the best falafel sandwich. The hummus is pitch perfect and you can’t go wrong with any of their three different flavors of falafel. Have it in a pita or forgo the carbs and get a platter with a selection of Taim’s delicious salads. It’s cash only and there’s just a handful of seats at the counter. Taim also recently started a food truck that can often be found in Midtown Manhattan. Follow them on twitter to get the info on their latest location.

222 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10014

Pearl Oyster Bar

Being from the West Coast, I thought a lobster roll was some sort of sushi until a recent trip to New York. I now know it is one of the most delicious things on earth and I can’t imagine anyone does it better than the Pearl Oyster Bar. They’re lobster roll is served open faced on a buttery brioche roll and piled high with fresh lobster salad. At $26 the price is steep, but rest assured they won’t skimp on the lobster and it’s big enough to share. Everything else at this Greenwich Village staple from oysters to clam chowder is delicious and while we did not have dessert, we’ve heard great things about the hot fudge sundae.

18 Cornelia St.
New York, NY 10014

Outside the Breslin

The Breslin

This upscale gastro-pub at the hip Ace Hotel recently earned its first Michelin star. Once you try dishes like pork belly and mash, it’s easy to see why. The food is interesting yet comforting and always a bit decadent. I love the thrice cooked chips, basically a twice baked potato in French fry form.

16 W. 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

Pulino’s Pizza

It’s taken me a while to find a wood-fired oven pizza place in New York that I think is on par with my faves on the West Coast, but this foots the bill. Like other Keith McNally restaurants (Pastis, Balthazar) Pulino’s really packs them in. Don’t be turned off by the huge neon sign out-front, the ambience inside is warm and inviting. I love the various antipasti platters served on wood cutting boards and the margherita pizza with prosciutto.

282 Bowery
New York, NY 10012


I love the location of this restaurant, tucked back at the end of an alley in the Lower East Side. Freeman’s specializes in seasonal rustic American cuisine and serves delicious entrees like roast chicken with crispy fried smashed fingerling potatoes and salsa verde. The restaurant is also popular for weekend brunch and only takes reservations for parties of six or more.

End of Freeman Alley between the Bowery and Chrystie
New York, NY 10002

Minetta Tavern

This Keith McNally owned bistro is sceney and spendy, but I love the history and the old school ambience. The Minetta Tavern originally opened in 1937 and was reportedly frequented for everyone from Ernest Hemingway to E.E. Cummings. The restaurant was renovated in 2008, and while it’s now much more shiny and upscale, the red booths and black and white floor still seem to harken back to the right era. Parisian steakhouse meets New York tavern, steak is really the specialty here but the Black Label Burger is also amazing. With prime dry-aged beef and caramelized onions, it’s probably the most decadent burger you’ll ever have.

113 MacDougal St. (Between Bleeker and W. 3rd St.)
New York, NY 10012

Café Gitane

This cute café in the Jane Hotel is a rarity in New York, amazing food, great ambience and very reasonable prices. The food is French-Moroccan fusion. People come for the couscous, which is layered with hummus and stacked high. It’s decadent and delicious. I love the waiter’s black and white striped shirts and the beautifully restored spaces low key, yet hip atmosphere.

242 Mott St. (Between Houston St. and Prince St.)
Ne York, NY 10012
website under construction

The Standard Hotel

The Standard

The uber swank Standard in New York’s Meatpacking district has two restaurants great for grabbing dinner or just drinks. The Standard Grill has a raw bar and yummy drinks like the Penny Drop, a concoction of vodka, ginger and lime. Next door, the Biergarten is perfect for getting rowdy. The large outdoor space under the High Line has German sausages, beer and pretzels and would be the perfect place to station yourself on a warm New York night.

848 Washington St.
New York, NY 10014
212-645-4100 (call for reservations at the Standard Grill)


Chelsea Market

I would recommend just about any eatery in this indoor market in New York’s Meatpacking District. From crepes, to books to groceries, Chelsea Market has it all. You could easily do your shopping at the various gourmet markets or go for breakfast or lunch. Some of my favorite places include Sarabeth’s Kitchen, Friedman’s Lunch, and Bar Suzette.

75 9th Ave. (Between 15th and 16th Streets)
New York, NY 10011


The latest brainchild of super chef Mario Batali, Eataly is a gourmet Italian market with a unique concept. Each section also includes it’s own restaurant. Eataly is a feast for the senses and can be a bit overwhelming, but is a must do for anyone who loves Italian food. In addition to having amazing eat in restaurants which serve anything from pizza to seafood, there are great take away items like hard to find pastas, baked goods and Italian wine and beer.

200 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10010


Ace Hotel

Check-in at the Ace Hotel

Located neat the Theater District and Macy’s, the Ace is in a great central location.  The rates are cheap for New York and while the rooms are small, they’re well thought out and some even have views of the Empire State building. When you stay at an Ace, you really won’t want to spend too much time in your room anyways. You’ll have too much fun hanging in the plush lobby. Filled with comfy couches it’s sort of Hogwarts meets hipster. The Breslin restaurant, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and No. 7 Sub Shop are all in crawling distance. The Ace is also home to an Open Ceremony, a hip New York boutique famous for collaborating with different designers.

20 W. 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

Jane Hotel

With rooms starting at $99 a night for singles with shared baths, the Jane is very affordable for New York. The hotel is in a great location in the quaint West Village right next to the Hudson River. Rooms are inspired by ships cabins, an homage to the hotel’s original purpose as a hotel for sailors. Built in the early 1900’s, the Jane is rich in history. In 1912, the survivors of the Titanic reportedly stayed there until the end of the American inquiry into the ship’s sinking. Like the Ace, the hotel’s bar and lobby, known as the Ballroom, is a cool hangout complete with comfy couches, Persian rugs and a fireplace.

113 Jane St.
New York, NY 10014


The exterior of the Guggenheim Museum

Visit a Modernist Masterpiece: The Guggenheim

Considered one of the 20th centuries most important architectural landmarks, the Guggenheim is just as much a work of art as the pieces of art it houses. The museum was completed in 1959 and designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. While Wright did not live to see its completion, the modernist design is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Unlike your typical museum, visitors start at the top of the inverted ziggurat and work their way down. The museum features special exhibits in the grand rotunda as well as a permanent collection, which ranges from Impressionism to contemporary art.

1071 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10128

Walk the High Line

One of the most brilliant examples of repurposing I’ve ever seen, the High Line was originally built in the 1930’s to lift freight trains off the streets of Manhattan. Now it’s been transformed into an absolutely pleasant above ground city park. Complete with walking paths and naturalistic plantings, the High Line offers amazing views of the Hudson River and the city. When all sections are complete, the High Line will be a mile and a half long and will run through the Meatpacking District, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. The High Line currently runs from Gansevoort St. in the Meatpacking District to West 34th between 10th and 11th Avenues. Access is possible at Gansevoort St., 14th St., 16th St. 18th, St. and 20th St.


The High Line

Head across the Bridge to Brooklyn

No longer Manhattan’s shy little sister, Brooklyn has really come into its own. Many of the coolest new bars and restaurants are opening in hipster haven Williamsburg. I still have a lot of exploring to do in this area and plan to do so on my next trip to the NYC, but I encourage you to take the L train to Bedford Ave. Get out and explore! For added adventure and exercise, try walking back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge.

Barefoot in the Park

A view from Central Park

I can’t go to New York without a visit to Central Park. I’ve walked through when the leaves are changing colors, on a frigid winter day and ridden a bike through during the peak of spring. It’s wonderful every time. There’s something truly magical about being surrounded by tranquility and natural beauty while still being able to see New York City Skyscrapers peeking out from behind the trees. I typically enter by the Plaza at 59th and 5th Ave., make my way past the pond, under Diprock arch and onto Belvedere Castle. I can’t leave without passing through Strawberry Fields, a memorial to singer John Lennon who was shot and killed outside the Dakota. The ornate German renaissance style apartment building is on the corner of 72nd and Central Park West, and is also worth a look.


Palm Springs

23 Mar

Mid-century modern mecca Palm Springs is a mere 2 hours from San Diego. The playground of the rich and famous during the 1950s and 60s, it harkens back to the golden age of Hollywood. Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, and Cary Grant all had homes-away-from-home here. Flights into the city’s airport are hassle-free and almost always a sunny arrival.


Canyon Flours Bakery

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of this gluten-free bakery. Located in a stylish mid-century-modern building, we’re please to say it’s now open on the weekends as a tasting kitchen. Take advantage of the free beach cruisers provided by the Ace hotel and peddle two miles down N. Palm Canyon Dr. to get to the bakery.

515 N Palm Canyon Dr. Suite B-10
Palm Springs, Ca 92262

Ace Hotel’s Kings Highway and Amigo Room

In addition to a fun Hipster vibe, the Ace Hotel’s two restaurants have great food and drinks.
The Kings Highway is a good option for breakfast, or lunch. Whether you decide to dine inside the sixties-style
diner or chill poolside, you’ll be able to order Stumptown coffee and an array of breakfast items. Options include a great huevos rancheros or lighter home-made granola with fresh fruit. The Kings Highway also serves pie and other deserts… great for a late night snack attack.

Escape from the Palm Springs sun into the Amigo Room. The low lit bar and restaurant  serves refreshing mixed drinks made with fresh fruit. They also offer a great local beer called Kings Highway on tap, it’s a great deal during happy hour.

The Amigo room menu can be ordered in the restaurant, or out by the pool. The popcorn with truffle oil and black bean burger are highlights but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

701 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA

The Parker

Swallow the pill and fall down the rabbit hole… the look of this hotel is a “trip.” A photographers dream, the well-manicured back forty allows you to get lost at the pool, pingpong tables, or a hidden area for pictures. The Parker also has three different places for food and drinks. Mr. Parker’s is the most upscale and offers an old hollywood vibe with big booths and a very french menu. Sit outside under the covered patio and enjoy breakfast or lunch at Norma’s, a sort of upscale diner. Located in the lobby, “The Mini Bar” is a great place to get a drink or light meal.

4200 East Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA


The Ace Hotel and Swim Club

As Ace Hotel loyalists, we have slept, eaten, and partied at each of their four  locations (Seattle, Portland, New York, and Palm Springs). While we love them all, this might be our favorite. The stylish boutique hotel has found the perfect mix of functional space, hip vibe, great location, and fantastic food. We typically like to explore on our vacations, but the Ace is so cool we hardly leave once we step on the premises.
There are two great pools which allow for a respite from the consuming desert heat. Wait staff offer food, refreshments, and snow cones. 3-speed beach cruisers are a free amenity provided to all guests, making it easy to ride through the neighborhoods and into downtown… or if you want a change of scenery, peddle due south on East Palm Canyon Dr. two miles to the Parker.
Fireplace common areas are scattered throughout the grounds great for enjoying wine late in the evening. If you are traveling with a larger group/event, look into renting the event space located by pool #2 and inquire about the taco dinner the hotel offers for bigger parties. The Ace’s rates are pretty reasonable but we’ve found some screaming deals on travel websites during the hotel’s off season.

701 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA

The Parker

We have yet to stay here (it’s hard to stay anywhere but our beloved Ace), but we do plan on trying it one of these days. The Jonathan Adler designed hotel is mid century modern meets Alison and Wonderland. It’s very playful and whimsical and I especially love the vast and extremely lush grounds.

4200 East Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA

29 Palms Inn (Joshua Tree)

An oasis in the middle of the desert, the 29 Palms Inn is simple but stylish and seems at odds with the town it’s in (Twentynine Palms is dusty, sprawling and completely lacking character). The only reason to go to Twentynine Palms would be to gain access to Joshua Tree National Park or stay at the Inn or both. 29 Palms Inn also has a great restaurant that serves simple but well prepared dishes. It’s actually quite popular. Reservations are recommended.

73950 Inn Ave.
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277



Many of the most well preserved mid-century modern homes in the U.S. are in Palm Springs. The best examples are in the neighborhoods right around old town. We love running or biking through the neighborhoods and pointing out our favorites.

A run in Palm Springs is a stroll down memory lane and a trip back to the golden-era. If you decide to run, get out early… it heats up fast and there is very little shade.

By bike: there are signs that point out good routes for cyclists.  Follow posted signs into town, through the neighborhoods, or along the edge of the local foothills.


Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs is a great place to station yourself if you’re planning to visit Joshua Tree National Park. A playground for rock climbing enthusiasts, you can go for the day or camp overnight. Joshua Tree has nine campgrounds to chose from. Our favorite is Indian Cove campground, which offers roomy campsites and great rock scrambling/top-roping. Each site has a fire pit.  Tent camping doesn’t have to mean “roughing it.” The restaurant at 29 Palms Inn is a short 20 minutes away if you’d rather dine out and enjoy a nice cocktail… but wine under the stars at your campsite isn’t bad either.


Los Angeles

8 Mar



With similar standards to Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia is setting the bar for quality coffee in the Los Angeles area. Coffee can be a bit on the spendy side, each cup is brewed to order, but it’s a great treat and both LA locations have a cool, hipster vibe. Barista’s work behind a large square shaped coffee counter (watching them at work, you’ll truly feel like your in some kind of coffee laboratory).  These hipsters are truly elevating the practice of espresso making into art and the banana wheat germ muffins make a great light breakfast.

3922 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Cafe Stella Menu

Café Stella

This cute café is tucked away in a quant courtyard, right next to the Silverlake Intelligentsia. They also serve their coffee, so it’s a great option if you want a sit down breakfast instead of just a muffin. The French Bistro also serves lunch and dinner.

3932 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Huckleberry Cafe

This artisan bakery is extremely popular, and once you walk in the door, it’s not hard to see why. The bakery case is simply loaded with picture perfect rustic pastries like strawberry crostatas and valhrona chocolate dipped donuts.  Making a decision is almost impossible for me, so I usually leave with a to go box. Huckleberry also serves great salads, sandwiches and breakfast items, which you order at the counter, so it’s a great place if you want a delicious but fairly quick breakfast or lunch.

1014 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Joan’s on Third

Another place I can never seem to make up my mind is Joan’s on Third. The gourmet market also serves delicious salads, sandwiches and breakfast items. They’re French style omelettes are some of the best I’ve ever had and I absolutely love the strawberry buttermilk muffin. Lunch is equally as good. The ready made salad case leaves me salivating every time.

8350 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Inside Church and State

Church and State

One of the coolest things about this French restaurant, I think, is its unexpected downtown location. Getting there is a bit of an adventure, you do have to drive through some sketchy areas, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you turn onto Industrial. The urban street is home to really cool renovated lofts and feels a little like Portland’s Pearl District. With lights strung across the ceiling and an open kitchen, Church and State’s ambience manages to be modern yet warm and inviting. The food is delicious, the tart flambé is a must order. I also like that you can order petit portions of some of the entrees. There’s also a great British pub across the street.

1850 Industrial St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021


This restaurant on Venice’s uber hip Abbot Kinney really has it all- awesome outdoor seating, delicious seasonal cuisine and reasonable prices. When eating at the restaurant, you definitely feel like you’re in one of LA’s hippest spots but Gjelina manages to avoid the pretentiousness of many of the most sceney spots. The menu is great and includes wood fired oven pizza, small plates and entrees. I recommend reservations for dinner, although if you go late enough you may still be able to get in. It’s also a great spot for lunch.

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Pizzeria Mozza

I love wood fired oven pizza. In my eyes, the pizza served at this Hollywood hotspot is second only to Ken’s in Portland and the crust may even be a little bit better. A joint venture between Nancy Silverton (of LA’s famed LA Brea Bakery) and Celebrity Chef Mario Batali, Pizzeria Mozza really has perfected the art of the crust. It’s extremely crispy on the outside, but chewy and airy on the inside. The truffle cheese pizza is delicious as is all the other rustic Italian food. I also love the restaurant’s warm ambience complete with red walls and wood furniture. Pizzeria Mozza is a true start hangout. I saw Michael J. Fox and Shannon Doherty here on the same night (I know, quite the star sighting). If you want a table, reservations are an absolute must and they book up well in advance. Luckily the bar is reserved for walk-ins.

641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Cobras and Matadors

This little restaurant on Beverly serves delicious Spanish style tapas and best of all, it’s BYOB. They don’t serve liquor, but you can bring your own beer and wine and there’s no corkage fee. I love the steak with chimichurri and bacon wrapped dates.

7615 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

El Carmen

This dark, Mexican style bar is known for its margaritas, but I also love the food. The menu is small, but they have all the Mexican staples I love, great guacamole, ceviche and tacos. It’s reasonably priced (even better during happy hour) and I like the dark intimate setting. It’s small. I recommend calling a head if you want a table.

8138 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Kogi BBQ

A Kogi Taco Truck

We may have this taco truck to thank for the roving food cart trend we’re now seeing around the country. One of the first to post locations via Twitter, Kogi has a huge following and has spawned a ton of copycats, but few live up to the original. Kogi serves delicious Korean BBQ fused with Mexican. Dishes like short rib tacos and sweet chili chicken quesadillas pack a ton of favor. Luckily, there are now five trucks roaming around the streets of LA, so your odds of finding a location near you during the lunch hour are much better.


Loteria Grill

If you’re shopping at the Grove and get hungry, walk straight passed all the chain restaurants and head for this small outpost at the Grove Farmer’s Market. The LA institution is known for having some of the most authentic, yummy Mexican food around. The chicken mole tacos are delicious and I love all the different flavored agua frescas. It’s also cheap and fast, if it isn’t too busy.

6333 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036


The “hidden bar” trend seems to be catching on all over the country. My fiancé and I seek these places out on our travels and Varnish in downtown LA is definitely our favorite. From the creators of Milk and Honey, Varnish truly feels like an old speakeasy. It’s located in the back of Cole’s French Dip (the door to the bar is marked by a picture of a martini glass). Walk in and you’ll a find dim lighting, couples sitting in cool wooden booths and the most expertly made prohibition era cocktails you’ll find anywhere. If you get lucky, there may even be someone playing old standards on the antique piano.

118 E. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014

The Little Door and Little Next Door

This whimsical French/Mediterranean restaurant is a perfect date spot. Outside Tables at Little Next Door sit under an ivy-covered patio. The Little Door is the more expensive part of the restaurant and has a romantic courtyard setting. Prices at The Little Door are expensive, but luckily the brasserie, the Little Next Door, is more reasonable and serves delicious French staples like steak frites.

8164 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048


Also on Abbot Kinney, Lemonade is a brilliant concept as far as I’m concerned. The décor is sort of American diner meets modern café. A dozen or so ready made salads are offered daily and people can order however much and whatever combination they like. Wash it down with a glass of fresh squeezed cucumber lemonade and you’ll have the perfect light lunch. I’ve only been to the Venice location but there are others throughout the city.

1661 Abbot Kinney
Venice, CA 90291


Petit Ermitage

I’ve been dying to stay at this boutique hotel in West Hollywood, that’s being billed as the fashionable and more affordable alternative to the Chateau Marmont. The décor is bohemian yet elegant. There’s even a rooftop pool.

8822 Cynthia St.
W. Hollywood, CA 90069

Sunset Towers

This hotel is a bit more pricey, but if you can snag a good deal during a slow week you won’t be disappointed. Formerly the Argyle, the hotel was built in 1929 and is rich in Hollywood history (John Wayne, Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra have all stayed here). The art deco building is newly remodeled and the West Hollywood location on Sunset can’t be beat.

8358 Sunset Blvd.
W. Hollywood CA 90069

Maison 140

This small hotel is not far from LA’s famed Rodeo Drive but is decidedly unpretentious. The hotel is reminiscent of a Parisian Inn with a bit more modernism throne in. I love the bold patterns and black, white and red color palette. The 43- room hotel also has a great little bar in the lobby called Bar Noir. The cocktails are top notch and black and white films like Philadelphia Story are projected on the wall.

140 Lasky Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212


This boutique hotel is a great find. Rooms start at just $89 night and are clean and modern. The hotel is located on a quiet street on the edge of Korea Town. It might seem like a strange location, but it’s actually great if you want to spend most of your time exploring LA’s hip new downtown hangouts or quirky Silver Lake.

457 Mariposa Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Viceroy Santa Monica

The interior of this Santa Monica hotspot was designed by LA it decorator, Kelly Wearstler. It’s classic and sophisticated, yet thoroughly modern. The location is great if you want to spend your time in LA by the beach or browsing the cute shops on Abbot Kinney in Venice. The bar is also a scene Friday and Saturday nights.

1819 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401


Shop on Abbot Kinney Blvd.

You could easily spend a day browsing the cute shops on this quaint street in Venice. I love the absence of chain stores. Every shop seems to offer something unique and many of the stores sell locally made goods. Here are some of my favorites:

Bountiful-Home goods store that stocks the most amazing array of cake stands anywhere.

1335 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Steven Alan-Simple but stylish clothes for men and women.

1601 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Elvino-Well thought out wine selection from around the globe, that isn’t too overwhelming.

1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Nightcap Clothing-This hot bohemian clothing line’s flagship boutique is on Abbot Kinney. Think sexy lace dresses and comfy but stylish loungewear.

1225 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Run or Walk to Griffith Observatory

When we’re in LA, Justin and I usually run up to Griffith Observatory. It’s short but steep and kicks my butt every time. If you’d like a more leisurely activity, just walk up. Built in the 1930’s, the observatory’s unique architecture is something to behold and the view on a clear day is stunning. I also love exploring the neighborhoods around the park, which have lovely tree lined streets and beautiful historic homes.

Located in Griffith Park above the Los Feliz neighborhood.

Get Lost at the Getty

The J. Paul Getty Museum houses European paintings, drawings and sculpture, but I think the modern white buildings and meticulously manicured grounds are also a work of art. Perched high atop a hill, the Getty has amazing views and is a stunning place to be at sunset. Admission to the museum is free, although parking costs $15. I recommend going after 5 pm Saturday for the Getty Center’s evening hours when parking is also free and the museum is open until 9pm.

1200 Getty Center Drive (Access is via the main gate on N. Sepulveda Blvd.)
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Dog and People Watch at Runyon Canyon

This is a great hike, not too far from the hip hotels on Sunset. One minute you could be having breakfast in West Hollywood and then the next, getting a dose of fairly fresh air hiking in the Hollywood Hills. On weekends it seems like everyone and their dog is here. I love seeing the different breeds and the steep trails make for a great workout.

2000 N. Fuller Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Portland Eat

4 Mar


Clyde Common

This restaurant is located in the Ace Hotel and consistently ranks among the best restaurants in Portland. The European style tavern has an ambience that is both casual, and hip. Much of the seating is communal at large wooden tables. It’s great for lunch and dinner, but my favorite time may be happy hour- when the restaurant seems to be at its most bustling. From 3-6 many of the restaurant’s inventive cocktails are $5 and the burger (one of my favorites in the city) is $6.

1014 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Ken’s Artisan Pizza

This is my family’s favorite restaurant in Portland and I go almost every time I’m in town. I love the rustic, yet modern décor. Ken’s has a very simple menu, but everything is delicious. The roasted vegetable plate changes seasonally and is a must order. Ken’s has managed to come up with the perfect pizza crust, chewy but not too doughy, crispy but not too charred. The sauce is perfect and the toppings are extremely fresh. The prosicutto pizza is truly the best pizza I’ve ever had. Don’t worry about over ordering, the leftovers are just as good. Ken’s is one of the busiest restaurants in the city and it doesn’t take reservations so go before your straving because you’ll have to wait at least an hour.

304 SE 28th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214

Dekum Firehouse

Dekum Firehouse

This restaurant in an historic firehouse has a great, warm ambience and serves delicious rustic Italian food using seasonal ingredients. The pizza is my second favorite in the city (after Ken’s), but if you’re not in the mood for pizza, they have other great options like the rotisserie chicken or grilled hanger steak with crispy potatoes. None of the entrees are over $20, great value for the quality, and many of the seasonal ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s on site garden.

711 NE Dekum
Portland, OR 97211

Screen Door

Delicious southern cuisine with some healthy, vegetarian options. While the fried chicken and pulled pork sandwich are amazing, Screen Door also has a local organics menu which features in season salads and sides. One dinner option-you pick three, which they’ll serve with corn bread. Like Ken’s, Screen Door is a good price point and is extremely popular, so expect to wait.

2337 East Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97214


The hot new restaurant in Portland, Gruner is getting a lot of press and has been getting favorable reviews from publications across the country.  Gruner calls it’s menu cozy, alpine cuisine, think gourmet brats and spatzle. The food is surprisingly light. I love the salads and spinach-ricotta dumplings. This restaurant is located downtown, not far from the Ace Hotel.

527 SW 12th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205

Por Que No Taqueria

Another one of my most frequented Portland spots, Por Que No serves my favorite type of Mexican, authentic with fresh ingredients and not too much cheese. The shrimp taco has just the right amount of spice and delicious pineapple salsa to balance it out. People love the Brian’s bowl and the Margaritas and Agua Frescas are also delicious. There are two locations but I usually go to the one of Mississippi Street.

3524 North Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

Toro Bravo

Delicious, authentic tapas abound at this Northeast Portland hotspot.  The bacon wrapped dates are to die for. This restaurant is always packed and has a great bustling atmosphere with an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs work their magic.

120 N Russell St.
Portland, OR 97212


View from Departure

Portland is still known for being a very laid back city, but in recent years there has been an influx of more sceney, trendy places (the type where you could actually wear a cute cocktail dress and no one would look at you funny) and I must admit, I kind of like it. The most sceney, and probably my favorite is Departure. The Pan Asian restaurant on the top floor of the swank Nines Hotel takes its design cues from a cruise ship. It’s great on a warm evening. There are two large outdoor patios with spectacular views of the city. I’ve never had dinner here, I usually go for drinks, but the menu looks good and the drinks are delicious. I love the China Sea, a sweet and sour cucumber cocktail made with shochu.

525 SW Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97204

Noble Rot

This wine bar, restaurant is located in the hip East Burn neighborhood a short drive from downtown. Located on the fourth floor of a LEED certified building, Noble Rot has a really cool view of downtown and the west hills. Many ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s rooftop garden. The wine list is great and offers flights from various wine tasting regions all over the world. I also love the upscale comfort food. The mac-n-cheese and endive salad are my favorites.

111 E. Burnside St. #400
Portland, OR 97214


Love Joy Bakers

Bakery and café with great soups, salads and sandwiches (I like the Banh Mi), located in a nice, light filled space in Portland’s Pearl District.

939 NW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209


I love this European style restaurant in Portland’s Pastaworks market. Dishes in the tiny space are served tapas style and are made right in front of you using extremely fresh ingredients. The wine list is great and wines by the glass and chosen to match seasonal offerings. Evoe is great for lunch or an early dinner. It’s only open until 7pm.

3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214

Elephant’s Delicatessen

This Portland mainstay is probably my most frequented lunch spot in the city. The specialty foods retailer serves great take away items. It also has tables so it’s a great place to grab lunch if you’re shopping on 23rd street. The gourmet deli has pretty much anything you could want, from soups and salads to fish tacos and pizzas, so a decision won’t be easy. Rest assured, everything is good.

115 NW 22nd
Portland, OR 97210


Kenny and Zukes

People love this Jewish style deli in the same block as the Ace Hotel. The hodge podge of offerings at deli’s typically turn me off, but Kenny and Zukes’ quality ingredients take it up a notch. Bagels and bialies are simple and good. It’s also great for lunch. The pastrami sandwich is the best I’ve ever had. Briskets are wet cured for 5 days and smoked for eight hours with oak, a truly gourmet twist on the deli staple.

1038 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Stumptown Coffee

If you’re staying in the Ace Hotel, you won’t have to go far to get one of the best cups of coffee around. There’s a Stumptown Coffee adjacent to the lobby. Portland based Stumptown has become known as one of the premier small batch coffee roasters in the country. Using a process called Direct Trade, Stumptown works directly with producers to get the finest beans in the world. They pay extremely fair prices, so you can rest assured, your morning cup of joe will not only be delicious but sustainable.

1022 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97205

Random Order

This shop on NE Alberta combines the two things I love most in a coffee shop, great coffee and homemade pastries. All Random Order’s baked goods are made in house. They’re famous for their pies, which include flavors like Vanilla Salted Caramel and Brandied Peach. I absolutely can not get enough, though, of the Blueberry Buttermilk muffins and gluten-free Lemon Poppyseed.

1800 NE Alberta
Portland, OR 97211


This could be the place for coffee snobs, but I’ve always found the staff to be friendly and atmosphere hip but unpretentious (think Taxidermy cheek with dark wood). Barista has gained a reputation for having the most skilled Barista’s in town and unlike other coffee shops, they offer espresso from not one but several exceptional coffee roasters including Stumptown and Intelligentsia. I love the large “coffee bar” at the Northeast location where you can watch those impressive Barista’s elevate espresso making to art.

1727 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211

539 NW 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209


Pine State Biscuits

A little down home southern cooking in the middle of Portland, Pine State is always packed and offers amazingly light and fluffy biscuits.  I like to keep it simple and usually order the biscuit with fresh strawberry or marionberry jam but if you really want to go crazy try to biscuits and gravy or the McIsley Biscuit Sandwich-fried chicken with pickles, mustard and honey.

2204 NE Alberta
Portland, OR 97211

Tasty n Sons

From the same people as Toro Bravo, this restaurant serves breakfast tapas style.  I love it, because I never leave feeling too stuffed like I usually do after your typical American breakfast. The food is delicious though and there are a lot of very interesting egg dishes (great for those going gluten free). I also love that you can get a half portion of French toast, in case you do want a little something sweet.

3808 N. Williams, Suite C
Portland, OR 97212

Daily Café

The Daily was one of the original café’s in Portland’s extremely trendy Pearl District and it’s still one of my favorites. I love the large, light filled, industrial space.  Offerings change you guessed it daily and are displayed on a chalk board as you walk in the door. It’s great for breakfast or lunch, but I especially love the muffins (banana chocolate chip) and the eggs with toast and chicken apple sausage (simple but so good).

902 NW 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209

Food Carts:

As Justin mentioned in our Portland Do section, Food Carts are all the rage in Ptown and are a great option for a quick, delicious and affordable lunch. Here are some of my faves and the basic areas where you can find them.

El Cubo do Cuba

Simply amazing cuban food. Best tostones I’ve ever had. I can never decide between the pork and guava chicken, both are delicious. Try to get there at a decent hour. They often run out.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)

Whole Bowl

Everyone wants the recipe for the sauce at this gluten free, vegetarian food cart. The Whole Bowl only serves one thing, a bowl with brown rice, beans, avocado, sour cream, cheese, cilantro and the amazing Tali sauce. The lemony garlic blend is addictive and you’ll be sad when you’ve reached the bottom of your bowl.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)

Eat This

I was really impressed by this food cart that serves globally inspired flatbread wraps. The whole-wheat flatbread is grilled to order and filled with extremely flavorful meats and veggies. I had the beef brisket with parmesan spinach. Delicious!

SW 9th and Washington (Downtown)

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

This food cart is the darling of food writers in Portland and has gotten a positive write up in just about every food publication in town. Like the whole bowl, it only serves one thing, Thai style chicken and rice, but it is executed perfectly. Wrapped in a thick piece of white paper it’s extremely authentic and the garlicky soybean sauce that comes with it is amazing.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)


Delicious soups, salads and gourmet grilled cheese. Soup offerings change daily. I always cross my fingers they have the posole.

SW 10th and Alder (Downtown)

Koi Fusion

This roving food cart is a lot like LA’s famed Kogi BBQ. Locations are posted via Twitter and it serves absolutely amazing Korean BBQ/latin fusion. The Korean short rib tacos are some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. The sweetness of Korean bbq combined with latin ingredients like cilantro and lime is a match made in heaven. For a schedule of locations go to www.koifusionpdx.com.

Hood River Eat

1 Mar

Norah’s Table

Delicious, locally sourced cuisine, Norah’s is hard to put in a category. Dishes range from upscale American to Latin and Indian inspired. Regardless, everything is delicious. Seafood is often a standout. The rockfish tacos on house-made masa tortillas are delicious. Norah’s also caters and they’ll be doing the food at our after party.

110 Fifth St.
Hood River, OR 97031

Cornerstone Café

A great choice for breakfast or lunch, the Cornerstone Café is located in the Historic Hood River Hotel. Standouts include breakfast scrambles and frittatas with fresh ingredients and inventive salads for lunch. They recently added a Tapas Menu, which I’ve yet to try, but looks delicious.

102 Oak Street
Hood River, OR 97031

Doppio Coffee and Lounge

Another great spot for breakfast or lunch, especially if you want something quick. Doppio (meaning double in Italian) has great coffee and some surprisingly healthy lunch options. I like the house made hummus and the Oregon salad. The lounge has a nice modern aesthetic with indoor and outdoor seating.

310 Oak St.
Hood River, OR 97031
www.doppiocoffeelounge.com (website was experiencing technical difficulties last I checked.)

Brian’s Pourhouse

This restaurant is a little more upscale, but still good value for the quality. Brian’s serves some of the best food I’ve had in the gorge. The sesame crusted ahi tuna is delicious. Entrees range from $10-$25. Cocktail’s are also very good and feature fresh squeezed juice and fruit purees. If it’s a nice evening I recommend snagging a spot on the outdoor patio.

606 Oak Street
Hood River, OR 97031

Mike’s Ice Cream

I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and I still make it a point to stop at Mikes every time I’m in Hood River. The tiny ice cream shop is a true gathering place for locals, who on nice days, flock to the hodge podge of tables outside. The colorful shop is known for it’s huckleberry shakes, but I love the banana ice cream.

504 Oak St.
Hood River, OR 97031

Double Mountain Brewery

Great pizza and local beer, what more could you ask for? Double Mountain’s pizza isn’t your typical brewery fare. Made in a wood-fired oven, the crust is slightly chewing with the right amount of crispness. Toppings are gourmet and include truffle cheese, fresh mozzarella, basil, and hand-made sausage. Beer is all unfiltered and long aged, meaning it’s strong and complex.

8 Fourth Street
Hood River, OR. 97031