Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How I Ate (and ran) My Way Through Portland

It's official. I love Portland.

I knew this would happen. I just knew it. I've read and heard all about the food scene in Portland for years, but it really did surpass my expectations this past weekend.

Since I had never been to the City of Roses, and always wanted to go, I decided to run the Portland Marathon with a few friends from my local running group.

The run was good.

The food was better. Here's how I ate my way through Portland, just as I intended!

Upon arriving Saturday morning, my friend Zoe and I checked into our downtown hotel (in the Southwest area) and set out on an exploratory walk on a gorgeous Summer weathered-Fall day. We were surrounded by wide, clean streets, large brick buildings, and trees with their leaves turning bright oranges and reds. Heavenly.

We stumbled upon the end of the Saturday Farmers Market. I picked up a gluten-free treat from Lisa, the owner of Petunia's Pies & Pastries. She was the sweetest young gal...and her gluten-free (and vegan) Pumpkin whoopie pie was calling my name. Eaten under a tree, on a park bench, while leaves fell getting caught in my hair, in 75 degree weather. Perfection I think.

Pumpkin whoopie pie with lemon zest frosting

For our pre-race dinner that evening, we ventured nearby to The Picnic House. I wanted plenty of protein. We ordered a few dishes, but the stand out for me was the Farmers Market Salad with a maple duck drumette. I die for duck. Also, in case you were wondering, I don't believe in carbo-loading. Seriously. I believe in protein-loading. With duck. And bacon.

Farmers Market Salad with Summer tomatoes, avocado, sugar snap peas, almonds, and a maple duck drumette

And to prove I ran the marathon...

Well. This was the before picture. I'll spare you the after.

After I iced my legs for 30 minutes and took 4 IB Profens  showered, I went to brunch with some friends at Tasty n' Sons. No words.

Summer cast iron vegetable frittata with caramelized onions

Maple glazed yams (horrible to photograph, but literally maple-covered goodness)

Bacon wrapped dates with almonds and maple syrup (almost as good as when stuffed I make mine with chorizo)

For dinner that evening, I ventured to Andinas, a Peruvian restaurant in the Pearl District, recommended by my Mother. I was dining alone and sat at the bar, which was kind of lovely. Before dinner, my Mom insisted, via phone: "You have to get the drink called the Sexy Lady." I purposely ignored this recommendation and opted for a glass of Willamette Pinot Noir; my first drink in over a week! (I try to eat and drink especially clean the week before a race.) It tasted...mind blowing. Also mind blowing?

Baked Diver Scallop with a tamari-brown sugar butter sauce topped with crispy onions (out of the 4 dishes I ordered and consumed all by myself, this was by far my favorite)

A Hershey bar eaten in bed later that night may or may not have occurred.

My friend and I both took Monday off to recover from the marathon and further explore Portland. We started our morning (after icing our legs, naturally) at Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Stumptown rice milk latte with a gluten-free Morning Glory Muffin, courtesy of the lovely Petunia's

We then ventured to a Vinyasa Flow class at Yoga Pearl nearby. Although the class was not nearly as good as my favorite Tom Lee yoga class (obsessed) in San Francisco, it did the stretching trick. And the space was absolutely gorgeous; 2 beautiful, spacious yoga rooms with an organic, gluten-free, vegan-friendly cafe inside. Love it. If you like yoga and are in Portland, stop by.

As you can see, the marathon was my excuse to come to Portland and eat. I think what I appreciated most about this city was that it catered to gluten-free needs everywhere, even at the marathon finish line. I try to eat gluten-free most of the time since I feel better without it. Don't get me wrong, I will indulge though. I am the daughter of the Dessert Queen, after all.

Portland, I'll be seeing you again, real soon, I hope. In the meantime, I absolutely must recreate those maple-glazed yams. I am still dreaming about them.

I may be walking like a peg-legged pirate (seriously) right now, but Portland, you (and your food) were worth it.

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