Our first stop was to an amazing used bookstore called Powell's City of Books. It's the largest new and used bookstore in the world and is any bibliophile's paradise. We spent probably two hours and only covered one and half sections out of the possible 122. My primary goal was the cooking section, where I found a few gems which you will probably hear about later. I then moved on the Literature section where I stocked up on one of my favourite British author's works, A.S. Byatt. All in all I bought 9 books home with me that day. It's a dangerous place.
Our next stop was to one of the Stumptown locations. Stumptown is a local Portland coffee company. If you can get your hands on some of their coffee I highly recommend it. We chose the one in the lobby of The Ace Hotel, which looked exactly like something from a Portlandia skit. In fact, go to their website and do a read-through of their little about us section. That, my friends, is what the PNW (Pacific North-West) is all about.
The third stop on our trip was to Smith Tea, a very small little tea shop where they blend and bag small batches of high-quality tea. We decided to do a trio of tea flights and had a grand old time slurping and tasting, doctoring and describing, our 12 different teas. These were definitely some of the best teas I have ever had. The tea is on the expensive side, but if you cherish a good tea, it's definitely worth it. Our favourites were the Mao Feng Shui, Yunnan, and Keemun Hao Ya B. That is not to say that there were any that were bad, however. The building itself is a little off the beaten track but if you're ever in Portland and want something unique and fun to do, go there and order a tea flight or two. All the employees we talked to were amazingly nice and seriously invested in their teas, which really made the experience something wonderful.
The Meadow also carries Himalayan salt blocks for cooking and serving. I bought a nice, small salt block to cook on, so look forward to an upcoming post about how to cook on one. And if you have no idea what I am talking about, go look it up. Or better yet, go look through a copy of Salted, because then you will want one of your own.
They also carry gourmet chocolates and a huge array of gourmet bitters. We spent maybe 20 min alone just sipping tasters of bitters. My favourite was the Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub. It was surprisingly sweet but with a definite heat. I didn't buy any but I'm sure I will in the future. It would be perfect for a creative cocktail.
All in all I would declare our day in Portland one of the most perfect days. It was sunny and warm, with nothing but good food, good drinks, good books, and great friends.