This past weekend I went on a short trip to Portland; where according to the popular TV series, Portlandia, the dream on the 90’s survives. While only there for a weekend I cannot say if this is completely true I think I got a pretty good taste of Portland for the time I was there.
I went to Powell’s City of Books, the self proclaimed largest independent bookstore in the world. The books store took up an entire building, which was about a city block with books available on multiple floors. The store is now so large that they’ve had to expand and create Powell’s Books 2 across the street. Though the books store was massive it was also full of people. Powell’s Books is what a physical book store aught to be, especially in a era of online shopping. Unlike the last Barnes and Nobel I went to Powell’s has not restocked their aisles with easy sells; games and toys and hundreds of copies of the latest popularized pulp, Powell’s embraces the written work, filling floor to ceiling shelves with thousands of unique volumes. A know this tactic requires an extremely literate population to keep the store full and it seems Portland and those who visit provide frequent Powell’s enough that its doing good business. While I was there I stuck mostly to the Science Fiction section, looking for a book on my reading list that I could enjoy on the train back to Seattle. I found the book but I was greatly distracted by the hundreds others there.
Another Portland landmark, the original Voodoo Doughnuts. Possibly the only place that has a line around the corner for fired doughy confections. The line moves quickly and you’ll probably need the time to decide which of the dozens of doughnuts you’ll get, if you still can’t decide you can let the staff pick a dozen for you.
Some of the noteworthy donuts that we got in our dozen: the Marshal Mathers, a doughnut covered in M&M’s; the Butterfingering, a doughnut covered in crushed Butterfingers; and the Loop, a doughnut covered in fruit loops.
When in Portland its also advisable to go to one of the many microbreweries, as most of them are also restaurants its a good place for a meal too. We went to Descutes, for the simple reason that it was close by, for in Portland you only need to throw a stone to find the closest micro-brewery (or Starbucks, its a 50/50 chance). The dinner at Deschutes was excellent and the beer was even better.
To round out the experience I also managed to catch a screening of the recent release of the The Boxtrolls. Though it premiered internationally this weekend it was created by Portland’s Laika Studio.