I found out recently that, despite working with individuals who may be a little more concerned with their paychecks than with the food they're serving, there's actually a bonus to Chef working at a unionized property, aside from the ridiculous pay-scale. He can actually get paid vacation during the summer (and lots of it, too)!  He had nine days off in a row - such a difference from when we first met and had to beg and borrow for one weekend off to take our first roadtrip together.  So, what did we do for said days off? Why, we took a road trip through the States, of course!
We took the Coho ferry down to Port Angeles, Washington and drove down the coast into Oregon.  We had intended to camp at one of the State Parks, but of course they were full, so after looking at a few private campgrounds, we decided to just drive to Portland for the night. But, on the way there, we came across a sign that said Hebo Lake and a camping symbol. Why not try just one more place? So, we drove for about fifteen minutes up a dusty mountain road and finally came across this little gem. There was one other family there, and about twenty sites so it was like we had the place entirely to ourselves. 

The next day we drove to Portland where we stayed in the student residence at Portland State University, which is right downtown. This is the greatest trick ever if trying to travel on the cheap. It's more private than a hostel and cheaper than a hotel/motel. $40 a night got us a private room with two beds (which yes, we pushed together!) and an ensuite bathroom. We could have paid the extra ten to get a little kitchenette, but seriously - find me a chef who will actually cook on vacation.  Besides, the whole point of traveling for us is to eat the local treats, so why stay in the dorm and eat Cookie Crisp?

We went to Le Pigeon the first night, and started with the Potato Gnocchi, Foie Gras and Pigeon Crudo.  The Gnocchi was pretty good (trout roe is tasty). For mains: Chef had sweet breads and I had duck. Both tasted like BBQ.  Desert: Foie Gras Profiteroles and Honey Bacon Apricot Cornbread. I was stuffed by this point, so Chef ordered them both for himself!  Really, the best part of the meal was the wine. Tasty, tasty. And the couple sitting beside us (they sit you at communal tables) weren't "challenged" enough by the first bottle of red they ordered, so they shared it with us and ordered a second bottle. They really were awesome. Born and raised in Astoria, OR, his parents were in Kindergarten Cop, and they met in high school and now sixteen years later are married with two little kids. Super interesting people. After dinner that night, we went to the Doug Fir and saw Memory Tapes play. The opening band sounded like a cheesy high school prom band from the 80s, all echo playing in the gym. The main band was decent.

Next day, Chef was freaking out because I slept in to 10am and he had a whole itinerary... so when I finally got up and into and out of the shower, he was all "don't worry, it's actually 7:15".  What a jerk! He knows me so well... the only way I would voluntarily get up early would be ... ... nope. I like my sleep.  Begrudgingly, I trudged along with him down the streets of Portland before anything was really open.  We went to Voodoo Doughnuts first thing, which is probably a good thing since the line exploded after we got in it. The donuts were pretty awesome. Not as good as the ones in San Fransisco, but pretty creative and tasty.  
We walked around for a little bit, checking out some stores (we have to go to Sur La Table anytime we find one, and I'm in love with Anthropologie) and some of the architecture, and then headed over to the Portland Art Gallery where they had an exhibit called "The Allure of the Automobile".  It was a bunch of luxury cars from the 30's to mid-60's, and boy were they beautiful! Even someone like me, who doesn't drive, preferring to take the bus, walk or cycle, loved it. They were absolutely beautiful. Craftsmanship and art, rather than big ol' gas-guzzlers. Pretty cool.  We toured the rest of the museum, and besides the fact that there were a few Monet, Picaso and Gauguin pieces, there were a few pieces that I really loved.  We went to the art gallery in Seattle last time we were there, too. It seems like we always enjoy going.
After the art gallery, we headed to Bunk Sandwiches, which was freakin' amazing! Everything is super fresh and delicious. Seriously, you wouldn't think that getting a sandwich is really a culinary experience (except the Calamari and Duck Confit sandwiches that they used to serve at Feenie's - omg, I loved getting free lunch off the menu at work everyday!), but Bunk Sandwiches delivers. We had the Roast Chicken Salad and Roast Beef sandwiches, and they were awesome! We got the Apple Cabbage Slaw, too, which was divine. I actually think I would go back to Portland to eat those sandwiches.
After that, we walked around some more, checking out a couple of junk shops and antique stores. We walked to the tram, which took us up to the OHSU Center for Health and Healing.  Seeing those facilities, it made me really wish that I had gone into nursing, rather than the sociology of health and illness.  It reallly was a pretty view, and hard to believe that it was actually a hospital up there.  For a second, I started to get a little queasy from the height of it.  We then took the tram back down and the streetcar all the way to the end and then back to the Pearl District, where we stopped of at the Bridgeport Brewery. Again, delicious.  Such an amazing venue. 
Finally, we made our way to Pok Pok for dinner. After waiting for an hour at the Whiskey Soda Lounge, we got a table at Pok Pok and had the spiciest meal of my life.  I friggen love Thai food, and even when eating hot food in Thailand, I've never had such a ridiculously hot dish.  The chicken wings that they made were really good, and I would think it would be a good time to sit on the 'patio' on a hot day with a beer and those, but I'm not sure waiting an hour or more for chicken wings is really a good use of the day.  No photos from the meal, I was too busy sweating to death.
We made our way back to campus that night and tucked ourselves in.  Up early the next morning, we made our way back to BC, driving the I-5 up to the Peach Arch to take the ferry back to Swartz Bay.  Of course, we stopped at the outlets on the way back. Chef scored a bunch of new shorts and shirts, but I came up empty, so we went to the Forever-21 at one of the malls and I loaded up on cheap tops, which made me happy.  It was seriously such a nice, relaxed trip. But really, any time we go away, it makes me a little sad that we live in such a small town and can't get out to eat that way all the time... soon enough, I hope.


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