beer garden

A Different Kind of Friday

Remember how I said that Friday nights were always my gym nights? And while it was nice because the gym/pool was empty, it kind of sucked for “fun” on a Friday night. Well this last Friday we had a different kind of Friday night and it was so much fun!

It was kind of a humid, gray summer day but the evening was nice. I got home from work and Michael said we were going out. Logan had been fussy fussy fussy all day long. I figured he wanted to get out of the house. He didn’t tell me where we were going and after feeding the baby we left.

Turned out we were going to explore the food carts on SE Division Street. Division has exploded in the last few years with tons of new restaurants, condos, etc. It’s a completely different neighborhood than when I lived over there. I’ve been wanting to check out some of the new popular restaurants on that street for a long time but I always talked myself out of it for some reason (traffic, parking, crowds, long lines, etc).

There were a ton of food carts in this little area with a bunch of picnic tables and a beer garden. The place was packed! And it was a really popular place for people with kids and babies. I love that this is an option for eating out when you have a young one.

We walked around and checked out the options and I decided to get something from the Korean-Hawaiian food truck, Namu. I ended up getting theย Bulgogi Beef plate. It was spicy beef, rice, kimchi, spinach, cucumber and avocado. It was between that and the vegan bowl with toasted tofu–that sounded really good, too. (My original choice was going to be the waffle truck that sold sandwiches made out of waffles–but I reasoned with myself and decided that wasn’t a good idea diet wise. LOL)

My dinner was really tasty and spicy, but I did kind of have food jealousy over Michael’s dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚ Michael got pizza from the pizza food card (I don’t remember the name, sorry). They cooked their small pizzas in a wood burning oven.

We found a table with another couple and their toddler and asked if we could share and they said yes. (And then I asked them about their super cool detachable high chair seat thing that just clipped onto the end of the picnic table–brilliant!).

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Logan did great! I think there was so much going on and so much noise that he wasn’t fussy anymore. He just chilled and checked everything out and let mom and dad enjoy their food.

I had a few bites of Michael’s pizza and it was REALLY good. I loved the crust. They nailed it.

We enjoyed a Crux Double IPA beer from the beer cart. PERFECT! It really hit the spot. And it was strong (at least for me). One was enough.

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We finished eating and Logan was getting a little antsy so back in the stroller he went. We decided we wanted dessert and there was a dessert truck but it was vegan and that wasn’t really what I was feeling. So we decided to walk up Division Street and see what other options we had. It was so nice out, too, we didn’t want the evening to end yet.

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I like this neighborhood. It’s hip and popular and there were tons of people and art all over the place. It just has a cool and inviting vibe (like I said, a lot different than 8 years ago when I lived near there). It was fun just being out on a Friday night with all these young, carefree people out on dates. ๐Ÿ™‚

We walked up the street and past Pok Pok, where the line was at least 2 hours long, it looked (there is always a long wait there) and then we ended up at Salt and Straw.

It’s a super popular ice cream shop in Portland. I’ve had their ice cream before at events and it was good but I never understood why the lines were always so long. And if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you know how much I hate long lines for restaurants. There are just too many good places in Portland to stand in line for over an hour. No thank you!

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But we didn’t have anything else to do, so why not? And the baby was sleeping! The line actually moved fairly quickly and as we waited we tried to figure out what flavor we wanted! And tried not to drool at the aroma of waffle cone as we stood in line…

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We got to the counter and they said we could have tastes. Michael tried the Pear and Blue Cheese and said it was amazing so I tried it and it was just ok. He got a taste that was all pear and I got a taste that was all blue cheese. It wasn’t overpowering but it just wasn’t for me. I tried the Goat Cheese and Marionberry with Habanero and it was FANTASTIC! Loved it! The heat was at the very end and it wasn’t crazy hot, just the right amount. But I thought it might be too much in a full serving.

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My first choice was the Sea Salt with Caramel and the Honey Lavender. Then the girl at the counter talked me into tasting the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and my mind was blown. SO GOOD! So I got a half scoop of the Sea Salt and Caramel and a half scoop of the Almond Brittle Ganache. PERFECT.

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Michael got the Chocolate Gooey Brownie, I had a bite and it was good but I won at the ice cream selection. ๐Ÿ™‚ We walked around and ate our ice cream in the warm summer evening and then Logan started to wake up and it was time to go home.

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Mississippi Street Fair

My weekend started off with a bang. After work Friday, I went swimming after over a week off from it and it felt fantastic. After that, I met up with some work friends to see “Magic Mike.” I went with low expectations and it was quite a fun movie. Our group was seated in the second row of the theatre because it was PACKED! And the women were hootin’ and hollerin’ as if they were really there. Too funny. Saturday morning I had a kick-ass gym session. I don’t know why some workouts justย click and are awesome but this one was.

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While I was there I tried a new activity–the battle ropes. I’d seen it a dozen times in videos Michael has shown me of MMA guys working out and I’ve seen it at the gym, but never gave it a try. A guy at the gym was doing it and he stopped to rest after a set and I asked him if I could try. He gave me some pointers and a quick lesson on what to do. It was so much fun but it was HARD. I definitely want to incorporate those into my workouts more often.

There are so many things in Portland that I want to do and yet haven’t tried yet. You would think after living here for 13 years I’d get it together and try new things but somehow…I just didn’t. One of those things was the Mississippi Street Fair. After the gym, Michael and I headed over to North Portland to go to the fair. The whole street was shut down to cars and opened up to vendors–and 30,000 people. No joke.

Do you see how far that stretches? Yeah, there were a lot of people there. It was also a really hot day out. The first thing on the agenda: lunch. Michael and I walked around until I found something that sounded appealing to me. What I really wanted was a catfish sandwich or a catfish taco. What I found was mediocre fried catfish and fries.

I ate half of the catfish and fries and tossed the rest. Later I saw other food carts and vendors that sounded much better and I wished I’d been pickier in my selection. Oh well. Michael’s friend Jeremy was hanging out at the beer garden so we met up with him and his two friends visiting from Ireland.

It was fun meeting new people and chatting. I got a Vaporizer IPA from Double Mountain Brewery (an Oregon brewery I’ve never tried before) and shortly after that my cousin Anna and her friend joined us.

We were all having so much fun just hanging out and talking that we ended up spending several hours in the beer garden. I only had two beers but a ton of water. It was so hot out, I felt like I was melting in the sun (thankfully I had sunscreen with me for when it melted off). The Irish lads were a total riot, too. After awhile, we decided to move on and walk around.

The vendor booths at the street fair were local artists and businesses trying to spread the word about their stuff. There was a ton of homemade clothing, jewelry and art. It was a lot like the local Saturday Market here, just with more people.

Michael was hungry (he’d skipped lunch) and wanted a snack so we stopped at the “Bro Dog” food cart so he could get a bratwurst withย sauerkrautย and onions. It was epic looking! I had a bite (or two) and it was freakin’ fantastic! I need to get some sauerkraut for when we grill our own.

Michael won the “who ordered the best meal” contest, hands down. I want one of those Bro Dogs.

There were a lot of food options, and a lot of food temptations at the street fair as you would imagine. Everywhere I turned there was something fried, or ethnic (one of my weaknesses, can’t tell you how much I love Indian food or a good gyro), or desserts. You guys know sweets are hard for me to resist. Check out what I saw there:

Luckily, the heat was so stifling I didn’t have much of an appetite and walked right by the desserts without even a twinge of desire. They sure were pretty though.

There were a bunch ofย musiciansย playing at the fair, too. Some were just random people setting up their “instruments” for tips (the guy above was actually pretty damn good), some were serious singer-songwriter types, there were a few bands set up on stages. While we were chilling in the beer garden (or melting) the band across the way was playing Stevie Wonder hits.

In the end, I left happy and sweaty, a little tanner than I started and with only one thing.

No, sadly, it wasn’t a puppy. But you should have heard my begging to Michael. (Please please he’s so CUUUUTE ohmygod!) He was a total cuddle bug and just nestled into my chest like he wanted to go to sleep there. No, I didn’t get a puppy, but I did buy some earrings.

Michael better watch out. One of these days it WILL be a puppy! We said goodbye to our friends and headed home–with a stop to a bike store so I could buy a new tube and a patch kit for my bike. We settled in for a relaxing evening watching a movie. It was a really nice weekend and I had a great time exploring what Portland has to offer. Next time, I won’t wait so long to do so.

QUESTION: Do you take advantage of what your city has to offer? What’s the best thing you’ve discovered?