Portland Restaurants

Playing Hooky

For an anniversary gift, Michael surprised me with suggesting we book a couple’s massage. I looked around for something in Portland and found a stellar place! But first, a lunch date!

We played hooky and took off half the day from work and went out to lunch. We went to Stella Taco on SE Division. There are a ton of cool new restaurants on SE Division that we’ve been wanting to check out but never have the opportunity.

Stella Taco was a cute, hip place with “street” tacos on the menu. It was a casual joint, with the order-at-the-bar and bus your own table model (which I’m not usually a huge fan of, but…it was ok). It was cheap, so that’s nice.

I got one of of the fish street tacos and one carnitas. There were small, like three or four bites worth.

Michael got the carnitas, beef and chorizo street tacos. Everything was really fresh. I liked my tacos a lot but they weren’t spicy. The carnitas was pretty flavorful but I wished that the fish taco had a little more flavor, it was a tad bland. But I think with some spice they could have been great!

Michael said the chorizo tacos were spicy. We had lunch and then went to a dive bar nearby for beers. We had about an hour and a half to kill after lunch before our massages. Boneyard RPM! Our favorite beer on tap! It was nice to just chill in the quiet bar, not rushed or anything.

Then we walked around SE Hawthorne for a bit. We had no destination, just wandering. We stopped in Red Light (a funky, hip consignment store) that had a ton of retro clothes and halloween costumes and we hung out a bit. I was super excited about the cheesy 70’s pantsuits! Sadly, I didn’t find anything that really spoke to me enough to buy for Halloween. 😉 There were some real gems, though!

On a whim we stopped in at Blue Star Donuts and Michael bought a blueberry bourbon basil donut–apparently Blue Star is something pretty amazing. I wasn’t all that impressed after a few bites.

Then it was time for our appointments. I had looked around and found a place called Laurelhurst Massage by Laurelhurst Park. It was SO great! We both agreed they were some of the best massages we’ve had. It was a really relaxing and wonderful experience.

Rick and Greg have a massage studio in a space behind their house. It’s a cute space among nice, old Portland craftsman houses. The studio downstairs had a bathroom and a decent sized spa that we got to use before our massages.

The sauna was so nice! We’ve been talking about wanting our own sauna at home someday…Anyways, the sauna was great and so relaxing. The door to the sauna had a really pretty glass etching, too, of Multnomah Falls. Very cool.

After about 10 or 15 minutes in the sauna, we used the double spa shower that had like 6 shower heads, dried off and then had our couple’s massage upstairs in the massage room. (They had big fluffy bathrobes and nice towels for us.)

They were fabulous massages! So good and relaxing. I fell asleep halfway through my massage. Michael got a pretty deep sports massage and was pretty happy with his. We had a great time and will most definitely go back to use them again. If you are in the Portland area and looking a luxurious afternoon spa getaway, I recommend it!

After our massages we melted outside to the car 😉 and then went to pick up our little dude from daycare and head home.

It was a good change from the routine!

Two Date Nights

Michael and I lucked out and got TWO date nights this weekend!! The first was Friday night. Daycare had a “parents night out” and they were open until 10pm. We took advantage of that and got dressed up (sort of) and went to Chart House for dinner.

A coworker has been talking about how this is their date night spot because happy hour lasts until 7pm. So we decided to take advantage of that. We got there and it was valet parking only (free) and the bar is downstairs of the restaurant. It’s perched on a hill in SW Portland with amazing views!

The picture above was the view from our table, right by the window. It was a nice view of the river and downtown Portland. We could also see Mount St. Helens and Mt. Hood in the distance.

We got drinks–I got a white wine and Michael got a beer.

We got the calamari with kim chee (and it had deep fried veggies in there, too). It was really good and flavorful! And who doesn’t like deep fried veggies?

We shared the mahi mahi fish tacos. They were pretty good but needed some spice or something. They were a little on the bland side.

We shared the lettuce wraps. It was chicken with cucumber and carrots and a soy sauce glaze. I thought they were pretty good. Very messy to eat!

Lastly, we got the prime rib sliders (they had cheese and caramelized onions in it). Michael wasn’t a fan of the sliders but I thought they were really good! I loved the caramelized onion flavors and gooey cheese (and let’s be honest, the bread!!!)

We split a piece of cheesecake for dessert. It had caramel, crushed macadamia nuts and a little bit of Heath Bar crumbles. It was REALLY good but very, very decadent. Thank goodness we split it!

It was a really nice experience. We hadn’t really been on a real date night and been to a nice restaurant since February when we went out to sushi. 😀 It was definitely time for us! And it was perfect timing because this week was our 9 year anniversary. Hard to believe 9 years ago we had our first official date. <3

Then Saturday it was time for date night #2: my cousin’s wedding. My parents drove down from Seattle and got to spend some time with Logan and then we left Logan with Michael’s mom and drove to Ridgefield for the wedding.

It was at Bethany Vineyards. I’ve never been there before but it was a really beautiful wedding venue! It was off the freeway in Washington near Vancouver, amongst countryside and farms and lots of trees. I guess there was a brewpub nearby, too.

Her flowers were gorgeous!

The wedding was outside. It was a sunny, bright day, but unfortunately it was also 100 degrees (not exaggerating!). Here are a few photos of the venue:

It was too bad they didn’t have some kind of tents set up for the tables because we were in direct sunshine, no shade, and it was very very very hot! Thankfully they had tons of ice water.

The ceremony was kind of off to the side near the vineyards and there was a bit of shade over there, so that was nice.

And we got to spend some time with another cousin and her husband, whom we don’t get to see very often but it was a really fun night hanging out and catching up.

Since it was at the vineyard, they had plenty of the wine for drinks or tastes. I tried the Pinot and it was really good so I ended up buying a bottle. 🙂 My other cousin and her husband and I snuck into the tasting room for about 15 minutes after the ceremony because it was air conditioned and SO NICE in there (LOL) so we did a small taste and their Cuvee was excellent!

almost bought that bottle, too, but decided to be an adult and just buy one.

The signature drink for the wedding was a white wine spritzer, which I had never had before but it was quite lovely! It was the Bethany Vineyard Riesling with tonic water and fruit. In 100 degree weather it was very easy to drink those!

Very refreshing! I drank a ton of water and tried to stay hydrated as much as possible.

My cousin looked gorgeous in her dress and guess what? Her aunt HANDMADE the entire thing for her! It was absolutely stunning! And what a cool heirloom to pass down to your daughter or granddaughter someday. The ceremony was lovely and the food was really excellent! It was heavy Hors d’oeuvres –fruit and veggies, pasta salad, green salad, meatballs and these really yummy cold sandwiches. It was actually the perfect food for a hot, outdoor wedding.

There were these little chicken salad sandwiches on croissant rolls that were to die for! So good! Then it was the speeches and cake cutting and they had cute cupcakes, too:

I had one of the cupcakes. They were really good. By then I was pretty stuffed. So the homemade macarons that my cousin made as favors came home for later…

I’d like to say it was starting to cool off by then, but it was still nearly 100 degrees when we left at 6:30. We had to get home for Logan. It was a really nice wedding and it was nice that it was an afternoon wedding. I remember when Michael and I were planning our wedding we considered a Sunday brunch wedding (we loved the idea!), a vineyard wedding, or an afternoon wedding. I’m very happy with what we did but it’s still fun to experience other weddings and think about what it would have been like if we’d done that.