Monday, October 11, 2010

Epicurean Walking Tour in Portland

Let me just say that my life has changed. From now on (and I promise) whenever I visit a big city I will see if they have an epicurean walking tour. Now on to my story...
Every time I go to a city, I take very little time to do any research. I don't know a thing about the city, I don't look at maps, I just fly by the seat of my pants, so to say. But when I went to Denver I met a young gentleman who did SO MUCH research prior and filled his days and nights with such fun activities to which I was allowed to follow along on that I vowed to change my ways. Fast forward a few weeks and here I was ready to embark on a trip to Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. So I actually gave the whole online research thing a stab. And I literally stumbled onto Portland Walking Tours site. Given the choice of 5 options my eyes immediately set sight on the epicurean excursion. SIGN ME UP! It didn't take much to convince my partner in crime, Nani, to go ins with me. We were set. At $59 we got a 3.5 hour walking tour of some of downtown Portland's finest cuisine.
There are two tours: 10 am, which offers more stops but of a lighter array of food samples, and a 2pm, which is more robust but not quite as many stops. We chose the 10 am because, well, I do better in the morning.
Nani and I got a ride to the airport by my favorite sister in law and we caught the Max  to downtown, walked a short couple blocks and ended up at the Heathman Hotel by 9:45 am.
My photos, all done on my iPhone, do not do the tour justice. Hopefully when you are in Portland you will try it yourself.
At the airport ready to head downtown. An all day pass cost less than $5.
On the train! It was obviously a low maintenance no make-up day.

First stop: Cacao. I knew at this point that I was going to love this excursion. Dessert first? HECK YEAH!
I wish I could remember this purveyor's name. He knew all there was to know about growing and processing cacao beans, especially sharing the fact that Hawai'i is the ONLY place in the U.S. of A that can grow cacao beans. Yay Hawai'i!!! And he looked right at me when he said it. Musta been my Kamehameha Volleyball hoodie!
We each had an espresso cup of melted chocolate (with a little added cream). It was the most delicious rich and creamy chocolate goodness my palate has ever tasted. I couldn't believe someone didn't drink all of theirs. FOOLS I tell you.

Stop 2

For a most delicious tomato orange bisque

Third stop on our tour: Courier Coffee. Yup. They deliver coffee to your doorstep. By bicycle. And they are the most environmentally friendly coffee place EVER. The owner did everything in his power to have as negative carbon footprint as possible. Go young man! LOVE OUR EARTH!
That's our fearless leader buying coffee. His name is Chris Murray. I'll never forget him. He was FUNNY, smart and had a mean case of "not able to keep still". And he bought a pound of their coffee and I offered to carry it for him in my nifty carry all bag. He joked and said, "Sure, and if I forget it, you score a pound of coffee, haha!" Guess what? He forgot. Haha.
Who wouldn't love this for their morning drink? It reeks of love.

Our next stop was Pearl Bakery. We got to don cute hairnets.

Don't these two belong in a movie? Straight outta NYC. Put them on Sex and the City.
Here's our group. There were 8 of us plus Chris. He was very animated. Hard to get a picture of his feet or hands NOT moving.
We sampled baguettes, the best croissants ever (and I happen to know that they are NOT from France thanks to Chris' story of the origins of croissants), a wonderful anise flavored dessert and more. All while wearing our cutie hairnets.

By this time I was losing count

We tasted condiments. And had a little wine. Loved it all. Especially the wine. Next time I go to Portland I'm signing up for a cooking class at this establishment. And I'm signing up my in-laws there, too!
Tea time! I am not a big tea fan but this came at just the right time!

While they do make gluten free pizza (I would have loved to sample that), ours was not
Hot Lips Pizza was great. We had one slice. It had tomatoes and ricotta. Two of my favorites.
Our last stop. Ice cream. We started and ended with dessert.
giant ice cream maker
Would they really keep top secrets in a RED clearly marked  top secret binder?
Marionberry ice cream. I never would have ordered it but when it was handed to me and I tasted it, I just couldn't believe how delicious it was. Way better than the rich chocolate decadent ice cream below it. I wish I had two scoops of marionberry, my new favorite berry.


  1. I lOVED reading about your walking/eating tour of Portland. I was able to have a marionberry margarita when I was there. Fantastic!! We also had some Hot Lips pizza seeing some familiar stuff on your blog. I will send it to my niece who lives there :)



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