After a few years of wishing to travel to Portland, Oregon, we finally used our 5th Anniversary as a proper excuse to visit the Northwest.

Forget about flying, we went original — road tripping it is! We took Highway 101 from San Francisco then 199 all the way to Ashland. The route we took was very scenic, but that also comes with a price, in the form of a 12-hour drive. A tip from me to you is to pick your favorite person, have your fav music ready, and plenty of snacks and water for the trip.

We were lucky we found a pretty great deal on Expedia in such a short notice. If you are planning to visit Ashland, I highly recommend Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites. The room was very spacious and the beds were quite comfortable. Also, 10 points for being meticulously clean! We got in pretty late and missed our chance of exploring restaurants in the area, but it was also a nice surprise the next day when we discovered ” Luna Cafe” right next to the lobby. There is a photo booth which is perfect for our Anniversary. We were introduced to a brunch place in Ashland called Morning Glory. It seems to be a hot spot for the locales, so the wait is a bit long. However, they have a great outside seating area where you can order drinks while you wait. With great conversation and some tasty food, it’s worth the wait.

We hit the road right after brunch and it took us about 5 hours to get to our destination, Portland, Oregon. On the side note, if you are looking for a great Airbnb in Portland, we highly recommend The Urban Owl!

We absolutely LOVED this place! The Urban Owl was everything we were looking for and it checked all of our boxes. This is our first AirBNB and the next will be hard pressed to top this one. We were absolutely lucky we found such a great place to stay and a wonderfully sweet host. The place is absolutely amazing and had a beautiful decor. It also lived up to the name, (I dare you to count all the owl items in the room) I was absolutely in love!

There are so many great restaurants, cafes, etc. within walking distance, but if you wish to go further and beyond, a Lyft ride isn’t too expensive.

The first place we checked out was Nong’s Khao Man Gai. Just a little backstory, we’ve been rooting for Nong since we watched her compete and win on Food Network’s Chopped years ago. Once we learned that she finally opened up a restaurant (She used to sell her Khao Man Gai in a Cartopia in Downtown Portland,) we just hoped that one day we could visit her restaurant and try her delish dishes. When it comes to her food, the secret’s in the sauce. We checked out her place three times during our trip, and didn’t leave without purchasing two bottles of her special sauce, so just trust me on this.

The next day we had our breakfast at Broder on SE Clinton St. Their Danish pancakes are to die for. They were super fluffy and delicious! They were served with berry jam and lemon curd, but in my opinion, they tasted so great you wouldn’t need anything else.

After the meal, I was inclined to check out the neighborhood. This whole area reminded me so much of Brooklyn, NYC. There are many cute little places which I adore. If you are into stationary stuff, arts and posters, stop by “Little Otsu” and you will not disappoint.

I was in heaven when I found Pok Pok, the famous Thai restaurant in the area. I know that they originally started out in Brooklyn, New York, but I had never tried it while living there. Here is my chance, did the food disappoint us? Absolutely not! However, it was absolutely NYC-SF pricing, but if you are on vacation like us, just go for it! I’m Thai so I can guarantee that it’s authentic AF. Great dish you might love, Green Curry! Grilled chicken & papaya salad were also GREAT. We walked away from Pok Pok feeling about $60+ poor, but man, it tasted DELISH.

On our walk back to the Urban Owl, there was a Salt & Straw nearby and the line wasn’t as bad as the one on Fillmore in SF, so heck yeah! And the result was YASS!

If you have a chance to check out downtown Portland, you don’t wanna miss Voodoo Doughnuts! There was a huge line, but don’t let that long line stop you from getting what you desire! We got a box of doughnuts and were fighting hard who got to eat the last one. They also have a photo booth and I am a sucker for things like that. Here, 5 bucks, take it!

One last place that I wanted to give a huge shoutout is Hapa PDX on SE Devision St. Tonkutsu ramen is to die for. I was up to the point where I thought ” Just take all my money and make me another bowl of what I just had.”

I hope that my recommendations can help you find PDX fun! Stay weird, Portland! Until next time…