This is a pretty obvious food thing to check out. Voodoo has become quite the popular tourist attraction in downtown Portland with people lining up MINUTES, and on a bad day, an HOUR to get a taste of these donuts. Voodoo helped pioneer the novelty donut craze with stores like Donut Friend and Donut Snob sprouting up all over Los Angeles’ hipper east side. For an extra four bucks you can get the “Cock-and-Balls” personalized (see above picture taken by my 80 year old grandfather). I personally recommend the eponymous raspberry jelly filled Voodoo donut.
2. Ground Kontrol
Located nearly two blocks away from downtown’s Voodoo is the classic arcade Ground Kontrol. The interior feels like you’re walking around your Macbook’s lit-up keyboard. Err, well I guess a more relevant comparison would be you’re Jeff Bridges and you’re stuck in a computer’s mainframe. The cool (I mean it’s literally cold in the building) atmosphere and polygonal interior makes Ground Kontrol like no other arcade. Even the bathroom is a really great place to be (little lighting and Pacman tiles).
3. Killer Burger
Oh my God, guys. How wonderful is Killer Burger? There appears to be currently six locations, two in Washington. I digress, let us discuss the MAIN Killer Burger.* To add to the exclusivity of my visits to Killer Burger, I only get the “Jose Mendoza” burger because it is soooooo so good. I don’t need to try no other burger here, I peaked. It was a rainy day, typical, and I was wandering alone in Portland like a disenchanted Scarlett Johanssen à la Lost In Translation. Except of Tokyo however, my cityscape was damp and quiet Portland. ANYWAY, I came across this burger joint that was packed inside, I came in, and I asked the counter lady to recommend a burger. What goes in the Jose Mendoza, you ask? Delicious roasted green chilies, jack cheese, bacon, grilled onions, house sauce, and pickles, which I could do without. Please go here and treat yourself. You deserve it.
*the only one I’ve been to.
4. Drive Along the Pacific Coast
So you ate a bunch of food that’s bad for you, go on a drive and a hike! I came across a sweet little place called Smuggler’s Cove located in Oswald West State Park. Walking through the forest, you get to see banana slugs, huge mushrooms, decaying trees and a bunch of other fun stuff. Also, just step out of your car to admire the view, yeah?
5. North Bend, WA
This might only appeal to fans of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. A three hour drive northeast of Portland will take you to Twede’s Cafe, the actual diner from the show. I wasn’t blown away by the cherry pie, and the coffee was pretty substandard, but seeing another Twin Peaks landmark, the scenic Smoqualine Falls, made up for my lack of “damn good coffee.”
6. The Waffle Window
Did you think I was done talking about food? WELL, hey the best waffles I’ve had in my life are in Southeast Portland. I was on Yelp, I mean, I suppose you can just do that instead of reading my article, and I came across this super highly rated place under the breakfast category. Waffle Window did not fail to deliver. Poor, uncultured Catherine did not even know what brie was, but she ordered the “Three B’s” because she heard the couple in front of her order it. Holy crap. These waffles are amazing. First, the waffle itself, a “pearl sugar waffle,” is so crisp, so sweet, so perfect. Then the toppings, thick cut slabs of bacon, slices of brie cheese, chopped basil, and a side of peach jam just make this the most incredible breakfast experience. And then you can sit in the outdoor patio and make friends with neighborhood street cats. Heaven.
7. Movie Madness
This place boasts itself as having the “largest and most comprehensive collection of movies available to rent on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Video.” What’s more impressive is that the store has actual props and costumes from various films in its “Movie Madness Museum.” The soap used in Fight Club publicity campaigns was donated by director David Fincher. Even the Fu Dog Statue from Citizen Kane is here. And best of all, it’s free!
8. Mt. Hood, Powell’s Book Store, etc…