Excitements and informations. And pie!
Stuff we cover here:
Things to pack
- rain coat!
- warmnesses just in case
- warm socks for shavasana
- a bathing suit (if you want to use the pool at the Kennedy School or Common Ground)
- writing supplies: pens and notebooks
The best way to dress for Portland (and Dance of Shiva) is layers.
(I usually wear tights or sweatpants and a t-shirt for Shiva-ing it up and then throw a dress and a sweater on top.)
It does rain quite a bit in PDX but it’s usually more of a light misting or a drizzle than actual rain-rain.
The neighborhood where our Playground lives (the Alberta Arts district in Northeast Portland ) is an up-and-comer, blooming with all of the energy and creativity that makes Portland what it is.
Friendly, walkable, green, multi-cultural, food-centric — yeah, all that good stuff.
And the street erupts into a crazy outdoor art/food/music carnival the last Thursday of each month.
Best of …
There’s great coffee all over Portland, so just about anywhere you go will be fine. But since my gentleman friend says that coffee is important, here are a few specific suggestions:
- Extracto (at Killingsworth and 30th)
- Caffe Vita (at Alberta and 29th)
- Random Order (at 18th)
- Barista (at 18th)
- Fuel (at 15th)
- Ristretto Roasters (kind of far away but amazing)
My vote is the Tin Shed. But lots of other people think that too, so get there early!
Best cafe to hang out in?
For home-y, living-room atmosphere I’d probably go with Fuel Cafe (they sell aprons!)
The Playground is totally walkable from the Kennedy School.
Parking on and near NE Alberta Street is plentiful and free.
Oh, you are in luck. Portland is full of amazing food. It’s also full of vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free-ers, what-have-you, so everywhere you can get food there will be alternatives. Even the local rib joint has veggie options.
Alberta Street alone (where the Playground is) has
five six different Thai restaurants, three Mexican places, a donut shop and TWO vegan bakeries, not to mention a gazillion great cafes, bars, and other great places:
- Vita Cafe (lots of veggie/vegan)
- Bella Faccia Pizzeria (gorgeous pizza)
- Bollywood Theatre (Indian!)
- Dar Salam (Iraqui!)
- Mash Tun Brewpub
- Back to Eden Bakery (vegan mania!)
- The Tin Shed (yum)
- Good grief, just walk down the street!
Note: Beware of Pie! You will eventually come across a colorful sign on Alberta St. that announces PIE. And you will think oh good, pie!
But it is not pie. It is a shoe store. I’m sorry. Luckily there is excellent pie (I’m told) at the Order of the Ostrich. Which is really called Random Order. They make it themselves from local ingredients and everyone says it’s spectacular. We will have some!
Food cart culture
The best food in Portland is found in the food carts.
They are EVERYWHERE. Argentinian. Czech. Israeli. Ethiopian. New Mexican. You name it, it’s somewhere on the streets of Portland.
However, since the food cart scene on Alberta Street is currently in flux, the one must-eat here is the amazing The Grilled Cheese Grill at 11th Street.
Oh, and that awesome cart pod over on Mississippi Street (that some of you Rally veterans might remember) is right here.
For more about carts in the rest of town visit the site of a local food cart obsessive at foodcartsportland.com.
Grocery stores and other usefulnesses
- New Seasons is a terrific local grocery store chain — there’s one about two blocks from the Kennedy School.
They also have tasty, inexpensive food — which you can order to go, or you can sit in their little self-serve cafe. This is a very affordable way to do the food thing.
- There’s a drugstore (Walgreens) right next door to New Seasons.
- Alberta Cooperative Grocery at the corner of NE 15th is a great little co-op.
- There’s even a lovely little art store — Collage at the corner of 17th.
Free wifi at the Kennedy School. And at pretty much every cafe in the neighborhood.
If you don’t have a laptop (and for whatever reason you don’t want to borrow someone’s) there are computers available by the hour at Postal Central.