My favorite things in and around Portland, Oregon

Restaurants, coffee shops, hikes, and more.

Sweedeedee serves what is likely my favorite style of breakfast – a mix of fresh and pickled veggies, bread, and spreads.


  1. Astera, Il Paffuto, and Fermenter (RIP) (Vegan) – Aaaron Adams is a genius. Fermentation-forward vegan food. I don’t think anybody is going as far as this crew does to make unique foods from scratch.
  2. Yaowarat, Phuket Cafe, Hat Yai — All of Akkapong Earl Ninsom’s restaurants are fantastic. Special, but not fussy (except sometimes, but only in the best ways).
  3. Oma’s Hideaway + Gado Gado – Two of our go-to places when folks visit from out of town. The food is both familiar and unique. Great N/A drink selection.
  4. Jade Rabbit (Vegan) – Their old spot, Ichiza, had the best vibe in Portland. Jade Rabbit is better in some ways. Don’t sleep on it.
  5. Sweedeedee — A great spot with amazing breakfast and lunch. I love the atmosphere (relaxed, light) and its proximity to Mississippi Records.
  6. Cheese & Crack — We’ve been eating the cheese plates from Cheese & Crack since before we moved to Portland. Now we mostly eat their soft serve ice cream (dusted free-dried beet, matcha, strawberry etc.) and amazing sundaes.
  7. Guëro – Their torta’s are great and they have a few veggie options that are all great and beyond the typical "let’s just put mushrooms on it and call it a day".
  8. Simply Thai — A small cart on Sandy near my house. They never let me down.
Seven small donuts in a takeout box from Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai. Some are covered in nutella, salt, and jam.
A familiar scene at our dining table. Though, Ellen’s in my seat for some reason.

Tea, Coffee, Bagels, and Donuts

I'm a tea drinker, I've only had coffee once in my life. However, I love a good coffee shop, so I’ll include a few of those as well.

  1. Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai — Their chai is really great and they’ve got many different styles. However, I’d be lying if I said the donuts weren’t the main draw. They’re fresh and made to order, the best donuts in a town full of great donuts.
  2. Bernstein’s Bagels — Great bagels with great schmears. I drive 40+ minutes round-trip once a week to pick these up.
  3. Spielman Bagels — This used to be my favorite, and I still love them. If I lived closer to the Division location I’d be there weekly.
  4. Coava — Some of the best coffee in Portland (I’ve been told). They’ve got some cool, non-traditional locations and a great vibe.
  5. Portland Cà Phê — Great chai, mochi donuts, and bánh mì (the best sandwich) — pretty much my favorite things all under one roof (they have coffee too, you freak).
  6. Annie’s Donuts — The cutest old-school donut shop in Portland. Pretend it’s 1970 and sit in the booths with a cup of coffee and a donut.
  7. Carnelian Coffee — I wish this was closer to my house. A rock/geology-themed coffee shop? Great. Perfect. No notes.
A miniature building in someone’s yard in Portland. Orange house with a green door. Small furniture and figures.
My favorite shop in Portland. JK, this miniature scene was in someone’s yard. So cute.


  1. Mississippi Records — The best record store in the world? I've discovered some of my favorite artists (like Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou) through their label and shop.
  2. Monograph Bookwerks — Art books, ephemera, folk art, and more.
  3. Hi Books — A tiny art book store near PSU.
  4. Bishop & Wilde — Books and records focused on queer and underrepresented voices.
  5. Vein of Gold — The best used clothing boutique in Portland.
A shadow of a tree on a stone path in the Portland Japanese Garden.
Probably the least interesting photo of the Portland Japanese Garden but I just love how this shadow turned out.

In-Town Hikes & Nature

  1. Forest Park — I once told someone that I had heard there were like 500 miles of hiking trails in Forest Park. There are actually only 80. I was off by a factor of 6. Still, 80 miles of hiking trails in a city park is pretty amazing. I think it’s the largest park within city limits in the US. I should fact check that, but obviously I’m not going to.
  2. Mount Tabor — When we first visited Portland, Mount Tabor was on a list of suggested places that someone gave us. I assumed it was an hour or two away, but it was 15 minutes by bus. We go once a week for great hikes and views of the city.
  3. Laurelhurst Park — We lived near Laurelhurst Park for a few years. It’s a great place to walk around and see dogs. There’s a pond with ducks and geese. We’ve seen movies, comedy shows, silent discos, huge group bike rides, and just so much fun stuff there. A gem of a park.
  4. Portland Japanese Garden – Beautiful plants in a meticulously maintained garden with great views of the city. The cafe is also wonderful.
  5. Powell Butte — There’s many ecosystems at Powell Butte. Prairie, forest, wetland, and a view of Mt. Hood. It’s a great place to see a lot of different things in a short hike. We saw a coyote there once.
A view of the Oregon Coast featuring rocky cliffs, the ocean, and a cloudy sky.
Jenna, Ellen, and I on the Oregon Coast. Photo by William Hess.'

Nearby Hikes

  1. The Thumb – One of the most iconic hikes on the Oregon Coast. It can get a bit scary if it’s windy, but the view is worth it.
  2. Oneonta Gorge — The most memorably gorge hike’s of my life have been here. Climbing over log jams, walking chest deep in water, and diving into a pool of frigid water at the bottom of a waterfall. Go when it’s hot out.
  3. Memaloose Hills — We do this hike every year during the flower bloom. It feels like you’re in a Zelda game in all the best ways.
  4. Rooster Rock — A beautiful swimming spot in the Columbia River Gorge. Only twenty minutes from our house. Perfect on hot days. Suits are optional.

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