Photo | Karina Chegarnova
Everyone talks about the rain in Portland, but it contributes to the natural beauty of the city, it waters the roses and keeps the city fresh. The vibrant food scene, walkability, and overall look and feel are just a few reasons to visit, despite the rain.
They call Portland, The Rose City and it’s not for nothing. The city is covered with roses. Plump English roses and pale pink tea roses adorn the city, wild roses climb fenses, and gardens get filled with them. The city is not all flowery, but innovative, exciting, and sometimes flat-out weird. The topic of Portland is long, but a here a few things of note:
You can never go hungry anywhere in Portland. The city is a cornucopia of food catering to every taste, ethnicity, and eating style. Chic vegan eateries, classy fine dining establishments, and ethnic food establishments are scattered everywhere, and anywhere a restaurant is not, a food cart fills the gap.
I knew nothing of food carts till I moved to Portland, where in the span of one city block any cuisine can get purchased from a little serving window built into a truck, strategically parked along the sidewalk for “walk-through” convenience.
The carts are parked in pods covering entire city blocks, or conveniently sandwiched between office buildings. The idea is brilliant for owners and customers alike. The owners have a mobile enterprise with low overhead expenses, while the client gets ready meals anytime, anyplace.
There is African, Brazilian, Cajun, Ethiopian, French, Greek and to avoid the complete alphabetic list of nations, any other cuisine you could crave. Over five hundred food carts spread throughout Portland, and new trucks can show up at any given moment.
But the carts aren’t just divided by cuisine types. Grilled Cheese Grill is devoted to making creative grilled cheese sandwich concoctions. And forget the old peanut butter and jelly. A food cart, called PBJ’s offers PBJ’s that would have left your school lunch the envy of the cafeteria. Their sandwiches get created from an incredible variety of bread, butter, and jams. Originals like The Oregonian, a sandwich of challah bread, pan-seared duck, hazelnut butter, blue cheese, and Marionberry jam. I don’t eat such sandwiches, but I’m altogether impressed with how they slap the things together.
Food cart pods are a food lover’s haven— no, heaven. The biggest problem is the variety. All the aromas beckon, “pick me, pick me” and how do you do that when you’re hungry?
I did plenty of wondering, and one of my favorite things about Portland is how walkable it is. Hundreds of people opt out of owning a car to walk, bike, and use public transportation because it’s convenient, healthy, and green. And Portland is all about being green.
When it comes to the overall look of the city, Portland is entirely photogenic. It’s a beautiful composition of sleek modern architecture mingled with the dull tones of historic buildings. The best part is the natural backdrop of vibrant greenery and mountains shooting up behind the city skyline.
The natural color scheme is ever-changing, from verdant green, to burnt orange, to bare brown giving the city a slightly different look for every season. It’s always beautiful, always fresh, and always picture worthy.
If moving to Portland is on your mind, I recommend the “Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Portland.” I read it before moving. It covers virtually everything a newcomer could wish to know.