Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scenes from Birthday Weekend

For the last five years we have traveled somewhere to celebrate my birthday, but this year we decided to celebrate at home in Portland and it was one of the best birthdays in memory. We celebrated for four days with special dinners with family and friends, eating whatever sweets I wanted, a relaxing massage, equally relaxing walks around the city and exploring places we've wanted to check out for awhile. It was a bonus that the weather was nice and sunny. 

The day started with a surprise new camera lens, which I quickly used to document turning a year older. Mike's gift wrapping skills have gotten so good I didn't want to open it!

Mike's wrapping

We started the day with brunch at the always busy Tasty & Alder, John Gorham's modern steakhouse. We've eaten at his other beloved restaurants Toro Bravo and Tasty & Sons, and we were not disappointed. It was an epic brunch with the best house chili infused tequila Bloody Mary; radicchio, bacon lardons, and a six-minute egg (they had me at six minute egg); Korean fried chicken; Wagyu steak frites; and the Carlton Farms pork schnitzel. They even surprised me with a birthday chocolate potato donut.

Tasty Beverages & DonutRaddiccio & 6 minute egg saladSteak & Frites

We then roamed around enjoying the wonderful spring day, admiring the city's architecture and getting used to my new camera lens. We purposely selected high protein brunch items in order to have energy to walk up the street in search of cake and french pastries.

Art Deco BuildingSweet ShopsDowntown StrollDoc Martin HQPemco BuildingBocciNeighborhood DetailsMusgo MuralOld TownPints

We decided to take advantage of the terrific weather and wandered into the Lan Su Chinese Gardens, a place near and dear to us because it was where we got married. 

BoathouseChinese Garden WindowsGarden ViewsChinese Garden BloomsChinese Garden DetailsGarden Photo

Soon it was time to meet up with my parents for dinner at one of our favorite Italian Restaurants, Piazza Italia. After a day wandering around we were ready for a week's worth of carbs and wiped our plates clean. 

Piazza DinnerPiazza Pasta

The following day we enjoyed another terrific breakfast at the Portland Penny Diner. Opened only Monday-Friday until only 3pm, I decided it would be the perfect place to meet my girlfriends for a birthday lunch, where we were treated to the yummiest birthday lemon bar. And since it was my birthday I decided to treat myself to some delicious locally roasted coffee at Heart Coffee Roasters and it was well worth the somewhat high price. 

Downtown Food CartsLatte ArtPenny Diner Breakfast SandwichHeart Coffee Shop

Soon it was time to head back downtown to meet friends for our quarter-annual birthday celebration at the amazing Paleo/Gluten-Free/Vegan Asian restaurant Departures. The crispy squid was amazing, so amazing we took one bite and immediately placed another order. 

United States National BankCrispy SquidDeparture Dinner

My birthday weekend continued on with my favorite Abu Shiro ramen at the east side's only Japanese izakaya Yataimura Maru, some time at a garden center surrounded by blooming spring flowers, and my mom's insanely good eggrolls noodle bowls. 

It was such a wonderful birthday that I am already looking forward to getting another year older and celebrating all over again!

Love, Anne