Monday, December 15, 2008

Home from Oregon.

It feels good to return home from a trip, even when it's as brief as my visit to Oregon was. I spent the majority of my time working but I managed to do a lot of exploring as well. My experience showed me that Oregon consists of many breathtaking views, excellent food, and a profuse number of incredible local beers.

I took a couple hundred photos and posted my favorites on picasaweb, thirty eight total. I feel that I only scratched the surface of what Oregon has to offer for photography; I already want to return in the spring. I placed nearly all of the photos on the map since I visited a variety of places like the Portland Japanese Garden, Voodoo Doughnut, and several waterfalls.

I only managed to visit four waterfalls during my trip: Multnomah, Horsetail, Wakeena, and Bridal Veil Falls. Of the four Multnomah and Horsetail were easily my favorite. I also did a lot of driving along the scenic Historic Columbia Highway which is where most of my photos were taken. I stopped at a lot parks, scenic views, and random spots along the way.

The food was a surprisingly good overall; I managed to visit most of the restaurants I wanted to try and many others suggested by co-workers or locals. My favorites were spread across 80 miles covering The Dalles, Hood River, and Portland:
  • Brian's Pourhouse - This was my favorite restaurant. They served one of the best steaks I have had in quite some time. The prices were a bit higher than I would normally pay but it is definitely a restaurant I would visit again and again whenever possible.
  • Double Mountain Brewery - This microbrewery had a selection of wonderful beer and astonishing food. One of my co-workers, Ryan, informed me that the owner also owned a bakery which produced the pizza dough resulting in some of the best local pizza.
  • Voodoo Doughnut - This tiny doughnut shop was everything I had expected and more. The number of people visiting the tiny hole in the wall was impressive; however, their doughnuts instantly showed me why. I had three doughnuts while in Portland: dirt, old dirty bastard, and maple bacon. The old dirty bastard was my favorite but is not for anyone attempting anything resembling a diet - this creation was covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and oreo cookies. I tried the maple bacon because of it's comic value, I had to try a doughnut with bacon which was good but not my favorite.
  • Tijuana Mexican Restaurant - This restaurant looked like a complete dive from the outside but several co-workers suggested we eat here for lunch. The interior was welcoming and the food was the best mexican I encountered during my trip.
I wrote down the names and some brief thoughts for each restaurant in my notebook. I was shocked at how poorly represented Oregon, especially Hood River and The Dalles, is on Yelp so I plan on contributing my experiences soon. I hope that posting them to Yelp will be more helpful than writing about them here.

The plethora of local beers deserves a post by itself; however, I did not write detailed enough notes to provide any real substance on the topic. I had no knowledge of Oregon's local beers before arriving and I still feel that I know very little. Thankfully a couple of co-workers introduced me to a few of the local beers: Double Mountain and Douchettes. I'm certain I sampled others but I can't recall which. I also had the pleasure of trying some home brewed beers from Ryan.

I'm glad I got to make the trip, I really enjoyed getting to meet the people I communicate with on a near daily basis. Hopefully I can return soon to explore and enjoy more of the area.

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