On a trip through the Northwest in 2015, Evan and I fell in love with Portland and Hood River, Oregon. We decided then and there we would have to plan our next trip to return... maybe for Evan's 30th birthday! Three years later, however, we find ourselves in a crazy-hectic post-wedding, mid-renovation stage of life and a vacation to the other side of the country is completely out of the question.
As March 21st neared, I felt the disappointment of not being able to do Evan's 30th celebration as we'd hoped, so decided to do the next-best thing : bring Portland to us!
Our "island family" is a tight-nit group of friends with a serious love for a themed party! We find every excuse to get together, dress up, and eat and drink ourselves glutenous, so I knew they'd support my Portlandian party.
Party planner by trade, I can truly say, this last-minute affair was one of my best! From the menu, to the decor, to the authentic additions and personal touches, it captured both the essence of Portland, and the spirit of Evan!
I rearranged the house so we could all eat in the same room, and it was funny how much I loved the new layout! We used coffee tables and pillows as benches and side tables as stools. It was no surprise most of my existing decor could be used to create the eclectic, bright and fresh look I remember from Portland.
The stories behind the menu:
Evan and I got great recommendations from friends prior to our trip, and additional suggestions from locals we met along the way. Our date night to Division Street started with putting our name down at the Thai restaurant, Pok Pok. They own the whiskey bar across the street and encourage you to get a drink and wait there...so we did! We enjoyed a cocktail and some famous Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings. The wings were as interesting as they sounds, but DELICIOUS! We ended up ordering more at the restaurant with our dinner! So to my menu they added...well, sorta. Even though I found the recipe online, I was intimidated to fry wings in the house, so I settled with Evan's favorite wings on the island from Catch 228. Ike was there in spirit!
Our AirBnB was in an adorable neighborhood, walkable to so many great restaurants, coffee shops and, of course, breweries! Day 1 of the trip we stumbled into what would become one of our favorite places on the trip (and we found our way back there another time or two): Breakside Brewery. We enjoyed so many menu items, but I chose the signature Breakside Burger... easy enough to make for the masses, and delicious enough to please them, too!
Salt & Straw
One of the more famous spots in Portland has to be Salt & Straw ice cream! I could never duplicate the unique, seasonal flavors, so I didn't try. I had it flown in instead!
5 pints of ice cream = $95.
The surprise and delight it brought Evan and our friends = priceless.
There were plenty of other details all helped make the night perfect, too:
When it was all said and done, the night was (almost) as perfect as our Oregon trip itself... and one thing Portland would never be able to replace is a great night celebrating with our closest friends!