I’ll be taking Amtrak Cascades to Portland, Oregon in November, and it’s always tough to decide which hotel to call home for a few days. One of my favorites is Hotel Lucia, located on Broadway in the heart of the city. It’s hip and cool without being overly so. And even better is they offer seasonal specials and packages, like this sampling below.
- Sunday-Tuesday Special: Free WiFi, $10 valet parking ($35 value) and 10% off best available rate when you stay on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night.
- Fall AAA Members Promotion: Free valet parking when you book for stays before Dec. 30, 2011. Just present your AAA membership card at check-in.
- Staycation: This $20 discount off the popular Eat, Sleep & Be Parked package is only for Oregon locals and Washingtonians. Includes overnight accommodations, food and drink at a Portland restaurant ($30 Visa gift card), unlimited in-out valet parking. Valid for Thursday-Monday stays; present driver’s license at check-in.
- Fall Wine Harvest Package: In celebration of Oregon’s fall grape harvest, this package includes overnight accommodations, complimentary valet parking, a bottle of Argyle Pinot Noir and a charcuterie plate. You’ll also receive two complimentary tasting flights at Argyle Winery in the Willamette Valley and a $100 certificate to the Farm to Fork gourmet restaurant at the Inn at Red Hills in Dundee, OR.
Travel Portland has a Portland Perks special offer that includes free overnight parking, complimentary continental breakfast for two and the Portland Perks discount coupon book.
So what about dining? The Rose City is a true foodie town, with no shortage of restaurants and food carts. There are more than 200 carts in the city, most of them located in pods across town. But I’m more of a sit ‘n dine person, and discovered some new food and beverage venues during my most recent visit. They include:
- Irving Street Kitchen: Open for dinner and weekend brunch, I went here for cocktails before dinner. Located in the Pearl District, enjoy such classic cocktails as a Chrysanthemum (c1920, with lillet blanc, benedictine and an absinthe rinse). Or indulge in an Irving Street original such as a Death on a Spring Afternoon, Sucker Punch or a Porch Swing.
- Gruner: They call it “cozy Alpine cuisine,” and that it is. Gruner, which means greener in German, may be middle-European in style, but the food is Pacific Northwest sourced. Since I was making my debut, I shared a number of snacks and appetizers with my dining mate. It’s an adventurous menu with such offerings as Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs, Crisp Polenta Croquettes Stuffed with Raclette Cheese, and Quark Spatzle with Chanterelles and Edelweiss Black Forest Ham.
- Chef Naoko Bento Cafe: I walked to this cafe for lunch after a visit to the Portland Art Museum. What a find! Chef Naoko serves Japanese Bentos prepared with mostly natural and organic ingredients from local farmers.
- Little Bird Bistro: I’d heard a lot of buzz about this resto, from both locals and other resto lovers. It didn’t disappoint. With no reservation, there was a 45-minute wait, so I went and enjoyed a cocktail and jazz at the nearby Benson Hotel. When I finally was seated in the packed resto, I ordered Le Pigeon Burger with fries and a glass of Beaujolais — French, of course. Open daily for dinner (late night menu ’til midnight) and weekdays for lunch.
- Voodoo Doughnut: A Portland institution and destination. What, a Bacon Maple Bar? Now with two locations in Portland, you can select from more than three dozen varieties of doughnuts.
Getting Around: A fun, green way to get around in Portland is on a Pdx Pedicab. And if it’s raining? No worries. There’s a waterproof covering, so passengers stay dry and cozy inside. They also offer a Pdx Pedicab Brewery Experience ($65) and a Pdx Pedicab Distillery Tour ($60).