Before diving into new farm life I continue to recap my favorite destinations from five years of excessive work travel. Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine are two of my favorites and though a country apart, hip food scenes make both my experiences quite similar. They both involved excessive eating and drinking and some hiking. In both Portlands I was hosting chefs for the week which made it exceptionally more entertaining while reminding me that I am in no way cut out for the life of a chef. Unless perhaps I was in charge of salads and worked from 11 am – 2 pm. I could do that… maybe.
Stay: Ace Hotel Since my initial stay at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs this chain of flipped motels is my go to choice when possible. I believe Ace hotels has locations in Portland, New York, Chicago, Palm Springs, LA, Pittsburgh and maybe a few more. Ace Hotels hold the integrity of the property while mixing in the vibe of the city. The Portland, Oregon Ace reminds me of an old boarding house. I felt like a girl in the early 1900’s sent to the city to work and live in a busy apartment building. So if breaking out of the standard hotel monotony appeals stay at the Ace!
In Maine I enjoyed staying at the Harborview Westin and even saw Mario Batali in the elevator! This was the conference hotel so did not explore my options as much as usual.
What to do: In Portland, Oregon I visited Stumptown Coffee for a tour of their roaster along with a tasting. Ever since I love seeing Stumptown coffee at restaurants and coffee shops across the country. After coffee visit the dozens of breweries for tours and tastings. Directory here. Whenever I have a good amount of time tagged onto a work trip and hopefully a Canadian companion I rent a car and head out for a hike to enjoy more of the area affordably (other than the cost of the car). Hiking always results in extreme appreciation of the area and a well liked Instagram photo. Oregon Hikers lists different trails within driving distance of Portland. The scenery is just so different and feels so much bigger outside of the Mid-Atlantic bubble.
Same goes for Portland, Maine. Trails.com directs you to different trails in the Portland and South Maine coast. Running around the coast, taking ferries to nearby Islands and walking through the city to art galleries and boutiques all make the time go way to quickly. A nice Farmers Market is always right in the center of town. I always regret finding a great Farmers Market on my work trips because I just want to bring everything home and cook it but once I am home I never remember to actually visit my local Farmers Market. Maybe next week.
Eat: Everywhere. Just go everywhere. Run and hike a lot so you can eat everywhere. I boarded a plan way too early after a birthday party that way too late just to make the scheduled Pok Pok dinner in Oregon. While there visit the famous Portland Food Carts, Tasty and Alder and pretty much anywhere on Division Street. For desert Salt and Straw. Similar to A few days in St. Helena I really can’t give enough dinner recommendations. The chefs here cook amazing meals. You can’t go wrong.
In Maine, Eventide Oyster Co.. After several course dinners at some of the best restaurants in the world we still managed to visit Eventide every single night of the trip. These lobster rolls completely ruin any other lobster roll for you. The cold, juicy lobster fills a warm, buttery Asian style bun for absolute heaven. Before Eventide I tested my limits with pates and carpaccios at Central Provisions. The Cubano and poutine at Duck Fat and pretty much everything at Fore Street are mandatory as well. I discovered a love for Allegash White in Maine and it remains my beer of choice. For breakfast or dessert Holy Donut. I brought a box to a morning video shoot resulting in nothing but crumbs after five minutes.
Honorable Mention: Soakology boasts a hot tea house and reflexology massage. I just think that is the funniest most perfect combination and I will definitely visit my next stay in Maine.