Shots of Portland

Including a recipe for chocolate shots — ooooh! 🙂

As I mentioned in a previous post, we took a trip in Portland. Several people have asked me about it, so I decided to share some thoughts. And pictures!

Old time motel sign
Please note, this place has free TV!

First up, I have to show you where we stayed.

We had a goal this trip – avoid chains whenever possible, both restaurants and hotels. Some of the hotels we stayed in had a lot of… shall we say… character? But the rooms were clean and the owners were happy, in some cases positively elated, to see us.

portland tour guide in green shirt
Our tour guide, Ryan

Our Portland hotel was conveniently located by the train, so the first day Daughter and I went downtown and took a walking tour with a guy in a green shirt.

Ryan entertained our group with history lessons, quirky tales and weird facts about Portland. The tour was free as he relied on tips. From what I saw, he seemed to be doing well.

The real Portlandia

One thing he showed us was Portlandia. He warned us not to post her picture because we might get sued, but I like to live dangerously.

Click to jump to recipe

Before we left on our trip, several friends told us, “You HAVE to go to Voodoo Donuts!”
That third picture? Do you see the line? And Daughter and I aren’t big on donuts. (I’m not kidding.)

What I’m not showing is that next to Voodoo Donuts was a large group of homeless people. Any business that only accepts cash (as is true for VooDoo), you can count on being approached by panhandlers.

Actually, this is true for much of Portland. One thing I read said there were about 1,200 homeless in Portland, another article said it was more like 4,000. From what we saw, I’d lean toward the higher number. (This is something they leave out of travel brochures.)

We only had one encounter with a very pushy panhandler, but it was enough to put me on edge. He saw a coffee vendor hand me back a 10 dollar bill for my change, and he wanted it. Like, asked for it repeatedly. When I refused repeatedly, he turned to Daughter and pestered her. I finally gave him a handful of coins to get rid of him.

One other bad part of our trip I’ll mention: both Daughter and I were having tummy troubles and Portland is a rotten place for that. Because really, Portland has some great places to eat. But as it turns out, they have some great bathrooms too.

gender restroom
While the rest of the nation is in a tizzy, Portland handles the bathroom gender issue with quiet grace. Please note the third figure.
Nordstrum bathroom
Women’s bathroom in Nordstrom. Daughter and I grew quite fond of this place.











Don’t worry, the tummy problems subsided after a few days and we managed to enjoy ourselves.

cucumber margarita and veggie pizza
Cucumber margarita and veggie pizza at Rialto Poolroom Bar & Cafe
Old town pizza
Old Town Pizza & Brewery (Rumor has it they have a ghost named Nina. We didn’t meet her.)
Thirst Bistro, on the river walk. Met up with a cousin I hadn’t seen for 30 years!
River walk
The view outside Thirst

Last, our favorite parts of Portland. Daughter and I made return visits, because we loved them so much.

book display in Powell's books

Powell’s bookstore is the BEST! Four floors of new and used books — or was it five? I don’t remember, but we loved this place. And look — a whole display on Existentialism! It’s like they knew I was coming!

shot of chocolate and espressoThis is from Cacao, a little chocolate shop in the lobby of the Heathman Hotel. (If you watch the TV show, Portlandia, you’ll appreciate the name of the shop.)

Daughter and I found their shots of drinking chocolate and cappuccinos addicting. We returned daily.

Once home, I had to try making drinking chocolate myself. This is not your normal cocoa, my friends. This is a chocolate indulgence sent from the gods, to be enjoyed year-round. Seriously! Heck, if I can drink it in in Phoenix in July, you can certainly try it.

Chocolate Shots with a Kick

  • Difficulty: sweetly simple
  • Print

My favorite from Cacao was their spicy chocolate shot, hence my addition of cayenne. This is a truly rich drinking chocolate, hence the ‘shot’ — the perfect amount.

Ingredients:ingredients for drinking chocolate

  • 4 to 6 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, cut up in pieces
  • 1 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)

espresso cup with drinking chocolatePlace the chocolate, milk, cream and sugar in saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring. In about five to six minutes the chocolate should be melted, do not let it boil. Add vanilla extract and cayenne, stir well.

Keep stirring and cooking until mixture thickens slightly. Serve in small dishes or espresso cups.


Note: This makes several shots worth, so keep any leftovers in the fridge and reheat as needed. It will keep for about a week.

Author: CJ Hartwell

After spending most of her life in Phoenix, Arizona, CJ Hartwell moved to the middle of Minnesota. Is she nuts? Probably. For updates on her sanity, click on the link to follow by email.

15 thoughts on “Shots of Portland”

  1. What an amazing trip! The pizza and beer look so good, I want to visit Portland just to eat my dinner tonight. My parents and grandparents both lived a short ways from Portland for many years. It has been quite a while since my last visit (so long, in fact, that I do not believe I have explored it as an adult: I will have to make a point to do so when opportunity arises.

    Liked by 1 person

            1. Hmm. Can’t say that I do, but I’m not always the best at noticing my surroundings.
              I do remember the park though, especially how people persisted in playing their sports, even when it was raining pretty hard. I guess that’s what it’s like there, right? You can’t let a little rain ruin your plans?


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