to travel / portland, oregon (part 1)

I went to Portland, Maine last summer with good friends and had a blast. The other Portland in Oregon was also high on my list, so I was excited when an opportunity came up in early June. I got a fairly good snapshot during my 4 day trip. I need to return asap with my eating and drinking buddies, and not before a wedding that I need to participate in ;)

I used to be a Starwood and Marriott person. In more recent years, I’ve gone Starwood. Initially I booked the Westin, but upon further research, I discovered the downtown Nines Hotel was also a Starwood property and a part of their luxury collection. Perservance is key as it is a popular hotel and rooms at the corporate rate were sold out for one of my evenings. I was going to mattress hop to the Westin the last evening, but kept on checking and something finally opened up.

The Nines Hotel is centrally located. There is a mall nearby with a J.Crew a block away and did I mention that Oregon is tax-free? No tax on clothes, food, etc. There is also a considerable number of restaurants within walking distance. The Nines’ decor is modern and the color scheme revolves around my favorite shade of robin’s blue (which also occupies the walls of my room in my parents’ house – thanks, Benjamin Moore). It was a relaxing stay.

One nice feature about the corporate rate was that it was on the club lounge floor. There was free continental breakfast, drinks, snacks, and one of the hotel restaurants supplied hors d’œuvres every few hours.

The presentation was top-notch but after a few rounds (no repeats!), I concluded that the food was mostly too salty.

There was much hype about their restaurant, Urban Farmer, which (surprise!) focused on local food and also serves as the hotel’s room service. I had to try it out for one meal. The highlight was dessert – banana cream pie with coffee ice cream and chocolate caramel sauce. The popover in the can was very cute. The oysters were tiny, from the West Coast, sweet, and had bits of shell in almost every slurp. The baked mac n’ cheese was one of the worst things I’ve tasted in a while. Bland taste and overcooked consistency – a complete waste of calories. I eventually caught up with a friend who had many Portland food recommendations and in retrospect, I regret wasting a meal on this place. Urban Farmer is for the lazy so-called foodie.

To be continued…

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