Seattle/Portland Trip Day 5 + 6

And my Seattle/Portland daily recaps continue!

Day 5 T-Shirt of Choice: Make Me A Sandwich by Seibei and Bombs Away by Dale Edwin Murray (Tilteed)

This marked the start of our road trip to neighboring state, Oregon. We began the morning by having breakfast at a little cafe en route to Tacoma, were would switch off with our friends cousin whose car we were borrowing for the trip to Portland. The Shipwreck Cafe is this small stop off of Martin Way in Olympia, Washington. I got the breakfast special, which consisted of chickenfried steak, eggs, hashbrowns and toast. It was better than I expected! Tons of gravy lathered over the chicken steak. Don’t pay attention to the calories because the gravy really makes this dish special.

Oregon

After breakfast we headed straight for our first stop in Portland, the Full Sail Brewery, which is right next to Hood River. Full Sail Brewery is known for their award winning Session brew. The brewery tour lasted about 30 minutes and was quite interesting and informative. They walk you through the entire beer making process and even let you taste the ingrediants that go into brewing beer. At the end of the tour you score a free Full Sail glass!

Full Sail Brewery

The food at Full Sail Brewery was OK but the beer was exceptional. I especially loved the Full Sail Session Lager, that is definitely my type of beer and well worth the 2.5 hour drive from Tacoma. We ended up buying a case to bring back to the hotel.

After Full Sail we headed to Portland to check into our hotel, the third Marriot stop of our Seattle/Portland journey. We got lost. But that was a good thing because we ended up at a Traders Joe’s and bought tons of snacks! I wish Hawaii had a Trader Joe’s.

Lo and behold our hotel was only 5 minutes away from Trader Joes. We made it to our hotel, quickly unpacked and headed out to yet another beer destination – Rogue Distillery & Public House, to meet up with Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing and Patrick Treadway of Tilteed! We had a great time chatting about tees, Portland life, tees, and tees! It was great meeting up with those two excellent dudes. And my friends were happy because they scored some free tees from Patrick and one of you lucky readers will score a free tee(s) from Travis (I need to first figure out how to give them away)!

Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing

That’s Travis Greenwood from Found Item Clothing. Amazing guy who knows a ton about shirts and has crazy ideas! Follow him on Twitter @founditemclothing.

Parick Treadway of Tilteed.com

Hey, it’s Patrick from Tilteed.com! He markets, prints, and ships out all Tilteed orders by himself! Talk about dedication and being passionate about what you do! Follow Tilteed on Twitter @Tilteed. Use the code “TiltCoty” for an additional $2 off your Tilteed order!

After Rogue, Patrick was kind enough to drive us to VooDoo Doughnuts to get a taste of the weirdness that is Portland! VooDoo Doughnoughts was great experiece filled with an eclectic set of people! I’ve never quite experienced anything like VooDoo Doughnuts. It was a trip to say the least. And Patrick was right, VooDoo Doughnuts is best experienced at night because when we stopped by the following morning, the crowd was a bore compared to the night munchers.

VooDoo Doughnuts

Yes, that’s bacon on top of maple syrup drenched doughnut. Only at VooDoo Doughnuts!

Day 6 T-Shirt of Choice: Make Wellness Not War by I Am Wellness

Portland here we come! The morning was spent exploring the Pearl District of Portland. Our first stop was the famous Powell’s Books on Burnside. To say that this bookstore is huge is a big understatement. It’s ginormous. It’s probably larger than most public libraries you’ve been to. The store is split up into 8 different sections based on genre and occupies three full floors. You could spend countless hours exploring Powell’s, unfortunately our time was limited so our visit was brief (I still left with two new books).

Keep Portland Weird

As I was walking through Portland someone walked right pass me and said “I Love Your Shirt”. You can get it from I Am Wellness. Use the code “SUMMER09″ for 15% off (hopefully the code still works).

By the time we were through with Powell’s we headed out to lunch at Old Town Pizza which is an iconic Portland eatery with a haunted reputation. “Don’t be surprised if an unexpected guest joins you for a slice today. A constant presence at Old Town Pizza is Nina (pronounced “Nigh-na”), our resident ghost. If you feel a presence behind you, or smell a faint waft of perfume, you may have just received a visit. Nina is often seen in a black dress observing diners and wandering the basement below.” We settled on the House Pizza topped with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, black olives and bell peppers. The pizza was good but unfortunately there was no sighting of Nina, the resident ghost. I will say, though, that the restroom was freaky as hell. It is very dimly lit in there and I had a weird feeling (while I was peeing no less) that someone was watching me. Freaky!

Ground Kontrol is a neat little vintage arcade that Travis of Found Item Clothing suggested we hit up and I’m glad that we did! We spent about an hour in there playing some very old school arcade games like Centipede, Punch-Out, Simpsons and Space Invaders. This is not your typical arcade because at Ground Kontrol there is a fully functional bar. Awesome.

Ground Kontrol

I’m a huge fan of Punch-Out so I was stoked to find this classic arcade game at Ground Kontrol!

After Ground Kontrol my buddies decided to grab a box of VooDoo doughnuts for the drive back home. While they stood in line (in the hot sun no less and yet another reason to go during the night time) I ventured down the street and stumbled across a neat little coffee/art shop called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It had a a nice open space as opposed to the typical cramped coffee shop. I had the Queens Iced Tea and it was the cool refreshment that I needed! While the guys stood in that line for VooDoo doughnuts I sipped on my iced tea in air conditioning!

Good bye Portland, I knew you for just a day but I had a great time! Now en route to Tacoma (to return the car), we decided to stop by the Outlet Mall near Chehalis and in Centralia, Washington. The outlet stores of importance included Quicksilver, Billabong, and Nike. We hit those three shops up pretty hard.

From there we caught a shuttle to the 4th and final hotel of our stay – the Marriott Seattle Waterfront, which is just a few steps from Pike’s Place. We didn’t stay in the hotel for long as we decided grab some Clam Chowder from the original Ivar’s Seafood, right on the Seattle Waterfront. When you go to Ivar’s there just one thing you need to get – The Clam Chowder! We ordered one of each of the three different varieties: white, red and salmon. I urge you to do the same.

Ivar's

They encourage you to feed the Seagulls.

Ivar's

Small cup of Salmon Clam Chowder from Iver’s before heading to Del Rays for even more food and drinks!

Next we hit up Del-Rey’s for appetizers and drinks (or should I say beers and margaritas) and then finished the night off by closing down the bar at, appropriately, Ohana’s in Belltown, a Hawaiian themed bar. This was the third night that we stayed at a bar till closing (2am in Seattle).

But the night did not end there. We ventured off into the alley ways of the Seattle Waterfront and eventually ending up at Pier 67. The streets were empty and all that was left were four guys from Hawaii, laughing, talking and enjoying the camaraderie that you get from being with your closest friends.

Ohana Bar

Strangely enough, we ended our last together at Ohana’s in Belltown.

Seattle/Portland Trip Day 1 + 2

This is the first of a couple day-by-day updates that I’ll be doing during my trip to Seattle/Portland. I thought it would be cool to keep you guys up to date as to what I’m up to and what tee I am wearing! If you want to checkout the tee that I wore just click on the orange links.

Arrival/Day 1 T-Shirt of Choice: It’s A Plaid Nation/Super Soaker by ReThink Clothing

Things got off to interesting start with one of my friends missing their flight from Honolulu to Washington but that’s okay because he arrived earlier than I did! This was because he was able to get a direct flight when his original flight was delayed. Our third friend, who was coming from Boston and flying Delta Airlines found out that his luggage never made it to Seattle. Poor guy, he would not receive until two days later.

Our first full day in Seattle was spent driving up to Mount St. Helens, a good 3 hour drive from Tacoma, Washington. But it turned out to be a let down since it was very, very cloudy and rainy up at the top Johnston Ridge Observatory. We got to learn a ton about the history of the 1980 eruption but unfortunately we weren’t able to see the crater. Lame!

DSC06230

Later that night we met up with our friends from Seattle, whom were getting married that weekend. We checked out The Parlor Billiards & Spirits at the Bellevue Entertainment Center, an upscale billiards parlor frequented by many Microsoft employees (booo!). And in case you were wondering, Microsoft owns a ton of buildings in the Seattle area – I saw Microsoft plastered everywhere. My worst nightmare.

Day 2 T-Shirt of Choice: American Apparel Poly-Cotton 3/4 Sleeve Raglan Shirt

Day 2 we planned to hit up the typical Seattle tourist spots. This meant visits to the Seattle Space Needle and Pike Place Public Market. I’ve been to both before so I knew what to expect. What I really looked forward to was eating at The Crab Pot located at the Seattle Waterfront. If you plan to be in the Seattle area then The Crab Pot is a must visit destination. They serve up amazing seafood that’s dumped directly on to your table, including, Alaskan King Crab, Dungeness Crab, Snow Crab, Shrimp, Steamed Clams, Pacific Mussels, Ouille Sausage, Corn on the Cob and Red Potatoes. We ordered four buckets full of seafood goodness!

The Gum Wall

This is The Seattle Gum Wall! I love this alley way in the back of Pike’s in Downtown Seattle. A wall filled with chewed gum – so ewww but so cool!

The Crab Pot

The Crab Pot

Later that evening we decided to do the Seattle Underworld Tour, which is a variation of the family friendly Seattle Underground Tour. Seattle is a city built on top of the original city. The great fire of 1889 burnt the original city of Seattle down and a new city was erected on top of the original. Because of this, the original city still exists one story below ground level. This certianly made for an interested tour that consisted of tales of sex, whores, opium and debauchery. Great stuff! Oh, and did I mention that you get to drink during this tour, well, at the end of it anyway, a free cocktail on the house!

Seattle Underworld Tour

We wrapped up the evening by consuming even more beer, but at a different location, The Ram, which is located in the University district. We had good beers and talked up a storm. Basically caught with what had been going on in each others lives for the past year. Good times.Beer at The Ram

Nobu Waikiki

Noted Chef Nobu Matsuhisa recently opened his 15th restaurant at the Waikiki Parc Hotel this past year in Hawaii. I’ve been wanting to visit a Nobu’s for over a year now, ever since I researched eateries for the east coast trip that I took last year.

Having wrapped up teaching my first course at UH, Michelle thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the milestone with dinner at Nobu’s. Never one to turn down fine dining and fine company, I said yes.

After a little trouble locating the Waikiki Parc Hotel (It’s across the street of the Halekulani Resort) we finally found our way through the doors of this trendy new fine dining eatery. We had a 7:45 reservation and made it just in time. The restaurant was filled with a mixture of tourists and locals (okay, maybe more tourists than locals). The ambience was nice and the restaurant had a contemporary Japanese feel to it which is fitting since they do serve “new style Japanese.” Once we checked in with the concierge, we were immediately seated. We sat in the couples section, meaning, all tables within our proximity were for seating for 2. The tables were parked closely to each other, especially the tables for 2, but I guess this goes with the Japanese experience. In Japan, everyone and everything is shoulder to shoulder! We could clearly hear the conversations of the couple seated to the right and left of us. The food more than made up for this slight annoyance.

Less than 5 minutes after being seated we were greeted by our very friendly and knowledgeable waiter. We decided on some edamame as a starter along with some spicy tuna, California rolls and a platter of oysters. For my entrée, I had the organic chicken with anticucho and teriyaki sauce (I couldn’t decide on the anticucho or teriyaki so my waiter gave me both, score!). Michelle chose the tempura plate for her main entrée. Both of our entrées came with a hearty serving of miso soup, a bowl of rice (nice serving of rice but might not suffice those who are used to plate lunch portions) and tsukemono (vegetables such as daikon pickled Japanese style). Other vegetables that are traditionally pickled in the tsukemono style include umeboshi (ume plum), turnip, cucumber and cabbage. To supplement these wonderful delights, I ordered some Kirin Ichiban. I love Japanese beer!

Service was quick, our edamame arrived a few minutes after placing our order as did a surprise serving of greens with Matsuhisa dressing. Kitchen staff (and not our waiter) deliver the food, so you know that your food is served as soon as it is prepared. The edamame was served just the way I like it, slighted heated and with a dash of salt. Next came the miso soup and tsukemono. The miso soup was indeed tasty, and to my surprise was not flooded with green onions! I’m not the biggest pickled vegetable fan, but I did have a taste of the daikon, again, not the biggest fan. The oysters, oh the oysters. I love raw oysters, and these oysters were splendid.

Our appetizers shortly followed the miso soup and tsukemono. The California rolls were as good as any that I have tasted. Of course, it was far superior to Cal rolls served at Genki Sushi but on par with the cheaper Sushi Man (located on King Street). I didn’t get a chance to taste the spicy tuna (raw fish is not a favorite of mines) but Michelle did say that it was tasty.

We were both stuffed by the time our entrées came out, but like the good eaters that we both are, we trucked on! The tempura plate was quite a large portion. It was filled with a variety of tempura items, from the large pieces of shrimp tempura to the crunchy asparagus and the always interesting lotus root. Finishing off the tempura plate was a challenge, albeit a tasty one! The organic chicken with anticucho sauce was such a delight! I love my chicken and the chicken at Nobu’s did not disappoint. Again, the serving was plentiful. It was grilled to perfection. The jalapeno on the side was unnecessary for me.

No fine dining experience is complete without dessert. We sure did dessert! Rather than settling on one desert we haphazardly splurged on two delights, the milk chocolate “cremoso” (based on the waiters recommendation) and a pistachio desert whose name evades me at the moment. The milk chocolate cremoso came with a lilikoi curd and gelee, Nobu cabernet caviar and peanut butter powder. The cremoso did not disappoint. The finely grated peanut butter powder was amazing when combined with the cremoso. If heaven exists, then they must serve Nobu’s cremoso.

We left Nobu’s both satisfied with the service and stuffed with the food. The restaurant validates so parking is free if you park in the hotel lot. No valet service at the Waikiki Parc, but that’s no biggie.

If you’re interested in tasting great food in a nice ambience with good and fast service then definitely give Nobu’s a try. And don’t forget to ask for the cremoso when its time for desert.

Nobu Waikiki
2233 Helumoa Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
808-237-6999