The Mommy's Review

The Mommy’s Review - 51 Hours in Portland, OR

Some of the amazing donuts at Tonalli’s Donuts & Cream Credits: Jennifer Niederhoffer
Just one small corner of Powell's City of Books. Credits: Jennifer Niederhoffer
Voodoo Donuts assortment Credits: Jennifer Niederhoffer
Taking in the amazing view of Multnomah Falls. Credits: Jennifer Niederhoffer
One of Portland's many, many food truck lots. Credits: Jennifer Niederhoffer
Vintage video arcade and bar Ground Kontrol Credits: Jennifer Niederhoffer

I was recently doing some work for the Sesame Street: K is for Kindness Tour, and I had to travel to cover the Portland, OR date. It was my first-ever time in the Rose City, so I tried to maximize my hours to see as much of the city as I possibly could.

My work brought me out to the Portland ‘burbs, where I spent the day at the Washington Square Mall (9585 SW Washington Square Road), a really nice shopping complex where one of my local Summit friends used to hang out as a teen. (PS: Hi, Kim!) When I was done, I took an Uber into downtown, checked into my room at the elegant Hilton Portland & Executive Tower (921 SW 6th Avenue), laced up my Skechers, and got ready to pound the pavement.

Downtown Portland is an extremely walkable city, and walk I did! I strolled through downtown, first making a quick stop at Departure Portland (525 SW Morrison Street), a swanky bar, lounge, and restaurant featuring a rooftop deck with stunning views of the city and Mt. Hood.

Sign Up for E-News

I then made my way over to Voodoo Doughnuts (22 SW 3rd Avenue), a place that I’ve wanted to visit after seeing it on so many tv food shows. Although pretty much all of my PDX friends and contacts told me that Voodoo was not all it’s cracked up to be, I was still set on going there. As expected, there was a huge line wrapped down the side of the building, and with only limited time I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay. I happened upon three young guys who were trying to take a group shot, so I offered to take one for them. I asked if the donuts were worth the wait, and they said they were “just okay,” and then offered me a donut from their stash! (They had bought a dozen.) So, after quieting the suspicious New Yorker in me, I took one of theirs and went on my merry way. It was a chocolate donut topped with chocolate frosting and Cocoa Puffs. It tasted like a Dunkin’ Donut chocolate frosted on a bad day, although the frosting was thick and yummy. So, in the end, I was glad I got to try one, but without the wait.

Fueled by sugar, I passed some food truck parking lots (food trucks are huge in Portland) and the entrance gate to Chinatown, which is pretty much abandoned these days. I stopped in at a super fun little spot called Ground Kontrol (511 NW Couch Street), a vintage video game arcade and bar. I was thrilled when I got carded (although I learned later that Portland is extremely strict about checking IDs), and I played a few rounds of pinball.

After enough buzzers, bells, and bumpers, I walked through the Pearl district until I arrived at  Powell’s City of Books (1005 W Burnside Street), the largest new and used bookstore in the world. So, imagine how big the biggest bookstore in the world is, and you probably still won’t understand how big this store is until you step foot in it. I was probably in there for about an hour, and I didn’t even leave the first floor! Powell’s takes up an entire city block, so they even give out maps. Don’t miss this place if you ever get to visit Portland.

I kept on walking and exploring the city, until was ready for dinner. I was heading towards a Vietnamese restaurant near my hotel, but instead I stumbled upon Fresh Roll (600 SW 4th Avenue), a casual little place serving Vietnamese “street food.” I enjoyed the most satisfying bowl of rice noodles with grilled shrimp and lemongrass chicken with a refreshing fresh ginger lemonade. Highly recommended! After dinner, I strolled through the upscale Pioneer Place Mall (700 SW 5th Avenue) for a bit, and then called it a night. (Or maybe my feet just realized they’d had enough!)

Since my time in Portland was so limited, I hired a local tour company to take me around on my last day. I found Oregon Tour Company online, and I wound up booking two of their tours back to back. I spent the day with owner Pete Woodburn, and I could not have made a better use of my time or money. We started out early in the day on the Portland City Tour, where I learned a lot about the history of the city while exploring its layout as well as the sprawling neighborhoods that surround downtown Portland. What I loved about the city were all the little neighborhood hubs, where you’d find a strip of restaurants, shops, bars, etc., but there were really no national chains to be found. Everything was really unique, mom & pop type places, and it was a welcome change from our strip mall culture. We stopped at the most delicious donut shop--Tonalli’s Donuts & Cream (2805 NE Alberta Street)--where I enjoyed an amazing, fresh Old-fashioned Cinnamon Crunch donut. It blew yesterday’s donut away by far! Since Pete is a longtime resident of Portland, he was able to give a real insider’s tour of the city, talking about everything from crooked politicians to where the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane used to stay when they were in town.

In between tours, I grabbed lunch at Nong’s Khao Man Gai (609 SE Ankeny Street), which is known for their simple-yet-delicious poached Thai chicken. It was just the perfect fuel I needed to continue on my second tour of the day, which was the Columbia River Gorge Tour. This was about an hour ride (with views of Mt. Hood and even Mt. St. Helen’s in view) from Downtown Portland to Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot waterfall that was just beautiful. Pete took us to a few other off-the-beaten path falls, including Latourell Falls which had an amazing neon green face from the rare lichen that covers it. I didn’t think I was going to have enough time to get out to see this part of Oregon, but I’m so glad that I did.

Once back in the city, I stopped in for dinner at McMenamin’s Blue Moon Tavern & Grill (432 NW 21st Avenue) for a delicious burger and tater tots. After that, it was back to the airport and back home with a wish that someday I’ll get back to Portland again.

Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm.  You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Union County 4-H Club Reaches Out to Help after Hurricane Maria

March 17, 2018

Student members of the Union County 4-H Variety Club reached across local and state borders to help displaced pets earlier this year. Through their “4-H for our 4 Pawed Friends” community service project, they collected donations to help St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison after the organization sheltered more than 700 pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

A ...

LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Cancer Recovery Program Session Begins March 20

A new spring session for The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, a 12-week cancer recovery program, will begin at the Berkeley Heights YMCA on March 20, 2018. The program is a research-based physical and wellness program in which certified Summit Area YMCA trainers work with participants to achieve their goals. LIVESTRONG®  at the YMCA helps cancer survivors who find themselves in the ...

Discover Your Inner Ballet Dancer


This 8-WEEK class will be focusing on the classical technique of ballet in a fun and easy to understand manner. You can expect a full ballet class experience from working at the ballet barre, to leaping across the floor! No experience is necessary to participate. Easy to move in clothes, and socks or ballet shoes are recommended.


Diversity and Inclusion at the Summit Area YMCA

The Summit Area YMCA is more than a swim and gym. It is more than a childcare center. It is more than a nonprofit organization. It is a welcoming, safe, inclusive and globally diverse environment.

For the past 2 years, the Summit Area YMCA has been recognized as one of only 74 Y’s in the country with a Diversity and Inclusion and Global Innovation initiative. Our Y is made up of people ...

Troop 368 Celebrates 9 Eagle Scouts in One Year

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Boy Scout Troop 368 of Berkeley Heights is celebrating the award of nine Eagle Scouts of 2017, with eight more in the works so far in 2018.

Aside from being the highest rank a Boy Scout can earn, Eagle Scout confers many advantages in life. College admissions recognize the award, giving students an advantage. Eagles are also eligible for scholarships open only to ...

NP Democrats Actively Vetting 2018 Candidates

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Democratic Club is issuing a final call for submissions for candidates who want to run for open positions in the 2018 election, which includes mayor and two council seats. If you would like to be considered as a candidate, please email by noon on Sunday, March 18th, to receive further information on the ...

Thank You From Mayor Al Morgan

March 16, 2018

This past week will certainly be remembered by us all for a very, very long time. Thank you hardly seems sufficient, but it is the very least we can express in appreciation for all the incredible acts of kindness, generosity, selflessness, and volunteerism our community received this past week during and after the storm.

Thank you to all of our residents for their patience, understanding, and ...

NPHS Student's Response to After School Walk-out Plan at NPHS

A group of students file into a science classroom amid a nervous din of chatter, the air is electric with excitement and nervousness. This small group of approximately 30 students are a studious bunch, largely members of the sophomore class with squeaky clean administrative histories. They are currently preparing to defy authority and stand up for what they believe in, even though they had been ...

A New Day for 529 Plans: Federal Tax Reforms Lead to New Possibilities for These Education Savings Accounts

March 8, 2018

Do you have a 529 college savings plan? Have you thought about opening a 529 plan account? If the answer to either question is “yes,” you should know about two major changes that broaden the possibilities for 529 plans. They may give your family some new options. You may be able to pay K-12 tuition with 529 plan funds.

The legislation ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 17, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, March 18, 9:30 AM

New Providence

Tai Chi Chaun

Health & Wellness


Sun, March 18, 11:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Zumba meets Bolly DaZz

Health & Wellness

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday



Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Surreal Places, Imaginary Spaces: A Literary Tea

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Crescent Concerts Presents Annual Festival of ...

Arts & Entertainment

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...

New Providence OEM Opened Storm Shelter and Warmed Hearts

The New Providence Office of Emergency Management opened its shelter at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, their first guest being a stranded motorist.  The storm left ¾ of New Providence without power. The shelter cared for over 325 people over the course of 6 days. 

The Shelter provided, heat, wifi, electricity, food and a safe place to sleep. One ...