Saturday, July 26, 2014

Babies and beer in the Pacific Northwest

Note the ingratiating onesie!
A few months ago, my sweet little sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! (You may remember my earlier blog post about her reveal party in Jackson over the Christmas holidays. So fun!) Precious little Owen was born in early May. But because my adorable bundle was aaaaall the way in Portland, Ore., I didn't get a chance to hold him until late June!!

My older sister, Laura, and I headed up there for a week of baby love when the little sweetie was about two months old. Due to flight delays galore (Houston is like the purgatory of airports.), we didn't get into Portland until something like 1 a.m. Owen was already asleep that first night, so I didn't even get to love on him until the following morning!

Laura and I slept in a bit the next morning before waking up to love on some baby! Oooooh, he's so cute! Little fingers! Itty bitty toes! The sweetest little bow mouth, especially when he yawns! He's got dark hair and eyes and he's a very chilled-out little guy.

We all piled into the car for a celebratory breakfast at La Provence. Now, back when I visited Portland for the first time, Grace and I sought this place out. (Delicious!) Since then, they've moved up in the world, opening multiple locations in the Portland area. I'm pleased to say they are just as good now, if not better, than they were when I first dined with them back in 2008. It was late on a Sunday morning, so our group of 4 1/2 had to wait a bit for a table. We sipped coffee until it was our turn to be seated, and then the feasting began!

Powell's rocks!
We started with mimosas and bloody marys all around, and then ordered four amazing (and huge) dishes for breakfast. Laura had the salmon hash, a gorgeous concoction of salmon, leeks, eggs, potatoes and lemon dill sauce. I chose the meurette benedict, two eggs poached in a Burgundy reduction and served atop a croissant with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and bacon. Everything was absolutely delicious, and portions were LARGE. As further evidence that this place isn't playing around when it comes to breakfast, they put the egg wash on their countless giant pans of croissants with a paint sprayer. Yep, like what you buy at Home Depot. No joke.

Prices at Le Provence are definitely spendy, but the food is so good, and you are honestly so full and deliriously happy when you leave, that you don't care. In fact, we bought a big box of pastries and a loaf of bread on our way out, for later.

After brunch, my brother-in-law had some errands to run. My younger sister, stir crazy after being home alone with an infant for two months, was giddy at the prospect of being able to get out and about. (It's a little less daunting to take a baby all over town when you've got two other moms with you who can carry stuff and help with the very small people.) The three of us, plus sweet Owen in the baby carrier, decided to stop by Powell's Books. Laura had never been before, and it was on her list. This is a store for book lovers. First of all, it's massive, taking up at least a city block. It's well organized, and there are opinionated notes in the stacks from staffers regarding all kinds of titles. They buy back used books from customers and then re-sell them, offering buyers a significant selection of reduced-price tomes. And, they offer books like Dancing with Jesus, which had a hologram for a cover. (See photo. Awesomesauce.) I kid you not. I love this place.

View on my evening stroll
After Powell's, we headed over to Saturday Market. Again, Laura had never been, so we were checking some items off for her. While Grace and Owen relaxed on the grass near a fountain, Laura and I investigated all of the booths, looking at original art, jewelry and other goodies. After a while, we reconnected with Grace and Owen and headed back to the house for a rest.

Once we'd recharged, Laura and I went with Ryan to a nearby grocery store, where we loaded up on food for dinner, snacks and general noshing for the week. That night, we made gorgeous bruschetta (with our Le Provence bread. mmmmmmm!), along with a plate of cheese, fruit, olives, nuts and other nibbles. We enjoyed all with big glasses of wine on their beautiful back patio for dinner.

Since it stayed light until late, I decided to go for a quick walk after eating. There's a pretty riverside trail within a couple of blocks of Grace's house, and I had the nicest, most peaceful stroll along there as the shadows got long. Then, it was back home and to bed, to bed!

More to come . . .

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