Keeping It Weird

Just back from a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon.  I hadn’t been there in years and was looking forward to exploring.  Cold temps (well, cold for us Cali Central Coasters) and rainy weather kept me from doing as much walking/exploring as I’d planned, but I was still able to capture some of the unique weirdness of which Portlanders seem so proud.

Portland’s signature motto:

Across the street from the billboard was this amazing sculpture in front of a clothing boutique for “queen-sized” women:

In front of a women's clothing boutique

The Hippo Hardware store is a Portland institution, in business for over 35 years and boasting an impressive selection of vintage, hard to find, or just plain funky hardware, lighting and plumbing, not to mention the most amazing collection of hippo and other stuffies anywhere.

Every column on the building is decorated with a painted hippo, but this one with the “Mom” tattoo was my favorite:

At the Hippo Hardware store

Part of the hippo collection:

I’m not sure how good their actual inventory was–I was more intrigued by the decorations:

This guy's been wandering around in the store too long....

I could have spent all morning just there, but there were other sights to see. We drove by the Voodoo Doughnut Shop but didn’t have time to check it out. One of their signature doughnuts–a bacon maple bar. Yep, you heard right, a maple bar topped with bacon.

A quest for a good place for brunch brought us to The Original “A Dinerant” on SW 6th, based on diners of the 50s and 60s, featuring comfort food in large portions. I ordered a veggie breakfast burrito that would easily have fed three people. One of the vegetables in the burrito was Brussel sprouts! It’s never been a favorite vegetable of mine, but it had been sautéed with cumin–excellent! There’s also an art gallery contained within the restaurant and artwork is displayed on the walls of the restaurant. This rather odd mixed media taxidermy work by Brooke Weston caught my eye:

It turns out Brooke is from here on the Central Coast, and as the bio on her website states:

Her addiction to the bizarre, morbid and fantastical was apparent at a very young age.

Bizarre, indeed.

We also visited a very nice farmer’s market. Had I not been going to hop on a plane the next morning, I would have stocked up on some delicious-looking produce. Especially loved the black carrots:

Something truly weird about Portland is that chickens are a favorite pet, to the point that tours of local chicken coops are offered! Next trip, I’ll have to add the Tour De Coops to my itinerary. 🙂

Nothing weird about this image–it was a beautiful old gate covered with ivy, just across the street from our friends’ home in the Portland Heights district:

The weekend was filled with excellent company, good food and fun–and despite an introduction to voodoo doughnuts, tattooed hippos, taxidermy and chicken art, and Brussel sprout burritos, I have a feeling I’ve only scratched the surface of Portland’s unique weirdness.

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