Best Ice Cream Ever: Salt & Straw

Confession: I’m not a huge ice cream fan. Weird, I know. However, sometimes the mood strikes and I have to have ice cream immediately. When this happened while we were in Portland, I was pleased when I typed “nearby ice cream” into my cell phone and discovered a Salt & Straw location nearby. I had heard of it before because it was featured on Food Network’s Top 5 Ice Creams in America and in Food & Wine magazine.


Because our daughter was sleeping in the back seat, my husband pulled up to the curb and I ran in to pick out a pint and three spoons for the three of us to share. There were so many fantastic-sounding flavors available such as Honey Lavender and Oregon Peaches with Toasted Walnuts.


I opted for Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and it was the best ice cream I have ever had.


Sadly, the only locations are in Portland and Los Angeles, but, fear not, because Salt & Straw offers monthly shipments anywhere in the United States. The price is a little high, but if you’re a major ice cream enthusiast looking for a fix, it would be fun. If you get a chance, try Salt & Straw. Tell them Katie sent you. And then they’ll look at you funny because they have no idea who I am.


Portland Children’s Museum

Aside from going all Axl Rose on our hotel room and finding a rock on the sidewalk with which she refused to part, the Portland Children’s Museum was definitely the highlight of the trip for my daughter.


I have an unquenchable thirst for learning. I would forever be in grad school grabbing various degrees if someone would fund it. I love opportunities to promote education to my girl, and the museum has various rooms with more activities than one can get to in a day.


She played with clay.


She loved the child-size vet clinic complete with stuffed dogs to treat.



We played the piano (poorly).


She dug around in rubber dirt in the miniature construction site.


She ended a busy day contemplating various career paths by shopping for groceries in the toy food supermarket at the museum where she selected steak, potatoes, apples, and oysters on the half-shell.


Oregon: Hotel Rose, The Coast, and Multnomah Falls

While on our fabulous, fun and food-filled Portland adventure, our base camp was the quirky and cute Hotel Rose.


Hotel Rose made us feel right at home. They are kid-friendly without seeming that way. They had a portable crib set up for us before we even arrived in our room, and the daily pineapple cupcakes available in the hotel lobby had me at hello.


They also feature the most comfortable hotel room beds I have ever experienced. My daughter agrees.



The hotel is right around the corner from several fantastic bars and restaurants. It is also within arm’s reach of the Portland Saturday Market, which features hundreds of booths showcasing art, music, and food.




We took a little roadtrip to the coast so our girl could see the ocean for the first time.


We visited the breathtaking Multnomah Falls.


We spent some time on Sauvie Island, nestled between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. My husband lived on this quaint little island for a while during optometry school. All in all, it was a relaxing family vacation and a delightfully fun place to visit.


Oregon: Shafer Vineyard Cellars and David Hill Winery

While in Oregon, we visited Shafer’s Vineyard Cellars and David Hill Winery. Both were beautiful and the wines were delicious. I’m a fan of crisp whites so I was digging the pinot gris at both locations.


Shafer’s was especially fun because my husband used to spend time there with some of his friends.


That’s Miki, owner of Shafer’s. We appreciated that she had toys in the tasting room for our daughter to play with while we sampled a few of the wines.


This is the lovely view from the front porch at Shafer’s.


Both wineries provide a casual and welcoming environment. I felt as if I was visiting an old friend’s house, and that old friend just happened to have some great wines for me to try.


David Hill Winery is in this charming old farmhouse. They had just unveiled their Farmhouse Red wine and it was fantastic.




I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon! We brought home some bottles so we can continue to enjoy the fun of that day.




Portland, Oregon: Powell’s, Voodoo, and Falafel

We are back from Portland and my pants are definitely fitting a little tighter, but it was oh so worth it.


We packed a lot into our few days there. It was my first visit but my husband lived in the Portland area while attending optometry school. It was fun having him show us around.


I will post more on our trip to the coast, wine tasting, the Portland Children’s Museum, and eating our way through the city. For now, here are a few highlights.


Powell’s Books was a must for me, of course. It is touted as the world’s largest book store. It is a good thing I was hungry again when we were there because I could have spent days on end perusing the shelves.


Because we were traveling with a one-year-old, we were back in the hotel room by 8 p.m. every night and up bright and early. I took advantage of this on two of the mornings there and went for a jog downtown where we were staying.


And, because I’m a total health nut, I only stopped at Voodoo Donuts one of those two mornings.


Voodoo is a must when you’re in Portland and thanks to my daughter waking me up at 5:30 a.m. I didn’t even have to stand in line.


Another must in Portland is visiting the food trucks. They do not disappoint.


I opted for this falafel sandwich and it changed my life.


And when it was time to walk off some of this delicious fare, the view of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge provided exactly what we needed.

Stay tuned for more on Portland!