You could go to Oregon for the natural beauty—the majestic mountains, the thick woods, the rivers, the flowers, the waterfalls, the streams.

Oregon trees

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

black-eyed susans


You could go for the history—maybe to see the Timberline Lodge, a towering structure built in the 1930s as a product of President Franklin D. Rooseveltโ€™s New Deal policies, and to stand under its 98-foot-tall fireplace constructed mostly by Italian immigrants.
timberline lodge
fireplace at Timberline Lodge

You could go, as part of a blogger weekend, to meet new people—to hear about their passions; to be exposed to new stories; and to then come home, after a few days with them, with a whole list of new blogs to read, while you think more about the world of blogging and bloggers and how/when/why you want to continue yourself.

People like:

Kind and friendly Andrew from Eating Rules
andrew from eating rules

Fascinating and inspiring chef/traveler/urban gardener Janelle from Talk of Tomatoes
Janelle from Talk of Tomatoes

The always lovely Danielle from Beyond the Plate (aka, the most beautiful blog ever)
danielle from beyond the plate

Charming Bea from La Tartine Gourmand
beatrice from la tartine gourmand

Paula from bell’alimento (left) and Carolyn Jung from Food Gal (right)
paula and carolyn

The best travel buds you could ask for, Cheryl of 5 Second Rule and Leela of Apartment Therapy

cheryl of 5 second rule
leela cyd of apartment therapy

(And others: Rika of Bella Bonito // Gwen of Bunky Cooks // Nick of Departures // Stefanie of Endless Simmer // Georgia of // Nicole of Pinch my Salt // Sean of Punk Domestics and Hedonia // Tami of Running with Tweezers // Linda of Salty Seattle // Debra of Smith Bites // Susan of Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy // Helene of Tartelette // Richard of The Passionate Foodie // Liz from The Toronto Star // and Gaby of What’s Gaby Cooking?)

You could go because you’d always wanted to see Portland.

You could go because it’s a break from wedding planning.

You could go, mostly, for the food.

Oh, the food.

This post, you’ve probably gathered, is about the recent long weekend I spent in Portland, Oregon, and the areas surrounding it, on a press trip for Travel Oregon. (Here comes the disclosure: All elements of my trip were hosted and arranged by Travel Oregon. While I was not paid for going on this trip, everything I experienced and participated in was covered for me.) While we did a lot of touring and sightseeing, the predominant theme all weekend was food—lots and lots of food. Food at wineries, food on city rooftops. Food classes, food demonstrations. And every one of the photos I took is from my iPhone because, WouldYouBelieveThis!, my camera is broken. Broken. I found out the first night there.


Thankfully, not even a broken camera could ruin Oregon’s bounty though, especially the way the Travel Oregon people chose to show it off.

Here are some highlights:

Thursday Dinner @ St. Jack (2039 SE Clinton)—a four-course meal including a butter lettuce salad and trout cooked in brown butter
st jack portland

st jack oregon bounty menu

Friday morning foraging with our wilderness guide, Dr. John Kallas, learning how to spot, among other things, smooth yellow violet, baneberries (poisonous!) and thistleberries.

wilderness guide


Friday lunch at Timberline Lodge, made by chef Jason Stoller Smith, featuring ingredients we had foraged in the forest earlier.
timberline menu

Friday dinner on the rooftop deck of the ad agency Wieden and Kennedy (and the award for coolest office building ever goes to…): pure gorgeousness, from the weather to the tables to the food, featuring burgers from two of the area’s best grillers: Gregory Denton of Metrovino and Chris Carriker of The Gilt Club. Carriker’s lamb burger was outstanding, especially the fig relish.

burger showdown
rooftop burgers
rooftop dinner

(plus, on that same rooftop, we had cookies from 2 Tarts Bakery, including fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies that knocked my socks off, sweet and salty just the way I like them.)

two tarts cookies

Early Saturday morning at the Portland Farmers Market, where I bought blackberries for $2.50 (and the vendor threw in a cucumber!) and a gorgeous sourdough baguette from Pearl Bakery:

portland farmers market
blissful morning
yellow plums
colored cauliflower
roasted peppers
more carrots
flowering artichokes
my blackberries

A session on canning with the very cool Erin and Jen of Sassafras Southern Kitchen, where we learned how to make heirloom tomato jam using 15 pounds of tomatoes she picked up at the morning’s market:

heirloom tomatoes
canning at sassafras southern kitchen
juicing limes
preserves into cans

A family-style lunch at Kitchen Cru, a fully equipped and licensed shared commercial kitchen, which is also where we canned with Sassafras, provided by a team effort from three James Beard approved chefs who’ve opened restaurants/bars in Portland: Scott Dolich (Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick), Chris Israel (Gruner and Kask) and Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern).

grilled trout, grilled veggies

And for dessert, caramels with sea salt from Arrowhead Chocolates, chocolate bars from Xocolatl de David and sea salt ice cream with ribbons of caramel from Salt and Straw.


Immediately after lunch, I followed Salt and Straw to a session on artisan ice cream making led by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek. In addition to tasting a flight of ice cream, we got the chance to hear how this cool ice cream shop, which uses all-natural dairy and focuses on local, sustainable, organic ingredients, develops new flavors (lots of experimenting and tasting), as well as the chance to make our own.

kim malek
kim and tyler malek

Our final dinner, Saturday night, was held at the beautiful Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, atop a hill in the Northern Willamette Valley.

dinner at penner-ash
final dinner

And then, just like that, two-and-a-half days of feasting were over. Many thanks to Travel Oregon for this opportunity and many thanks to the state of Oregon for having so many beautiful places and locally focused meals to enjoy.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. Cookie and Kate

    What a trip! I’ve always wanted to visit Portland, even more so now that I’ve gotten a glimpse at some of their eating establishments. I hope your camera gets better soon. Your iPhone photos came out great, though!

  2. Jacqui

    So awesome! I will have to come back to these photos when I’m not at work, so I have more time to drool and swoon and stare. But just glancing at them and I can see how amazing that place is. Gorgeous!

  3. Anne Zimmerman

    So fun to see Oregon/PDX through your eyes. I lived there for 10 years. You saw a lot of the best stuff!

  4. Andrew @ Eating Rules

    What a fabulous wrap-up of our incredible trip! Well done, well done.

    And you just had to include that pic of me making that goofy face, didn’t you? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  5. Bunkycooks

    What a great recap of an incredible weekend! I am glad that I was able to experience such an amazing time, too. Everyone that planned our weekend really outdid themselves.

    I think you did mighty fine with your iPhone, but I am sorry to hear about your camera. :(


  6. Danielle

    Oh this is just so beautiful!! Bummer about your camera, but you pulled off some pretty gorgeous images on the iPhone – who needs a DSLR? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It was lovely to finally meet you in-person and chat about weddings, blogging, writing, et al. 2.5 days is far too short for that, so you’ll have to come visit SF sometime, or me to Nashville. Good luck with the wedding preps!

  7. Michelle

    Portland is such a foodie town. It looked like such an amazing time! Salt and Straw is in my ‘hood. I could live in their shop!

  8. TJ

    You visited a lot of great places, but there are so many more! Yep, Portland is special.

  9. Kim

    DANG, I am jealous of this trip for so many reasons! Looks like a fantastic time…you should check out Timberline in the winter some time. Truly magical. :) (PS did you know that they used the outside when filming The Shining? There’s a “heeeere’s johnny” axe in the lobby by all the cool historical displays)

  10. Sue

    Wow. That ice cream sounded amazing. I think I would have loved all the info on canning- I’ve always wanted to try it! Glad you got to have such a fun weekend.

  11. Cheryl

    I would like to go back there right now and taste that ice cream we made. Gah, it’s *killing* me that I never got to see how it turned out. Also, in case you were worried, I do forgive you for posting a picture of me with my ugly bra strap showing. At least my face isn’t scrunched up like Leela’s.

    So pleased we met. I hope someone else sends us to another awesome place together so we can hang out some more.

  12. susan b.

    Lovely! I love living in Oregon. Thanks for these beautiful iPhone photos and all the details.

  13. Kasey

    Oh it looks like so much fun! I went to Portland and Bend last year and absolutely fell in love with it. I’m always thinking that one day, I might move there!

  14. Shannalee

    Cookie and Kate, Thanks so much for those kind words. The camera situation is still looking grim, but I’m hopeful.

    Jacqui, Thanks, friend! And if you like these, you should the ones other bloggers will be posting—makes me want to get my camera fixed *right now* so I can start practicing again!

    Anne, That’s great, another Portland local! : ) You have a perfect foodie town to call home.

    Andrew, It was just so good, I had to! : )Great meeting you!

    BunkyCooks, You’re very generous with your words, Gwen–thanks for that! You’re right: they outdid themselves with all the planning and food and activities. It was nonstop! I’m still amazed. : )

    Danielle, Oh, I would love to meet up again. You have such a gracious spirit, I really enjoyed talking to you. And PS YOUR photos are killer.

    Michelle, Oh, ice cream. I so know what you mean.

    TJ, Isn’t that how it goes? We fit so much in so little time though!

    Kim, Yes! They told us that about The Shining—crazy! I told the guy who runs Timberline about your winter experience and he agreed it’s magical there. Sounds so cozy!

    Sue, The canning was actually one of my favorite parts! SO fascinating, albeit a little intimidating for me because of the potential danger (aka botulism) if you make a big mistake. Those Sassafras ladies really knew their stuff!

    Cheryl, BAHAHAHA! It was the only picture I had of you for some reason! But thank you for forgiving me. : ) And I know! I wanted to try that ice cream, too. : ( Really was lovely to hang out. So glad to know you!

    Susan B, Another Oregonian! I love hearing about people who love their states. Thanks for commenting here!

  15. Shannalee

    @ Kasey (We commented at the same time!) – I understand why you’d say that! It seemed like I was constantly meeting people who felt the same way and really did end up moving there!

  16. MaryAnn

    Sounds like such a profitable trip – in so many ways. I’m glad you had the opportunity for such a fun break from the day to day routine. Gorgeous pics! I love that I got a preview via InstaGram :-)

  17. Heath

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for always sharing your adventures with such singular purity of self. Your writing and images are inspiring.

    My then new camera disappeared about two months ago & can’t be replaced yet. There is all sorts of iPhone action here, too. If it is ok to ask, what apps were you using & did you do any in phone editing? My daughters brought me back a fantastic book from England called “The Art of iPhoneography” by Stephanie C. Roberts. You might enjoy it in the interim.

  18. wandering educators

    wow. YUM. you are so lucky to have been around such great people – and food!! LOVE that carrot photo!!

  19. Shannalee

    MaryAnn, I know! I love Instagram. : )

    Heath, Thank you! The app I’ve been using is Instagram, which not only edits your photos with filters and a tilt-shift feature, but also it works sort of like Twitter via pictures—friends can like and comment. I’m @foodloves if you get on! : )

    Wandering, Thanks! Tim liked that carrot photo, too. : )

  20. Megan Gordon

    Oh. My. Gosh. YAY, Danielle and Cheryl–so glad you got to meet them. And Leela, too. What exquisite photos and recap of what sounds to have been an amazing time. So glad you got to get away for a bit. I was just in West Virginia at a writing retreat–isn’t it amazing what being around like-minded, smart, inspiring women (and men–although not many in my case) does? We need more of that! Hope you’re well, my friend!

  21. janelle

    Happiness to see you and meet you! What a delight; for Andrew: at least in YOUR pic your nose isn’t flattened against your camera;))). Loved dinner at St. Jacks with you! I mean really: they need a reunion trip ASAP!

  22. jenjenk

    i heart so many of the people you were with at this press trip!! Glad for stumbleupon to find your site!

  23. sunday taylor

    Loved your photos and the story you told. I’ve never been to Oregon but would love to visit. A friend of mine has a winery there and the wines are fantastic. This is my first visit to your blog and I am happy to discover it!

  24. Neil | Butterfield

    Stunning post, I love history and I love food so it looks like I need to head on over to Oregon at some time. You have shared some stunning pictures here.

  25. Shannalee

    Megan, Yes! Only it made me want to meet you even more! : )

    Janelle, HA! You are in the midst of your craft! Great meeting you!

    JenjenK, thank you!

    Sunday, Thank you for that sweet comment!

    Neil, Thanks!

  26. Pingback: Portland Spoke – The Official Blog of Travel Portland » Blog Archive » Full On Oregon Fun

  27. leela

    come back shannalee!
    can’t wait to hear all about the nuptials.
    loved our adventures together.

    big hugs,


  28. angela@spinachtiger

    Looks like a blast and well deserved. So sorry about your camera, but great pictures anyway.

  29. Julia

    Oregon is now at the top of my travel list–the farmer’s market photos are gorgeous. I love the picture of the limes as well. And I loved the story :) great blog.

  30. Shannalee

    Me too, Leela!

    Thank you, Angela! It is such a bummer about the camera but my iPhone saved me. : )

    Julia, Awesome! I hope you get to go!

  31. Lemon

    Oh, this is a lovely post. I have been to Portland some years ago and I really enjoyed it there, it’s a great place to be. The photos remind me of many great moments and give reasons to go back to Oregon and discover more of the region.

  32. bea at La tartine gourmande

    Such a lovely wrap-up full of great fun and memories. Despite the shortage of the camera, you got it just right. It’s lovely the way it is. And it was super nice to meet and chat with you. To more fun!

  33. sarah kate branine

    miss Shannalee,

    you are SO in trouble for not telling me that you were here!
    ( kidding! )
    ( kind of……….. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I am so glad that you were able to visit our beautiful state–just wish I could have met you while you were here. Guess that means you must come back again! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  34. Shannalee

    Lemon, I’m so glad! : )

    Bea, So lovely to meet you, too!

    Sarah, I totally thought of you guys! Until this trip, you’ve really been my only window into Portland/Oregon via blogging and I have to say you do it proud.

  35. The Undergrad

    Yes Oregon has great food! I love going to the farmers market, and even if I don’t have anything in mind to buy, the atmosphere is fantastic.

  36. Marc Scholnick

    Thanks for your work on this. Eating Rules is one of my favorites. By the way…The photos included in this piece are wonderful. Very clear with great character.

    1. Shannalee

      Thanks for that thoughtful comment, Marc!

  37. Pingback: Grapefruit Honey Sorbet + the RIPE Cookbook | Food Loves Writing

  38. Inna Borovik

    Great post! Looks like quite the experience!! I’d love to see this post in the blog section of the Portland page on Dwellable… please shoot me an email [inna at dwellable dot com] if you’re interested!

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