Pacific Catch; the perfect place to get your local stripes in San Francisco…

Right chaps, today’s post starts with me getting something off my chest, out in the open and laid bare for you all to see.

I simply can’t hold it back anymore…I have an admission to make.

I love San Francisco.

I do. I really really do. I heart it in all it’s blue-skied, green-grassed, natural-and-man-made glory.

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When we put it on the roadtrip list, I thought I’d like it. I thought ‘hey yeah, San Fran looks pretty cool and sunshiney and pretty…woo hoo!’

Psssh, what did I know? Those words are pale and insipid compared to the compliments this city should be getting.

It’s gorgeous. It’s clean. It’s friendly. It’s full of happy, healthy, glowing, outdoorsy people but it also has libraries, museums & galleries for those who prefer to work up a sweat by the turning of pages or the viewing of world class exhibits.

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You can eat pretty much anything you crave from a global menu of deliciousness; you can blend in with the locals at any number of coffee houses & cafes; you can string your camera round your neck and proudly proclaim your tourist proclivities at the wharf, the parks and the piers. You can get your photo taken with Yoda for heaven’s sake. Oh SF, you slay me.

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Q: How do you fill your belly with 24 hours in Portland? A: You start with cheese & ice-cream…

Grilled cheese and ice-cream and donuts and duck and kale and figs and cider…this is my prescription to you for sustaining yourself through a day in Portland.

Do not eat it all at once. Do not expect it all to be in the same part of the city. Do not concern yourself with thinking about how you’re going to eat all of this and not end up a) the newest and squidgiest contestant on ‘The Biggest Loser’ or b) horizontal on a park bench somewhere clutching your tummy and whispering to yourself ‘How did I get here? How did this happen?’. Trust me when I say you will easily walk it off; in fact after 24’000 steps spent personally trotting around this oddly charming, hip and I-don’t-really-care-what-you-think city, I guarantee it.

When J and I put Portland on our road-trip map earlier this year, we were both really looking forward to seeing what it had to offer – it’s notorious for being a bit artsy, a bit hipster, a bit laid back – but I was especially excited because the food scene in America’s 29th most populated city has literally exploded over the past few years, leaving food trucks and independent cafes and world class restaurants in its wake. With literally too much choice for the time allowed, decisions had to be made about what we’d be eating otherwise, frankly, it was all going to end in my confused-and-overwhelmed-and-over-stuffed-tears.

With a critical harshness that would make Simon Cowell give me a slow hand clap, we ended up with the Grilled Cheese Grill food truck, Salt & Straw farm-to-cone ice-cream, classic-brioche-with-an-unexpected-twist Blue Star Donuts and Veritable Quandary, a local landmark in Portland’s restaurant scene since 1971.

This post is going to cover the little comers of Portland devoted to cheese and ice-cream so first, who’s up for the best grilled cheese of their lives at Grilled Cheese Grill, a nonchalantly-cool-but-casual converted school bus…?

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Poaching from Poppins here but the Pistachio & Pickle is practically perfect in every way…

Have you ever put somewhere on your list that you had a real hankering to visit but wanted to wait until you had enough time to truly enjoy it? Somewhere that you were almost a little bit afraid to try for fear that it might not live up to the sky high expectations you had of it after hearing rave reviews?

Welcome to the Pistachio & Pickle, just such a place for me.

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