birthday in portland
Hi guys! It's taken me a while to get this post together, but I was a little too busy just basking in the memories of the trip and holding onto the feeling of it all to actually get off my butt and write a blog post. Basically, Gerome semi-surprised me with a trip to Portland for my 23rd birthday! I say semi-surprised because I'm a little shit who kind of spoiled the surprise by calling him to say good night two nights before my birthday and then asking him why he sounded so shady. He confessed that he was mildly freaking out trying to get a birthday trip together for me, which I thought was adorable. I was glad I called because he almost booked a hotel in Portland, Oregon instead of Portland, Maine, which was the Portland he intended on taking me to. It was really sweet of him and an honest and well-meaning mistake because Portland, OR has one of the boutique hotels from a hotel chain I really like. We ended up picking a hotel in Maine together and wrapped up planning the logistics of the trip at 4am the day we left for it. This post has just a few of our photos from the trip and my thoughts about the experience. I hope you enjoy reading this post!
We left Boston around 2pm the day before my birthday and arrived around 4pm in Portland. We ended up staying at the Westin Portland Harborview, which is in Portland's Old Port district. It had a really big and pretty lobby with a sparkly light fixture - I wish I took better photos of it. The hotel also has a cool bar on the top floor with great views of the city but we never found the time to check it out.
Our room was really nice and we got a free upgrade to a high floor with a view of the water! Thanks Westin! 😍
The first thing we did was walk around Portland. We saw cool vintage shops, a comic book shop/arcade, and lots of intriguing restaurants. We also saw Victoria Mansion but unfortunately it wasn't open for the season yet. It was still cool seeing the architecture of the building - I have a thing for old mansions and estates.
We eventually got hungry and went to Pai Men Miyake, which Gerome found out had gluten free ramen (I'm always craving ramen). The drink I got was a sake lemonade and it was delicious.
The ramen was amazing and super filling. Like me, Gerome hates picking out places for us to eat but when he actually does (which he did for most of the trip), he picks really good places. Does anyone know of any ramen places in the Boston area that can make gluten free ramen? Please let me know in the comments!
We walked off our ramen around the Downtown Portland area and took in the views and storefronts by the harbor. I didn't take many (good) photos of Portland during this trip, which is a disappointment to the content creator in me, but the birthday girl in me was too busy just enjoying city to take photos. Sorry not sorry?
After we walked around all the shops and bars (we surprisingly didn't go into any bars even though many seemed enticing), we headed to Duckfat for a late night snack! It was recommended by a friend and I looked it up online and was intrigued by their duck fat-fried fries and their milkshakes.
The fries were delicious!
We got the truffle ketchup and the garlic mayo for the sauces - they were bomb too.
Milkshakes are sooo bad for you but sooo good so I had to get the Original Duckfat Milkshake. It definitely pleased my sweet tooth. After we finished our not-so-little snack at Duckfat, we thought about going out to a bar but ended up going to our hotel for a little pampering and relaxation. Gerome did my nails (he was so good - I'm never getting my nails done by anyone else) and we also did face masks together. After that mini spa treatment a la Gerome, we had a little toast to my 23rd birthday once it hit midnight 🎉🎉🎉 Woooo finally 23 (I feel so old)!
My first morning as a 23 year old was a beautiful morning in Portland.
Check out my birthday nails! It's St. Clair by KL Polish, one of my favorite new spring shades. Gerome made me my morning coffee for my birthday - this is monumental because he does not drink coffee and therefore does not really know how to make coffee. 😂
Donuts for breakfast are vacation must. I'd happily live my life eating donuts for breakfast every single day, but I guess it's nice only having them once in a while. We went to The Holy Donut, which was highly raved about online.
I don't remember what our donuts were called but they were great (and mine was gluten free!).
After donuts, we went to Maine Beer Company! Gerome was very excited about this part of the trip and I was glad to spend part of my birthday making him happy, even if I couldn't drink any of the beer. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to pick up their famous Dinner beer but he was able to grab some Lunch and some other flavors.
We went outlet shopping of course.
We went to the outlets in Freeport after a recommendation from a friend. I got this cute skirt from Brooks Brothers - I've been looking for a tweed/boucle skirt to wear to work for a while now and this one was super cute and on major sale. Here's a similar one currently in stock. My shirt is from Forever 21 and my flats are by Tory Burch.
After we shopped for a bit, we went to Miyake for my birthday lunch! Miyake is the older sibling to the place we went to dinner the day before. Gerome made sure to take me to this place since they have a really good omakase and a chef's choice bento box option. Two years ago on my 21st birthday, we had omakase at Morimoto for my birthday lunch in Philadelphia and I enjoyed it a lot. I think I want bougie Japanese food for all my odd-numbered birthday years.
Rosé all day. I'm probably grinning at a pun Gerome said.
Glorious, glorious food. This wasn't too expensive for a chef's choice type of meal, but it was sooooo good. I'm still dreaming of the octopus dish (bottom right). Definitely going back here if we go to Portland again.
After our amazing lunch, we walked around Portland a bit more, shopped a little more at the outlets, then headed back to our hotel for a little downtime. At sunset, the view from our room was gorgeous (minus the hotel parking garage lol). The fog rolling over the water was eerily beautiful.
After relaxing a little, we changed to dinner attire and headed back out for more FOOOOOD (and alcohol).
First place we went for dinner was Eventide. It was rated really high online but I thought it was just okay. I think my experience was mostly ruined by the fact that during our wait, someone dropped their glass right next to me and some glass cut my foot. 😞 The drink I had was very strong though (the Twisted Tea, I believe) so that helped with the minor pain.
This was their famous Lobster Roll (gf version). It was odd - it was like a steamed bun and the lobster content was kind of minimal. It wasn't too bad but not my favorite lobster roll and I didn't really see what the hype was about. Apparently it's opening in the Fenway area soon, so maybe I'll give it another shot (and hopefully not get injured again).
After our tiny lobster rolls, we were still hungry so we went and put our name down at Central Provisions, a small plates restaurant. We then waited at the gelato place across the street called Gelato Fiasco and my now-drunk self was very excited about this because there were sooo many flavors to pick from and you could have as much as you wanted in any size cup. I had 4 flavors in a small cup and I forget them all now but I remember it was all really good! If you're a gelato enthusiast, go check it out.
We finally got seated at Central Provisions. It had a very cool gastropub environment. Gerome likes watching people make our food, so our seats at the bar were perfect. I loved that they had a foie gras menu in addition to their gluten free menu and normal small plates menu.
Central Provisions was amazing - definitely a great restaurant to end my birthday at. The three things above were the foie gras parfait, suckling pig, and the glass slipper. I think I died a little eating the foie gras parfait - it was so rich and sweet but still extremely palatable. I really like trying different foie gras dishes and this dessert version did not disappoint. The suckling pig was almost as good as lechon kawali but it had a sweet buttery fruit sauce that made it really special. The glass slipper was weirdly great, even though it was almost lacking in flavor. It kind of tasted like the purest version of alcohol and water - not too bitter or cloying. I kept drunkenly calling it Coachella water but since I've never been to Coachella, I have no idea what the hell I was talking about.
My 23rd birthday was perfect all thanks to this guy.
I really appreciate all the effort Gerome puts into making my birthday and other holidays feel special for me. He doesn't care for either of those things for himself but knows I enjoy celebrating birthdays and every holiday under the sun, so it's really sweet that he tries to give me the best birthday every year. Exploring New England towns with him will always be my favorite thing, and this Portland trip was one of the best little trips I've had recently. We don't travel too much but when we do, it's always so exciting.
We left Portland the day after my birthday after a brunch at The Sinful Kitchen. It looked like a good place for gluten free brunch options and we loved it. I had the Friends with Benedicts with avocado, crab, and bacon (sounds weird for an eggs benny but is actually delicious) and Gerome had the huevos rancheros. Before we left Maine, we did a bit more indulgent birthday shopping at the Kittery Outlets and then finally headed back to Boston.
That's it for my birthday in Portland! I hope you enjoyed following along our trip to Portland - I can't wait to blog more about our adventures around New England this summer. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Portland or if you have any requests for blog posts for me to write! Join me on social media if you want to be updated about my blog and whatever I get up to on a daily basis - I'm on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Bloglovin'. Thanks for stopping by my blog (and thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday on social media)! I hope you all have a wonderful day, come back soon for my next post!