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Tag Archives: voodoo donuts

New Old Town Portland

The adage “what’s old is new again” is surely the case in Portland’s Old Town. A small and dense area known for its historic cast iron fronted buildings, Old Town encompasses both Chinatown and the Downtown blocks closest to the Willamette River. For almost a decade now Pedal Bike Tours has been located near the heart of this neighborhood and we’ve seen lots of transitions. That’s why it’s time to look at what’s new in old town Portland.

If you’re visiting Portland and looking for things to do in Portland, especially downtown, there’s no better neighborhood to get a feel for both old Portland and new Portland. It’s a region of dichotomies, just like the city itself. Historic structures sit next to cranes erecting future buildings, hot dance clubs are nestled next to homeless centers. It’s authentic Portland because it embraces both its history and its future. Here’s our top stops to get a taste of both.

Old Portland…

Portland Outdoor Store: Let the neon sign with a bucking bronco entice you into this two-story western supplies and clothing store. Take selfies with a big-brim hat, ogle the massive amounts of saddles, try on some cowboy boots, and get lost in the aisles of this century old Portland icon.

Oregon Leather CoLooking for some leather? How about a skunk skull? No? Maybe a rabbit pelt? Even if these aren’t on your shopping list, walking into this 110 year old family owned business is a trip back in time. Inhale the forgotten fragrance of raw leather, ponder the potential of making your own moccasins, and maybe leave with a handmade wallet or belt. At the least, you’ll have glimpsed Old Town Portland unchanged and without ego. 

Voodoo Donuts: Alright, it may only be 15 years old rather than 150, but it harkens back to a gritty time when Burnside was a no-go tourist zone and the Paris Theater

next door was catering to “adults,” mostly men if you know what we mean, not the artsy types it now attracts. In fact, it’s possible the neighbors were an influence when Voodoo came up with their tagline, “The Magic Is In The Hole.” With surly service and a cash-only policy, Voodoo maintains its anarchistic, punk rock roots. So yes, it’s old school Portland… with a new school line out front.

 

New Portland…

Pine Street Market: The city’s first food hall, we often describe this new marketplace

as affordable and simple street food concepts from some of Portland’s best chefs and restaurateurs. Warm up with Marukin’s authentic ramen, fill up with rotisserie chicken from Pollo Bravo (sibling to Toro Bravo), grab a slice of cheese pizza at

Checkerboard (from James Beard Award winner Ken Forkish), and finish it off with  dipped soft-serve cone at Salt & Straw’s Wiz Bang Bar. The best part? They’re literally across the street from us!!

Pine Street Market through Pedal’s window. And what do you know! Construction 🙂

Mother’s Bistro: As famous for their french toast as they are for their breakfast lines, this Portland establishment is popular for a reason. It’s mom’s recipes re-imagined with a gourmet twist and a swanky dining room – still just as comfortable though, because as the restaurant’s saying goes, “It’s all about the love.” As of early February 2019, Mother’s moved into the more spacious and beautiful digs below the Embassy Suites in Old Town. That means a shorter wait time for a table, and now only 2 blocks from our shop. Thanks, Mom! I mean, chef Lisa Schroeder.

 

We Rode, We Donuted, We Pinballed!

Gathered For The Ride

Gathered For The Ride

Woo hoo!  Last Saturday approximately 15 pinball/bike riding fans rolled out of the shop and hit the streets to go in search of some fun.  Led by our staff pinball wizard Miles, we hit the road en-masse on our way to four stops around the city.

Outside Red Flag

Outside Red Flag

We left the shop and headed east, through the quiet streets and mansions of Irvington, our longest ride of the tour.  On the edge of the Laurelhurst neighborhood we found our first stop, Red Flag.  The fact that’s it’s a relatively new bar with four pinball machines goes to show how popular pinball still is.

Keeping right on schedule we hopped back on our steel steeds and shot the short distance to our next stop, The Standard.  Another newish bar, The Standard is tucked cozily away off the main drag of Burnside.  Once you pass through the patio into the bar you’re greeted by five gleaming machines of pinball beautaceausness!

Working It

Working It

After several quarters worth of ‘balling we tackled the deepening gloom with one thought in our heads, donuts!  Past the former headquarters of Jantzen swimwear we pedaled at top speed to reach the second incarnation of that purveyor of deep fried delights, Voodoo II.  The line was so long we had to take turns standing in line and playing games.  A few pinheads even decided to try their skills at the bubble hockey table.  Lucky, lucky Laura (she of the “Bile” t-shirt) actually got the VERY LAST Bacon Maple Bar!  Now that’s some good ju-ju!

mmm, Bile

mmm, Bile

Stomachs fortified by dough and heads buzzing from sugar we rode through the Lloyd district back to our own dear neighborhood and into our last stop Billy Ray’s Neighborhood Dive.  When was the last time you visited a bar set in an old house with the entire second floor devoted to pinball?  That’s right, we moved in, took over and ‘balled until we were spent.  (Bonus, the Blazers beat the Mavericks on the tv behind us).

In time, some pinners moved reluctantly on to other pursuits while others were still pounding the flippers way into the wee hours.

Great tour everyone thanks for coming!

See more photos here.

You Must Concentrate, Grasshopper

You Must Concentrate, Grasshopper

Oregon Tours

1 (503) 243-2453 info@pedalbiketours.com
133 sw 2nd avenue portland, or, 97204