How bad can a weekend be when it starts with this?
First up, Pip’s Original Donuts on Fremont in the heart of the Northeast Beaumont area. I had been seeing the ridiculous throngs outside this place for over a year now, but I finally found the courage to brave the lines. My girlfriends and I must have gotten lucky this weekend because not only did we find parking right away, we were fifteen minutes ahead of the masses and had but a short wait for both table and cooked-to-order donuts.
Look at the adorable staff. Check out the fresh tulips, the handwritten chalkboards, and doughnut making station on the back wall (I think the batter came right out of that canning funnel-looking thingy on back wall into hot oil and then onto a mini-assembly line after it was retrieved from the fryer).
Turns out cooked-to-order doughnuts are good-to-distraction. We tried a dozen with three different kinds represented, and while all were scrumptious (Meyer lemon pear butter, people), the one with the candied bacon and maple topping should have been outlawed.
Scratch that — it should be legally mandated that every non-vegan in town must try this at least once (as if there’ll only be a once– can you not taste that bacon-y mound awaiting you?)
Pip’s Original also makes outstanding homemade chai that is both crazy fragrant and deeply flavorful. I’ve never had a better one, and the fact that this place is about a mile from my house fills me with equal parts glee and concern — what if my kids find out fresh Nutella doughnuts are just more than a marshmallow’s throw away? They’ll never leave me alone (not to mention that my fat pants are now my new norm).
There’s a reason that’s Pip’s Original has almost 17K Facebook likes and a 5 star average Yelp review — and I have one more reason to love Portland.
More goodness to be had in town. The weather was equal parts gorgeous and gloomy, but I was able to find a sizable pocket of time in which I could organize kid activities in the park just five blocks away.
First there was an egg hunt in the garden behind Hollyrood School. Can I just tell you how thrilled the OCD side of me was to learn that I can just buy aqua plastic eggs at Target? I usually get a headache when I look at all those pastels thrown together but something about the color of these placid blue ones (not sky, just perfectly robin’s egg) was deeply satisfying to me.
Egg hunts are fun, but they always go by so fast, especially after the kids were told that the eggs were filled with Tootsie rolls (both plain and flavored) and Cadbury chocolate eggs.
Next up, we got to play KUBB ( a combination of bocce and a ring toss-type game involving wooden dowels), a game my Dad sent us for Christmas that was waiting for just the right amount of people and good weather to break it out.
As more kids showed up, a Capture the Flag game was initiated and that kept the kids laughing, running and screeching for hours. All the while, I chatted with pals and neighbors who stopped by when word got out that a CTF pick-up game was in process.
Luckily I had planned ahead, and there were plenty of snacks on hand for hungry jailers and jailees.
By the game’s end, we had almost two dozen tired kids on our hands, and I got to spend a good chunk of time with some of my favorite Portlanders. Everyone came out ahead.
Other pockets of sunshine were used to good effect.
Charlotte and I got to enjoy a spontaneous bike ride around the hood. I love my little bike; she not only delivers the smoothest of rides but she is also one of the prettiest things I own. Just one morning I would like to wake up and look half as cute as my bike does with its Nantucket basket.
The brightness of the day resulted in the somewhat washed up photo above, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that her paint job is a stunner.
I like to think of it as 50’s Minty Magic.
And then, finally, when the wind picked up and the skies darkened, the weekend of festivities culminated in an Easter dinner party for 20. My daughter gets especially excited about decorating for the holidays, so this was half the fun for her (the other half apparently is the feasting on Cadbury cream eggs).
Lucky for me, my friends aren’t just lovely people, they are formidable cooks and mixologists, so our spread was an enviable one.
There was chicken cooked with herbs and wine, salmon with Meyer lemon juice and shallot salt, cheesy scalloped potatoes, roast asparagus, lemon rice, and a spinach-radicchio salad with fennel, avocado and anchovy dressing. And tiramisu and lemon cake.
To go with, there were cocktails courtesy of the incredibly generous Tricia and Nick; they treated us all to a big batch with homemade smoked tea-infused vodka and sparkling lemonade. Good night, nurse — it was one for the records. Everyone chipped in with delicious offerings, and so it felt so easy to host. Thanks, pals.
And what’s a party without favors for the kids? No party I can throw in good conscience.
Every kid walked away with their own bag of Chupa Chups — and each adult with a full belly and a mini-hangover in the making.
Seems about fair, doesn’t it?