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My family likes to visit Portland whenever we have a few days off because it’s close enough to drive but far enough to still feel like a real vacation. We’ve found many little treasures on our trips here (like the Powell’s City of Books) while there’s still many nooks and crannies for us to explore. Best of all, we get to check it out entirely tax-free! I like to think of it as 12% more adventure for our buck.

While spending Christmas day on the road seems a bit morbid prima facie it’s actually a good idea since almost everything’s closed anyway (Starbucks, for the record, is open). The seven hour drive actually went by pretty quickly since I spend most of it writing and doing a little holiday reading à la Jane Austen. We made it into town just in time to check-in to our hotel and leave for dinner at McCormicks and Schmicks. Apparently, one of only fourteen restaurants in Portland that are open on Christmas day -fun fact from my father.

They are well known for their mussels so we ordered that as a starter and now I see where the good reviews are coming from. I don’t usually like members of bivalvia but these are amazing! The wait staff even offer to bring extra foccacia to dip into the delicious broth it’s cooked in. Yum. The restaurant is well designed so that the tables are at different heights, reducing the sound pollution and giving every table in the house a great view of the waterfront. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be during the day. They also print new menus every day based on what fresh seafood is available so there’s always new things to try.

But the wonderfullness did not end there, we all loved our entrees and cleaned our plates most enthusiastically. My dad got the Grilled Seafood Trio, which comes with the most delicious crab cake, grilled salmon, giant shrimp, mashed sweet potato. . . Am I making you hungry yet? I, on the other hand am making an effort to stay away from farmed fish so I ordered the wild rainbow trout which had a slivered almond crust that gave it a great crunch. I had a taste of almost everything my family ordered and they were all fantastic. I’m making a mental note right now to go back to try more things on the menu next time we’re in town.

Grilled Seafood Trio

Obviously dessert has to follow. Everything on the dessert menu sounded amazing to me so my mom picked out The Chocolate Bag for us to share, which literally is a bag made of chocolate, filled with the most delicious mousse and fresh berries. I may or may not have been the one who polished off 90% of that dark chocolate satchel, it was that good.

The Chocolate Bag

Good thing we went for a post-chocolate-coma walk along Peacock Lane after.

Peacock Lane is a just a regular old residential street in Portland, but one with a tradition that dates back to 1929. Every year, every single house puts up the most extravagant Christmas lights for everyone to enjoy. On some nights they even block cars from entering to give more room for walkers.  As a bonus, there’s even a Walgreens at one end if you need a break. Whoo hoo Walgreens.

I know that this is in no way a style blog and I don’t intend for it to ever become one but I feel like I just have to say that scunci No-slip Evolution are the best hair elastics in the world. They don’t snag, don’t get gross and soggy when wet and I’ve never had one snap. I personally give them half-marathon-10.5-hours-in-the-OR approval, they’re that good. This package was even pink ribbon labelled since the company is donating at least $100,000 to breast cancer research so I just had to pick another set before checking the other side of Peacock Lane.

Confession: I have no idea how to pronouce scunci

I’m planning on logging 10K in the hotel gym before hitting up the breakfast buffet tomorrow morning so I’m going to have to call it a night.

Come back tomorrow to read what else I’ve been doing sans tax.

Good night!

McCormick & Schmick Harborside on Urbanspoon