Red Star Tavern, Portland

Another example of Portland's brill dining scene, the Red Star Tavern was an easy venue for our last evening and a top recommendation from fellow instablogger @melbfoodstagram. For all our walking, talking and touring we went straight for the steak and chips. I paired it with some local craft brews on tap, a Double Mountain 'Vaporiser' and a Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen; and my friend with a nice drop of Soter Pinot Noir.

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Third Wave Coffee Tours, Portland

Third Wave Coffee Tours is an excellent way to explore the Oregonian coffee scene. We signed up for Thursday's Artisinal Donuts and Specialty Coffee tour and literally let owner Lora Woodruff lead us about by our noses. The tour gave fascinating insights into the local scene and gave us a stunning array of donuts to sample. We began at Coco Donuts and were offered two varieties of single origin drip coffee paired with our treats; at each donut stop our coffee was offered black and although I don't normally drink it that way I decided to get into the spirit and wasn't sorry. We walked from Coco to Local Roasting Co where we watched the magic at work, hearing the crack of the beans and smelling a freshly roasted batch. From there to Bluestar Donuts, who brewed an interesting, exclusive roast that Lora explained was designed to stand up to the strong flavours of the donuts - one being a sweet potato and sage number - you can't help but notice the perfect pairing. Our final stop on the tour was sampling a short macchiato from fine coffee purveyors, Barista, and we were lucky enough to take in a cupping session in progress. Wish I'd bought the He-Man tee - souvenir regrets!

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Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen, Portland

On a grey day in Portland, Kenny & Zuke's stands out like a ray of sunshine.  The Deli is large and can seat quite a few but even when busy it still feels expansive.  It is a casual, happy place committed to great pastrami.  I was feeling a bit poorly and well on my way to a winter cold, so I indulged in the best chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted while my friend took on the aforementioned famous pastrami Reuben.

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Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Portland

It wasn't just that I had spent the previous two weeks in hostels and 15 hours on a bus... The Hotel Monaco is an outstanding hotel full of character and beauty, accompanied by excellent service.  Kimpton Hotels operate throughout the States and offer an excellent loyalty program; we secured a bargain nightly rate as well as free beer and wine vouchers to use in the hotel restaurant, the Red Star Tavern.

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Pike Place Public Market, Seattle

Started by farmers as a way to stop the middle-man from unreasonably hiking up the price of produce, Pike Place is the original farmers market. Home to sensational produce and baked goods, this is where you'll find the fishmongers throwing salmon like football and Seattle institutions Lowell's and The Athenian (made famous by Sleepless in Seattle).

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Storyville, Seattle

While having multiple locations, Storyville maintains the feel of a boutique cafe. I made the climb to Storyville in Pike Place and amongst cosy surrounds overlooking the bustling marketplace, I picked up a latte that was beautifully whipped, poured and had the perfect ratio of shot to milk. I went back here a couple of days in a row...

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Bainbridge Island, Seattle

After three days of wandering Seattle, my feet were itching to see more so I hopped on a Ferry to Bainbridge Island. The island was brimming with character, charm and friendly faces. My day was spent wandering the town centre, marvelling at vintage wares, locally made jewellery, and wondering exactly how I could choose just one of the fab eateries on Winslow for lunch. Food soon fled my mind when I stepped into the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art which houses a striking collection of local art, heavily influenced by the rich heritage of the First Peoples of the Salish Sea region.

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Seattle Antiques Market

A curio stop on the waterfront, I wasn't looking for the Seattle Antiques Market, I could swear it found me! The market was full of brill vintage items, with an intriguing range of items that were somewhat different to what I would see in a similar market in Australia. A great snapshot of time and place! 

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The Space Needle, Seattle

You can easily spend the better part of a day at the Seattle Centre, accessed via the Westlake Center Monorail, it holds several of Seattle's attractions and is the gateway to a few more. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle is a marvel of the city skyline. Legend has it that the famous shape was first conceived by architect John Graham on a napkin. To get the full effect of the view, it's a great idea to get the City Pass and use the day/night ticket - although this does have to be used on the same day.

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