If you find yourself out and about on a sunny Saturday in Portland in search of ideas of how to spend your day, we’ve got a great suggestion for a little Portland day trip that we recently enjoyed ourselves. As you may know, the sun can be a rare sight during many months of the year in the Pacific Northwest, so when it decides to show itself, you’d better take full advantage of that yellow ball in the sky!
On a beautiful spring day in April, we decided to head to the Portland Waterfront for a scrumptious brunch at LeChon, and a leisurely stroll along Tom McCall Waterfront Park to see the cherry blossoms. We ended our afternoon by browsing the enormous Portland Saturday Market, checking out all the arts and crafts and doing a little cider tasting (because…free alcohol…c’mon).
Serving up South American cuisine in an alluring historic building right across the street from the Waterfront, you’ll find this little gem of a place with a unique brunch menu. When reading up about it online, I found a little secret – there was a good chance the wait at LeChon would be short! Though a long wait for a PDX brunch is often the norm, waiting in line for over an hour, or even up to 2 hours before you eat, can make you super hanggggrrrryyyy. We got there around 11:30 a.m., only had to wait a few minutes for a table to be cleared, and were seated right next to the window with a view of the Waterfront just across the street. Brunch win!
We started off our meal with this complimentary sweet treat – a little puff pastry drizzled with pure sugar sauce, topped with sprinkles and served with a little side of a creamy berry whip (can you tell I didn’t do a very good job of documenting exactly what it was?). That berry whip (or perhaps berry butter?) was the absolute best part of the precursor to our meal. These little morsels were so tasty, we scarfed them down rather quickly and the kind waitress brought us two more to nom on. Thank you kind waitress for recognizing our propensity to overeat. Definitely one of those Instagram-worthy dishes!
Next up were these fried cheese empanadas stuffed with with caramelized onions, fontina cheese, and monterey jack cheese, served with a side of ancho aioli. They were nice and crispy on the outside, and the hot cheese oozed out when you dug into them. I think there was some type of hot sauce inside as well and we just savored that flavor. Neither one of us are a huge fan of mayo or aioli though. Now if it was a little crema or sour cream on the side, that may be a different story!
My main dish was the torta espanola, which is almost like an omelet or a thin fritatta made with egg, fried potatoes, onion, parsley and avocado. I added shrimp to mine to elevate it a little and it was so delicious. The portion sizes were just right. As much as I love to eat, walking away feeling too stuffed to function after a meal isn’t always ideal. If I could change one thing about this dish, it would be to add more salsa to the top of it (which I am sure they will gladly accommodate if you ask). Salsa is life.
Micah had the brisket chilaquiles topped with a fried egg, mozzarella, pickled onions and sweet peppers. He thoroughly enjoyed his dish – so much so that this actually placed in his top brunch dishes of all time! It sure does take a pretty picture too.
If you want to give this place a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed with this out-of-the box brunch! Try it for yourselves! If you aren’t in the mood for South American cuisine, you can find other great Portland brunch suggestions here as well, but this place comes highly recommended.
113 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97204
We were lucky enough to catch the cherry blossoms in bloom down at the Waterfront Park. Truth be told, seeing the cherry blossoms was the main activity on our agenda for the day, which is what led us to LeChon for brunch in the first place (just across the street!). Although the blossoms are no longer blooming, a walk here is great no matter what time of year you’re there.
You’ll also be in Old Town Portland so if you want a pic of that iconic Portland sign, this is the place to be!
Right at the Waterfront, you’ll also find the Portland Saturday Market – an outdoor arts and crafts market (and the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the U.S.!). There are SO many arts and crafts vendors here and if you skipped breakfast or brunch, there are plenty of food stands to peruse and grab a bite to eat at if you’re hungry.
The market is so large, it extends across several streets! And of course we stopped by a booth of one of my favorite cider companies, Atlas Cider Co., to taste their different offerings and stock up on some cider for home (for those days where you want something fizzy but aren’t quite feeling beer).
Portland Saturday Market
2 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97204
We also made a quick little video of our afternoon we spend at the Waterfront. There are so many different and unique things to do in Portland!
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