Review: This is Portland by Alexander Barrett

This is Portland
by Alexander Barrett
Rating: ***
Read 6/12/2013

Cute enough that I was unable to leave it on the shelf at Powell’s, I needed to bring it home to install in my guest bedroom. The essay that made me laugh delightedly was the one about Portland traffic, because it was so, so true. It’s not the end-all travel guide to Portland, but it’ll do in a pinch.


Review: The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Portland OR by Rachel Dresbeck


The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Portland OR
by Rachel Dresbeck
Rating: ****
Read: 5/3/2013

There was a lot of new information here for me, even though going in I thought I was already a cheap bastard familiar with my own city. Lots of helpful tips for doing Portland on the cheap. I’m really thrilled about the free biweekly yoga class I learned about herein. And who knew there were so many beauty schools?

Dresbeck has an informal chatty style I found very pleasing. It felt less like reading a guidebook than like talking with a friend about cool things to do. Lots of restaurant/bar reviews, with special emphasis on happy hour. Lot of free things to do in and around Portland, including the new-to-me Coyote Wall hike that I can’t wait to go on.

If you live here or are planning to visit, you should definitely pick this up.


Review: Pretty Good Number One by Matthew Amster-Burton



Pretty Good Number One
by Matthew Amster-Burton
Rating: ****
Read 4/23/2013

One thing I’ve read over and over is that this is the book that will make you want to go to Tokyo. I don’t want to go to Tokyo, however I really enjoyed reading about Amster-Burton’s adventures there with his family. He’s a funny guy and he has a delightfully unrepentant stance when it comes to food. He’s in it for what he likes, what his daughter likes, and to hell with your idea of what’s fashionable or acceptable or healthy.

I loved hearing about all the interesting foods they had, but even more, I loved reading about Iris’ adventures and how easily she made friends. My absolute favorite thing about the book (and by extension Tokyo) is cat cafes. I want to go to a cat cafe.

I loved the way Amster-Burton evoked the sense of place. His giddy love for Toyko warms my heart. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.