Emma Takes Portland (By Emma Eekhoff)

Every spring, after AP Testing, my dad and his colleague plan a day to go to Portland to do nerdy English teacher activities. Like going to Powell’s Books, writing poetry at a coffee shop on Hawthorne, and eating at a New York Style Deli on 23rd.  Since I haven’t been to Portland as often as he has, we planned on a trip this summer.

My dad and I left bright and early for Portland only to soon be greeted by traffic on the way, which was fine with me because that made more time to listen to some of our favorite podcasts in the car, like Pod Save America and This American Life.

We started out at Powell’s Books.  Powell’s is one of the largest independent bookstores in the United States. If you like books, Powell’s should be a destination for you. One book I was in search of; “Strangers in Their Own Land,” by Dr. Arlie Russell Hochschild. The author is a sociology professor at UC Berkley who decided to go to a place with the complete opposite political standing to understand the political divide we have in America. So she traveled from the Bay Area to Louisiana.

After I found that book, I left with many others, The Screwtape Letters and The Four Loves, By C. S. Lewis, and The Fate of Gender by Frank Browning.           

After our time at Powell’s, my dad and I searched for a good lunch spot and ran into Grassa Pasta on 23rd. I was extremely hangery and needed something satisfying. This year I’ve discovered that I have a gluten intolerance, and that has been quite difficult for me, especially while traveling. But I am so grateful for the restaurants and cafes that are accommodating to people who have Celiac Disease and intolerances.

When my dad and I walked into Grassa Pasta, I was comforted to see that Grassa provided gluten-free pasta. I enjoyed their Chicken Cacciatore, which had rosemary pappardelle, pancetta, tomato, and nduja ricotta. And my dad ordered their classic Spaghetti Carbonara for lunch.           

After lunch, my dad and I ventured to a place neither of us had been, The Grotto. The Grotto is a hidden gem in the shade of Portland. The Grotto is a Catholic sanctuary for peace and spiritual inspiration. I thought The Grotto was the best part of my Portland trip, because of its beauty and immense peace.

Portland is, in fact, weird, and has some cool areas, but I’m not sure that I’ll return as often as my dad will. I feel better suited where it’s less hot and is less problematic.


Emma Eekhoff is a 19-year-old Seattle college student. She's not afraid to share her stance on something, whether it is an art form like music or recent events in the world. She's been writing in a journalist setting for only a few years, through Fresh Jess, The Growl Online, or for a music blog. She loves to connect and network with new people in the worlds of business and music, travel to new places, and eat new interesting foods.

Connect with Emma on social media: Instagram / Twitter / eekhoffemma@gmail.com

View all of Emma's posts here.