by Sandy Coughlin
The Reluctant Entertainer 
Medford blogger, author, entertainer.
A week ago my sisters and I went to the city of Portland, Oregon, on a mini vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday!
It’s a happy event when we know we have a “celebration” coming up, because that means planning and looking forward to a special time together.
It means sharing life, laughing, reminiscing, and eating together. So much of our talk and planning is around food – Where are we going to eat? What’s the best restaurant? Where’s the best hole-in-the-wall place to eat? What’s the best food cart?
For my sisters and me, food matters. (Waffles from the Portland downtown food carts with goat cheese, balsamic, caramel, and pistachios – and below, hot fudge and whipped cream.) Life is delicious!
We get food. Love food. Live for food. You may hear the saying, Do you live to eat, or eat to live? I won’t answer that question.
Food has always mattered. From little girls–in the kitchen with our mother–to mothers ourselves of adult children – we love to eat and cook together. We were never shooed out of the kitchen with mom. But instead, we we taught the gift of hospitality, cooking an entire meal for other families to join us, and entertaining with ease. Our mom whipped on an apron and made the most delicious food, and we’d linger around the table after eating, and would talk. Mom taught us that food matters because it binds us to the people we are with. With the nutritional value aside, mom would look into the eyes of her guests and reach down into their souls by showing them love. Her cooking, love, and grace to others brought peace and healing to those around her table.
Mom made this birthday cake for me when I turned 6! Here I am with my 2 sisters.
It was pouring down rain when we got there, but that didn’t ruin our time at all.
We settled in to our nice little room, right on the water, and walked to find a place for dinner.
Zeppo’s  was fabulous with a full course menu of Italian food and really yummy drinks.
Beautiful evening on the lake!
The next morning the sun was out!
Lake Oswego is more than stunning! I should put paddling on my bucket list!
We shopped downtown Lake Oswego the next morning after tasting the goodness of a Grille’ aux Pomme at St. Honore’s Bakery . Wow!
Ending up at Sur La Table  for a little shopping. My sis was a happy model for their 4th of July “easy entertaining” products.
Driving in to Portland, later that day, we checked in to The Governor Hotel , where they upgraded us to the very top, to the Penthouse Parlor Suite. It pays to be turning 50, I’d say!
Penthouse Parlor Suites are two-room suites, with jetted tub and king-size bed. A connecting living room has a wet bar, pull-out sofa, desk, and sitting area.
The Governor Hotel , in the heart of downtown Portland, has served guests with over 100 years of superb hospitality. I love the old Portland hotels with so much history!
It’s newly remodeled, and in fact, we were the first to use a newly designed room! It was gorgeous! It was like staying in a home – the furnishings and carpet and bedding and were all so plush! (Nap time!)
Early morning runs! The streets were so quiet and calm.
We shopped until we dropped (another thing we inherited from our Mother). I would never wear these, but we had some good laughs. Always love the shoes at Nordstom Rack.
We ate at Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen  for lunch. Highly recommend this place!
The food carts, oh, man … we could have tried them all!
They are everywhere, in downtown Portland!
Someone slipped into the tub while her sister’s were out shopping.
We ate at a variety of restaurants, but ended the weekend with friends and cousins of 50+ years at Jake’s Grill .
And on to Roma Restaurante  for dinner, a short walk away from our hotel.
What a great way to end a perfect birthday weekend, in Portland, one of the most beautiful cities in the Pacific Northwest.
As we said our goodbyes, we did what we sisters and cousins always do when we are together.
On the streets of Portland we formed a circle, grabbed hands, and harmonized and sang together. Yup, right on the street corner! It’s just what we always do. It’s our unity, bond, and love.
Thankful for the heritage we have, friendships and prioritizing time together, and the love and blessings in life, I’d say it’s been a great start to turning 50 years old! I feel very blessed!
Food matters. Cousins and friends matter. And quality sister time matters.
Have you visited Portland, and which restaurants do you recommend?
*Travel Oregon  paid for our night in Lake Oswego. If you have any questions about Oregon, like looking for a swimming hole, or a trail that takes you behind a waterfall, or a cool vineyard to visit, or where to sample the tastiest craft beers, PLEASE ask Travel Oregon. They are on Twitter , Facebook , or head to the Travel/Oregon.com/Ask-Oregon  and they are the experts!
The above photos, I used my iPhone camera. And are you following me on Instagram ?
My actual birthday is next week and I’ll be giving away a KitchenAid stand mixer and a fire pit for outdoor entertaining, and more! Visit RE next week! Thanks, friends!