Last month we took a couple of days of 'Staycation' and decided to explore some Cheap Dates in Portland. Katie had the day off from school, so we invited her to join us. I remember hearing all the buzz about the Chinese Gardens opening downtown, but couldn't believe that it had been nine years ago, and we still hadn't paid a visit so it was high time!
In keeping with an Oriental theme, we checked out some downtown restaurants where we could grab a quick lunch before heading to the garden. I went to the Internet and found Chef Naoko-natural and organic cuisine, at 1237 SW Jefferson St. We decided to give it a try. Don't let the innocent building or its small size fool you. Once inside, you will be warmly welcomed and will find lots of attention to detail. Aside from their regular menu, there is a Weekly News sheet full of interesting food tidbits, Japanese historical facts, and a hint of what's coming soon for the restaurant.
The food was fresh and delicious and came in a cute Bento box.
Rick and Katie had the Teriyaki Chicken
And I had a grilled natural chicken in a tomato sauce, with lovely spices, and a interesting bread pudding like 'thing.' It was a great place, with fresh, organic ingredients, and everything prepared to order.
The Chinese Gardens are really amazing- truly an oasis within the city. Hard to believe they fit everything in one city block! We just had time for a short visit, but it's worth planning to stay for tea, and to try going back for each season to see all the varieties of plants and trees in bloom.
They say that there's 52 windows/openings in the gardens and that no two are alike. The many points of interest were full of symbolism and stories, so it was nice to have the written guidebook to point things out.
Not to mention all the beautiful details. Everything is very authentic, since workers and materials actually came from China during the construction of the garden.