Passports with Purpose 2010: Help Build a Village in India


Most people these days know me best as “the Italy girl,” and with good reason. But in the last year or so I’ve been asked multiple times either for visitor’s tips or relocation information for the city I currently call home – a city I love dearly – Portland, Oregon. Replying to those queries always reminds me how fantastic Portland is, so it’s particularly fun for me that this, my first contribution as a blogger to the exceptionally cool Passports with Purpose fundraiser, is a Portland travel package.

Wait, what’s Passports with Purpose?

Funny you should ask, because the Passports with Purpose crew put together a blog post with this very same title – “What’s Passports with Purpose?” – to help explain it. I encourage you to read the post, but if you want the nutshell version, here it is:

  • PwP is a travel blogging fundraiser that raises money for charitable organizations
  • PwP is in its third year – in 2008, they raised $7400 for Heifer International; in 2009, they raised $30,000 for American Assistance for Cambodia to build a school in Cambodia; in 2010 the goal is to raise $50,000 for LAFTI International to build a village in India
  • People donate increments of $10 (tax deductible) to the charitable organization PwP is working with that year, & in return they get an entry toward the prize of their choice (procured by travel bloggers)
  • People can donate as much as they like, and for each $10 donation they get another entry toward a prize
  • Winners are selected randomly from all the entries for each prize (this year names will be drawn on December 13)

I’ve made donations and thrown my name in the hat for various prizes over the last two years, but this is the first time I’m participating as a travel blogger with a prize.

Jessica’s Favorite Portland Restaurants


You don’t have to take my word for it that Portland is full of great places to eat. Many of my favorite eateries have been written up in national news outlets, but I still want to make sure you know about them so you understand why I go on and on and on about them when you talk to me.

  • Pok Pok – This is my favorite Thai place in a city full of Thai places, but you won’t find pad thai on the menu. Pok Pok is more of an homage to Thai street food, and an order of Ike’s Vietnamese chicken wings is a must. The cocktails are also spectacular (try the ones made with the drinking vinegars for a special treat). There’s often an annoyingly long wait here, but if you’ve got a group of 5+ you can make reservations (highly recommended for dinner, especially on weekends), and you can now get a drink and an order of Ike’s wings at the Whiskey Soda Lounge across the street while you wait.
  • Ken’s Artisan Pizza – My favorite pizza outside of Italy is made by the husband right in my own kitchen, but a very close second is any pizza made at Ken’s Artisan Pizza. The big wood oven and attention to detail make the dough perfectly chewy inside and crisp outside, and a limited menu of toppings means you’re getting the best stuff available. Ken’s doesn’t take reservations, so plan on a wait (especially on weekends) – if you spot open seats at the bar, however, grab them. You’ll get the same dinner menu at the bar and you’ll typically have much less of a wait.