Melissa Wilmot

Correspondent

  • Portland, Oregon, USA

Melissa Wilmot is a Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent who lives in Portland, Ore. and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Wilmot writes about luxury travel, lifestyle, wellness and dining. After time spent heading up communications at the Portland Japanese Garden and at a major public relations company, she founded her own communications firm. Born in South Africa, Wilmot has travelled to every continent except Antarctica. A few years ago, she and her husband took a luxury safari trip with their infant son and now Wilmot can’t wait to take both of her young sons to explore the world further.

  • On July 12, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best bars in Portland?

    Departure Without even diving into all the fantastic breweries and distilleries that Portland has to offer, we could spend quite some time on our favorite bars. Whether we’re ordering off the happy hour menu, tasting a wine from our own Willamette Valley, or listening to great live music, these are some of our favorites.

    Established in 1879, Hubers is Portland’s oldest restaurant. In addition to this claim to fame, this downtown restaurant and bar is known for their signature drink — the spanish coffee, prepared tableside with great flair.

    Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub is home of the largest St. Patrick’s Festival in the Northwest. On top of that, they offer great beers and live music year-round.

    Take in Portland from 15 floors above street level at Departure’s happy hour. Sitting outside with a cocktail in hand is the best possible way to wind down your day.

    Brix Tavern offers a classic tavern vibe in the heart of the Pearl District. In addition to a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails, they’re known for some amazing good ol’ American comfort food. Read: Baked truffle mac & cheese and chicken pot pie.

    Blocks from the Rose Quarter and home of the Portland Trail Blazers, Spirit of 77 is bringing the American sports bar back to life. If you’re not there to watch your favorite teams on the big screen TVs, make sure to stop by en route to, or from, a Blazers game.
  • On July 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Portland?

    Portland's a foodie town, so leaving without any edible reminders of your visit would be such a shame!

    Dragonfly Chai's full-bodied and flavorful chais and iced teas are brewed to perfection right here in Portland. While you'll surely be sampling some for yourself, make sure to leave extra room in your suitcase to take some back for loved ones. Find them at fine grocers like New Seasons and Whole Foods Market and this is sure to be one gift that won't be regifted.

    While Tillamook Cheese is now on shelves in stores around the nation, it's homegrown in the coastal town of Tillamook, Oregon. If you don't get a chance to day-trip and tour the impressive cheese factory, make sure to pick up a baby loaf of pepper jack (or two).

    In 1993, every chocolate lover's dream opened in Portland. We're talking about Moonstruck Chocolates. These handcrafted gourmet chocolates are some of the best you'll find. And, with five locations in the Portland area, hopefully visitors will have an opportunity to try them for themselves. Either way, Moonstruck Chocolates make excellent gifts. From the cute Honey Bee Truffles to the Dark Chocolate Grey Sea Salt Caramels, there's something for everyone. Buy a box and personally select each chocolate for the perfect gift.

    With one of the top wine regions in the nation a mere hour away from Portland in the Willamette Valley, wine is always a great gift idea. If you don’t get a chance to personally visit and wine taste, stop by Zupan’s to browse their expansive selection of wine, or just ask one of the knowledgeable Wine Stewards for tips.

    More than 98% of hazelnuts consumed in the U.S. are grown here in Oregon. So, naturally, hazelnuts make a great edible gift. Made In Oregon has a terrific selection of hazelnut gifts ranging from roasted, salted and smoked to chocolate covered, and more.
  • On July 4, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in Portland?

    A visit to Portland wouldn't be complete without some mementos to remind you of the fantastic trip. Here are a few of our favorite souvenirs from the City of Roses…

    Portland's been dubbed "Soccer City USA," so make sure to catch a Timbers game while you're in town. This MLS team has one of the best followings in the country and games are always an experience. While you're there, pick up a green, white and yellow Timbers scarf (or several) to show you're a fan.

    Oregon's famed Willamette Valley wine country is less than an hour away from Portland, so drive down to do some tastings, soak in the beautiful scenery and stock up on your favorite wines. Whether it's Pinot Noirs or Rieslings, you'll find something perfect to accompany a special meal once you're back home.

    Since you'll surely be stopping in at Portland's renowned Powell's Bookstore, pick up a copy of "Above Portland," a picturesque aerial photographic compilation of Portland. It has shots of some of the most memorable spots around the city and would certainly be a great addition to your coffee table at home to serve as a visual reminder of the fun you had in Portland.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best parks in Portland?

    With more than 400 acres of trees, gardens, attractions, and playgrounds, there’s a little something for everyone at Washington Park. Just minutes from downtown Portland you’ll also find some of the best walking and running trails in the city.

    Gabriel Park is one of Portland’s larger public parks and features amenities such as a baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, playground and picnic tables. The walking paths throughout the park are perfect for strolling with your dog and enjoying the scenic surroundings.

    Nestled in one of Portland’s most charming tree-lined neighborhoods in Southeast Portland is Sellwood Park. Not only does it have some great sports facilities, but the park also features a horseshoe pit, picnic site, wonderful playground, and an adjoining outdoor pool for those warm summer days.

    At over 5,100 wooded acres, Forest Park is the largest forested natural area within city limits in the United States. It also features an abundance of wildlife (in total, more than 62 mammal and 112 bird species) and a massive tree canopy covering miles of wonderful walking, hiking and running trails. This is one of the best parks in Portland for the outdoor enthusiast!
  • On July 1, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, open now is the fascinating Mummies of the World exhibition. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

    Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.

    The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!

    You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.

    Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Portland?

    The Portland, Oregon metropolitan area boasts several past winners of Project Runway, proving that we're a fashionable bunch! And we're lucky to have some of the best clothing boutiques around to indulge our tastes. The following are just a handful of the many apparel boutiques Portland has to offer, but you can't start shopping in better places than these...

    Mercantile Portland is one of Portland's premier women's designer apparel retailers offering young American and European designer collections along with great handbags and accessories. The service is unparalleled and with such a great selection of clothes, you won't leave without purchasing something.

    Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery is nestled in the cute Southwest Portland neighborhood of Multnomah Village. It may be a small space, but Anne Bocci carries some of the best clothes in Portland, including designs from Seth Aaron Henderson and Michelle Lesniak Franklin, two former Project Runway winners.

    Frances May features the best of the best from innovative independent designers. With a great mix of trendy and timeless clothing, the grandmother/granddaughter owner combo successfully curates an incredible collection of men's and women's apparel.

    With locations on both NW 23rd and SE Hawthorne, Sloan Boutique is a locally owned boutique carrying a wide selection of women's apparel, shoes and accessories. In addition to nationally recognized brands, Sloan Boutique also carries several smaller, but equally fashionable lines.

    Mink is another charming boutique found on SE Hawthorne. The level of service shoppers receive is one of the best in the city. And, on top of that, the fashion finds are great. Make sure owner and veteran buyer and retail manager, Carla Mink, is there when you plan to shop. Her advice and insight is invaluable. A great selection of tops, dresses, jewelry and accessories from designers like Nic + Zoe, Akiko, Splendid and Yumi will ensure that your shopping trip is a success!
  • On June 24, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best bookstores in Portland?

    Portland, Oregon is truly a literary city. Break away from your Kindle for a little while to experience the many terrific independent bookstores Portland has to offer. And, start with these three:

    Hands-down one of the best bookstores in Portland, and indeed the northwest, is Powell's Books. Opened in Portland in the early 1970s, the store now has four full-service locations, including the flagship store bordering Portland's Pearl District. What sets Powell's apart is the combination of old and new books, paperbacks and hardcovers, all on the same shelves. When you visit, ensure you have allotted yourself enough time to browse... you'll want it.

    Another fantastic independent bookstore that Portland can boast about is Annie Bloom's Books. Located in the charming neighborhood of Multnomah Village in Southwest Portland, this bookstore has a wonderful selection of travel, fiction, current events and cooking literature. Their staff is some of the friendliest and most helpful around.

    The often over-looked Hawthorne Boulevard Books may be nondescript from the outside, but step inside and you'll be in book lover's heaven! Gorgeous hardcovers fill the bookshelves and the smell of the rare and unique books they carry is enough to make you want to spend all afternoon browsing the titles.
  • On June 23, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is Portland’s dining scene like?

    In a word, Portland's dining scene is eclectic. There's a little something for everyone. From the fine dining experience offered at Portland's amazing steak restaurant El Gaucho, to the food cart pods throughout the city, diners have many choices. Two of the hottest food neighborhoods are in North Portland and in downtown's West End.

    N. Williams Avenue boasts hot dining spots such as Kenny & Zuke's Deli Bar, Tasty n Sons, Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen and Lincoln. Many of these restaurants offer outdoor dining, so pick a nice summer day to sit outside and people watch while you sip and dine. With menu items ranging from the delightful empanada platter at Las Primas to the ruby trout with minutina, porcini mushrooms and lemon vinegar at Lincoln, you won't be disappointed.

    Downtown's West End district is home to many of the city's newest restaurants. Within walking distance of downtown hotels, this area is a wonderful dining spot for visitors. As in other areas of the city, you'll find Portlanders out soaking up the dining experiences for themselves at places such as Grüner, Clyde Common, Grassa and Lardo. And, for a not so "brick-and-mortar" experience, check out the fantastic food cart pod on SW 10th and Alder Streets.

    Bottom line: eating is a passion for those living in this great city, and it's clear why. With such an array of dining options, it's no wonder that diners looking for suit-and-tie romantic candlelight dinners or a casual bite to eat while strolling around the city will have no trouble finding something to delight their taste buds.
  • On June 23, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What restaurants have the best views in Portland?

    Noble Rot Thirty floors above Portland sits the Portland City Grill. With arguably the best views the city has to offer, including outstanding ones of Mt. Hood on a clear day, this restaurant also features award-winning cuisine with Northwest, Island and Asian influences. Happy Hour at the Portland City Grill is one of the best in the city. Sample the rice paper spring rolls and spicy basil chicken while sipping a pomegranate mojito.

    Take in Portland from 15 floors above street level at Departure. Situated across from Pioneer Square in the heart of downtown, Departure features an incredible menu of Asian cuisine with modern flair. Sitting outside with a cocktail in hand and several grilled shiitake rolls is the best possible way to wind down your day as the colorful lights of the city flicker on.

    Noble Rot wine bar, located on the east side of Portland, is renowned for their food and wine selection. But, what makes this spot one of the best are the fantastic views of downtown Portland and the West Hills. Time it right and sit out on the patio to watch the colors splash across the sky as the sun sets behind the West Hills.
  • On June 21, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    Where is the best shopping in Portland?

    Portland (as well as the whole state) boasts something that will make any visitor want to get out their wallets... no sales tax! With that in mind, the world is your oyster as far as shopping in Portland, but you can't go wrong with the following:

    Boutiques are nestled in with bigger stores like Anthropologie in Portland's cool and ever-evolving Pearl District. The best fashion designers (including some of Portland's finest) are well represented at spots like house of lolo and Mabel & Zora, while legendary independent Portland bookstore, Powell's, is prominently located on the border of the Pearl District and downtown.

    The Belmont/Hawthorne area of Southeast Portland caters to hippies and hipsters alike. From unique clothing, furniture and art finds at House of Vintage to cool locally designed jewelry at Presents of Mind, you're sure to find a little something for everyone. Not to mention the delicious eating along the way. (Saint Cupcake, anyone?)

    No shopping excursion would be complete without a visit to Portland's charming Northwest neighborhood. In addition to well-known national brands like Kiehl's and Lush, you can also pamper yourself at Blush Beauty Bar. And if you enter Paper Source, an upscale stationery store, you're almost guaranteed to exit with a bag (or two) in hand.

    Finally, if you're a visitor to Portland and heading home soon, make sure to stop by the downtown Made in Oregon store, or even spend some time before your flight at the store located in the airport. From one of the largest selections of Oregon wine, to Pendleton blankets and throws, and everything in between, Made in Oregon has a great array of Oregon's finest products.
  • On June 21, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, open now is the fascinating Mummies of the World exhibition. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

    Stroll along NW 23rd’s tree-lined sidewalks and shop in fantastic boutiques, or stop in one of the many delicious eateries along the way. From Bamboo Sushi to delicious crepes at Vivace, you should make sure to come on an empty stomach.

    Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.

    The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!

    You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.

    Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
  • On June 19, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best parks in Portland?

    With more than 400 acres of trees, gardens, attractions, and playgrounds, there’s a little something for everyone at Washington Park. Just minutes from downtown Portland you’ll also find some of the best walking and running trails in the city.

    Gabriel Park is one of Portland’s larger public parks and features amenities such as a baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, playground and picnic tables. The walking paths throughout the park are perfect for strolling with your dog and enjoying the scenic surroundings.

    Nestled in one of Portland’s most charming tree-lined neighborhoods in Southeast Portland is Sellwood Park. Not only does it have some great sports facilities, but the park also features a horseshoe pit, picnic site, wonderful playground, and an adjoining outdoor pool for those warm summer days.
  • On June 17, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best outdoor activities to do in Portland?

    On a nice day, head up to Council Crest Park in Southwest Portland. After enjoying one of the wonderful walking paths, sit on a blanket on the lawn at the top and nibble on a picnic lunch while taking in a breathtaking view of the city skyline stretched out below you.

    Sit at a table outside downtown’s newest hot restaurant, Raven & Rose to sip on some of their fantastic cocktails and dine on the amazing flatbread. Dining al fresco… it’s one of Portland’s favorite outdoor activities!

    Come August, make your way up to the Rose Garden Amphitheater in Southwest Portland’s Washington Park for their free summer festival featuring ten consecutive evenings of dance and music performances. Pack some brie and crackers and a good bottle of wine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and settle in for a great summer evening.

    If you don’t have your own bike in Portland, rent one and explore the extremely bike-friendly city on two wheels. We recommend the Waterfront Park-Eastbank Esplanade Loop, one that crosses a couple of Portland’s famous bridges over the Willamette River. Fresh air, people on the move, and gorgeous views are some of the perks of this fun outdoor activity.
  • On June 17, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot is now following the question:
  • On June 12, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best restaurants in Portland?

    Where to even start? Portland absolutely has something for everyone. A divine, scrumptious dining experience can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and the summary below simply scratches the surface. But, if you must start somewhere, this is the place!

    1. Lincoln: Opened five years ago on Portland's hip North Williams Avenue, this restaurant has proven its staying power by constantly offering mouth-watering happy hour, dinner and dessert menus. The food is exquisite and the charm of the wood ceilinged restaurant just adds to the experience. If you're not already convinced, note that co-owner/chef Jenn Louis was named a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" for 2012 and will be on the upcoming season of "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo.
    2. Las Primas: True confession: I lived in Lima, Peru for 2 years. What that means is that I know great Peruvian cuisine, and this is it. The signature sandwich, the butifarra, will make your taste buds thank you forever. Pair it with the yuquitas, yucca dough fritters topped with a creamy pepper sauce, and make sure to order the super-flavorful empanadas. Peruvian dining isn’t complete without an accompanying pisco sour drink and Las Primas goes one step further in their creative and unique pisco cocktails – you’ll need multiple visits to try them all.
    3. The Painted Lady: Looking to explore some of the fine dining a mere 40 minutes outside of Portland in the heart of the Willamette Valley? Look no further than The Painted Lady restaurant. The best of seasonal and local ingredients are showcased in the delectable five course tasting menu featuring options like potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragout, pistachio crusted filet mignon with potato puree and spring vegetables, and orange scented souffle with Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Since you're in Oregon's famed wine country, make sure to sip on some of the many local wines The Painted Lady offers to complement your meal.
    4. Ox: What do you get when you add the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest? One of Portland’s hottest restaurants. Ox is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner. The wait for a table is worth it, and once in, make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, the maple-glazed heirloom carrots, briar rose chèvre, tarragon and truffle-salted pistachios, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef ribeye.
    5. Le Pigeon: This is a must for Portland dining. The elbow-to-elbow experience is part of the charm, but the tasting menus are what set this restaurant apart and allow diners to “have it all.” The yogurt-grilled prawns, goat cheese gnocchi and crusted pork cutlet are some favorites, but don’t limit yourself. Top off the experience with the espresso pot de crème, and you’ll already be dreaming about your return.
    6. Grüner: Located in Portland’s hot and burgeoning West End, the Alpine-European cuisine at Grüner isn’t what you would expect. No heavy, greasy food here. Instead, you’ll find an amazing attention to detail with flavor combinations you haven’t sampled before. Start with the tarte flambée, an Alsatian “pizza” topped with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc and chives. Follow that with the choucroute garnie entrée. Bratwurst, saucisson, cider-braised pork belly, cured pork tenderloin, sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes are taken to the next level with sweet (and spicy in the right way) mustard. Pair your meal with one or two recommended German beers from the extensive drink menu.