Jan 17, 2024 - Things to Do
Best Day Ever

Best Day Ever: Writer Casey Parks

A person standing and facing a sunset.

Parks at Portland's Powell Butte. Photo courtesy of Casey Parks.

Longtime Oregonian writer Casey Parks now covers gender and family issues for the Washington Post from her perch in Portland — her adopted hometown.

  • In 2022, she published the book "Diary of a Misfit," rooted in her experience growing up gay in Louisiana.

When Parks is off deadline, she likes to hike, shop for plants and watch basketball.

Here's her dream Portland day.

🚫 "I'm famously against going out to eat for breakfast — I hate long lines and eggs never seem worth a $20 tab to me."

  • "Plus, I am extremely picky about biscuits. I've only ever found one place in Portland that made them like my grandma (RIP Muscadine)."

🥔 But there is one breakfast spot she makes the exception for: The Mont on Belmont.

  • "They have the cutest decor, the best potatoes, and a really great biscuit."

🥾 On most Saturday or Sunday mornings Parks heads out for a hike in Forest Park.

  • "I never tire of the Chestnut or Newberry trailheads, in part because something new is always growing."

🌦️ Lunch depends on the weather. If it's sunny, and she's coming back from a hike, it's Fish & Rice.

  • "But if it's cold, I'll order soup from Nong's Khao Man Gai — spicy style with vegetables added in."

🪴 After lunch on her ideal day, it's plant shopping time.

  • "I'm kind of a plant hoarder, and in a normal year, I'd swing by two or three shops on the weekend."
  • "But right now, I have a new kitten who loves to destroy everything living and green, so I'll have to stick to window shopping for a while."

👕 Next up: "I'll walk up to Worn Path, where the sweetest North Carolina man sells the kinds of shirts I like in a store that always smells good."

🕒 Once 3pm hits, she's heading for a sundae at Cheese & Crack — coconut cream pie, sweet potato pie, cornflake or dirt cup.

🍽️ For dinner, Chelo.

  • "My girlfriend and I recently stumbled in here out of the rain, not knowing what it was, and I have not been able to stop thinking of the relleno or its chef since."
  • She'd order a few mocktails and at least three entrees, then "sit back and watch Luna Contreras cook."

🏀 During basketball season, she "doesn't leave the house many evenings, but if I do, I'm going to go see a movie at Cinema 21."

  • "One of the ushers there told me you are ALLOWED to bring in your own food, and this has totally rocked my world."

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