WHAT'S ON MY RADAR: APRIL 2018

WHAT'S ON MY RADAR: APRIL 2018

Starting this month, Travel Portland has teamed up with over 18 local hotels, restaurants, and bars to launch the Portland Charity Cocktail Program where one dollar from each speciality cocktail's sale will benefit our local charity Transition Projects. This program will go through the month of June while Travel Portland will track donations and distribute the funds donated to support Transition Projects' Mobile Engagement Program, which connects people experiencing homelessness to the services they need. 

Partners include:

Kachka

Pok Pok

For a complete list of participants and to learn more please visit Travelportland.com/charitycocktail


MY ULTIMATE PORTLAND DINING GUIDE 2018

MY ULTIMATE PORTLAND DINING GUIDE

Portland, Oregon, where there is no shortage of tattoos, donuts, strip clubs, bike lanes, brunch lines, food carts, and breweries. This town is filled to the brim with everything a trip away needs: walkability, bike and car-share programs, reliable public transportation, high-class hotels, and a great assortment of home-sharing options. And, while you're here you should take advantage of our close proximity to the Oregon coast and mountains (Mt. Hood & St. Helens), our daily music offerings at various fun venues ( Mississippi Studios, Doug Fir, and the Landmark Saloon), and our fresh and local produce found at one of our many neighborhood farmers' markets. So if you've suddenly found yourself planning a trip to one of the greatest foodie cities, then let it be known, there is no greater compliment than to give my input on where you should eat and drink how to do it like a local around the streets of Portland. So here you have it, my most accurate list of places I frequent or recommend whole heartely 

Just to note: Portland is divided into four quadrants, well, technically five, but for the sake of it all being easy to follow along I've broken it down into the general four: Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest. The city is bisected by the Willamette River and further divided by Burnside.  Enjoy!

NORTHEAST 

Northeast Portland, East of the Willamette River, North of Burnside and my favorite side of town. I have lived in the NE square for over six years and I have never loved another district quite like Mississippi Ave with close range pub crawling, patio beer drinking, oddity shopping, and eating exist. Here's my recommendations for when you find yourself on the Northeast side of Portland. 

Pizza: Lovely's Fifty Fifty, Life of Pie, Pizza Jerk 

Coffee: Hot Pot, Kopi Coffee

Sweets: Pip's Donuts, Eb and Bean Frozen Yogurt

Breakfast: Tasty n Sons, Interurban, The Bad Habit Room, Broder Nord

Lunch: Cedo's, Mee-Sen Thai, Gueros

Dinner: Pok Pok Noi, Ox, Toro Bravo

Happy Hour: Tasty n Sons

Cocktails: The Box Social, Victoria Bar, Interurban

Beer: Ex Novo, 

Late Night: La Taq

Instagram Hot Spots: 180 Xurros, Salt n Straw, Tea Bar


SOUTHEAST:

To the East of the Willamette and to the south of Burnside is a wonderful wonderful food mecca filled with some of the hippest neighborhoods on the global radar, including Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, and Mount Tabor. Aside form my neighborhood in NE this is my most frequented side of town. 

Pizza: Apizza Scholls, Ranch Pizza inside of Poisons Rainbow

Coffee: Tov Coffee, Crema

Sweets: Cheese and Crack

Breakfast: Trinket, Tannery Bar, HunnyMilk

Lunch: Cheese n Crack snack shop, Nongs Khao Man Gai, Meat Cheese and Bread

Food Carts: Kim Jong Grillin, Chicken n Guns, The Bivy

Happy Hour: Bar Casa Vale, Nostrana 

Cocktails: Sapphire Lounge, Tannery Bar, 

Beer: Base Camp Brewery, Wayfinder Beer, Loyal Legion

Dinner: Bar Casa Vale, Kachka, Trifecta Tavern

Instagram Hot Spots: Tusk, Doe Donuts, Cheese n Crack, 


NORTHWEST:

One of my favorite streets in Northwest is the lengthy, yet congested 23rd Avenue. The street is decked with numerous eateries, coffee shops of both local and national fame, clothing shops, and skincare lines. And when you get tired of exploring there are plenty of local park to relax at while enjoying some coffee or take away. 

Pizza: Oven & Shaker

Coffee: Commissary, Nossa, 

Sweets: Papa Haydn

Breakfast: Olympia Provisions NW, Isabel, Irving Street Kitchen

Lunch: Boke Bowl, Tilt

Dinner: Olympia Provisions NW, Mediterranean Exploration Co, Andina

Happy Hour: Oven and Shaker, Serrato

Cocktails: Tear Drop Lounge, The Fireside, The Waiting Room

Beer: Breakside Pub & Brewery, 10 Barrel Brewing


SOUTHWEST

To the east of the Willamette River and to the South of Burnside, the Southwest area is my least explored area of Portland and quite possibly one of my most loathed parts due to parking. Nevertheless I do have some gems and favorite spots to recommend should you be staying or enjoying this side of town.

Pizza: Nel Centro

Coffee: Kiosko

Sweets: Blue Star Donuts, Departure

Breakfast: Imperial, Tasty n Alder

Lunch: Quick Fish Poke, Pine Street Market, Alder Street Food Carts

Dinner: Ringside Steak House, Fogo De Chao

Happy Hour: Imperial, Ringside Fishhouse, Nel Centro, Departure

Cocktails: Driftwood Room inside of Hotel Deluxe, JackKnife, Barlow

Beer: Bailey's Taproom 

Late Night: Luc Lac

Instagram Hot Spots: Blue Star Donuts, Tasty n Alder, Departure


And there you have it, a lengthy list of all of my favorite coffee shops, brunch spots, breweries and more throughout the four quadrants of Portland. If you've asked me for places to eat and drink at while in visiting Portland then you've possible heard of these places in my list of recommendations


BUEN PROVECHO!

WHAT'S ON MY RADAR: MARCH 2018

WHAT'S ON MY RADAR: MARCH 2018

Events happening this weekend and OMSI is unveiling their newest exhibit!


PADDY'S SAINT PATRICK'S FESTIVAL

Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th

Paddy's Bar & Grill, the oldest Irish pub in Downtown Portland, Oregon will be hosting their annual two-day St. Patrick's Day Festival fundraiser on Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th. 

The festivities will kick-off with a tented, family-friendly street party on Saturday, March 17th starting at 11am. Guest can enjoy St. Patrick's Day favorites from the pub, including corned beef and cabbage, Guinness lamb stew, shepherd's pie, and other classic Irish dishes, Guinness and Kilbeggan drink specials. Paddy's signature Irish coffee, and premium Whiskey from Paddy's legendary whiskey wall with more than 600 spirits. Seven live bands, traditional bagpipers, and Irish dancers will serve as the weekend's entertainment. There is a $15 cover fee for guests entering after 2pm (kids 12 and under are free). The event is family friendly until 6pm.

The celebration continues on Sunday with Paddy's opening its pub at 8am, serving up an Irish breakfast to participants of the Shamrock run. The Murray School of Irish Dancing and local band will be the day's entertainment. There will be no cover fee for guests on this day.

visit http://paddys.com/st-patricks-day/ for a full event lineup and additional questions.


OMSI'S NEWEST EXHIBIT:

ROBOT REVOLUTION: THE COOLEST ROBOTS EVER!

Opening day is March 17 at The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Robot Revolution, supported by google.org, explores how robots will ultimately be our companions and colleagues, changing how e play, live and work together. 

Guests will have the opportunity to interact with robots that are rarely seen by the public, as they step into a visionary world where robots are not just a curiosity, but a vital asset. In attendance will be Yume Robo, the climbing robot that traverses up and down a ladder, to the Recon Scout Throwbot XT that can be thrown into a dangerous situation to collect vital information. Guest will see firsthand the capabilities of these machines.

Robot Revolution will run from March 17 - September 3. Tickets to this exhibit which include general museum admission, are $19.75 for adults, $13.50 for youth ( ages 3 - 13), and $15.75 for seniors ( ages 63+ ). Prices for OMSI members are $5 for adults, $3.25 for youth, and $4.25 for seniors. Guest can purcahse tickets online at www.omsi.edu or in-person at the museum.


SPEND THE NIGHT AT OMSI

Tour OMSI's basement, exhibit shop, and collections at the first ever Adult Sleepover

OMSI is hosting its first-ever adults-only museum sleepover in Portland on April 13. OMSI All Night is a science-fueled evening (and morning) filled with behind-the-scene tours, wacky science demos, laser shows and more, Plus, explore OMSI's latest featured exhibit, Robot Revolution, and enjoy a midnight snack before falling asleep in the darkened halls of one of Portland's most beloved museums. 

Admission includes:

  • Heavy appetizers and drinks at evening reception
  • laser night show
  • Museum tours
  • Trivia
  • Breakfast
  • Admission to the museum on the following day

 

Space is limited and the event is 21+ only. Tickets are $130 for OMSI members and $150 for non-members. Get Tickets now!


MY STRATEGIES FOR CONQUERING PORTLAND DINING MONTH 2018

MY STRATEGIES FOR CONQUERING PORTLAND DINING MONTH 2018!

Portland Dining Month returns for it's 9th year with a few newbies on the lineup! Portland dining month presented by Travel Portland is already live and on day five with over 120 participating restaurants, including some local favorites and a few newbies to the group.  If you've not cruised the line-up this year then head over to www.travelportland.com to scroll through all of the amazing pre-fixe three-course options available all month long for $33 dollars. 

Since it's inception in 2009, Portland food lovers have enjoyed dining across the city during the month of March while enjoy three-course-meals at a discounted price. For me, and many others, this is the time of year when we get to pull out our Portland restaurant bucket lists and hit all of the places I've been wanting to indulge in, at a delicious deal.

New to 2018 Portland Dining Month's lineup is Feastly. Feastly is the highly sought-after dining pop-up experience featuring local and global chefs connecting curious dinners with a pop-up dining experience.  Feastly Portland and its community of chefs will throw Portland Dining Month pop-up meals in their dedicated space and through venues around town. For a full list of participating Feasty chefs, menus, and locations visit www.eatfeastly.com/pdxdiningmonth. The Feastly chefs participating in this years' dining month represent a diverse range of cuisines like Guamanian, Ethiopian, Turkish, Filipino, Puerto Rican, and Nigerian cuisines. Another fun reason to eat through Feastly is some chefs will be serving vegan and paleo dinners, which is perfect for those with dietary restrictions. 

Also new to the 2018 roster are participating restaurants like Bistro Agnes, Southfork, and Alto Bajo. And, of course, some of my standby dining month favorites like Aviary, Little Bird, and Departure.

The full list of participating restaurants is available at www.travelportland.com/dining-month/. And, one important reason why we dine is for the participation with Oregon Food Bank. For every reservation made through the OpenTable links on the Travel portland website a donation will be made to the Oregon Food Bank's hunger-relief efforts. Do not skip this detail and reserve your table using those links!

And, in case you didn't catch my post and recap of last year's Portland Dining Month dishes head back to that post to see what a fun treat you can be in for. continue reading to learn about my strategy to sift through all of the overwhelming options of Portland Dining Month. 

MY PORTLAND DINING MONTH STRATEGY

2018's Portland Dining Month will be my 4th year participating, and every year since, I have discovered new strategies and tips on how to navigate my way through the menus, the restaurants, and the values. Now, I want to share it with you. The following steps are the very ones I take to cut through the overwhelming list of participants and how I maximize my time and money. These are the things I look for:

Who has been on my "to try" list?:

  • Pull out that never-ending list of restaurants you've had on your phone and cross-reference the entire Portland Dining Month lineup and note which establishments on that list are participating. If ever there was a great time to go for it and dine out, March is the month!
  • Now, if a restaurant strikes your interest and isn't on your list, by all means, write it down. The next few steps will help us discover if this is the month to go try.
  • Some of those restaurants that are on my "to-try" food list are Olympia Oyster Bar, Jack Rabbit, Bistro Agnes, Laurelhurst Market, JacquelineCabezon, Renata, and lucky me, they are all participating in this years' lineup. 

Take note of menus with multiple options:

  • This has got to be my favorite part of dining month; multiple options per course. Some restaurants have fun with dining month and allow dinners to make between two and three choices for all three courses. This means one thing, you must bring all of your adventurous dining companions. Bar Casa Vale, one of my favorite restaurants, is offering up a menu featuring two choices between all three courses with items normally found on their menu. Since the items are familiar you can easily slice through a good chunk of their standard menu options with plates like papas bravas or salt cod fritters, citrus salad or kohlrabi, albondigas or fideos. Or, since we're talking multiple choices a place like Farm House Thai Kitchen, one I have not been to, is also offering multiple choices for the second and third courses, and an additional fourth course. This would be the absolute best time to try a little of everything and learn more about the food!
  • Always bring friends that are willing to share or even split the courses. This is the best part of having foodie friends and having course choices. More ways to try it all without the dreaded commitment to a lone dish.
  • Another perk about choices, the second option tends to be a vegetarian-friendly course. A few restaurants follow the veggie-friendly courses including Departure who always offers choices for herbivores and carnivores alike, as well as The Woodsman Tavern (offering two choices on the second entree), Taqueria Nueve, Serrato, Nel Centro, and Renata.

Check who is really producing a deal:

  • This is the heavy work, but it must be done. In order to fully maximize dining month you have got to see who is really putting out the best bargain. I like to do this by reading the menu offerings and comparing the price points to the listed menu prices. Now, this doesn't always work for every restaurant. Some places will be offering special dining month menus so the items offered will not be listed on their website menu. But, remember, $33 is still a little steep when you consider that it's the price-per-head and that's not including cocktails and tip, so make your dining month is worth it. And, if you get a menu with listed prices online and the math just barely makes $34, skip it  You're better off going at a time outside of dining month and enjoying the entire menu's offerings.
  • $33 for three-courses sounds like a deal up front but, beware of those places that already offer deals throughout the week, some even better than dining month. I'm looking at you "Monday dinner/ cheap eats."
  • This year's amazing deals that have caught my eye are Fogo De Chao, Ecliptic brewing (where you leave with a $10 gift card, bringing your total to far below $33 once you cash that card back in), Jack Rabit (where the main course covers $30 on the menu), and Headwaters where the main entree's price point does not fall below $18 and the desserts are no less than $9.

Last, and certainly not least, Who is offering the best dessert?

  • Dessert is one of my favorite parts of dining out. whether it be classics like creme brûlée, a hot fudge sundae, or, even, a savory cheese board. Nothing excites me like a treat after finishing a meal. So, with that said, I do like a third course to be a treat course. Now there are a few exceptions like Yakuza, Olympia Oyster Bar, Buckman Public House, where instead of offering a sweet finish have turned course number three into an additional entree. This sounds like an even better deal for those who do not like sweets. Now if you want to know who has the keys to my dessert-loving heart then know that Laurelhurst Market is doing a great job of starting a relationship with their Dulce de Leche semifreddo with roasted banana, chocolate and hazelnuts -just take my wallet and cash savings account; Lechon is dishing out all of the smooth love vibes with a chocolate mousse tart with mango puree, raspberry and quinoa brittle -yep, just going to put my entire dinner in the fridge and go straight for dessert; and then there is Olympia Provisions massaging my heart with a Chocolate peanut butter parfait with creme fraiche and honey-roasted peanuts - Dairy Queen nostalgia with a grown ass attitude; and The Waiting Room is just tossing rose petals on my sheets with this Butterscotch cremeux with caramel, Jacobson sea salt, and Cashew streusel -I think it's safe to say I am in a full blown relationship with all of these desserts now. 
  • I will not break or give a second thought to restaurants offering up pot de creme's -a dessert that requires roughly four ingredients, a blender, and refrigeration. I want the words brulee, brittle, streusel, chocolate shavings, coconut ash, passion fruit, and crust to fall somewhere on the dessert description. If you aren't playing, I ain't paying.

Now that we've narrowed down our list where will you be dining?

And, did you know I'm hosting a G I V E A W A Y ? Yep, Head to my Instagram Page @Maxenestrail and follow the requirements to enter and win dinner with me on behalf of Travel Portland!

Remember to book your tables using the the Open Table links on the Travel Portland page to help benefit our community. 


disclosure: I was have been invited to participate in Portland Dining Month 2018 on behalf of my friends at Travel Portland.  Part of my participation involves receiving dining vouchers for personal use and for hosting a giveaway! This post was at my own discretion and not in exchange for a positive review. All opinions shared are my own.