hey portland friends! if you have been following me along on instagram @maxenestrail -the platform that i am the most active on- you've probably noticed that i have been unabashedly stuffing my face with all sorts of yummy eats and of course, lots of adult beverages -or as i say, "revenge for the nine months of baby-making sobriety". aside from those indulgences i have been wanting to fill you in on a really cool way you, too, can get to eating and drinking just like i do.  one of the coolest little events that i've been going to lately is Bull Run Distillery's Oregon Whiskey Hour.

Oregon Whiskey Hour is a collaborative effort on behalf of our local whiskey-focused distillery, Bull Run Distillery with local restaurants and bars around town to create and feature drink specials using Bull Run's newly released Single Malt Whiskey. this once-a-month pop-up happy hour is a great way to taste how whiskey can make the transformation from shot glass to hand crafted cocktail.

aside from drinking handcrafted cocktails is the opportunity to expand your horizons on the world of whiskey as owner and distiller, Lee Medoff will be on hand to answer any questions as you taste test through Bull Run's whiskey offerings.  

bull run highball: oregon single malt whiskey, ginger, lemon, mint, and bitters.

play crack the sky #2: oregon single malt whiskey, bourbon, ancho reyers, and bitters

while enjoying these handcrafted whiskey focused beverages i also enjoyed Rue's satisfying happy hour offerngs!

chickpea paniss and oysters on the half shell



facebook: Bull Run Distillery -hit like and stay up to date with their events tab.

the next Oregon Whiskey Hour will be Thursday, July 27th at Kell's Brewery from 4-6p

hosting restaurant for april's Oregon Whiskey Hour: Rue




8070 e.mill plain blvd

vancouver, wa

open daily: 11a - 9p happy hour: 2 - 5p



once again, i have found myself on the washington side of the columbia river to enjoy some vancouver eats. never had i ever thought i would be promoting eats from vancouver, but here i am, and dang, vancouver has gained an outstanding pizza spot; one that has definitely encouraged my travels to this side of the river.

Rally Pizza, is located in the the mill, vacouver, washington's latest dining destination. with neighbors like smokehouse provisions -which has roots in portland-, and ben's bottle shop; how is this location not already on your radar?

the space is bold and beautiful, and not in a soap opera type way with glare downs and bitch slapping, but in that the interior is done in a fashion i have never seen in our sister city. the restaurant is very spacious, soaked in natural lighting and features beautiful hanging light fixtures in the bar area. the back wall is a friendly blue shade contrasted by the vibrant orange wall highlighting the hallway leading to the restrooms. the seating along the walls and within the bar area is built- up with wood in its naked state. the bar area follows the same smooth and modern flow with white countertops and orange neon lighting. this place is styled unlike any restaurant that i have seen in vancouver.

not only is Rally Pizza styled to my taste but they happen to be a super family-friendly atmosphere. both bathrooms offer a changing station, and there's a crap ton of parking -which means if the kid is having a melt down 'operation evacuate' can be performed with haste. 

although Rally Pizza is really about pizza, their sides are absolutely note worthy and should not be skipped. Rally's recently updated their spring menu offerings with a changing assortment of in-season hearty sides -side items that can stand alone as a full meal.  

new additions to their menu include:

  • arancini - fried risotto balls filled with meat sauce, and served with a spicy garlic-tomato dipping sauce.
  • prosciutto & mozzarella plate - prosciutto san daniele, hand pulled mozzarella, and warm flatbread
  • bolognese pizza - tomato sauce, smokey bechamel, slow-cooked beef and pork meat sauce, hand pulled mozzarella, and parmigiano-reggiano
  • rally combo pizza - tomato sauce, mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, olives, smoked jalapenos, sweet and sour onions, and red peppers.
  • a build-your-own-pizza option: start with a base pie of tomato sauce and mozzarella and add from over a options like: anchovies, roasted mushrooms, fried duck egg, and sweet and sour onions.

keep scrolling to read and see everything we tried.

left photo: prosciutto san danielle plate: hand pulled mozzarella, and warm flatbread, and market greens salad / right photo: roasted veg plate: asparagus, rapini, snap peas, radishes, carrots, scallions on top of sheep cheese and topped with calabrian chile salsa, and pesto.

left photo: market greens salad: peas radishes, spring onion, assorted pickled root vegetables, and tossed with a creamy, herbed buttermilk dressing. / right photo: mango hammock cocktail: spiced rum, mango puree, mezcal, lime and ginger beer. smokey, sweet, cold and satisfying!

tocco di verde: house-made ricotta, hand pulled mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano, fennel/chile/garlic oil, and salsa verde

what a savory meat-less delight. a true pie to show off the bare bones of what makes a great pie, just dough baked neapolitan style to perfection and topped with simple freshly prepared ingredients. if you're the type that judges pizza on the crust -like myself- then get yourself over here and test it out. pizza making extraordinaire and executive chef, Alan Maniscalco, is known for constructing the entire pizza game that is known as Ken's Pizza. hello, who needs to hear more?

and, just to touch base on my favorite part of any dinner do yourself a favor and save room for dessert. Rally's offers an assortment of freshly prepared concretes (the midwest version of a blizzard or flurry) blended with housemade cakes that owner shan wickman prepares daily.

top of photo: tiramisu concrete, traditional coffee-soaked sponge cake, mascarpone, and rum zabaglione.

bottom of photo: devils food cake, classic chocolate cake with chocolate frsoting. both desserts were packed with mix-ins and very decadent, my personal favorite was the tiramisu -with chunks of espresso soaked cake and creamy custard. and if pizza coma has taken effect don't fear, these desserts can be privately consumed -in the comforts of your pajamas at home- as all desserts and pizza's can be made for take-away.

disclosure: i was invited to a hosted preview of Rally Pizza's recently launched spring offerings. my invite was not in exchange for a positive review, all opinions shared are my own.



Smokehouse Provisions

8052 E Mill Plain Blvd

Vancouver, WA 98664



okay guys so let me be honest, vancouver, wa is quite possibly the least appealing place to ever be recommended for dinner. in the short time that i called the 'couve' my home i spent every dining chance i could in portland. i really didn't give the city a shot, i ate at a few local thai spots, grabbed standby chain food at chipotle, and hangover relief meals from mcdonalds but never did i plan to dine in the hood.  so imagine me, -after five years of portland eating- now telling you to venture to vancouver to eat, i must really like something to suggest it, right!

it's happening.

a few months ago (well actually, back in october 2016 -yep more than a few months) i went to a media preview of the newest restaurant to hit vancouver, wa, Smokehouse Provisions, the latest opening from owner and chef B.J. Smith. B.J. is no rookie when it comes to opening restaurants, Smokehouse Provisions is his forth time opening a restaurant in addition to Smokehouse Tavern, and  Kim Jong Smokehouse, and previously shuttered Smokehouse 21. this latest venture of B.J's' just happens to be outside of the portland area code and across the river in vancouver, wa. since sharing is caring why not share our favorite restaurants with our stateline neighbors. 

smokehouse provisions is located in vancouver's newest shopping and dining destination, the mill. 

just like B.J.'s portland restaurant's, vancouver's Smokehouse Provisions will follow the same song and dance, and then some! smokehouse will feature B.J's hallmark smoked and barbecued pig, lamb, fish, cow, and serve many of his portland restaurant classics like the pig ear pork rinds, bacon molasses cornbread, and frito pie served in a frito chip bag. 

if you must know, those hot link deviled eggs are a-ok, there's something so fulfilling about a creamy deviled egg and then add a smoked hot link and you've got a winning combination. do not miss on those house-made milk buns and brisket!

if you're a little foodie like myself then you've probably seen or heard of B.J.'s recent appearance on BRAVO TV's TOP CHEF. although he didn't bag the win it was fun to know a local was back on the network. anyone else watch along on this last season?


disclosure: i was invited to attend a media preview of smokehouse provisions, while there i received complimentary tastings of their menu offerings. all opinions shared are my own.



let's just preface this post by saying in the past scurry of buying Feast Portland tickets, i may have severely overlooked some knockout, smaller, intimate Drink Tank events -like really really overlooked- because i favor variety, and crowds really don't bother me.

last year i was fortunate enough to attend a few of the drink tanks events on a Feast Portland media pass. although i was super pregnant (like 34 weeks) and unable to partake in drinking, i was completely impressed by the entire event set up, the fun joking atmosphere, the amount of knowledge behind every individual on the panel, and, of course, how much drinking was involved! although Feast Portland is very much a food forward festival let's not forget about the drinking that is to be done during Feast week!

two things you must know about Feast Portland's drink tank series: 

1. the Drink Tank's are one part interactive drinking audience and two parts education.

2. the Drink Tank events are a really good deal, for under $60 you get a dedicated hour of learning, a reserved seat, personal cocktails; beer; wine; cider (depending on what course you choose), paired snacks to share amongst your table-mates, water, education on what you're imbibing on, and a guest panel of very serious drinkers to answer all of your serious or canny questions. 

 just scroll down my list of 2016 Drink Tank events presented by Imbibe below to read the reasons why you and i will never overlook these events again.


1. reserved seating. no lines, no juggling drinks and eats, just a nice sit down atmosphere.

guest panel lineup:

  • kate bolton, maven, portland, or
  • paul clarke, imbibe, portland, or
  • neil kopplin, imbue cellars, beaverton,or
  • ryan magarian, hamlet, portland, or
  • jake parrott, haus alpenz, bristow, va


2. a guest panel of enthusiastic and knowledgeable speakers. 

guest panel lineup:

  • kate derby raymond, spring valley vineyard, walla walla, wa
  • brennon leighton, b. leighton wines, seattle, wa
  • tony rynders, tendril wine cellars, carlton, or
  • bruce schoenfeld, saveur, boulder, co


3. lots and lots of alcohol!

guest panel lineup:

  • paul clarke, imbibe, portland, or
  • simon ford, the 86 co, studio city, ca
  • jim romdall, rumba, seattle, wa
  • michael shea, rum club, portland, or

although i didn't participate in the drinking, i was dumbfounded at the bits of knowledge tossed out behind the rum making process and how to concoct a great daiquiri.

[ps. how much more alcohol do we need to hammer the point of a great cocktail? as i was leaving this event people from the audience were asking to take the cocktails i was sitting in front of, apparentely these were really good!]


4. audience interaction and participation from your own seat.

for not drinking at any of the Drink Tank events, this event was possibly my favorite events to sit through. so much audience interaction, and i had a girl crush moment listening to wine aficionado marissa defend her choices in wine and cheese pairings, while christian contested the moods of his beers, which made for some great laughs and a desire to pair my beer with cheese.  

the guest panel lineup:

  • christian debenedetti, wolves & people farmhouse brewery, newberg, or
  • marissa ross, bon appetit, los angeles, ca
  • steve jones, cheese bar, portland, or

although a majority of the participating audience had pre-voted wine as their choice drink between wine and beer, the cheese pairings and marissa's charming rebuttals definitely won the audience over as wine won the overall vote. 

tickets go on sale for Feast Portland's 2017 festival this friday, june 2nd 9a. the schedule goes live thursday, june 1st at 9a, don't forget to spend all 24 hours from when the schedule drops to when tickets go on sale to figure out which events you want to attend.

if you don't enjoy sifting through crowds of people, standing for hours while juggling your drinks and eats, a Drink Tank series might be the event for you. with all Drink Tank events you get reserved seating, a sit down intimate atmosphere, all of the conversation realness from your favorite food/drink celebrity, the ability to ask drink or personal related questions to said food crush without too much rush, and, oh snap, let's not forget that there is a whole lot of drinking to be done at these events! don't hesitate on the trigger, tickets drop friday, june 2nd 2017 at www.FEASTPORTLAND.com

full disclosure:

i was kindly provided a Feast Portland 2016 pass that included entry to the Drink Tank events in exchange for media coverage. all opinions expressed are my own.