MY BIRTHDAY FOOD AND COCKTAIL CRAWL IN PORTLAND

HOW DOES ONE CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY ON A WEEKDAY... LET ME SHOW YOU HOW!

My birthday rolled around at the beginning of May and, as tradition would have it, I took a whole day to be selfish; doing all of the very things that make me happy  -outside of time with my little family.

So what kind of trouble would I get myself into for my birthday ?

Let me start by telling you I love a day off in the middle of the week, better than a weekend. So, naturally, as my birthday fell on a Tuesday I took the whole day off. This meant so many great things: little to no wait for highly coveted seats at top Portland places (which do not take reservations), no added costs of hiring a sitter since my child was at daycare, little to no traffic while hopping about town, and, a FULL day to myself at my leisure, THE BEST!

Before this wonderful day arrived I made a list or two of the restaurants and things I really wanted to do. Through much deliberation and I was able to sort my day out by timeline and location. I wrote out a Birthday Girl itinerary and woke up in the best mood as I had prepared myself a full day of eating, drinking, and general happy moments!

As luck would have it, I could only reach one gal pal to meet for breakfast but I still had a great day spent mostly alone. 

In true fashion I kick-started the day by getting a good sweat session in at the gym at a leisurely pace -which is uncommon since I only have 40 minutes most mornings- and promptly sat on the sofa -still smelly and hot from post gym bliss- and enjoyed my morning coffee. After a long shower I was ready to start birthday funday as planned:


Sweedeedee is a cute little shop in NE Portland that gives off massive Scandinavian vibes. This breakfast and lunch spot is always a weekend hit -with the lines to prove it-, and they make an insanely sweet pie that is often raved about. Leave it to me to make use of a weekday to conquer this place -instead of waiting with the throngs on a weekend.  

Ordered: breakfast sandwich on a biscuit, cornmeal cakes, and a slice of salted honey pie!

  • 10:30a coffee to go at Proud Mary

After my hearty and savory-sweet breakfast at Sweedeedee I needed to cut through the sugar and grease with a nice cup of coffee so I took a quick drive up to Proud Mary Coffee, a fine breakfast cafe and coffee shop with quite a huge following on the weekends. I ordered a cup of coffee to go expecting to head home and rest up for an hour. That was until I found myself driving pass confetti lined streets. I pulled my car over and realized it was petal confetti from all of the bloomed cherry blossoms. The sidewalks and some streets were lined heavily, it was a beautiful sight, so naturally, I had to document it. 

Spring is such a beautiful time of year in Portland. The contrasting splash of spring colors breaks up the grey skies and brightens up the dull weather.

  • 1 p.m. House Spirits Distillery Tour

One of the greatest things about Portland is we have zero shortage of fine artisans within close proximity who are perfecting their craft and graciously sharing it with us all much like House Spirits Distillery does, a local distillery located in SE Portland offering distilling tours right where production of their award-winning spirits are made. All spirits are small batch made and ethically sourced and here is where you can find made-from-scratch Krogstad Aquavit, Volstead Vodka, Casa Magdalena Rum, and many limited release spirits. The staff is incredibly helpful and very happy to explain the process, from the grain to the barrel, and the tours are a real behind the scenes glimpse into the productions of small batch spirits. 

House Spirits Distillery offers daily tours of the largest whiskey distillery in Oregon. Each tour is $20 per person and includes a spirit flight and a taste of House Spirits' whiskey wash.  

  • Weekday Tours available at the top of every hour, starting at 1p
  • Weekend Tours available at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays
  • 2:30p time to soak up the booze at  Maurice.

After tasting numerous samples of House Spirits Distillery spirits I had a wee bit of time to kill so I concluded that the most fitting of ways to burn some time was to enjoy delightful pastry treats and bites from Maurice, a cute Scandinavian luncheon shop in Downtown. 

As a huge supporter of variety and treating one's self, I had to order an assortment of bites like Chef Kristen's Smorbord De Jour which featured cottage cheese, rhubarb, greens, and peaches. Then, I moved on to more of her sweet offerings like the creamy and velvety smooth Black Pepper Cheesecake, the most creamy bite to spread across the roof of your mouth -in all the cheesecake bites you have ever tried. If I had the words to describe it so eloquently I would. better yet, just imagine sweet whipped butter melting into toast and that is this cheesecake. Lastly, I tried the Bird Seed Coconut Tea Cake, served warm and topped with a generous dollop of fresh butter and a golden pour of honey. Crunchy and nuttier than a squirrel turd but, absolutely tasty, make this a priority when you visit. that is, if she doesn't sell out. 

  • 4p. Happy Hour at Departure with my food baes

With a whole day to myself, a babysitter on deck, and no time card to punch-out on I set myself up on a happy hour date with some of my favorite girlfriends. The destination, Departure. Departure is the ultra-hip restaurant on the 15th floor inside the of the swanky Nines Hotel. The restaurant is run by executive chef Gregory Gourdet, a Top Chef season 12 contestant and a beloved participant in Portland's local food festival Feast Portland. Departure's cuisine is pan-asian and does it ever satisfy the need for a variety of Asian dishes, tropical desserts and cocktails. Departure is the place to go for stunning views of Portland's cityscape and asian fusion bites. 

Ordered: Half of the Happy Hour Menu and a birthday dessert. Departure is an amazing place to eat for anyone with diet restrictions, they are vegan, gluten-free, diary-free, and vegetarian friendly! 

This last adventure of the night was a delicious spanish-inspired dinner at Bar Casa Vale, one of my favorite go-to spots for wood-fired seafood, tapas, and gin and tonics served in goblets. 


Well, there you have it. A full day of eating and drinking on a weekday. I know, I could have crammed way more fun adventures into my day but since I go to the gym extra early (6a) I knew it was going to be a very long day, plus, add having to put a kid to bed before going out to my last destination and that amounts to a even longer day on my feet. I was just a happy kid to do most of everything I wanted to do and even got some downtime in with my main squeeze. Below are the remaining things that made the list but not the cut for the day.

Great weekday birthday alternatives:

  • Kennedy Soaking Pools
  • Knot Springs
  • Brunch at Tasty n Alder
  • Spend an afternoon hitting balls at Top Golf
  • Food cart crawl through downtown
  • Dessert crawl down SE 28th (There is a lot of soft serve and desserts right on this street).
  • Coffee crawl through SE Portland.

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


SUNDAY DINNER WITH RALLY PIZZA

Sunday, April 29th

My favorite pizza eatery in Vancouver, Rally Pizza, will be hosting the second installment of their "Sunday Dinner" series, this time highlighting the Food and Wine of Rome. Come taste and learn about the local food and wine of Rome in Rally Pizza's upcoming dinner featuring an optional regional wine pairing. The five-course dinner is $45 with the optional four-course wine pairing for an additional $20. Reservations are recommended and menu listed below:

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 the many neighborhood farmers' markets. So, if you've suddenly found yourself planning a trip to one of the greatest foodie cities there is then, let it be known, there is no greater compliment than to give my input on where you should eat and drink and 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 wholeheartedly! 

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. where close range pub crawling, patio cocktail drinking, oddity shopping, and eating all 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 the storefronts there are plenty of local parks 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!