JUNE BOYS WEEKEND IN PORTLAND: A CRAFT BEER CRAWL + LOTS OF MY FAVORITES EATS

JUNE BOYS WEEKEND IN PORTLAND: A CRAFT BEER CRAWL + LOTS OF MY FAVORITE EATS

I LOVE visitors. I LOVE playing tour guide. I LOVE showing off how awesome portland is -which isn't even really a task, the offerings of Portland are not duplicated anywhere else.

This past weekend my husband had four friends from the east coast (Tennessee), and the Midwest (Detroit, Michigan, and Chicago) drive an RV cross-country on a two-week bro-escapade of all sorts.

When Bro's Weekend finally approached,  I nudged, and nudged on my husband to zero-in on what events the boys wanted to do while in Portland. An RV full of guys, plus my husband, would only mean there were no definite plans to be; just a lot of "go with the flow" -it killed me. Turns out, their two-night stopover in Portland, Oregon would involve lots of beer drinking, eating at some amazing places, guy talks, and of course, donuts!

FRIDAY, JUNE 10TH - LOYAL LEGION + ROBO TACO

We started the bro-escapade by meeting the crew at one of our favorite beer pubs, Loyal Legion, where everyone was able to select a preferred beer from their huge 90 beer + tap list. After a few rounds of Oregon craft beers we all set off next door to Robo Taco for belly busting baby-sized burritos. We ended the night on an easy note as the boys had a full day ahead of  Portland Breweries and eat the following day.

SATURDAY, JUNE 11TH -

HOPWORKS, TASTY N SONS,  BAILEY'S TAPROOM,  BASE CAMP BREWERY, EX NOVO, CHICKEN N GUNS, PB & J'S GRILLED, IMPERIAL TAPROOM, CARTOPIA, WHISKEY SODA LOUNGE, POK POK

After a quick 9a massage for myself, I met up with the boys down at Hopworks brewery, where they were enjoying a little brunch appetizer in the form of a Bloody Mary. The Mary's at Hopworks appeared to have been loaded with everything from the garden and a few pantry staples. After downing a water while the men started on their first of many alcoholic beverages we made our way back down Williams street where a table for six was about to be ready at Tasty n Sons.

Over a cup of coffee, while waiting, we poured over the expansive menu and simultaneously started to drool. Shortly after we sat, the boys ordered another round of Bloody Mary's and a few chose beerbacks with jerky in addition to their savory meal in a glass. For our brunch eats we chose to order an assortment of dishes for everyone to try, a true family-style if you will. Here's a photo run down of how we spent our saturday with the rolling RV of friends.

TASTY N SONS

THE BOYS & THEIR BLOODY MARY'S

a few of the dishes we ordered at tasty n sons:

polenta + sausage ragu + fried egg!

chicken fried chicken + venison gravy + over easy egg + biscuit

smoked salmon hash + horseradish cream + eggs over easy

chilaquiles + roasted chicken + salsa verde + sunny side up eggs

After brunch I went home to nap and the boys went to Ex Novo Brewery in North Portland, and then, made their way downtown to Bailey's Tap room in SW Portland. After my wonderful two hour nap I woke up hungry and offered to play Designated Driver for the rest of their day. I was summoned to pick them up from one of my favorite breweries Base Camp Brewery in SE Portland.

After the men finished their beers they we were all ready to enjoy some food cart food, we our made way down towards the Cartopia food cart pod on the corner of 12th and Hawthorne Blvd. We had a mission while here, to order the aforementioned Chicken and Guns, this name was hard wired into our guests' minds as it was brought up by Craig on the hour, every hour. As imagined he went straight towards the cart and ordered some Chicken and Guns' chicken wings and those A M A Z I N G potatoes!

CARTOPIA

two baskets of wings and potatoes from Chicken and Guns did not last us long. 

boys weekend in portland

MORE SCENES FROM OUR STOP AT CARTOPIA

Since I've been a long time fan of PBJ's Grilled I have had my order down for years, hardly straying from it except to try a special here and there. So with a crew willing to try new things I ordered the Spicy Thai sandwich and of course had to share this curry, basil, coconut shrimp, pb and j sandwich with the friends, needless to say it was devoured within seconds. 

After our little pb & j, and chicken and potato appetizer we drove a little further south and found ourselves at Imperial Taproom on SE Division St. while all enjoyed their beers one of the guys ran down to Pok Pok and put our names down for dinner, we had were expecting a long wait, and just as expected a long long long wait was predicted.

IMPERIAL TAPROOM

Imperial Taproom is a wonderful beer bar on the very busy division st. in portland, or. weather you're a novice or expert beer drinker the folks at Imperial can help you find a beer in your favored profile to enjoy.

WHISKEY SODA LOUNGE + POK POK

Since we had expected a wait for Pok Pok we ran across the street to  Whiskey Soda Lounge and started with a few Thai drinking food appetizers; Ike's famous fish sauce wings, crispy pig ears, roasted nuts, and various drinking vinegar soda's and a round of slushie beers. before too long our table at Pok Pok was ready. once we were all seated we decided to order family style again and picked out a variety of our favorites; papaya salad, khao soi,  northern Thai sausage, tiger salad, the spicy boar collar, and a few rounds of sticky rice. I don't know how we were able to stand up after a full day of feeding, and for the boys drinking plus a full day of eating! We all retired after this wonderful meal.

MY PERSONAL STOPS: SAINT CUPCAKE + FIFTY LICKS

four dots to go from Saint Cupcake: carrot cake, coconut, lemon, and funfetti

Thai Rice ice cream from Fifty Licks!


OUR PORTLAND WEEKEND SHAKE OUT: 

did we hit any of your favorites or have some suggestions we need to add to our next round of out-of-town guests?


NEL CENTRO RESTAURANT TURNS 7!

Nel Centro
1408 SW Sixth Ave.
Portland, OR 97201
www.nelcentro.com

For years, and years I have driven by Nel Centro (located near all of the downtown performance venues and attached to the ultra trendy Hotel Modea), and each time wondered if I would ever make it inside for an "amazing meal and excellent brunch" as many of my friends have noted. as luck would have it I was invited to join in celebrating Nel Centro's 7th anniversary inside their spacious, light-filled restaurant a few weeks ago.  

Before being sat I noticed a huge outdoor sun-soaked patio filled with an assortment of wine, and beer drinking happy faces. I made a mental note to explore this area later. 

For our meal we were treated to a wonderful four-course dinner prepared by chef John Eisenhart, featuring locally sourced and classically prepared dishes from the French and Italian Riviera. Our wonderful meals were also paired with signature cocktails -a few of their frequently updated libations that draw inspiration from local theater productions- and wine from their expansive wine list. I was in heaven. That was until my stomach protested that another bite just wouldn't fit! I didn't eat another meal until lunch the following day; we were all certainly spoiled that evening. 

Upon arrival we were greeted to a tasty prosecco cocktail called the Magic Flute

Dinner at Nel Centro

our dinner menu for the evening

Dinner Menu at Nel Centro

-starters-

Wild Mushroom & Gorgonzola Pizza + Duck Leg Confit with kumquat gastrique

-salad course-

Roasted Beets with baked ricotta, hazelnuts, arugula, citrus, and fresh black pepper

-pasta course-

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini with english peas and lemon, paired with a 2014 delaille sauvignon blanc

Papperdelle with Braised Lamb Shoulder and smoked pecorino, paired with a 2013 tedeschi capital san rocco valpolicella ripasso.

-entree course-

-paired cocktails for our menu-

Did you know Nel Centro runs a cocktail program that often runs drinks in conjunction with current downtown Portland Theater productions? the drink below "Ol' Man River" was inspired by Portland Opera's 2015 run of Show Boat.

cocktails designed for portland opera

Being a fan of bubbles and alcohol, the magic flute was my absolute favorite, however, the Old Man River was a super strong candidate for number one. I am pretty partial to whiskey cocktails and I do love myself an old fashion but bubbles steal the win every time.

Below are a few of the delicious cocktail recipes for the drinks enjoyed during our evening at Nel Centro.


old man river at nel centro

Old Man River 

  • 1 oz Burnside Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Calisaya Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Orange bitters

build in a mixing glass over ice, share and serve in bucket

garnish with orange wedge and cherry



the magic flute cocktail at nel centro

Magic Flute

  • 1 oz Nardini Acqua di Cedro
  • 3 Dashes Grapefruit Bitters
  • Top with Prosecco

serve in flute + garnish with lemon twist

 


Shortly after we finished all of our courses we were treated to another fancy cocktail and an assortment of deserts in Nel Centro's private dining room, the Colosseum. The Colosseum is unlike any other private dining room in that they have a beautiful pool table, side wet bar, shuffleboard, darts, a big sofa, and flat screen TV.


Many of the items we enjoyed that evening are also items featured on their lengthy list of happy hour items:

  • mussels for $8
  • duck leg confit for $7
  • wild mushroom and gorgonzola pizza for $7
  • featured cocktails $6
  • house red, white, rose, and sparkling wines $6
  • draft beers $4

Nel Centro's happy hour list can be found here. 


Thank you so much Michelle, John, Nathaniel, and David for providing such an excellent meal and taking the time to teach and show us all of the reasons to have a full blown love affair with Nel Centro. I am smitten.

I can't wait to go back on a sunny afternoon and enjoy an other culinary trip to the French and Italian Rivera with bites from their happy hour menu while outside on their large private patio!


disclosure: 

I was invited to attend a hosted media dinner to celebrate Nel Centro's 7th birthday, all opinions shared are my own and  not in exchange for a positive review.

FEAST PORTLAND 2015: OREGON BOUNTY GRAND TASTING -SATURDAY

OREGON BOUNTY GRAND TASTING. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2015

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Saturday's afternoon event; oregon bounty grand tasting was an amazing food lovers play date in Oregon's boosum.

For three.straight.hours: I ate. I drank. I loved it.                                                        

From the moment I walk into the gates I experienced a culinary overload; wine to the left, food to the right, photo booths, and swag everywhere, my head could not stop spinning. I was happy as can be at my second Feast event of the weekend. Shortly after I figured out the layout I quickly made my way around bountiful and beautiful Oregon without leaving pioneer square. To start my morning off correctly I quickly grabbed my first tasting of wine, placed it into my new snazzy wine glass necklace, and of course I snagged a wine and food combo holding tray. Just like a real road trip I had snacks, a road soda and some stops to make. 

feast grand tasting
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or

Since this was my first year attending Feast I didn't have much else to compare it to, except that it beat each and every one of my expectations. If anything, during those short hours a Feast I learned a few things and even took a few notes while watching others.

TIPS FOR NEXT YEAR:

  • MISSING TABLES: you may miss someone's table. It will be okay, you don't know it now, but you will survive. Be prepared for next year, build a strategy. Take note of the top 5 places you must go to and make it a point to check those off immediately. Remind yourself that everyone else is a treat, even if you do still manage to skip your most loved chef, tasting table, remember everyone at the bounty event is from Oregon -or even better they may be local.
  • WHICH KIND OF BAG TO PACK: try to go as hand-free as possible. Ditch everything you do not need. If you must use a purse or need to carry your wallet think about a cross body bag, backpack or a fanny pack. You will need a place to store photo-booth photos, business cards, sunglasses, and swag. A fanny pack is awesome it allows for complete hands free!
  • CAMERA: set your camera settings and lock them in. Find a good distance and work with that. I had a hard time trying to balance between taking photos and grabbing samples.  If you can plan out a good focal distance for photos, make it your standard and if you can't get a good photo because you're too far away, tough. This is why prime lens are great -you only have one window for getting those photos.

PREVIOUS FEAST PORTLAND COVERAGE BELOW:


FEAST PORTLAND 2015: NIGHT MARKET

MY OH MY.

I am currently on my third day of post-FEAST shenanigans and I have yet to get off this amazing food high. Someone should pull me back to earth because I could just live up here if it was possible.

FEAST NIGHT MARKET 2015. SEPTEMBER, 18TH 2015

Friday night was a feast for the eyes, and a power house to energize all wagging tongues. The night market was by far the best food event I have ever been to.  From the moment I walked into USE PEARS NIGHT MARKET I knew this was everything my food loving little heart had been waiting for.

Choosing where to start was the hardest part, to the sun glared left was my dear friend John Gorham of Toro Bravo so I bee lined for his table where he was serving up cups of tomato consomme with a touch of absinthe, and a skewer of anchovy stuffed olives, house cured chorizo, octopus, and a pickled pepper (Okay, so we're not really friends, but I feel like we would be).

my husband and my homie; aka the one who follows all of my crazy ideas.

maxenestrailofcrumbs at feast.
feast portland night market 2015

FEAST, WHERE YOUR BEST FACE IS ONE FULL OF FOODS.

maxene's trail of crumbs at feast

MEI LIN, top chef season 12 winner, serving up pork belly pate egg rolls with fragrant micro greens.

ps. check how fab mei lin looks in the mists of serving the masses at the night market.

DESCHUTES BREWERY even they got in on the food action and served up a savory cream puff to pair up with their porter and ira.

maxenes trail of crumbs at feast.

REYKA VODKA & the reyka fall mule, perfect description for their ginger cider tasting cocktail, tasted like a typical leaf littered pacific northwest fall day.

reyka vodka

MILAGRO TEQUILLA served up two ways, I chose the hoppy miracle margarita and was happy bout it

feast portland night market 2015

milagro tequila

maxenes trail of crumbs at feast.
09-18 feast 1 (73).JPG

ROLF AND DAUGHTERS, #3 on bon appetit's the hot 10: best new restaurants in america 2013 

rolf and daughters

For three solid hours I ate and drank my happy little heart around north america -until I was told to go home.

FEAST NIGHT MARKET HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The celebrities, top chef contestants, and locals; Doug Adams and Gregory Gourdet, and even this previous season's top chef winner; Mai Lin
  • Bon Appetite's hot 10 winners of hot new restaurants in america; 2013's #3 Rolf and Daughters, and  #4 Fat rice. so fun to see these people I've read about in the past.

Previous and New Feast coverage below: