I needed two more nights at the Hilton in 2014, so I called Laura and asked her if she wanted to take a random trip to Portland. Of course, she was in.
We left after work on Friday, and headed down at about 6:00 p.m. The freeway was a mess, and I half listened to my GPS and half Waze, and we ended up going through Georgetown in Seattle, and driving in circles for a minute. It was actually super comical.
We listened to the new Serial episode, then switched over to the best driving mix ever (which also may be my wake up mix, whatever). Then traffic got bad. Really bad. Like total standstill bad.
It was a good time to get food, anyway, and Taco Time was our obvious choice! Taco Time is pretty much the best quick service restaurant ever. Plus, they have the make your own Coke machines. This particular Friday was Blue Friday (Seahawks) so Taco Time celebrates with free blue and green chips and salsa.
After we checked into the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, we changed clothes and got ready to head out.
Our first stop was a place I’ve been hearing so much about, and had to see for myself. Multnomah Whiskey Library was everything I imagined it to be, and more.
First, you walk up the stairs, and you’re greeted by the host and you put your name on a list and wait outside. When your table is ready, they come get you. Then, the host takes your coat and hangs it. We were sat at a communal table, but just then the bar opened up and we moved up there.
The walls are lined with bottles upon bottles. Our bartender, Steve, was super knowledgeable, so we told him we wanted something from Islay and he chose something great (though I can’t recall what it was at this point).
Also, the prices (and maybe I’m just used to Seattle prices and tax) were really decent. I would love to come here with a group of friends, and sit by the fire while sipping whiskey.
We weren’t ready to go home quite yet, so we stopped by Momo before heading back to the hotel. We both just had a Local Logger Lager and sat in a booth near the front bar. I liked this bar, it had a total dive feel – with tall old booths that probably need to be reupholstered, at it is open until 2:30 a.m.! It also has a patio out back, but we never made it there. One thing, they need to work on their bathroom because it was kind of gross.
After Momo, we headed back to the hotel where we tried to watch Forensic Files (of course!) but it wasn’t on and we were exhausted anyway.
The next morning we slept in a bit and didn’t even bother to shower before heading to brunch (seriously, yoga pants and ponytail is the best way to go to brunch if you’re in the PNW).
I had been wanting to check out Tasty ‘N Alder (as I really enjoyed one of their other restaurants, Tasty ‘N Sons). Because we were willing (actually, preferred) to sit at the bar, we got in without any wait. If you’re coming here, however, I’d suggest reservations.
We had another awesome bartender here, that was also super knowledgeable. He talked to us about the cocktails a bit and I chose the English Patient for my first cocktail (brandy, Imbue Petal and Thorn, Earl Grey, lime) and it was wonderful. I loved how the Earl Grey tea balanced the orange/cinnamon from the petal and thorn.
For brunch, I went straight for the Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs. The steak was a perfect medium rare and served over a cornmeal pancake with sizeable chunk of jalapeno butter. This dish is delicious. If fact, I’m craving it right now. I love how the meat and butter soaked into the cornmeal pancake and the jalapeno gave it a nice kick. Also, it’s served in a skillet!
Laura and I also split the Radicchio (with bacon lardons. manchego. six-minute eggs). Also very good and the pieces of bacon were very thick and very tasty.
For my final cocktail, I had the bartender whip me up something that he suggested, which was basically a take on a pisco sour margarita. Also very good.
Since we were a little buzzed and very full, we wanted to walk it off a bit, plus we needed to shower and semi-decent for the rest of our day.
A few hours later, we hopped in an Uber (technically, they are banned in Portland but still run, who knew?) and went to Laura’s favorite tasting room Cascade Brewing Barrel House.
Cascade specialized in sour beers (though they do have non-sours, too) and Cascade has 18 rotating taps, so there are always plenty of options. We tried a lot of beers, but only the samplers as it was our goal to not get too drunky today (we made sure we downed plenty of water, too!).
My favorite was the Honey Ginger Lime. It was very summery, but I could drink it all year round.
We sat at the bar at Cascade, which of course allowed us to chat with the staff a bit and ask questions. But of course, with most of their beers being 7% or so, my memory is foggy.
To stay non-drunky, we also ordered the cheese plate snack. OK, first, it was huge. Second it was really really good. Fresh honey, a few types of cheese (I can’t remember what, but it rotates), fresh pears and apples, bread, crackers, and some of the most delicious pickles I’ve tasted in a while. And it’s just $13.
After Cascade we walked a few blocks to this distillery that had an event and tasting. It wasn’t our crowd and the lines were long, so we moseyed a few blocks away to White Owl Social Club.
Laura really wanted to go here (she did much more research for this trip that I did) because she recently read that it was one of the best bars to drink by the fire in Portland. Oh, did I mention it has a rep as a metal bar?
I loved this bar. Granted we were there early, before a show, and before it got busy. But the cocktails were great, our server was awesome (and never leaves his hood, just like me when I’m home), and the patio (with fire pit) is large and yet still so cozy.
While we didn’t eat here (I hear the food is fantastic), we did have a cocktail. Laura and I both went with the Shotgun Willie, which was Laird’s Apple Jack, egg white, lemon. Frothy and refreshing.
We walked a few more blocks to head to Hair of the Dog, but found a party supply place that we just had to go in and check out. We didn’t end up purchasing anything, but I think we might have taken some funny pictures with masks.
Then we crossed the street and went into Hair of the Dog. The tasting room is pretty large with exposed beams, a bar in the middle of the room, and many tables for socializing with friends. We tried three different beers, and while all were very good, they were also strong – which didn’t help us with our goal of not getting drunky.
It was time for us to go back to the hotel, change into going out clothes, and go out for the night. Well, getting a cab was IMPOSSIBLE. Getting an Uber was even more difficult (as they are technically not allowed).
Finally, Laura somehow magically got a ping on Uber and we were headed home, but because we were on the wrong side of the train tracks and the longest train ever was coming, we had to wait about 12 more minutes to actually get the car… and we were off back to downtown.
We invited our friend Andy to join us out for our night out, and he met us at the hotel. We walked a few blocks and went to dinner at Pazzo Ristorante. We didn’t have reservations (I hate reservations, by the way), but were quickly sat at the chef’s counter. I had the Tagliatelle with veal, pork and beef ragu bolognese, tomato, and reggiano parmesan. It was very good and the pasta was cooked perfectly.
After dinner, we walked a few blocks and had a beer at Tugboat Brewing Company, had a beer.
Then went next door to Santeria, which is this little Mexican place that I’ve been to many times before. In fact, in 2010, I drunkenly helped them set up their Foursquare account (random, right?). Santeria is great, has good food (we didn’t eat this night, but have in the past), good margaritas (see picture below) and the bathroom is in a strip club.
Yep, that’s right. The bathroom is in a strip club and I took an obligatory strip club bathroom mirror selfie (which, of course I snap chatted to Laura and Andy while I was in the bathroom).
So, since we were there, we had to check out the strip club that was attached. Mary’s is a Portland institution. It’s was once piano bar turned first topless bar in Portland and at some point turned full strip club. Also, Courtney Love once danced here in the 1980’s.
Obviously, I don’t have pictures from the strip club, but here’s what I can tell you. It’s not your typical dirty strip club. It’s old, it has charm. You’re more likely to find hipsters, couples, a group of friends, or maybe even a celebrity at Mary’s. One girl is dancing on the stage, and she does three songs. Also, she pays for her song on the jukebox with money thrown on the stage. I’m not into strip clubs, but going to Mary’s is fun. Oh and the drinks are cheap.
Bars in Portland are open later than Seattle, until 2:30 a.m. and we weren’t quite done yet so we were near Momo and went there again. Then it was decided that we needed food. So, Andy knew The Roxy would hit the spot.
Apparently, The Roxy Diner was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
And I had the best drunky food. The Roxy is open 24 hours and has breakfast anytime. And that egg, bacon and cheese sandwich with a side of hashbrows probably saved my life. And tea. I’m so glad Andy suggested we go here.
Again, getting a cab was a joke. But then, one just drove by – and we snagged it. We took it to the hotel and went to bed, and the next morning I woke up to a missed call from whatever cab company we called that our cab was ready – an hour and ten minutes after we called it!
Laura and I got up, got ready and went to brunch at Gracie’s. Gracie’s decor reminds me of Hollywood, but in the 1930’s, if that make sense. We got sat in a private booth that was oh-so-romantic and would be good if we were cuddlers (we didn’t cuddle, however).
I started with a cocktail (though the name and type escapes me now).
And then had the ham and cheese omelette. It was really good and the portion sizes were generous.
We went back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and head back to Seattle. We decided to hit a legal recreational pot shop because 1. marijuana is now legal in Seattle and 2. we wanted to see what it was like. All the legal shops are outside of Seattle, so we figured this was our chance. Of course, this was for informational purposes only.
We went to Green Lady in Olympia. We walked in, showed our IDs then were led to a waiting room. They only let people in the actual store when an associate is available to help. Everything was very organized, clean, and the staff was knowledgeable. Oh, Green Lady is also open on Sunday (which we found wasn’t so common when choosing a place to visit).
I was super curious, asked a ton of questions, and it was kind of mind-blowing to see that something that was so illegal (well, and still is in many states) and so many people were arrested/detained/are still in jail for possessing said substance – is just legal and any person of age can just buy what they need (within reason). It was very fascinating to me and this is a growing business that’s bringing in so much money for Washington and Colorado. I’d like to see Michigan legalize it to help reduce some of the financial stress for that state.
Wow, that was a tangent. And no, that tangent was not brought to you by the Green Lady.
And then it was off to Seattle, through the random fog in Tacoma.