Exactly one week ago, Huz and I took off in our loaded down SUV to visit our metropolis neighbor to the south – Portland.
Even though P-town is only a 3 hour drive (roughly) from us, I have never spent much time there. Sure, I’ve made the trek down there to catch an obscure concert or two while in college but we never dallied – there was always classes to get back to. I don’t even know how we really came up with the idea to visit… I think we read an article about microbreweries (Oregon has the most, per capita!) and joked how we should just do a brewery tour vacation. My running buddy, Ellen, is from there and was going down to spend the holidays and offered us a place to crash so that sealed the deal.
We ended up going down for 3 nights, and 2 of which were spent at a hotel thanks to a Living Social deal. (We didn’t want to impose too much on Ellen’s family.) Our hotel was on the Eastside by the convention center so not exactly a happening spot BUT Portland has the most amazing public transit system ever so we were fine.
We rolled into town around lunch time on Saturday and headed directly to our first beer stop: Burnside Brewery. We had done a decent amount of research and formed a loose itinerary based primarily on location and reviews. I loved the atmosphere of Burnside and the menu looked great. I honed in on the gnocchi and buffalo ragu and was not disappointed though Jodus was a little saddened by his unimpressive grilled cheese sandwich and a mountain of fries that weren’t exactly all that good.
Going into this vacation, knowing that beer drinking was our primary task, I settled on just doing samplers everywhere we went so I could try as many as possible (which ended up being over 60!). At Burnside, they had a full sampler of all their 11 beers so Jodus and I opted to split that. 44oz of beer for just me would have been a little much. Overall, Burnside’s beer was just average. We enjoyed the porter and the stout most of all but also had the worst beer of our entire vacation there – the Sweet Heat, a hot pepper wheat ale. We each had a sip and then it remained untouched which says something amongst beer lovers.
That afternoon, we had some giftcards and Christmas money burning a hole in my purse so we decided to take advantage of Oregon as a sales-tax-free state (compared to Washington’s lovely 9%) and make a fairly large purchase.
Yep, we bought new bikes. We’ve been talking about it for months and doing our research so when we went to River City Outlet, it was a fairly simple process. They were really knowledgeable and helpful and installed all our accessories for us. I would highly recommend them for locals. For those curious, I ended up with a 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 (a cyclocross bike) and Huz ended up with a 2011 Jamis Bosa Nova whose selling point was disc brakes and fenders.
After breaking the bank, we headed back to check into our hotel quickly then went back out for more beer. Our next stop was Base Camp Brewing which ended up being our favorite of the whole trip. It’s basically just a tasting room but they do offer some food via food trucks. We each got slightly different samplers but managed to try all their beers between the two of us and were very satisfied. Our most favorite EVER was the IPL – India Pale Lager which is a style of beer they essentially made up. Points for ingenuity! Also, the Smores Stout had a roasted marshmallow on it. Winning.
Our next stop, which included dinner, was Green Dragon Bistro & Brew. They are a nanobrewery with kind of a weird set-up so they actually only had one of their own beers on tap but I think they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 beers total! No samplers though so I actually had to drink a full beer. I enjoyed a Diamond Knot Brown while Huz worked the IPAs. For dinner, we each got burgers and they were ok. What was amazing though? Their tater tots. Jodus got some as a side with his burger and they were so good we ended up putting in another order. And devoured them.
After enjoying another beer, we headed back to the hotel. We were pooped – neither of us slept well the week prior.
Sunday, we went for a scenic (but icy!) run around the bridges and river of Portland then scarfed down hotel breakfast (gag) before heading out to a slightly less nutritious locale.
Voodoo Donuts was high on my priority list when we started planning our little trip. It is iconic Portland, surrounded by a lot of hype and I had to try it.
The donuts were really good and the place was fun and now that it is marked off my to-do list, I don’t really have a burning desire to go back.
We spent the majority of the day just wandering around the west side of the city, downtown proper. We went to Powells, a massive, heavenly bookstore, did some window shopping, and just took in the town until we reached an appropriate drinking hour.
Lunch was at Rogue where we rendezvoused with Lisa! Lisa and I have been virtual friends for a couple years now so it was great to meet her and her boyfriend in person. Alas, I am a goof and didn’t actually get a picture with her but I did snap our beer!
I opted for a porter/stout sampler while, true to tradition, Huz opted for IPAs. The beers were decent but uninspiring and the food was good. Overall, it was a fun lunch!
We headed back out to the streets of Portland and explored the Pearl District. We headed to Bridgeport for yet another sampler with high hopes since their IPA is one of Jodus’ go-to beers.
My favorite here was the Blue Heron Pale Ale and one of their seasonal ales, the Porter. Must get my hands on that locally!
We headed down to Deschutes for dinner and I must admit, by this point I was feeling a tiny bit buzzed. It was super busy and a little cramped but we managed to find a wobbly table at the bar area to saddle up. Our server was amazing which made the experience a little more fun.
Again, another pair of samplers for us! There were a few that I enjoyed but especially the Velvet Noir. We also really enjoyed the food but that could have been the beer talking. We opted to walk the mile and a half back to the hotel – it was a gorgeous evening but really flipping cold.
Monday was a day full of epicness. We packed up our things and checked out of the hotel. First stop: breakfast! We went to Tin Shed Garden Cafe and even though it was busy (they were short staffed) it was really good! Then headed to pick up our newly purchased bikes. Next stop: Lady Luck Tattoo. Totally on a whim, Jodus decided to get inked for the first time. He’s been waffling back and forth about it all year and on the car ride down here, we finally figured out what he wanted to get so we just did it! We worked with Jason, who was amazing.
His tattoo says “Life is eternal, Love is immortal, Death is only a horizon…” which is the beginning of a quote which means a lot in his family.
Lunch was at Lucky Labrador and, surprise! Another sampler was in order. This place was huge! And sprinkled with cute dog art so it was automatically a winner in my book! Food was basically sandwiches, soup and salad and it was all good! The beers all had cute names, too.
We headed out to the suburbs after that to meet up with Ellen, finally! We putzed around her house and town a bit before heading back into the city to do a NYE dinner with her friends at Henry’s. The atmosphere was lovely, the food was fantastic, and I have zero complaints. It was also highly entertaining seeing all the girls in sparkly mini-dresses and high heels stumbling around. We wrapped up around 9:30 and didn’t have plans until midnight so we ended up going back to Ellen’s to change and hang a bit before heading back into the city.
Yep, another midnight run! We did the First Run 5k to ring in the new year and I had a lot of fun even though it was ridiculously cold! It was fun and well organized, with a rockin DJ, snow machine, and lots of heaters. It wasn’t a PR for me but I didn’’t expect to after the copious amounts of eating and drinking we did the last … month, basically and especially that weekend! We wrapped up the run, watched the drunks stumble home, and headed back to Ellen’s for champagne and pie. And House Hunters. And crashed at 3:30am.
The next morning, we went out for brunch to La Provence in Lake Oswego. It was a bit of a drive, and a lot of a wait but zOMG was it worth it.
What you are looking at here is the risotto cakes with poached eggs, potatoes and roasted butternut squash. What you don’t see is a fabulous soy café au lait and a piece of wheat toast the size of my head. Everyone was equally satisfied with their meals and I will definitely be returning when we come back to P-town.
It seems slightly less epic going through all the pictures now of our weekend but we really had a blast and ate and drank so much that we are more than ready for our annual detox! Happy New Year, all!