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Timberline Hike, Wine, and the Bite August 9, 2010

Posted by stacyb17 in Events, Excursions.
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Bite of OregonAnother weekend, another friend in town. Here’s a little recap of the things we did that I have not written about previously (I don’t think).

Friday we drove out to Hood and did a hike from the Timberline Lodge to Zigzag Valley. It was about 5 miles roundtrip (not including the little off trail climb we did to see some more views). The lifts are still running up at Timberline so it was interesting to see people in ski suits while we wore shorts and tank tops. It was kind of hazy on Friday so we could not see Jefferson or any of the Sisters, but the views of Hood were nice. Next time I want to hang out at the Lodge for a drink, but we had to hurry to make some wineries near Hood River on the way home.

We went to Mount Hood Winery first. The winery has only been open for a year, but the vines are over 20 years old. The wine was not all that impressive in my opinion, but the tasting room has awesome views of Hood and thre are loads of windows to look through. The patio is worth a visit as well.

I’ve written about Naked and Double Mountain before so I’ll skip those.

Saturday we went up to Forest Grove for sake and wine tasting. We hit the sake winery, Plum Hill and then Elk Cove. Elk Cove is actually out past Gaston but it is worth the drive to check out the grounds and taste wine. Five tastes cost $5 and be sure to spend some time sitting outside and looking out over the vineyards. Dinner Saturday night was at Vindalho, an upscale Indian restaurant on Clinton Street. The food was all right, but I’d take Swagat on NW 21st over it any day. And $4 only gets you one naan. The shrimp dish was the highlight.

Sunday we walked down to the Saturday Market. There is a guy there named Eric who does these super slow exposure photos that have words written on them in lights. Check them out if you are down by the market. Really unique! Then we took advantage of the $3 Bite of Oregon entrance before 1 PM. We sat and listened to live music and sampled Portland beers. I know I should have tried something new, but I couldn’t help but get the Koi Fusion taco trio. I have to say that Korean burritos and tacos were a genius idea and that no one does them like Koi Fusion. Yum, yum, yum. Kristin, who lives in Sacramento and is used to great food, was impressed.

Summer Preview Day! June 6, 2010

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Rose Festival

Christina intrigued by Giant Sausage (photo Annie Smith)

Saturday in Portland was a little sneak peek of summer. And man did we all need it! Today is the usual grey with intermittent rain but it looks like more summer type weather is on the horizon (I say hopefully). After this nasty May, Saturday reminded us all why we put up with this crap. Sweet, sweet summer in Portland.

My friend Annie came in from Seattle on Saturday for a quick visit. She arrived at 11 AM and we headed over to Bridgeport Brewery to sit outside and have some lunch and beers. I had heard that Bridgeport has great burgers, but we were planning to go to the BBQ and Brews fest later in the day so I went with the tofu and veggie wrap. It was pretty good, but I did have a little burger envy when Annie went for the burger. Next time for sure!

Annie got the sampler tray so I got to try all of the Bridgeport beers. My faves are still the IPA, Blue Heron and the ESB. She was more a fan of the Porter, the Extra Pale and the seasonal fruity beer (which you can tell how much I liked since I can’t remember the name of it). We both got some color and eventually had to move to a table in the shade because we were too hot.

After Bridgeport we walked down to Powell’s for some book shopping. I am only allowed to spend short periods of time in Powell’s or else I end up buying 20 books so I met another friend for a beer at Ringler’s Annex. My friend had the bourbon flight which was a cool thing I didn’t realize that McMenamins did and the bartender also gave us a taste of McMenamin’s whiskey.

After a quick stop to drop off the books, we headed down to BBQ and Brews and the Rose Festival. To be honest, I was disappointed in the festival. Many of the BBQ places were out of meat (and it was only 5:30 PM). You could not have beer outside of the BBQ and Brews area even though there was another area that was roped off as part of the festival. And the crowd seemed to be very… not Portland, to put it nicely.

We needed some more food as we’d only had a few tastes of BBQ at the festival so we wandered down to Chinatown. I had seen the House of Louie many times and found the name amusing and wanted to try it. I wish I had not. Even with a pretty good buzz, the food was disappointing. I had lo mein and the noodles were overcooked to the point of crispiness. Christina’s chow fun was a bit better and Annie’s beef with broccoli was not bad. I hear that 82nd is now the area to go for authentic Asian cuisine in town. I’m going to have to give that a shot in the future.

We caught a little of the Starlight parade but the streets were fairly packed so we just watched from a distance. Annie was tired so I dropped her off and headed across the river to the Jolly Roger to meet some friends. The Jolly Roger is a cool little dive bar with a pool table and a great name. We drank cheap PBR tall boys and watched a fairly decent Sublime cover band. The chick drummer has a seriously good voice (she deviated from the Sublime theme a bit but that was a nice change).

Going back in time, Friday night I went to Beulahland for drinks before catching a movie at Laurelhurst Theater. Beulahland is a nice dive bar with a decent selection of local beers (rotating). They have a very smoky smoker’s patio in the back. Not a good place to hang if you don’t like smelling of smoke later. We saw the movie The Runaways which I was very surprised to actually kind of like. Yeah they played up the drugs and sex to make it sell but you gotta love Joan Jett and Kristen Stewart did a good job in the role. Outside of the annoying Twilight movies, she actually is a decent actress. Dakota Fanning is annoying, but we all knew that.

After the movie I decided to go and have “one more drink” at the Sandy Hut. But Sandy Hut is one of my favorite bars in Portland and the conversation and company was good and the next thing I knew, it was many $2 Rainer tall boys later and they were having last call. So much for my chill movie night.

This week I am going to a presentation  about the brewery business put on by the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network on Wednesday. I’ll definitely write about that. I think the World Cup is getting ready to start so I need to figure out which bars will be worthy of my patronage for that. Any suggestions?

Swagat, Forest Park, St. John’s Bizarre and a BBQ in Gresham May 10, 2010

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Another busy weekend in PDX. Friday went for a bke ride on the Springwater Corridor down in Sellwood. I definitely need to check out maps of that route. Nice, flat ride down by the river and it connects to the Esplanade. After the ride we headed to NW to Swagat for some Indian food. The food is really good and the portions are huge. We got a dosa and two thalis for the three of us and had plenty of food left over. I’m now a big fan of Taj Mahal beer. For some reason I don’t remember drinking that in India.

Saturday morning I had a 10 mile training run to do for the upcoming Helvetia Half Marathon in June. We decided to do a trail run in Froest Park. We started at Leif Erickson and then took the Wild Cherry Trail up to Wildwood (holy climb to get there). We took Wildwood down to Fire Road #1 and went back down to Leif Erickson. From there we headed up another 1.5 miles and then turned around and ran back to the parking lot. I need to find a way to measure that because I am convinced it was more than 10 miles. Great day for a run though!

After the run I went to the St. John’s Bizarre. It was my first outing to St. John’s and it is definitely another cool area of town. I started at a friend’s place and then headed to the beer garden to drink Lompoc and Ninkasi beers and watch Explode Into Colors. Before leaving the area, we went to Plew’s Brews for a beer.  Plew’s is a no nonsense beer bar. Nothing fancy at all. Just tables and patio chairs and lots of beer. The bar is basically a big fridge and some taps. I love it!

We needed to get out to Gresham for a BBQ that eve so we took a bus to the Max. We were at the start of the bus route and there was some confusion as to which of the two stalled out buses would run. A completely drunk guy dressed like a pirate got off one of the buses and proceeded to puke his guts out on a park bench. My buddy has a great picture of the puking pirate which he sent to his mom for Mother’s Day. Now that’s love.

It seemed to take forever to get out to Gresham, but we made it and found my friends’ place. I love the Portland tradition of turning the basements of houses into bars. This one had a sail mounted on the ceiling, a dart board with a blowdart gun, and a kegerator. I think I may try and move in. Totally worth the trek out to Gresham.

Sunday was a chill day. Went and saw Crazy Heart at the Laurelhurst. Very depressing. I’d give it a pass.

This week- writing workshop on Tuesday before LOST and hopefully a rooftop happy hour on Wednesday.

What a Weekend Part 2- Food Carts and Pig and Pinot April 27, 2010

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Saturday was Willamette Week’s Eat Mobile, the food cart festival. Portland food carts are awesome and this was an inexpensive ($8) way to sample a whole bunch of them in one place. Unfortunately the tickets sold out a week before the festival so most of my friends ended up missing out on the fun. The festival kicked off at 5:30, but I went for pre-game beers at Silver Dollar and Tugboat Brewing so I did not arrive until about 7 PM. By that time a few of the carts were already out of food and many of them had extremely long lines. The cart I most wanted to test was Koi Fusion, but the line was so long I was not able to. My favorites that I did try were Bombay Chaat House (Indian) and Flavourspot (waffles plus).  PBR and Wine by Joe were on sale and there was live music. Overall the event was a good time, but next year I am going to get there early so I can taste all of the food without waiting on line (I hear it did not get crowded until after 6 PM).

Sunday, Plum Hill Winery hosted a pig roast and flag raising in honor of the troops in Iraq. On the way out we stopped at Sake One for a sake tasting. Sake One is the only sake winery in the area. They do tastings of six sakes for $5. The staff are very knowledgeable about the sake making process and the different types of sakes. We lucked out because this week was Spring on 47 so we ended up getting 9 tastes for $8 a person. We were able to try draft sake which has a very different flavor than the bottles. My favorite is their Organic sake followed by the Silver. All are worth a taste though. And they have so many varieties that you can come back and not taste the same ones.

Plum Hill’s party was in full swing when we arrived. We just missed the honor guard and flag raising, but there were snacks, pig, cake, and plenty of wine to go around. $10 included souvenir glass, wine tasting, and all the food you could eat. We thought they were out of pig, but then we found the cooking area where the BBQ master’s were cutting off large chunks on request. Live music was provided and bottles of wine were on sale.

On the way back from the vineyard, we stopped at the Grand Lodge for a beer and to check out the space for a friend’s wedding. The Grand Lodge hosted a medieval festival over the weekend, but they were tearing down when we arrived. We did still get to see a few people dressed as pirates (are pirates medieval?) and in other olde timey garb.

So there you have it. A full weekend of fun in and near Portland. Now that spring is officially here, I plan to be getting outside more and will be reporting about my excursions.

Spring Beer and Wine Festival April 5, 2010

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Saturday the plan was to hit the Spring Beer and Wine Festival before 2 PM to take advantage of free admission. But when we arrived at the convention center at 1:40, there was a crazy ginormous line to get in. Luckily the organizers sent someone around to pass out free tickets to everyone who was in line by 2 PM (props to them for that). I still can’t figure out why the line was so long as the hall was far from packed when we got in. I think the booths where you buy mugs and tokens were the bottleneck. Next year they should definitely have more than four.

The festival was run in the standard Portland alcohol festival format with $1 tokens exchangable for tastes or glasses of beverages. This festival was nice because some places were giving out free tastes of food and drinks. Food highlights were jerky, oil-free fried chicken, and pretzels and dips (lots and lots of dips). Drink highlights were vodkas and absinthe from Crater Lake and local Integrity Spirits. There were quite a few beers to taste from Oregon as well as other states. Most gave the standard slightly over a third of a mug pour but a few were more generous. I happened to be at the festival with a friend who is a member of Naked Winery’s Club so our whole crew started the day with free tastes of all of the Naked Wines (I highly recommend having a friend who is a club member). Their Barabera is pretty damn awesome!

Anyway, I can’t remember which beers I tried. The idea was to stick to ones I don’t drink all the time in town and to try and find the breweries that gave the best pours. By the end of the afternoon I was just trying to avoid waiting in line for a pour so I think I had a Lompoc beer. Or was it HUB? My palate was completely useless by then as you can probably tell. But overall I give the Spring Beer and Wine Festival two thumbs up. After the initial cluster getting in, the event was well organized and defnitely gave you a great buzz for not so much cash. I thought the breathalizers at the door were cool, but wouldn’t it be better not to charge to use them and maybe encourage some people not to drive home who don’t realize they shouldn’t? Just thinking out loud here…

We did make it to Smash Putt after the festival, but my memory of it is a bit hazy. I think it was way crowded, but a super cool idea. I somehow managed to get a splinter in my thumb and really need to remember that when I am around tweezers. Splinters are annoying.

This week I know I’ll be hitting LOST at the Bagdad tomorrow. I may try and stop into a Spanish conversation group at the Lucky Lab in NW on Wednesday and am definitely going to a show on Friday at Berbati’s Pan. I’ll also post a review of the Moon and Sixpence on Sunday nights later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.