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Cafe Magnolia in SE September 28, 2010

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I apologize for being a slacker on this blog. Back in the groove now.

Friday night I rode the dinner shift for Portland Pedal Power (note to customers- those bikes are heavy to ride, tips are appreciated!) and then headed out to see the Cow Paddy Stompers play at Cafe Magnolia off Hawthorne at 32nd. It was my first visit to Cafe Magnolia and let me go ahead and spill a secret here- $2 pints all night on Friday. All pints. They have Ninkasi IPA and each and every pint was $2. On a Friday. Yes, I am a little excited about this.

Cafe Magnolia has a nice space. The bar area has some tables and the band played up in the front. The weather was great so the doors were open. There is another room next door with a couple of classic video games (Ms. Pac Man and Donkey Kong) and a small outside area. I didn’t try the sandwiches but heard good things about them. Josh, the owner, is super nice and enthusiastic about the place. If you are up in the area, I definitely recommend stopping in for a drink.

I have written about CPS shows before so won’t spend too much time on them, but they rocked on Friday. As usual, they brought a crowd and people danced througout the show.

After the show we headed down to Montage for late night eats. You gotta love a place that you can head into at 1 AM and get an inexpensive creole meal with friends under cool murals. I don’t understand why they don’t sell better beer, but you can go next door to the bar and bring a pint in if Ranier or Session isn’t your thing. They also do half price bottles of wine on Monday and Tuesday nights. All bottles. For real. I had the crawfish etoufee on the recommendation of Patrick, our server, and it was excellent. At less than $10, it is a steal. And the portions are big enough that I was able to bring it home disguised as a tinfoil mouse. Does dinner get better?

Later this week, entries about the Polish Festival, Sunday Parkways and the Bunk Bar.

Tweetup at Hotel Lucia August 30, 2010

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Hotel Lucia logo

Last Wednesday I attended my first Tweetup. It was at the Hotel Lucia and was sponsored by Alaska Airlines. I plan to never miss another one. There was an easy scavenger hunt to qualify to enter a raffle and the prizes were free plane tickets and free hotel stays in high end properties in Portland and Seattle. There were free drinks (one per person, but hey, its free), including Deschutes beer, wine and appletinis. This was coupled with Thai food catered by Typhoon. The fresh spring rolls were my fave. Yes, Typhoon is a chain, but I have to say they have damn fine Thai food. And I have eaten a lot of Thai food in authentic places such as Thailand.

There was a good crowd but it was certainly not packed. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I know I did. I just want to know when the next one is…

Tomorrow I’ll post about my biking wine tour this weekend. Thursday I’ll be at the Forkfly launch party at Henry’s Tavern (which oddly enough, I have not yet been to). Free food, beer, and an adventure race that I think I am signed up for. I just wish I knew what that meant exactly…

The Other Voodoo Donuts August 16, 2010

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Bacon Donuts at Voodoo

Bacon Donuts- image AP/Rick Bowmer

Most people who come to visit seem to have heard of Voodoo Donuts and want to try one. And with good reason. The donuts are tasty and they come in the most interesting flavors I have encountered. The only problem is that there is ALWAYS a line at the Voodoo Donuts location downtown. And I am sorry, but I don’t think any donuts are worth a 45 minute wait on line to get one.

Luckily I discovered the other Voodoo Donuts. Yes, they have a second branch. It is in NE on 15th and Davis. And guess what. The lines at this location tend to be short to non-existant! I have heard of instances where there is a line at this location as well, but from personal experience, you have a much better chance of getting your donut quickly if you head to this branch.

So now the secret is out and you can enjoy your Ol’ Dirty Bastard or Cock N Balls donut without the wait. Go get ’em!

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

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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.

Early start at Santa Fe Taqueria June 3, 2010

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Big ass margarita

Flaming Margarita (Christina Denkinger)

Today I am helping two friends move. So tomorrow I will likely be sore as hell. The first move was actually quite quick and easy and it happened early in the day so my moving friend decided to take us out for instant gratification at Santa Fe Taqueria in NW.

I almost went here for Cinco de Mayo as I know they have a big bash for it. I am kind of glad that I passed as the place is a little smaller than I anticipated and I am sure that getting a drink on the most famous Americanized Mexican holiday of the year would be quite difficult. But it has a nice, chill vibe and was quite empty at noon on a Thursday.

We sat in the bar because drinks were our priority. We did end up getting some nachos which were quite good. For the first round I got a Pacifico and my friends drank margaritas (rocks). Consensus was that the margaritas were quite nice.

For the second round, one of the guys remembered he’d once had a huge, flaming margarita for his birthday at Santa Fe and wanted to duplicate the experience. The bartender said they were not a regular menu item but agreed to make one for us. She had to find the giant margarita glasses on the top shelf of the bar and made the drink for us in a pitcher. She then doused a lime in 151 and set it on fire to complete the work of art in a glass.

Four of us shared the drink and I think it is safe to say we all felt it. This is not a drink for the light of liver or wallet (it cost over $26!) but for a special occasion or a novelty, the giant flaming margarita is certainly something worth a try.

I think there will be another post party today after move number two so I’ll have to fill you in tomorrow.

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.

Cinco de Mayo on Mississippi May 7, 2010

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After a few different plans came and went, we decided to head to Mississippi for Cinco de Mayo. We started the evening off at happy hour at Por Que No? The placeis much smaller than I expected and rain kept the outside tables from being a viable option. But we managed to score a table after a short wait. The happy hour special is $1.50 off margaritas (and they are tasty- not a lot of sour mix, just lime juice), 50 cents off beers and tacos. Here’s a tip though, if you are doing multiple tacos, it is better to get a Brian’s bowl as it comes with all the taco mixings (plus additions like guac) and three tortillas. There is food to spare even after you make the three tacos.

After Por Que No? we headed a block up the road to Amnesia brewing. It was my first visit to Amnesia and I liked the vibe. The outside had a good amount of canine clientele, always a positive. We had a pitcher of the pale ale which was not the best pale in Portland by any standard, but a nice beer all the same.

The last stop was at Prost. Prost is a German beer bar where all the beers are, wait for it, German. They sell the beer in .3, .5 and 1 liter glasses. No tasting is allowed so you have to just hope for the best when you order something new. But the owner/bartender is really nice and friendly and the vibe is great. The sausages are pretty decent as well.

I was feeling a little sluggish on Thursday so decided I needed a nice recovery food cart luch. After reading all of the positive reviews on Yelp, I decided to go for Dosirak near PSU. Most of the people ordering food were regulars and the woman who runs the cart seemed to know everyone’s favorites. That sort of thing endears me to a cart. I got the teriyaki chicken lunch box for $6. It was easily enough food for two meals- chicken, rice (choice of white or brown), pot stickers, and a salad. Yum!

So another weekend approaches. I’m planning to do a bike ride this afternoon followed by dinner and drinks in NW. Tomorrow a run in Forest Park and then the festival in St. John and a party in Gresham. I’ll let you all know how it all goes down.

An Evening Out on Clinton May 1, 2010

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Last night I met some friends in the Clinton neighborhood for dinner and drinks. It was nice to check out an area of town that I am not as familiar with.

We met up at the Clinton Street Pub. It is a small place that is easy to miss because there is no sign. Or at least I did not see a sign. Inside is your typical grungy dive bar, so, of course, I loved it. They have a couple of pinball machines and some tables and old school booths and about eight beers on tap. The beers tended toward the smaller, local breweries, which was another plus in my book. Many of the other customers were drinking PBR tallboys.

After a drink at Clinton Street, we headed down the road to  the Night Light Lounge for dinner. The ambience was more upscale than Clinton Street, but still very laid back. The place was crowded and kind of noisy but we did not have a problem getting a table. The food was delicious and very reasonably priced. I had the Korean Short Ribs and they were excellent for $11. My friend had the buffalo stew and was also pleased with his meal. Like Clinton Street Pub, the draft beers were smaller local brews.

There walking around Clinton Street, I saw quite a few other places I would like to check out. I have a feeling I’ll be heading back soon. Today is Derby Day so I am off to a Derby themed house party. My buddy in Louisville made my bet for me. Go Dublin Go!

The Gilt Club April 29, 2010

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Last night, I once again ended up at Tugboat and Bailey’s Taproom with a little delivery of tacos from Santeria across the way. I think I need to break this addiction and seek out new ground. But later in the evening, we did just that and ended our evening with a drink and appetizers at The Gilt Club across Burnside.

The Gilt Club is a little more upscale then my usual later in the evening haunts, but I was very pleasantly surprised with the price of beer. A pint of Mirror Pond was only $3.50. And that was not happy hour or anything. Speaking of happy hour, their happy hour food menu looks pretty damn tasty. We went there because my friend had told me about the elk tartar so we had to get that (yes, I am totally cool with eating raw meat- hell I’ve eaten insects before). My friend got the rabbit livers and I was able to reaffirm that I am not a liver fan- no matter what the species. He seemed to enjoy it though. The Gilt Club serves their full menu until 2 AM so it is a good place to get some late night food after hanging out in the Pearl. Most of the mains are in the $20 range, but their small plates are only $5 each or $13 for three.

I’m not completely sure where this weekend is going to lead me as of yet. I’ll be writing about it though. Toying with a hike on Saturday and then trying to get back to town in time to watch the KY Derby (and yes, writing KY makes me giggle) on a big screen somewhere. Sunday has a tentative trail run in Forest Park which is sure to kick my ass.