It feels like forever since I was in this space--sorry to leave you hanging but we went to PORTLAND (PDX)!! It also feels like we just got back from our awesome weekend getaway and I'm pretty sure I'm going through vacation withdrawls because, err, umm, we got back on Monday and today's, Thursday? In my defense, PDX was beautifully overcast, perfectly chilly, in fact, it even rained a little and how are you supposed to think in nearly 100°F weather after that!? Then there's the fact that we treated ourselves to lots of walking, beer tastings, and five meals a day. It's hard to go from that to a regular work week, let alone a work week accompanied by sweaty, hot 97°F LA weather after pure bliss. Hashtag take me back to last weekend. (Also, we = me + Moses and our dear friends, Jackie + Bob.) Here are our weekend highlights, although, let's be honest, the whole trip was one big, giant highlight.
Blue Star Donuts - They've got amazing, funky flavors like Blueberry Bourbon & Basil and Orange Olive Oil Cake as well as classics like OG (original glazed). Rumor has it this is the local favorite (all our Uber drivers scoffed at Voodoo) and having tried both, I'd have to agree with the locals. Bonus points for multiple locations!
Nuvrei - First of all, HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to Michelle from Hummingbird High for this amazing recommendation. Pretty sure we never would have found it without her, and thank goodness for Michelle, cause, we went twice. We got the chocolate-almond croissant (OMG YUM), rose croissant, pecan cinnamon roll, bacon & swiss quiche, a couple scones, a berry brioche, and a bunch of mini canelés and I'd recommend any, except for maybe the cutie canelés.
Salt & Straw - Ok, so we have one in LA but somehow running to the PDX location 2 minutes before closing after an awesome meal at Pok Pok, made this spot even better. We promised we'd be quick but then proceeded to try 10 different flavors before unanimously deciding on Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake, in a cone. HOLY YES.
Eb & Bean - Another wonderful Michelle recommendation, this fro-yo is some of the best I've ever had. It's smooth, creamy, rich, and all those other awesome adjectives you'd usually use to describe ice cream (not fro-yo). Bob, who is a self-proclaimed fro-yo hater pretty much polished off the cup he and Jackie were "sharing." Highly recommend making a stop here if you're in NE or even if you're not. Worth the trip.
Cascade Brewing - So sour beers are kind of my jam and this brewery is all about sours. I mean it really is. That's all they make. So don't come here thinking you're gonna get an epic IPA, cause that's definitely not happening. However, sour beer is awesome and this spot is definitely worth a trip, even if you think you're not a fan. My favorite sour, hands down, was Honey Ginger Lime. It's my ultimate summer sour for sure (and hey, guys, guess what, it's still summer!!).
The Commons Brewery - Small batch, craft beers are what you'll find here. Think lots of Saisons, farmhouse style ales, pils, and sorry but again, no IPAs from what I could see. That being said, they have a cheese monger on site, who will make you a magical cheese and charcuterie board to nibble on while you sample your way through all the beers that The Commons brews up!
Rogue - All you IPA lovers, GO HERE!! They've got tons of 'em here, as well as every other flavor under the sun. There's something for everyone and they even serve up ShanTEAs, made with Smith Teamaker Teas! Pretty darn cool if you ask me. Worth noting, this place was PACKED when we visited. It looked like it was mostly tourists, but hard to say. We did find enough room to sit and enjoy our beers AND play heads up. A couple guys sitting next to us even joined in. :D
Culmination Brewing - We stumbled upon this spot after hitting up Eb & Bean and I'm so glad we did. This place is super mellow, the staff's really friendly and they had some interesting craft brews on tap. Forbidden Rice ALT was my favorite. It's like a genmaicha beer, which, hello, is amazing.
Tasty n Alder (or Sons) - YOU MUST STOP HERE. Just do it. Plan on waiting and hit up all the adorable shops nearby like Canoe and Alder and Co while you kill time. Moses and I stopped here for a quick burger and beer the day we got in then went back again on Saturday with the crew for brunch. The Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs, which is served in a skillet over a cornmeal pancake with jalapeno butter was INSANE. Also, TASTY MARY.
Pok Pok - We hit this spot up the night we got in and OMG Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings live up to the hype. And yes, there was a bit of a wait, but we walked over to the Whiskey Soda Lounge, devoured our wings, drank a couple of Drinking Vinegar Cocktails (another Michelle rec) and then found our way back across the street in an hour or so. Zero complaints.
Kachka - One of the coolest spots in PDX, we immediately felt like we were in Russia. But like an uber cool, super hip Russia. The music alone will transport you. And the food here was insane. Make this a must stop. The staff was super friendly, patient, and funny and the dumplings. OMG THE DUMPLINGS. Get the dumplings. Classic and Fancy. That sounds silly now but once you get a menu, you'll know what I mean.
Biwa - Hippest (man, hip is the word for all of PDX) Japanese Izakaya in town. The food is tasty, thoughtful (just look at the way the menu is organized), and the cocktails are on point. They don't take a reservation, so we did have to wait, but we just walked down the street and played some skeeball and pool till our table was ready. PS, the host was awesome and I don't know his name but man, he was cool.
Made in PDX
Finex - We had the honor and privilege of meeting the makers behind one of my favorite cast iron companies, Finex. It was one of the raddest experiences ever to walk through the Finex's process of making their beautiful, heirloom quality pans. It's all about the details here and you'd be blown away by how many hands touch each and every pan. I walked out of there an even bigger fan (didn't think that was possible) than I already was, and also quoted Mike, the founder, at least ten times while in PDX. If you ever have a chance to meet Mike, you'll instantly understand why Finex is so wonderful--it's a reflection of Mike and his awesome style, personality, and vision.
ZT (Zero Tolerance) - Ok, you might be thinking, how and why does Alana know about Zero Tolerance knives, and it's because it's a Kai Brand and you all know about my obsession with Shun Knives. Well Shun and ZT are part of the same fam, Kai! And I was lucky enough to pay a quick visit to the headquarters down in Tualatin and learn more about the Kai family. Which lead me to ZT! They are some of the finest tactical knives on the market and guess what, they're made in America, specifically Oregon!
Jacobsen Salt Co. - I can't talk about PDX, without mentioning Ben Jacobsen's Salts. Ben and his team are the first company to harvest salt in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) since Lewis & Clark and their salts are perfection. Perfect texture, taste, and that flake sure is beautiful! They also make these delicious Salty Black Licorice chews that are strangely addicting!
Woodblock Chocolate - I'm a sucker for great packaging and Woodblock Chocolate has great packaging. This husband and wife team make delicious and adorable tiny blocks of chocolate and after my first block, I was an instant fan. Also, Cocoa Nibs + Salt. That's all I really needed to say right?
So this might not be a spot that will be on everyone's PDX weekend tour, but it was a major highlight on ours. Brooke, the amazingly, talented, generous, and humble lady behind Chocolate and Marrow, along with her charming and gentlemanly husband, Barrett, opened up their home to us and opened our eyes to PIMIENTO CHEESE. None of us had ever had it, and MAN was it good. Like so good, I had to sit on my hands and tell myself not to eat more good. We got the grand tour of Brooke's amazing garden with chockful of GIANT zucchini, perfect dry farmed tomatoes, and wild arugula and mint!! We even shook up some cocktails and guess what, they're going up on her blog tomorrow, so check back then!! She's also got the most culinary travel guide for PDX up right now, and I can tell you first hand that her recs are on point! Thanks a billion B&B (&B). You three (the third B in the family is Bourré, their chocolate lab) are the best. xo
After our fair share of brewskis and several days of fiveadays (five meals a day), we all decided that everyone needed to get outdoors and head outside of the city. Jackie and Bob's friend, Maura (thanks, Maura), was kind enough to not only shuttle everyone out to a beautiful (and easy) five-mile hike on Eagle Creek Trail. In all honesty, it's a really long hike, but we went on the abbreviated version to a small waterfall, which was the perfect dose of beauty, distance, and light rains. I can't even tell you how good it felt to get outdoors, surrounded by friends, fresh air, and happy hikers. Highly recommend hitting Eagle Creek Trail and then circling back to Multnomah Falls, which looked stunning from the car, but was super packed and on a rainy, Labor Day weekend, we couldn't bring ourselves to wait for parking to hike around. Next time!
Well, that was one of the best long weekends we've had in a while! Cheers, PDX.