Pine State Biscuits. Sometimes you just need to drop in mid-morning after a doctor’s appointment and get a biscuit. And all is well.
I feel a little wild, saying that I have a favorite restaurant. There are so many wonderful ones in Portland and I love so many of them.
But I’m going to go out on a limb (for me) and state my favorite. I love Grain & Gristle the most. The space is small and cozy. The staff is friendly without being smarmy or condescending. There are no televisions. The drinks are great: house wine never disappoints, cocktails are scrumptious, and they serve my favorite local brewery (Upright Brewing — deserving of their own post).
The food is delicious. The burger is fabulous. The mussels slay me. The “two-fer” is a great and amazing deal. I love pickles.
I believe dessert is also great, but I’m usually too full to order any.
They are on my bus line: #8.
Grain & Gristle is in NE Portland at 15th & NE Prescott. You can make reservations on Open Table.
Look what I just discovered in my neighborhood: our very own chocolate manufactory (best word ever): Woodblock Chocolate. Now, admittedly, there are other chocolate shops very, very close by (Creo Chocolate, Alma Chocolate, Missionary Chocolates), so it is not that I am deprived of chocolate (and we shall not speak of 180 Xurros — the most dangerous siren call of all).
But I stumbled across this beauty all on my own, without any warning. I cannot wait for them to open… But when will they open?!?
Update: still working on it in 2018. But surely I’ll get there by 2020?!?
Why, you might ask? Well, I know very little about rum and have had a tendency to dismiss it as a sweet, cloying drink best served with coke in the backyard. But as I have discovered more about bourbon, rye, aquavit, and others, I’ve grown curious about rum. Hale Pele seems like the perfect place to learn more, and is conveniently located (for me).
Lessons from New Year’s Eve: when tasting the rums, consider trying only one or maybe two. After two drinks, everything tastes great (and oddly similar).
Well, we’ve made it to July 4th weekend, which means summer has officially begun in our fair city. Let’s make sure there is plenty of time for all our favorite Portland summer activities for 2013!
Key things to do this summer
- Hang out in a park: bring a snack, a book, and a blanket to lay on. Some of my favorites are Wallace Park, Oregon Park, or Laurelhurst park. Although, frankly, Portland is full of awesome parks. Find one close to you!
- Watch a movie outside: bring a comfy (but low) chair thing, a snack, and possibly a sweater. There are movies through Portland Parks & Rec (Movies in the Park), there are movies at Pioneer Courthouse Square (Flicks on the Bricks) on Friday nights in August, there are movies on the top of a parking garage (Top Down: Rooftop Cinema by the NW Film Center — you will need a pillow to sit on), and there is a drive in theater!
- Hang out on a floating dock: Eastbank Esplanade is the best place to seek an almost boating experience. Bring sunscreen, water, and a comfy chair. You might also want a book and a snack, as there is a surprising lack of refreshments along the Esplanade.
- Drink on a patio: I like Rose & Thistle, Holmans, or Moon & Sixpence.
- Grill some food: I like hamburgers (fresh ground from local butcher) or sausages (from a local place like Otto’s Sausage Kitchen)
Finally, sure to have it’s very own blog post, this is the last summer of Trek in the Park. Be there or be trapped on a planet with weird interdimensional beings who do not like you.
Now that’re feeling pretty good about some general guidelines for walking around Portland, let me suggest some favorite walks and resources.
Walks (with a food spin):
- Eastbank Esplanade loop to Portland Waterfront with a break at Water Ave. Coffee and/or Bunk Sandwiches and/or Boke Bowl
- Mt. Tabor roam about and then end up at Steve’s Cheese Bar
- NE Broadway up onto the Alameda ridge and then back down to Foster & Dobbs for a sandwich. Update: closed
- Wild in the City by Mike Houck: a great book about all sort of walks around Portland
- The Portland Stairs Book by Laura O. Foster: urban stair walks! She’s written other books as well about walking around Portland that are great fun, including Hill Walks and City Walks.
- Oregon Walks: protecting your right to roam!
Update: guys. guys. guys. The Grand Central in my neighborhood closed. I am still upset. Years later. A salon and nice clothing store do NOT fill the void in my stomach. However, the salami sandwich (aka the grinder) is no longer a thing, so that gives me a very slight sense of comfort. Although I do like their veggie grinder.
A quick shout-out to our local Portland bakery, Grand Central Baking Company, which is a sort of local chain. There are seven of them in Portland (and a couple up in Seattle), and they also will be at our local farmers markets.
I tend to call them Grand Central Bakery, but after a little research today, I see that they are technically Grand Central Baking Company. And after a little more research, I’m reassured to see that the local shops are called a Grand Central Bakery. So I’m all good after all. Phew.
Our local bakery is in NE Irvington (more or less) has an impressively stable staff and is full of delicious treats: warm cinnamon rolls, tasty salami sandwiches, and fresh bread. Yum!
“I just discovered that the International Food Blogger Conference is happening in Portland RIGHT NOW.
This is happening at one of the hotels near home for me (Doubletree Hotel near NE Holladay Park), which is digging up its driveway right now. Hope that’s not too annoying!
I’m sure they are having a great time eating lots of tasty food (although most of the food listed in the agenda looks pretty generic — don’t forget to leave the hotel!) and writing about it online.
My one recommendation to everyone who stays at that Doubletree is that they enjoy the festive classical music playing at the MAX station out front. Carmen! Die Fledermaus! Mozart!
Update: we no longer get classical music at the MAX stop. 🙁 You win, teenagers, you win.
While some Portland area Farmers Markets keep going year round (see Hillsdale Farmers’ Market), my two favorite neighborhood markets are coming back to life soon!
My absolute favorite is the Sunday Montavilla Market at 7600 SE Stark. However, I have to wait until June 21 for my first low-key, small market dose. This is my favorite market partly because it is on Sundays, but mostly because it feels like a neighborhood occasion with enough choice to be tantalizing. Neither the options nor the crowds are overwhelming, and there is much to delight in!
In the meantime, we have the closer Hollywood Farmers’ Market opening on Saturday, May 2 at NE Hancock between 44th and 45th Avenues. This market has many more options, but also has some serious crowds (and almost always an unexpected friend encounter). Great fun but also some what anxiety inducing for wimps like me!
There are many wonderful farmers and vendors at both markets, but I got to give special mention of the Village Crepery — they are the best! Definitely visit their website for the wonderful animated gifs — and the crepes are even better!
Update: the Blue Nile is closed. Replaced by the Taco Pedaler.
The Blue Nile is an Ethiopian restaurant located between NE 22nd and 23rd on NE Broadway. I have had many a delicious meal, with particularly lovely lamb dishes as well as the ever popular kik. Recently, we have just been ordering the platter for two, sometimes veggie, sometimes meat.
The restaurant itself is pretty low key, with an ever present television near the cash register. If it’s nice out, sit outside, and otherwise site further back from the door and you’ll have a lovely time. Also, the wait staff is very nice. If you are desperate for a beer or need the check rapidly, just go up and ask them for it. You will not be rushed, but they also aren’t going to come hover over you.
I definitely encourage you to come by on a warm day and enjoy the evening, a beer, good company, and yummy food![mappress address=””2225 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR”” ]