We went to Portland a couple of weeks ago to drink beer, eat food, and have good times. The trip was a rousing success. I’d never been to Portland, but I really liked it. It’s a really laid back place with great beer and food all over the place. One goal of our trip was to eat at as many Diners Drive-ins and Dives joints as possible. If you haven’t seen that show, you should probably start watching it.
On the way down to Portland we stopped in Seattle for dinner at Bizarro Italian cafe, a triple-d spot. We had to wait for about half an hour to get a table, but it was well worth it. Bizarro was started by a few ex-circus performers who built their circus flair right into their restaurant. On top of that, all of the food was better than good and the Elk Bolognese was awesome. I’d definitely head back there.
Once we arrived in Portland, we checked into our hotel and began wandering the streets for a place to have a beer. We stumbled upon the Life of Riley Tavern, a simple pub with over 20 taps of excellent quality Western American beer. There is only one place I can think of in Vancouver that has 20 taps of the good stuff and that’s the Alibi Room. We didn’t even have to try to find a similarly stocked pub in Portland, which is no knock on the Alibi Room and a tremendous compliment to the Portland beer scene.
The next morning we set out for a triple-d breakfast at Byways cafe. Again we had to wait, and this time I’d say the wait wasn’t quite worth it. Breakfast was good, but not spectacular. I do believe Byways is better known for their burgers, so it’s a shame we didn’t head their later in the day. I couldn’t resist ordering their biscuits and gravy, a dish I’d only ever seen on TV before. Sadly, I couldn’t finish half of the southern classic. This has never happened to me, I swear! Turns out baked fat with extra fat poured on top resulted in gastrointestinal impotence. Maybe the south shouldn’t be opposing health care so vehemently? I think I’d have had a heart attack if I’d tried to finish my gravy covered biscuits.
Biscuits and Gravy from Byways Cafe
Later on in the day we tried to visit another triple-d join, one we were all eagerly anticipating, called Pok Pok, It serves Vietnamese, Thai, and other Asian style dishes, but sadly we didn’t get to taste any because it opened hours later than our visit. Shoot, maybe next time.
In the early afternoon we visited the Deschutes Brewpub, which served the full compliment of Deschutes beers. I do believe we managed to try each beer collectively and they were all good to wonderful. I was amazed at the sheer size of the brewpub, which was twice as big as any brewpub in Vancouver and quite busy too. The atmosphere was great their too. We didn’t try the food, but the food we saw others tables receiving looked very tasty. Sadly, we decided to eat at the Rogue bar in town later on. The food and the atmosphere their were nothing to write home about. They did serve the full compliment of Rogue beers, but the place was disappointing in that it was a bit run down. We also visited the Rock Bottom pub in town and we found it to be rather generic and unexciting, definitely nothing to write home about.
Us Guys at Deschutes in Portland
Our last brewery visit of the weekend was to Tugboat Brewing, Portland’s oldest Brewpub. The place was a bit of a dive, but we really enjoyed their Chernobyl Imperial Stout. It was a bit of a handful at 13% ABV, but also a trip to flavor town. A glass of Chernobyl cost all of $3 and a pitcher cost $13, steep! I seem to recall us ordering some tasty nachos, again for not very much money, but it was late in the day and I may not be recalling correctly. Also, we really liked the live jazz music at Tugboat and the opportunity to play Jenga.
Erik Playing Jenga at Tugboat Brewing
The next day we used Yelp to find two good places to eat. We had breakfast at the Utopia Cafe in Portland, which again required a long wait, but was tasty. I don’t think I’d wait so long again though. We had dinner at Flying Squirrel Pizza in Seattle and it was amazing. It was the best pizza place I’d ever been too. The crust was excellent and the toppings were exotic and well combined. I still dream of flying squirrel pizza the odd night, go there.
Flying Squirrel Pizza in Seattle