Over the past few years, every other Christmas, my dad has wanted a “getaway” Christmas. My “5-foot-2, I wanna dance with you, I’m sophisticated fun” big sister moved to Portland about a year and a half ago and that’s where we had our getaway Christmas. Disclaimer: my mom hates not having us around for the holidays. I had a great time in Portland, but I did miss my family in Memphis very much.
The perks of a getaway Christmas are the following: we only buy one present each and do Chinese Christmas on Christmas Eve, no one brings their work with them, no one’s distracted by our everyday lives, and I get to impress everyone with my phenomenal cooking skills. (Except for that time the fried rice was still a bit crunchy.)
I flew in to Portland just before lunch time. The restaurant my sister wanted to take us to wasn’t open for lunch yet, so we did what any normal people would do- go to the bar next door for libations. Verde Cocina happily invited us in for late morning Bloody Mary’s and Margaritas. One of the top 5 Bloody’s I’ve ever had. The first being at The Prince Albert Pub in Notting Hill. Our Bloody’s at Verde Cocina where made with Crater Lake Vodka and Vanessa’s special home blend Bloody Mary mix. It was spicy and served with a pickled green bean! The “Margarita Puro” the other half of the party ordered was tequila reposado, lime, and raw organic agave syrup.
Next door to Verde Cocina was Sasquatch. I knew Portland was home to the James Beard Foundation so I expected amazing food and this little on-the-hill restaurant definitely impressed me!
Being the huge cheese fan I have always been, I started out lunch with Blue D’auvergne. It’s a delicious French Cheese (cow’s milk) served with toast points and honey.
The Pretzel from the Snacks section of the menu was delicious. It wasn’t a dense pretzel or an oily mess like the ones you get at the mall. It was a classic made, delicious pretzel served with honey and their house made mustard..
I can’t decide if I like menus that give descriptions or solely ingredients more. I think I enjoy just the ingredients. For instance, from the Small Plates we ordered “Grilled Romaine. Crouton. Anchovies. Parmigiano. Egg. Tarragon Dressing.” All of these ingredients are a base for a classic Caesar salad (I know it didn’t even say Caesar salad anywhere), but this is what we got- and I loved it.
For my entree I ordered Buttermilk Fried Chicken. What can I say? I’m from the south and if someone in Portland is trying to fry some chicken, I wanted to see if they could do it right! They passed. In fact, they passed with flying colors. The setup was beautiful. The fingerling potatoes laid roasted on the bottom of the dish, the crispy cooked chicken tee-peed over the pots with the country gravy surrounding it all.
Another great aspect of Sasquatch is that it’s also a brewery! I enjoyed Bertha’s Brown Ale- a medium-bodied brown with flavors of roasted barley and chocolate malt. There wasn’t too much hop in this beer, which I liked the most. There were a few different flavors on tap at Sasquatch: Moby Dick Imperial IPA, Hairy Knuckle Stout, Red Electric IRA, and Healy Heights Pale Ale- some up to 10.2%!
Another great part about Oregon, is the wine. After lunch we headed to wine country! My sister is a member at WillaKenzie Estate. I had the pleasure to taste some great Pinot Noirs and other varietals, and take a picture in front of the vineyard.
After incredible tastings at WillaKenzie, we stopped by Four Graces where John is a member of and we tried even more awesome Oregon wines and picked up a few bottles for the following night’s dinner. The drive back to Portland from the wineries was about 45 minutes to an hour so I had some time to nap and get back to square one.
Our entire first day seriously circled around eating great food, having great drinks, and catching up over the past year. One of my biggest loves (as everyone should know) is eating oysters. So we went to Eat for some pre-dinner snacks.
We started off with a couple dozen Baywater oysters fresh from Washington, and followed them with a couple of versions of their oyster shooters. The Standard with vodka, spicy red sauce, and lemon. The Cajun – “the standard” with chili infused vodka. The Kentucky – chili infused bourbon with lemon. After the wine tastings, I pretty much quit taking pictures so just run on your imagination.
After our oysters we walked down the street for dinner at Tasty n Sons!
Tasty n Sons was packed. The inside was a long dining room with community style tables and seating. Their regular menu changes with the seasons and is derived purely by kitchen inspiration. They also use local Farmer’s produce. Since we had been eating all day we shared a bunch of different plates. A few of them included a Meat and Cheese Board with Steve’s cheeses, Fried Cauliflower and olives with Harissa cream, and a classic Bouillabaisse with clams, mussels, fish, octopus, prawns and bacon. Check out their current dinner menu and be ready to be impressed!
After the pure gluttony that the entire day had been, we headed back to the house we rented in Mt. Hood. It was a good hour drive to get there, but worth the serenity. The next few days we spent skiing on Mt. Hood and drinking incredible Portland microbrews. Double Mountain IRA was by far my favorite.
I know it’s been a month since I went to Portland, but I just can’t get away from the outdoors in Austin! The rest are just some awesome pictures from my trip!