Friday, February 1, 2013


I'm currently on a much-delayed flight home to San Francisco from New York, going on hour 8 of tapping away at my computer in an uncomfortably warm airplane seat, very ready to be home and in the warm embrace of my couch, my cats, and my boyfriend.

But first! I had a wonderful time in New York. In the busyness the precedes and accompanies travel, however, I forgot to go through my photos from our trip to Portland over MLK weekend. Portland, the stuff of legend, land of beer, hippie nirvana.

So how did it stack up to the hype? It was pretty great. The dream of the 90s is, in fact, alive in Portland. There were dreds, and Doc Martens, and all things organic, even vegan. But there were also slick shops and bars, fancy food, and, of course, all of the beer.

We stayed at the Ace Hotel, which has perfect light in its lobby all the time.
We went for a frosty run around the city on our first morning, along the river, then I ate pierogies with chili sauce from a food truck as a drinking-prep snack. We wandered to Powell's while we waited for our friends to get in from Eugene, and it was the book nirvana I had always imagined. As someone who works in the book industry, I've spent some time worrying about how you replicate the serendipity of the physical bookstore experience online. And I'll tell you what, Powell's has designed serendipity DOWN. Their shelves were gorgeously curated, impossible to resist. Bravo. I didn't take any photos, but I did snap this picture of wind turbines on a building right across the way from Powell's for my mom, who has a crush on turbines.
Our friends are, lucky us, beer nerds as well (they were the creators of this map, after all), and they first took us to Tugboat Brewery downtown, notable less for its beers (though they were solid) as for being exactly what a bar should be: homey, warm, designed for sitting and talking and sipping your brew. After Tugboat was Bridgeport Brewing, with a big slick brick warehouse space, and then we crossed the river to Widmer, where I gained mucho respect for a brewery that I thought just churned out masses of ok hefeweizen. Which they do. But they also make a killer black IPA.

And then, oh friends, and then. We went to Cascade Brewing, the most perfect brewery in all existence.
ALL OF THE SOURS. Sour beer for miles. There were 10 or 12 different sours, all different, all delicious. It was just too much. Except not at all.

We wrapped up that night at a show at the Doug Fir Lounge, where SF bands Future Twin and Two Gallants were playing. That venue kicks ass, and I'm not just saying that because a coworker's friend works there and was kind enough to guestlist us.

Our second day was a Sunday, and not just any Sunday - it was The Playoffs, the games that would decide who went to the Superbowl. We found a sports bar that turned out to be a Niners bar. It was perfect.
 As you have probably heard by now, the Niners won. Mike wet his pants a little.
Parents, I now know how you feel on your kid's birthday when she opens her present and loves it. I would do anything to get to see Mike that psychotically happy every day. Actually, there are probably things that I could do to make Mike that happy, but I'm not going to do them. So scratch that.

Rather than stay holed up in that bar, we walked across the river to another recommended place to watch the Pats get spanked by the Ravens, which was glorious. But first there were some lovely sunset views.
That bar turned out to be one of the finest sports bars I've seen. Layout, food, drink, decor, muah!
We need a place like this in San Francisco. I'm still dreaming about these bourbon apple cider shots, and I don't even like bourbon.
We wrapped it all up with a date night at Pok Pok, which was delicious but probably not worth the hour+ wait. On the other hand, I did have a mind-blowing cocktail: a Salted Plum Vodka Collins, which I will never have the temerity to try to replicate but will dream about anyway.

And with that, we whisked ourselves away home the next morning, so sure that we'll be back in Portland soon that we didn't even deprive ourselves of an excellent sleeping-in morning. On a Monday! So luxurious.

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