Beer Tour

Michael’s dad came to visit for a long weekend. He’s been in the beer business for decades so of course we wanted to show off some of the Oregon beers! I turned him on to my favorite beer–Boneyard IPA–a few years ago and he agrees it’s one of the best tasting beers he’s had. 😀 One of the local Fred Meyer grocery stores has a growler filling station and they have Boneyard on tap! Of course I had to go and fill our growler for Michael’s dad to enjoy at home during his visit (and for me too LOL).

The first night he was in town we went to Gino’s in Sellwood. It’s a really good Italian restaurant without the hassle of going downtown. It’s an old Portland institution that is always packed, no matter what time of the week you go. Thankfully we got a table pretty quickly. We shared a Caesar salad to start and I got a glass of the Pinot Grigio wine. I got the ravioli special. It was ravioli with goat cheese in it and a butternut squash sauce on the outside of the pasta. It was a really interesting take on butternut squash ravioli! It was topped with some red pepper flakes and toasted hazelnuts. It was very rich but so delicious! Considering we eat pasta like 2x a year it was a real treat.


Monday was a holiday. I slept in a little bit and then went to the gym while Michael and his dad hung out at home and had breakfast. I did my weight routine–lots of kettle bell exercises and some ab work–and then did 2.25 miles on the elliptical. It was a good, sweaty session, that came no where close to burning off the pasta from the night before!!


It was such a nice day out in Portland! 60’s and sunny! The perfect spring/summer tease that comes every mid-February right before the rains starts. The three of us went out to lunch at Hopworks in SE Portland. It’s a cool restaurant/pub with a bike and beer theme. How can you go wrong with that?? I ended up getting the Thai Peanut Wrap with chicken (instead of tempeh) and it was really tasty. It came with red cabbage, quinoa, broccoli and peanut sauce. It didn’t sit too heavy, either, which was good. Michael got a chopped salad and his dad got the chicken tenders. Everything tasted really great! (Sometimes the food can be hit or miss.)


We also shared a tasting tray of 15 beers! I think the favorite for Michael and I was the Abominable Winter Ale, which was rich and smooth and hoppy like an IPA, which was odd for a winter ale. Those are usually darker beers. But it was really good! Of course I also liked the IPA’s and the double IPA’s, those tend to be my favorites. The hoppier the better. There were a lot of beers that I skipped (I’m not a fan of dark beers).



Surprisingly, I also LOVED the Radler–which was a lager (40%) and lemonade (60%)! It was SO good. I could see myself drinking WAY too many of those lovely ladies on a hot summer day. Michael’s dad told the story of how the Radler got started. Apparently in the 1920’s some German town was full of thousands of cyclists one summer day and Radler was running out of beer in his pub so he started mixing the beer with a lemon lime soda that didn’t sell very well on it’s own and everyone loved it! Hence, the beer/lemonade combo was born. I googled it when we got home and found this ad:


Too funny! After lunch and beer tasting we hit one more local brewery, Burnside Brewing. It’s one of my cousin’s favorites and I’m a fan of their Sweet Heat, but haven’t tried any of their other beers. It was a really nice day and they had a covered patio that was partially in the sun so we got to sit outside while we did a sampler tray.



I LOVE their logo. It’s a little artistic devil and it’s so cute. Anyways, we sat in the sun and enjoyed our sampler tray of mostly IPA’s, a lager, a stout and of course the Sweet Heat (which is made with Louisiana Scotch Peppers). The boys weren’t a fan of that one but I like it. 🙂



That yellow one on the forefront is the Sweet Heat. Normally I’d take one look at that beer and be like, “I won’t like it” but I really do…it’s unique! So we enjoyed the sun and beer and wished it were summer then called the beer tour over for the day. I haven’t been drinking alcohol except for my birthday weekend and then the holiday weekend because Michael’s dad was visiting. Just having some samples was a doozy for me!


After that the boys dropped me off at home to hang out with Bella and do some stuff while they went computer shopping and then hit another brewery (Breakside Brewing). I’d had my fill of beer for the day (or weekend, really) and ended up watching some Gilmore Girls, cuddled with Bella and did some yard work in the sunshine.

When Michael’s dad comes to visit from Texas he usually wants seafood so we take him to his favorite spots (Jake’s or Ringside). Monday night we went to Jake’s Grill downtown. It’s a classy, gorgeous restaurant with impeccable service and it’s always a good experience. I always forget just how great dining out at Jake’s is.


We got all gussied up and headed downtown for an early dinner.


I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and dry just like how I like my wine! They brought out the famous sourdough rolls which are just too tasty not to eat…


Michael ordered the calamari appetizer. He thinks it’s the best calamari in town and I tend to agree. It’s never overly chewy or greasy. I only had a few bites though, as I was saving room for my dinner!


For dinner I ordered the cedar plank salmon that came with basmati rice and crispy leeks. At first I was going to get a salad and soup but the salmon sounded so amazing (and I wasn’t wrong) and when you go to Jake’s you really should order the fish.


The salmon was perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I LOVED the leeks on top. They were kind of like fried onions. The portions were good too–not grotesquely huge, just right. Michael got the salmon with potatoes and kale topped with a lobster sauce. Michael’s dad got the rockfish with green beans, tomatoes and artichokes.


Everything was magnificent. I love that place! We were all stuffed but not uncomfortably so. There was definitely no room for dessert and we called it an early night.

I love it when family comes to visit and we can show off our lovely city. You can throw a rock and hit a dozen breweries and great restaurants. The weather was perfect for Michael’s dad’s visit, too, which was nice. I will say I will be happy to get back to my normal eating routine and give the alcohol a break again. Back on track!

Sweet Heat

Did you ever play the computer game The Sims? I loved it back in the day. If you never played it, it was kind of like creating your own soap opera. And your “characters” in the game had needs that had to be met: sleep, eat, bathroom, social, etc. There was a bar at the bottom of the screen for each need and if it got too low, the characters would tell you. They’d be angry and wave their fists at the sky. If they were tired, a bed would show above their head and if you ignored it long enough, they’d eventually pass out on the floor wherever they were standing, too exhausted to move to the bed.



I bring this up because I kind of felt that way lately. My calender for March has been overwhelmingly crowded. Acupuncture, work, gym, plans with friends, trying to fit in downtime for myself, relationship time with Michael, chores, and volunteering. I was starting to feel like The Sims. I wanted to wave my angry fist at the sky and demand some down time! I even contemplated canceling EVERYTHING in my schedule for a few weeks.

Apparently what I needed was time with friends. Thursday after work my cousin Anna and I went out for Pho for dinner at Pho Hung. I love Pho! I ate way too much and still had enough leftovers for 2 lunches.



After dinner, Anna and I went to N.W.I.P.A for a cider tasting. The tasting was free and I was surprised at how much I liked ciders. It was brewed by 2 Towns Ciderhouse, a brewery from Corvallis, Oregon. I loved their pear cider. It was crisp and dry, with just a little bit of sweetness. I ended up buying a bottle to take home.



The beer bar had mostly IPAs, which is my favorite beer, and they had my favorite brewery on tap: Boneyard. I got a small glass of their Double IPA and Anna got her favorite beer, Burnside Brewing Sweet Heat. I finally got to try Sweet Heat and I liked it quite a bit. It’s a wheat ale made with apricots and Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers. It was smoky and spicy but not in an unpleasant way.

I felt like I had recharged my battery after that fun evening out. We lounged at the bar for a few hours talking and I just felt a million times better.



Friday evening one of my oldest and best friends, Rachel, came down to Portland for a mini girl’s weekend. We went out to dinner (to The Slide Inn, which was by far the absolute worst meal I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant and I’m absolutely shocked it’s still open. The food was vile, tasted bad, and I’m pretty sure it gave me food poisoning…) and Michael joined us. After the horrid meal we wanted to salvage the night so the three of us went to Pix Patisserie, just up the street from the restaurant. Their desserts are absolutely decadent and amazing and their new location on Burnside is great! The atmosphere was cool, it was a fun vibe, there was tons of space and it was packed.

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Michael and I split the creme brulee. They had about 3 or 4 items that were gluten free and the creme brulee is one. It was magnificent, creamy, crunchy, sweet, perfect. I can’t remember the last time I had creme brulee. After that Michael headed home and Rachel and I went out to a quiet little bar to catch up.

Saturday morning I got up early enough to make it to the very early body pump class. Rachel had about an hour or so of work to do so it was perfect. I got my workout done, she made some money, and then we had the rest of the day together.



We went to The Blue Pig for brunch and seemed as though the universe was making up for the horrible dinner the night before. First, it was a gorgeous sunny day in Portland. Second, I was able to get a primo parking spot right in front of the restaurant on Hawthorne–the most popular and crowded area of Portland–and that is unheard of. Lastly, there was NO LINE. We got a table immediately and about twenty minutes later the crowds arrived. We lucked out and got in just between the two rushes. It was crazy!



The Blue Pig’s new location on Hawthorne is great! Huge, fun, comfortable, trendy and I loved the artwork. I ordered breakfast off the kid’s menu because the regular sized portions were huge. I got French Toast, 1 fried egg and 1 sausage link. And lots and lots of coffee.



I need to start ordering off the kid’s menu more often. It’s so much more my speed. After a month of no bread and missing French toast, I was happy to get my craving satisfied. Rachel got the pork belly hash with a humongous biscuit. Check it out:



Our leisurely brunch was really chill and eventually we made our way to Laurelhurst Park to take advantage of the sun and 60+ degree day. We walked around and talked and then parked our butts on a bench by the lake and stayed there for a few hours. The vitamin D was happily soaked up.



I needed that sunshine. It’s been gone far too long. Eventually Rachel and I found our way to a nearby coffeeshop that had outdoor seating in the sunshine. It was the first time I’d been to the Flying Cat Coffeeshop and it was great! The owner was a sweetie and super friendly and the place was somewhere I’d like to hang out–very welcoming. I had a hibiscus iced tea as we sat outside in the sun.





The rest of the day was spent outside playing Sequence, enjoying some downtime and just catching up. It had been way too long since Rachel and I got to hang out. I needed my girl’s weekend badly. Unfortunately, I spent the rest of the weekend feeling sick. Not sure if it’s food poisoning or flu or something else…it certainly was not fun or how I would have liked to spend the rest of my weekend, but I’m so glad I got to see Rachel!

QUESTION: Can you relate to this post? And did you ever play The Sims?