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!


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To eat good food and splurge once in awhile. This past weekend was apparently my splurge weekend. It’s been awhile since I had a splurge weekend (I’d say my birthday in January was the last) but it was to be expected. Michael’s dad came to visit for the weekend from Texas and when he comes to visit, we go to the really good restaurants in Portland.

Friday night after my swim, I met Michael and his dad at Nuestra Cocina. When Michael suggested I said, “your dad doesn’t want Mexican food in PORTLAND” but Nuestra Cocina isn’t really your typical Mexican restaurant. It’s more of a “Upscale Yuppie Hybrid Portland Mexican” kind of restaurant. Michael got the special, pork chops in a squash puree with snap peas. (I had a bite and it was fantastic.)


I got the “PUNTITAS DE RES EN CHIPOTLE CON CHAYOTE Y FRIJOLES REFRITOS”. It was tender beef tips in a chipotle sauce with chayote squash and refried beans. The sauce was really, really spicy–in an unexpected but awesome way. I ate half and had the rest of the leftovers for lunch on Sunday.


Saturday morning while Michael spent some time with his dad, I headed to the gym to try and burn off some of the previous night’s calories. It went really well. I’ve got Suzanne’s routine DOWN. As such, I finished it in less time than I’ve ever done the workout, so I added a few things to make it a full hour. I followed that with lots and lots of stretching and foam rolling. I could tell those deadlifts were gonna make my hamstrings cry the next day…


After my workout, the three of us went to Papa Haydn’s for lunch. I ordered the French Onion Soup, which arrived in an adorable bowl with lion heads on the side, and a side order of their seasonal vegetables (kale and broccoli rabe). Their French Onion soup was spectacular–not as good as the one at Petite Provence but definitely #2.


After lunch Michael played golf with his dad while I collapsed on the couch with Fat Kitty and that week’s episode if SVU. I was exhausted! I guess the workout took more out of me than I was expecting.


When the boys got back to the house, I taught Michael’s dad how to use Twitter. 🙂 It was actually pretty fun sharing my tips and explaining everything (like hashtags and retweets–go ahead, try and explain what that means to someone that doesn’t use Twitter!).

After the tutorial, the three of us went to Ringside Fish House for dinner. Oh.My.God. Totally worth the calorie bomb. I probably ate my allotment of calories for one week in a single meal, but it was damn worth it (well, remind me of this in a week when my pants don’t fit).

The place was fancy, the service was superb and classy and the food was spectacular. We started with a small order of onion rings–which are the best onion rings I’ve ever had in Portland. Truly delectable and properly fattening. Of course there was also freshly baked herb rolls as well.


Michael’s dad has been in the beer industry for four decades and while he’s not an IPA fan, he tried my favorite beer (which they had on tap) and said it was amazing. Yay! Convert! Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity to try a Boneyard beer, you should. You’re welcome.


Anyways, back to the food. Michael got the Maine Lobster Soup to start (I had a bite and it tasted like a stick of butter in a bucket of cream with some lobster in it–yum) and the prime rib.


Michael’s dad got the halibut with lentils (it was topped with avocado and bacon). I wish the photos of their food turned out because the presentation was great:



I ordered the Trout Almondine for dinner. It was grilled trout over crispy green beans and almond slivers with a butter lemon sauce. I was glad I didn’t order something with mashed potatoes or rice–even though it looked amazing–because there is no way I could have fit out the front door. My trout was perfectly prepared; it was light, not greasy, slightly crispy on the edges but the fish was moist and flavorful. The beans weren’t limp and overdone and the sauce was delicate. I loved it.


Michael’s dish came with creme brulee for dessert so we all shared one. I was stuffed.


On Sunday I skipped breakfast and lunch with the boys to give them some father-son bonding time. I went to the pool then had some leftovers for lunch at home. Then we saw Jurassic Park in 3D. It did not disappoint!! Even though I’ve seen the movie a zillion times, it was still exciting and scary. Seeing it in 3D was so cool.

It was Michael’s birthday so he picked where we went for dinner after the movie. We went to Gino’s in Sellwood. It’s one the best unsung restaurants in Portland. You don’t read much about it but the food is spectacular. The three of us split the order of Caesar salad and it was definitely the best Caesar I’ve ever had–but be prepared for a powerful punch of garlic. It’s very spicy. 



I had a glass of Pinot Grigio with dinner. I ended up ordering something off the “starter” menu as my entree. It was meant to be shared family style, but it worked great as an an entree. I got the polenta and sausage. It came on a bed of greens and was smothered in a red sauce. Great flavors! I ate half and took the rest home for lunch.


We were all so stuffed that we skipped dessert. Thank goodness! Monday morning came and while I definitely had food remorse for eating out so much over the weekend, I’m glad I made decent choices and tried my best to practice portion control. It was nice spending time with Michael’s father and he had a great trip to Portland. That’s all that matters.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll be living on salads for the next week. 😉