Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Eugene and Portland

I had a work trip to Eugene so I made the most of it by tacking on a quick visit to Portland and getting D to join me there. We didn't have much time (and I didn't take many pictures) but we kept busy!

boxes to go
{ninkasi brewery - eugene - boxes to go}

ninkasi flight
{ninkasi flight}

falling sky brewery
{falling sky brewery - eugene}

falling sky flight
{falling sky flight}

international rose test garden
{international rose test garden - portland}

climbing roses
{climbing roses}

because we had to
{because we had to...}

dulce de leche hazelnut
{blue star - dulce de leche hazelnut}

egg sandwiches
{egg sandwiches}

crepes at cartopia
{crepes at cartopia}

Despite the fact that I had the most days in Eugene, I also had the least free time. I was completely booked until my last night there. But I took full advantage of that one evening! I walked three miles to the Blair Blvd area and had a flight at Ninkasi and then stopped in at Falling Sky and had dinner and a pint. Going out by myself is a rare pleasure and I love it. I don't usually read and I make a point of not messing with my phone much. I just sort of zone out and tune in at the same time, if that makes sense. Also notable in Eugene - coffee from Perk with housemade burnt sugar syrup.

D had flown into Portland and spent some time with friends and family and he met me in Eugene on Friday afternoon. I loved both breweries so much that I did the whole thing over again with him. Which was awesome, because the one downside to solo brewpub hopping is that you can't possibly taste enough beers without someone to help. At Ninkasi I loved, loved, loved the dry hopped pale ale (sadly, not available in bottles) and the Tricerahops. The tasting room is lively and full of people getting their growlers filled for the week. Falling Sky is just down the street, and it's a beautiful light filled space with the best graphics I've seen at any brewery. Their food is awesome and their beer list is extensive. Make sure to come with at least one other person so you can share a couple flights. But if you're alone, they're very nice about recommending some options and giving you tiny tastes so you can make a decision.

After a small dinner in Eugene we drove up to Portland, really appreciating the long days because we could see the scenery the whole way. It wasn't dark until after 9:30 pm, which felt crazy to me. We had a late second snack at Lardo and stopped in for drinks at the Lucky Labrador.

Because we had the rental car until 10 am, we woke up early and drove to the International Rose Test Garden, which is gorgeous in June. We returned the car and made a quick stop at Voodoo Doughnut, because really, how could we not? The donuts were fine but the experience ended up being even better. Just as we'd sat down with our donuts a wedding started at the front counter. Apparently you can get married there. The packages look like a pretty good deal, I have to say.

We were staying in Southeast Portland to have better access to the breweries but we walked all over on Saturday, crossing the river and heading towards the Pearl District in downtown, stopping by the Saturday market on our way. We browsed some of the boutiques on Alder, including Alder & Co, which was lovely. We wandered into a little alley of shops and found Quin, an all natural candy store (try their version of Starburst!). I have no idea what the alley is called but ETA - A kind reader informed me that the alley is called Union Way! You can enter from Burnside just after 11th St and it's full of fun places, including a Steven Alan, although we resisted that particular temptation.

We ate several crepes from Perierra at Cartopia, a little collection of food carts with a seating area on the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne. If you're there, you must try the coconut milkshake with basil and sea salt. It was crazy. We also had a pizza from Pyro Pizza and french fries from Potato Champion.

Despite staying in Southeast specifically to be close to the breweries, we overestimated how much we could get to in one day and it quickly became clear that we were going to max out. We made a point of visiting Cascade Brewing because they specialize in sours, which can be hard to find. The frite galois was insanely good. After a long walk and an afternoon nap we decided to switch to cocktails and ventured out to Rum Club. If you're looking for an understated yet perfect Tiki bar, Rum Club is a must. The drinks were amazing and the bartender even gave us the recipe for one of our favorites of the night. I'll get it up here once I have a chance to track down the ingredients.

On Sunday morning we had a couple hours so we walked in the other direction, east along Hawthorne, and stumbled into Blue Star Donuts. I had a dulce de leche hazelnut donut that was so ridiculously good that after one bite D, who is not that into donuts, went back up to the counter and ordered one for himself. I was sorely tempted to bring back several dozen.. I rounded out my breakfast with an awesome egg sandwich from Fried Egg I'm in Love (all the sandwich names are puns involving song titles, so you kind of have to sing to yourself while you read the menu).

If you're wondering how we managed to try so many food items over the course of ~36 hours, well, it's not for the faint of heart but it works out okay if you graze. We try to order just 1 - 2 things at each place and share. That way we can eat at a different place in two hours. This works best if you aren't eating at sit down restaurants, obviously. We share beer flights (duh) but not cocktails or pints (one cocktail for two people is just embarrassing). However, tasting the other person's drink is always a given. In the end, you also just have to accept that none of your clothes will probably fit when you get home. We all have to make sacrifices.

It was a great trip but waaaay too short. I'm hoping we get a chance to go back and spend a little more time here in the future.

And yes, we had Stumptown coffee, which was wonderful, although D feels the latte at Ristretto was actually the winner.

I am bummed that we ran out time (and liver stamina) to do tastings all along distillery row, because that looks awesome. I also would have liked to try more restaurants, but given the short time frame our cart grazing worked out well.


  1. Yay! Oregon is my home state and I am glad you got to try so many awesome things there. I am also a lover of craft beer and if you ever get the chance you should hit up Bend (my hometown) because it has an insane amount of breweries!

    1. We wanted to stop in Bend this trip, but quickly realized we were insane for thinking we could fit that much in! But we're definitely hoping to make it at some point.

  2. Love! I live near Blue Star Donuts and Hawthorne - it's great to read other people's take on my beloved neighborhood.

    My husband and I are going to be in West Hollywood later this summer - do you have any brewery recommendations?

    1. That neighborhood is adorable! We walked up and down some of the residential streets as well and loved it.

      As for your trip - it depends on how far you're willing to go! There aren't any breweries super close to WeHo (that I know of) but LA has some great ones! My personal favorites are the Strand and Monkish, but that might be a bit of a trek for you. Golden Road is a little closer and they have a nice tasting room. Eagle Rock brewery has a nice little tasting room as well, although I don't think their beers are quite as good overall.

      What is is WeHo is Yogurt Stop, my very favorite frozen yogurt place!

    2. Oh, I forgot one of my favorites! Angel City brewing is downtown, so you could potentially take the subway (you'd take the red line and then have to either transfer to the gold line or walk a bit). Their Angeleno IPA is great!

  3. SO COOL that you went to Voodoo Doughnut and got to see a Wedding! I remember seeing it on one of those countdown specials on either the food network, the travel channel or hgtv (I can't remember which exactly though).

  4. oregon is amazing! if it were sunnier, joe and i would probably be living there.

  5. That's awesome that you got to try so many things during your short stay! Cascade is one of my favorite places for beer. I'm a sucker for a sour.

  6. The alley where Quin's candy is located is called "Union Way" - apparently the ramen shop there is incredible but I haven't tried it yet. Quin also has their candy at a little shop called Sprinklefingers on SE Belmont, which sells the most delicious cookies, cupcakes and brownies. Jami Curl owns both Quin and Sprinklefingers, and she used to run Saint Cupcake here in town. You can get Quin candy at most New Seasons markets here in town as well.

    I'm glad you got to try all the Cartopia carts this visit, because it's closing for good after this summer! I guess the guy who owns the lot wants to turn it into a retail/apartment building. Blech.

    1. Thank you! I'll add "Union Way" to the post - I knew it must have a name but I couldn't figure it out. Now I'm sad we didn't make it to Sprinklefingers!

      So sad about Cartopia. : ( We loved it and it was so convenient for us.

    2. boxer ramen - it is indeed great (i had lunch there on friday)! extra points for the '90s r&b they played as we slurped our veggie curry.

  7. I'm glad you went to Blue Star along with Voodoo. I enjoy the quality of their doughnuts better, but I respect the need to go to Voodoo as well :) Beautiful photos.


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