Getting it Together on the Road: Portland [Part II]
Sorry I’m not sorry for the second novella on my trip to Portland. Read the first part of Getting it Together on the Road: Portland.
This post is dedicated to Frostie the Snow Goat. RIP.
Saturday, June 14th (Cassie)
It’s no secret I require 4-5 runs a week to keep my sanity as well as keep my friends and family from not hating me. Jake was sweet enough to humor me and take me on a run along the river and across the bridge before leaving for wine country. We also stopped by Barista, which may be my favorite coffee so far in Portland.
Saturday was definitely the day I was looking most forward to while planning my Portland trip. If you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you know I love wine. I really wasn’t too educated on the Oregon wine scene as I had never been there, but typically if there is a wine from Oregon or Washington on a menu, I’ll order it.
Pinot Noir is my favorite red (after Oregon Pinot Noirs, it took over the top spot from Malbec) and Oregon is known for its Pinot Noirs. Jake gave me the very important responsibility of choosing wineries to visit, so I spent many hours researching until we settled on Sokol Blosser, Domaine Drouhin, Hawk’s View and Penner Ash.
Because I’m a lightweight, Jake was kind enough to “split” a tasting with me at each winery. At Hawk’s View, our first stop, the sommelier gave us generous pours of every single wine that had probably ever passed their doors. I will regret not purchasing the white Pinot Noir until we go back and buy a bottle. After a stop for lunch at Red Hills Market, a speciality grocer/restaurant that makes it known you are in wine country, we finished the afternoon at Sokol Blosser, Domaine Drouhin (which according to Lonely Planet’s “Pacific Northwest Best Roadtrips“, has the best view in all of the Williamette Valley.
Since wineries are sane enough to cut your day drinking off around 4:30 or so, we headed back to Portland after a pity pour at Penner Ash (which just means we have to go back, right?).
Before we ended up back at Jake’s, we made a quick stop in Safeway for coconut water. After convincing Jake that he had just had a bad coconut water at one point in his life and that he really would like it, we decided to have a blind taste test. Jake found a magical pink Harmless Harvest. Let’s just say Jake is now a
convert to the church of the coconut water (and has the best luck constantly finding pink Harmless Harvest).
Bamboo was definitely my favorite meal of the entire trip. Oh, and possibly of my trip this last week, too. Jake and I are both nothing if not creatures of habit (Saturday night dinners at Bamboo). Bamboo is a sushi restaurant that prides itself on sustainability and also one of Oprah’s Favorite Things (along with Salt and Straw, which is literally right next door).
I don’t know a lot about sake other than the fact that I enjoy it. Our waiter (who remembered our order) gave us the run down of all the different types of sake – polish, filtration, the fact that the sake we were drinking came from like 5 seeds of one type of rice that was randomly found. Let’s just say that small details were lost on the drinking of the day.
Saturday, June 14th (Jake)
A “Short” Run… Watches Set To Italian Time… My Kind of Marathon… Sake On Bamboo…
Saturday was the break in the weather we were awaiting. Thursday and Friday brought clouds, rain and wind to the Rose City (as it often does), but Saturday was to be the break. The day where Portland evicts grey skies for water damage and pissing the neighbors off.
We had five wineries on the itinerary starting at 11am, unending sunshine and blurred eyes ahead.
Only the blurred eyes bit happened.
The sun did break a bit when we started our run around downtown Portland.
Down 13th, east on Lovejoy, down 10th, east on Glisan, down on Broadway, across Burnside, east to the water, across one of our many bridges, along the river trail, then back west over Burnside.
Does that make sense? It shouldn’t.
Unaware of the time we stopped by my favorite coffee spot – Barista. We unfortunately did not have our phones, not because we had no idea of what time it was, but because of the pack of corgis that were parked next to us. Three of them. Cassie and I were sitting amongst Portland’s toughest gang, it was magical.
Knowing we were late for our 11am ride to the Willamette Valley, we jaunted back to get ready. Turns out we were 15 minutes early. That said, we left promptly at 11:25.
Our first stop was Hawk’s View. A lovely little place perched above a sea of vines and a friendly horse. We tasted a lot. A lot. Every new glass that went down was followed by an off menu pour by our lovely sommelier. This included a white Pinot Noir. A wine I will dream about for years to come.
Not knowing how long to spend at each winery we jetted to Red Hills Market for a nosh. RHM is tucked in Dundee, Oregon, a charming little town that hosts guests like us on a daily basis.
Next up was Sokol Blosser, a woody scented modern building that would adequately serve as a Bond Villain’s getaway retreat. Naturally, I loved it. Sokol Blosser offered up the day’s only vertical tasting (in addition to their lovely Rose and Pinot Gris). The vertical included Pinot Noirs from 2009, 2010, and 2011. The 2010 was absolutely special. It was not unlike taking a bite of the tastiest fruit imaginable (think if every other red fruit was grown inside of a pomegranate). A short moment on the patio gave way to a selfie and then we hit the road again.
Our third stop, Domaine Drouhin, gave us the best (at the time) view of the day. This sister vineyard to the century old Burgundy establishment provided our smallest tasting menu – just three wines. We quickly savored the Pinot Gris then the Rose ending on a 2012 Pinot Noir. (Fun Fact: That 2012 Pinot Noir came back to Portland with us.) It’s hard to write this next line because Drouhin was so phenomenal… but we had to run. Time was crushing us like the grapes needed to make these delicious wines and we had two more wineries to see.
At this point, it was becoming clear no two people could do more than four wineries in a day. That’s not even saying do them well. Just get from point A to B to C to D. Not possible. It’s like running a marathon after only training for a three-legged race.
The last winery was Penner Ash. And this view was stunning. The best of the trip. However, time had made Cass and I into a new vintage. We hurried to the bar and were told: “you’re too late…” Upon hearing this, I looked into the news bearer’s eyes dejected, dismayed, destroyed, more d words, and she realized she was in Oregon. She gave Cassie and I a taste of our choosing and sent us outside to take in the last bit of the day. We walked down a trail of hazelnut shells to a bench that stared out into the vineyard and rolling Oregon hills. We talked about the day.
Dinner was slow to develop, but it may have been the best meal of the trip. Our Japanophilia no longer to be contained, we went to Bamboo Sushi on 23rd St. I love Bamboo for its rice. Sushi is said to be “90%” about the rice. I believe this to be true after eating at Bamboo Sushi. This rice is to be marveled. Celebrated. Marched down the street during parade days. This is just the rice. The seafood is entirely sustainable, the sake from each corner of Japan, traditional items like vegetable Yakisoba and others prepared perfectly and a knowledgeable staff that is doting, but never makes you feel like they’re hanging over you. Our bellies stuffed, a crate of sake drunk, we retired.
Saturday was a good day.
Sunday, June 15th (Cassie)
Sunday got off to a slower start than the other mornings. We finally forced ourselves into running clothes and started up towards the Alphabet District (which I now know quite well from running there this week, as well as a few walks). In true Portland/Pittsburgh fashion, it began to rain.
The night before, Jake asked if I wanted dessert at Bamboo and I said no, holding out for Salt and Straw. The line was ridiculous and we weren’t having it, so when the rain blurred from sprinkles to a downpour, we were conveniently by Salt and Straw. At 10 a.m. Jake grabbed my hand and opened the door, not even asking, and we had ice cream for breakfast (Caramel and sea salt in a waffle cone for both of us). “Cass, there’s no line!” Fun fact: I will always finish a kid’s size but Jake has not finished a single when I have been with him yet.
Never one to let me go hungry, before my flight we stopped off for more oysters and Hemingways at The Parish and then for a cheese plate, kale salad and margarita pizza at The Parish’s neighbor, Oven and Shaker. This meal was replicated (albeit in two different trips) this past week once again in Portland.
After a second glass of rose (after two almost back-to-back red-eyes, I’m going to say that cross-country late night flight requires a solid buzz, as does saying good-bye to Jake), we headed to the airport, where I nearly missed my flight (typical, and truthfully, I was hopeful I would).
I definitely left Portland enlightened and eager to get back (which spoiler alert, I got back yesterday morning from Portland again).
Sunday, June 15th (Jake)
Running to the Sea… One Last Page of Hemingway… The Free Rose Caper…
Glacially moving, Cassie and I collected for a morning run. In contrast to yesterday’s run to the east side of Portland we headed northwest. Past Tanner Springs Park and up Northrup when the rain began. We soldiered on, dodging Portland pellets, headstrong to make it to 23rd and loop down Glisan and then… a revelation.
Salt & Straw, the oft written of ice cream spot that serves a secondary purpose as temporary housing to the hundreds of people a day that will wait in an hour long line for a cone. That said, on this Sunday, at 10:45am, there was no line. We approached the cross street and I mentioned to Cass: “Hey, there’s no line at Salt & Straw…” never one to wait for things, I grabbed Cassie’s hand and gently pulled her in the door. Our run was to be halted for an ice cream break, naturally.
Exiting into the rain some thirty minutes later was hardly a problem. We had ice cream in our bellies and feeling that the world made complete sense. This is a common feeling when one has a belly full of caramel sea salt ice cream that was wrapped in a freshly made waffle cone.
After Cassie packed and stowed her luggage we went on for a bite and pre-flight drink at, you guessed it, The Parish. Cassie had a Moscow Mule and I the old standard – a Hemingway Daiquiri. We threw back a few oysters and took a quick glance over the menu to discover a personal favorite, grilled corn. Without much more than a few brackish mollusks and maize residing in our stomachs we went a few doors down to Oven & Shaker for a bit hearty of a meal.
Salad, pizza, cheese plate, rose, and tequila (Not all in the same bowl mind you) is exactly what Oven & Shaker had in store for us. The cheese plate may be my favorite anywhere with a cache of mozzarella that could melt the heart of even the most cynical food writer. They also specialize in bespoke cocktails and 90’s music. So there’s that.
We let the time slip past us a bit and had to hustle to get Cass to the airport when a phantom flute of rose arrived in front of Cassie. I should say as an advertising strategist; I get paid to take note on what people do and how they act. What I have discovered in my time is that few people can turn down a mysterious glass of rose that appears. Cassie did not disappoint. One more down the hatch and we were off to airport.
A rich, full weekend if I do say so.
Chat with me:
What has been your most memorable meal lately? Do you like these recaps, even though Jake and I are the wordiest people in the history of the world?