Writing – Photos – Travel – Crafts

Now available as a zine in an uber or lyft near you (as long as you’re in Portland and get in the one I’m driving.)

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Welcome to Portland! Hope you like eating, drinking and nature,  because we’ve got lots of it. To help guide you in your journey, I’ve prepared this list of the hottest spots you really must enjoy. We’ll start in my quadrant, Southeast.

If you’re in Southeast you’re in luck, most of the best neighborhoods in Portland are nearby. The closest to my house is Woodstock, a mellow 3 block walk away. Get teriyaki and Hawaiian at the newly-opened Ate oh Ate. For burritos you have two choices – the New Seasons burrito bar or El Gallo, which is closed Monday and Tuesday, but serves delicious white-person Mexican with a local flair. The Lutz is the best bar (in all of Portland imho) and has amazing food. Skip Primal Burger and get a Lutz Burger – you will not be let down. The Delta is pretty fun, they serve southern classics and 40s of PBR on ice, like champagne. A little bit further down Woodstock is Double Mountain, a Hood River-based brew pub with decent pizza and sandwiches. If you’re feeling healthy, Laughing Planet has great bowls and wraps, or go the complete other direction and get a sidewalk sausage from Otto’s. There are also a couple coffee shops, a grocery store, a couple Thai places (I prefer Tom Yum) and more so you may never have to leave. But if you do, check out Division- a slow-moving stretch of some of the best restaurants in Portland. There’s an amazing cart pod on 28th and Division and Double Barrel and the Landmark Saloon are both great places to go drinking. Hawthorne is a few streets north and this is where the people of Portland really let their freak flags fly. Tons of good food, second hand stores and free entertainment. Go walk west from 39th and lose a day. Whatever you do though, skip the line at Por Que No, it’s #overrated and if you’re craving Mexican I recommend Pepinos (baja style), Los Gorditos (three locations) or Aprisa. Mt Tabor is a bit to the east from here, a park situated on a dormant volcano with great city views, cool hikes, and plenty of Portland weirdos being weird. For nighttime entertainment I recommend the 30-35 blocks of Belmont, where you’ll find a bunch of bars, each with their own vibe. The Liquor Store has dj’s and dancing. Belmont Inn is a dive. Sweet Hereafter is a vegan bar with amazing cocktails and a seriously dangerous buffalo “chicken” sub that is worth hipster overload. Aalto lounge has a great $2 happy hour and Circa 33 has a hidden “speakeasy” in the back, though it’s usually booked for private parties, but you can sometimes get in on Thursdays.,

Southeast is also home to the best strip clubs – a unique portland experience I highly recommend. There are no covers, drinks are cheap and the girls are incredibly talented and fun to watch dance. It is normal and socially acceptable to hang out at Strip Clubs in PDX, so hit up:

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STRIP CLUBS

Devils point. Especially if you happen to be here on a Sunday when they host Stripperoake starting at 9 pm. You sing, the girls dance, a good time is had by all.

Sassys. A bit closer in this is a classic Portland establishment with multiple stages and good food.

Rose City strip. A “hard rock” strip club where the girls dance to Black Sabbath and Jawbreaker, B movies play on the wall and there are several nice pool tables.

Lucky Devil. Hit up Lucky Devil on Tuesdays for “Tiny Tuesdays” when all the dancers are under 5 feet tall.

Casa Diablo. Though not it Southeast, this is Portland’s most riske club and everyone will know you’ve been there when you try to spend the two dollar bills they give as change.

Acropolis. This place has a salad bar, and the owner is a cattle rancher so the steaks are good and cheap. I usually go here for breakfast.

BRUNCH

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Speaking of breakfast…. brunch! Bunch is the most important meal of the day but if you’re not careful, you can end up standing in line until it turns into happy hour. These are the places I recommend, which will have a reasonable wait time and still deliver on the quality food.

Bar Carlo- Half record store, half brunch spot, this place is so Portland, but has managed to stay off the radar enough to not be mobbed. I recommend the breakfast burrito, breakfast on a bun or the crepe of the day, but it’s all damn good.

Midpoint- This place is a small so do a drive by and make sure the parking lot isn’t packed with humans. If you do get in, get the fork mashed potatoes over the hash browns, I promise they’re the bomb.

Mehri’s- A little neighborhood joint with good food and an interesting crowd of old Portland locals.

Genie’s 2- Not to be confused with Genie’s this place is inside the Spaceroom on Hawthorne, has tons of seating and a huge patio.

Night Lite (weekends only)- Did someone say bottomless mimosas?

Dots- More all-you-can-drink champagne and OJ and outdoor seating with a highly entertaining parade of Portland bike nerds rolling by.

Dinner Spots

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 Slow Bar – The best hamburger in Portland.

Montage – A great place for big groups, Montage serves soul food and Mac and cheese, but more importantly wraps your leftovers in fun tin foil shapes!

Screen Door – You will have to wait, but if you’re craving southern, this place serves reasonably priced upscale cuisine that you won’t wanna miss.

Bete Lukas – Dope Ethiopian.

Mi Pueblo – The best sit down Mexican restaurant in Portland, although it’s actually in Clackamas. Be careful, the large margs are dangerous.

Du’s Grill – The best teriyaki in town, but it’s closed on weekends.

Kennedy School – An old elementary school that McMenamins has converted into bars, restaurants, a movie theater, soaking pools and more.

 Lunch Spots

The Whole Bowl - There are a few locations (the brick and Mortar is on Hawthorne,) but there’s only one thing on the menu. It’s a bowl with beans, rice, salsa, cheese, olives, cilantro and sauce and damn, it’s like eating a hug.

Chinese Delicacy – Venture out to 82nd Ave for the best $5.50 lunch special in town.

An Xuyen – Authentic Bahn Mi for under $4.

Little Big Burger – Fancy little burgers and truffle fries. Cheap and delicious.

Must See

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Rocky Butte – The best view of IKEA in town.

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The Rhododendron Gardens- A luscious spread of Northwest flora and tons of ducks and geese to chase.

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Multnomah Falls – One of the closest impressive displays of nature, though I warn you, the hike to the top is not really worth the effort. The best view is from the bottom.

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Mt Hood – Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, Mt. Hood is an awesome day trip. Travel into a winter wonderland (even in the summer there is lift accessible skiing.) Visit the Timberline lodge, which you may recognize from the Shining, and sip hot toddies by the far. If you do ski though, you have three choices:

Ski Bowl is the closest, an hour away. It’s a bit lower elevation so a lot of times the snow will be falling as rain, but if you hit it right, this place has the best terrain on Mt. Hood.

Timberline tends on the flat side, but they put up and very good park and the crowds never get that out of control.

Mt. Hood Meadows – The biggest resort on Hood, Meadows has tons of fun terrain and gets fairly consistent snow. The issue is it’s the choice resort of most of the city of Portland, so prepare to battle the crowds on weekends and holidays.

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Other neighborhoods to check out:

Downtown: Get happy hour any day from 4-6 or 10 pm on at Portland City grill. It’s on the 30th floor of big pink, which you can’t miss. Fun fact:  it’s not actually the tallest building in Portland – that honor belongs to the Wells Fargo tower. Go up to the Hoyt arboretum, the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden and wonder at majestic nature, mere minutes from the heart of the city. If you like breweries the Pearl District has a bunch of them- Bridgeport, Rogue, Fat Head, Deschutes, Back Pedal and 10 barrel (the latter has a roof top balcony for when and if it ever gets nice.) There are also a few Mcmenamins properties on W Burnside. Once you’re good and liquored up, go get lost in Powell’s, a literal city of books. You’ll want to get Salt and Straw ice cream, but skip the line on Division/Alberta/23rd and hit the soft serve S+S in Pine Street market. It is a swanky indoor food court masterminded by some of Portland’s hottest chefs. You could even combine it with a trip to Saturday market, Portland’s weekly bazaar running weekends pretty much year round.

St. John’s : So far away (from everywhere) but home to a super cool bridge and Pattie’s Home Plate, which is a pretty epic diner.

Alberta : This used to be the ghetto 15 years ago, but now it’s an “Arts District.” Tons of good food spots and home to the Bye and Bye, a favorite local watering hole.

Mississippi: Lots of little shops and restaurants. Mississippi studios has shows almost nightly. And on Tuesdays Mississippi pizza hosts Bourbon and Bingo.

NW 23rd : The bougie shopping district if you’re looking to burn some cash.

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I feel like I should preface this with the fact that Jared and I are terrible at choosing a lunch destination. So bad, in fact, there was another blog about that. So when a Quiznos coupon arrived in my inbox, the same day I managed to spill coffee on my wireless keyboard, it was sort of like the stars aligned and I was supposed to head over to the Llyod center and take advantage of this deal. (Quiznos and the Macstore are blocks apart.)

Aside from the fact the oven was broken, they were out of iced tea, and I had to ask for them to put out more pickles, we managed to score a pretty good deal on lunch. For $9.99 we got two small subs, two bags of chips and two fountain drinks. The Regular price $14.20, in other words, we saved over $4 on lunch with coupon, and it was actually stuff we would have ordered anyway. Now just imagine if Quizno’s #4488 hadn’t been having the worst day in history!

The coupon is good through August 8th, so don’t hesitate to print it out and get this deal yourself.

Realistically, coupons are nothing more than a clever marketing tactic to get you to buy things you otherwise wouldn’t. And lately, it’s been working on me. It’s really hard to turn down something that is free to a few cents, even if I normally wouldn’t buy it, which was the case with the packages of imitation crab meat I picked up this weekend for $.50 (regular price 9.98, on sale 2/$3 and I had a $1 off coupon.) For $.50, I wasn’t going to not buy it, and in fact, I got two packages because I was able to print two coupons.

I like to cook (and eat) so I figured all this white fish would be a fun culinary experiment, and I proceeded to procure several delicious dishes with it.

First I made a crab salad melt, but you’ll have to take my word for it, because I didn’t take a photo. Above are crab cakes, which I made from a recipe on the crab manufacturers website (double marketing win.) Served with a simple green salad, including ranch dressing I picked up for well under $1 on another trip.

Breakfast the next day was a crab scramble, nice and simple with crab, chives from the garden and cheddar cheese. Initially I thought about making croissants to go with it, but apparently they take 4 hours and are “very difficult.” So yeah, I just bought that one.

And my latest dish (not last because I still have a half a pack of crab left) was a crab dip for a 4th of July BBQ. This was just crab, mayo, sour cream, chives, lemon thyme and then some lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauce. It sat in the fridge overnight and then a served it with Triscuits (only $1.50!) and the two other non-vegan fish eating party goers seemed to enjoy it!

So yes, the coupons technically won this round, but I made four solid, and kind of fancy dishes for $1 (plus stuff I already had), so really, we’ll just call it a tie.

In addition to being within walking distance of my house, another cool thing about Fred Meyer is that you don’t need a membership card or cut coupons to get their store sales. Anyone walking in off the street will get all posted discounts (save for manufacturer’s coupons) at checkout. The one drawback of this system is that they don’t give you a “total $ saved” summary on your receipt like they do at Safeway,  making the rewards of shopping there more transparent, but it is what it is. You’ll just have to take my word for all the good deals.

Yesterday was a beautiful and very sunny day here in Portland. Mark and I decided to walk to brunch then  to see the new Woody Allen movie (A-)  and enjoy the theatre’s air conditioning out on 82nd. That ended up being a great way to spend the day but also entailed a 7 mile walk. By the time I got home, I felt good/happy but also had a sunburn, sweat rings, and was starving. It’s also the 4th of July weekend, so this is what I bought for dinner:

For $18.57 I got a week’s worth of green salad, pasta salad, cherries, veggie sausage and buns for grilling. So basically, it is entirely possible to get all your fruits and veggies, eat like a total (vegan) yuppie and fully enjoy the 4th of July for well under $20. If you take out the cherries, it ends being a way better deal, but cherries are worth splurging  on, in my opinion, and even cheaper this week!! Sale items are bolded. Others are just every day good deals @ FM.

Fred Meyer whole wheat whole grain salad rotini: $.99 @ 1/12 oz box
1 Organic Green Pepper $.99 @ 2.99/lb
1 Sweet Onion $.89 @ 0.99/ lb
2 cucumbers $1.00 @ 2/1.00
Red Leaf Lettuce $1.00 @ 5/5.00
Pepperoncini $2.00 @ 2/4.00
Vlassic Original Dill Whole Pickles $1.50 @ 2/4.00 – .50 coupon
Fred Meyer Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns $1.25 @ 4/5.00
Tofurky Sausage 2 packs/$3.99 @ BOGO @ 3.99
Cherries  $5.96 @ 2.98/lb
Bonus: new to me yellow Pro-tec helmet $3 @ make an offer at a yard sale

Whole grain pasta salad, veggie dog on a whole wheat bun*, baller green salad

Estimated cost of last night’s hearty meal consisting of the above : $1.65 / person

*I actually had a veggie dog that wasn‘t on sale last night but am using Tofurky sausage (at the exact same cost) for the sake of this exercise. Forgive the sloppy presentation; I was very hungry.

I gather to do this right you’re supposed to plan ahead and stock pile, but I don’t really see myself ever breaking the habit of almost-daily-pre-dinner grocery shopping. Jared had whipped up some sandwich buns last night so the goal was veggie sloppy joes. I was all excited to use a veggie meat coupon I already had, but alas, it expired yesterday. A little quick googling though, and I found a $1 off 1 Morning Star farms coupon, so we were set. Also needed (well not really needed, but on sale) was BBQ sauce and corn, so we picked up that as well as some potatoes for a side.

Total, I spent $5.83 for a total savings of 57% and got:

3 bottles of Sweet Baby rays BBQ sauce (.49 each)

One package of meatless meat grounds (2.49)

Red potatoes (1.20)

2 ears of white corn (.67)

I now have at least a year’s supply of BBQ sauce and I also went straight home and printed another Morning Star farms coupon so that I can stock up next time. Well, I tried to print two more from another computer, but managed to have them print over each other by trying to save paper. Stupid environment.

 

What good would couponing be if you never got anything you wanted to eat? No good, I tell you. One of my scores last weekend was a pork loin for $3.50, so I have been enjoying that for dinner the past few nights.

The first night I just grilled it up, made some brocolli and cheddar rice I’d gotten for $.75 or so and used up some of the frozen peas I’ve been stockpiling half-eaten bags of in the freezer.

Day two I opted for a sandwich. I am lucky enough to have a significant other that really enjoys making bread so that’s a homemade baguette and then I added some provolone and a relish made from red pepper, artichoke hearts and pickles. Finally some spicy brown mustard I got last weekend for $.65 or so.

And I have one meal left (thanks to living with a vegetarian) so I’m thinking Pork Fried rice. Definitely got my money’s worth out of this one.