Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oregon: Part One - Portland

Our trip to Oregon started with an early evening flight from Chicago's O'Hare. After a 4+ hour in the air, a time-change, and a long wait at the Hertz counter we made it to our downtown hotel around 8:30. The Embassy Suites, where we stayed, used to be some grand hotel back-in-the-day. Tonight it was a few blocks from a bar Dave targeted. The closest microbrewery per Yelp! was Tugboat Brewing Company.

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Tugboat was more a bar than a traditional microbrewery and set the tone for Portland. The place was small, dank, had a mix of colonial paintings and other eclectic items around. The music playing was hip-hop. We didn't try any of their own beers because they were all some derivation of an Indian Pale Ale (a beer style that tends to be very bitter) - probably our least favorite style. Luckily they had other guest taps (beers from other microbreweries) available and we found some some stouts to our liking. We spent a few minutes talking to another patron, whom was very interested in chatting, then moved to another bar across the street.

Bailey's Taproom was the complete opposite of Tugboat. Minimalist design, white walls, clean lines. They had an electronic menu that displayed what was on tap, with alcohol content and IBUs (how bitter a beer is), and how much is left in the keg. Once again very IPA-centric, but we found a couple of dark beers. Unfortunately, one of them was Seven Bride's Kelly's Hot Chocolate which seemed to have been made with 12 scotch bonnets in each glass. The guy next to us started a conversation. Lesson one: People in Portland are friendly.

Lesson two: This sign is accurate. Portland prides itself on its eclecticness. A lot of residents seem to be trying to out-unique each other with clothes, piercings, tats, etc.

We were tired so headed back to the hotel. On the way back we found a few blocks that contained food trailers and trucks. Very few were still open at that time, but we saw everything from donuts, to Mexican, to Greek food offered. We also discovered that right by the hotel was another street full of bars and a Voodoo Doughnuts.

Lesson three: Voodoo Doughnuts are good.

Voodoo Doughnut features over 70 doughnuts served with a ton of kitchyness. Their flagship donut is shaped like a voodoo doll and squirts raspberry blood from it's center along with pretzel stick pins. Everything else in the shop was just as unique. Think about your childhood favorites on a doughnut. They've been featured everywhere on TV and you can find a ton of videos on YouTube. We were stopped by two people in our hotel asking us where we got the doughnuts.

We waited in line about 15 minutes and bought 6 doughnuts for our long drive to Bend.... Find out which flavors in our next post!

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