Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Weekend in Portland

In addition to sleeping poorly, I've been in a terrible funk since my birthday/wedding attendee plans fell through. There was no way for me to make it to the wedding when our plans changed on short notice, which absolutely breaks my heart, and my most stalwart and celebratorily-inclined friends are going to be out of town on a birthday junket of their own. Sure, I'm sure we can muster some people to go out to dinner or something... but that's a pretty anti-climactic substitution for a weekend in the English countryside and a wedding send-off for a friend I've known for over 15 years, especially after pinning my anniversary celebration to that as well. This is where being a sentimental sap is a bit of a drawback; I feel disappointment deeply.

Chris and I are going to take the Thanksgiving weekend for ourselves. I hope we'll still spend Thanksgiving itself with the usual suspects, but whatever happens with Thanksgiving dinner, we're off on Friday morning for a weekend at a resort hotel in Portland. Now I need to find some restaurants! JD is a big fan of Caprial's and has mentioned it several times over the years. Vindigo, my usual source for restaurant recommendations in an unfamiliar city, gives Caprial's a high rating, but other highly touted restaurants (Higgins, Genoa, Wildwood, the Heathman) come without any personal recommendations and Portland hipster and bon vivant Richard Speer ardently believes they're all quite past their prime. After my experience at Palomino in Indianapolis, I'd especially like to avoid bad service, even if the food is still pretty good. I don't need (or expect) to eat high-end at every meal but I do want to hit one exceptional eatery on the trip, if possible.

I'm not sure what we're going to do with ourselves once we're in Portland, other than NOT visit my family and attempt to find a decent restaurant. Maybe find ourselves a show? The Decemberists are playing Seattle the weekend before. The Thermals are going to be in Europe (heads up Londoners: they're at Barfly Camden November 26th). The Epoxies are playing in California the weekend before, nothing listed so far for Thanksgiving. What, all these bands have homes and families?! Boo.


for this post

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

For two years I went to college in Portland, and my sister Nancy lived there for 12 years, right up until last spring, so Iíve had a fair number of meals there and have several hundred wordsí worth of recommendations. Apologies for the length of the comment that follows. I find it impossible not to give opinions about restaurants when prompted. You pulled my string, man!

The first restaurant that came to mind (which is saying something) is Queen of Sheba. There are few cuisines that are simultaneously exotic, romantic, and affordable, but Ethiopian is one, and this place serves great Ethiopian food.

John and I always look forward to the homey and yummy English eats and bountiful beer selection at the Moon and Sixpence Pub. The menu includes Welsh rarebit, cottage pie, bangers and mash, ploughmanís lunch Ė mmm! Even the bartendersí accents are authentic. Be warned: Itís smoky, and after nine months of living with Washington's smoking ban, a smoke-filled pub at the apex of a weekend evening will feel like a toxic cloud. If you want to breathe, lunch is a safer bet.

THE place to go for desserts is Papa Haydn. Iíve never eaten a meal there. In fact until I looked up their website tonight I honestly didnít realize you could eat a meal there. Itís always just been The Place to Go for Dessert.

If you end up staying out past your bedtime at a Dandy Warhols concert or whatever and find yourselves in need of eggs and hashbrowns at 2:30 in the morning, do not pass Go but proceed directly to the Original Hotcake House. It is one of those places that is nothing special most hours of the day but sublime at 2:30 in the morning.

My favorite brunch spot is Wild Abandon, a glam-rock dream of a place, with a full line of omelets and breakfast cocktails and a waitstaff of affectionate, drawling men who are sweet and sympathetic about your hangover and seem sort of familiar, making you wonder if you might know them until you realize no, they just remind you of Truman Capote.

If you have time, try to catch a classic movie at one of the theatre-pubs. Portland has several of them, some of them historic theatres from the 1920s. Besides, how cool is it to be able to take a pitcher of microbrew in to the theatre to watch a í50s sci-fi serial short followed by Cool Hand Luke? The foodís usually only so-so (frozen pizza and hot dogs sort of stuff), so it makes a better predinner activity than an actual mealtime event.

Iíve been longing to try this place for more than a decade because of its charming name:
A Veritable Quandary
. Nancy says itís a bit la-dee-da and frequently crowded but excellent. If you go, Iíll demand a review from you.

If you find yourself out late again a second night, Iíve heard Voodoo Doughnut is worth a stop. There was a great story in the newspaper when we were there last year about a guy who tried to steal the Voodooís giant doughnut sign and was chased through the streets by a mob of patrons who eventually caught him. Hardcore. Incidentally, you can also renew your wedding vows there.

Reliable reviews of food, booze, and kicks await at Barfly and the Mercury. Barfly is especially cool in its printed format, for its retro graphic design and typefaces. Keep an eye out.

Happy eating!



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