Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cool spots in Portland

I just spent a weekend in Portland and hit a couple new (to me) spots. Tops--literally--for the weekend was the Portland City Grill. It's in the 30th floor of the U.S. Bancorp Tower on SW 5th Avenue. Happy hour is 4.30 to 6.30 and there are a bunch of great appetizers at very inexpensive prices--drinks are still full price and we still ended up spending over $50 without getting a meal. But it was worth every penny. It's a very comfortable ambiance--upscale but not so much that you have to dress up. There was a piano player helpin the mood flow with his rendition of Elton John's Tiny Dancer and other old favorites. The view was spectacular, even though the clouds were huddled low and the windows were rain-streaked. On a clear day I'm sure you can see all of east Portland under the crown of Mt. Hood. We enjoyed a few of their specialty martinis and appetizers and watched the sky go dark and the streets become electrified before continuing on our way. (The picture is from the restaraunts website. Our seats looked more directly over the Willamette River and to the east)

Our next stop was a medium-sized hangout called Life of Riley. It was empty! Ok, there was one group when we came in, but the place was practically deserted. Again, very comfortable. This one had a raised loungy area with a couple couches, a coffee table and some board games. A note on the table warned us that it was reserved, but it was a full hour before the party was to arrive, so we took the spot. More good drinks here; in fact, i think i discovered a new favorite... except that i can't remember what it was called. I think it may have been the Cherry Rickey or something like that (seriously). It had Olive Grape Vodka (I didn't know such a thing existed), lime and a 'spritz' of soda. It was excellent, very light and fresh. When asked, the bartender said that the place usually had quite a bit more of a crowd, but typically wasn't packed. Sounds perfect to me. It was still only about 7.30 when we were there, so that could partially explain the lack of patrons.

The last establishment I'd like to note for now is Stumptown Coffee. It's a snooty little hipster cafe that i didn't particularly like, but they make excellent coffee. I feel like they'd prefer that every customer drive a (new) VW to the shop (or bike of course) and write poetry on their Mac; and that they'd probably have thrown me out if they knew i like guns and plan to attend a monster truck show next week. However, i ended up going there twice during the weekend. First because it was there and i didn't yet know anything about it, and the second time because the coffee was great and i was getting it to-go. Their latte has a texture that is incomparable to any other that i've had. Now, i'm nowhere near a coffee snob like I am sometimes a beer snob; in fact, i'm pretty much a coffee newbie, but theirs was something special. It must have been expertly blended with ancient Chinese voodoo methods or something. I'm not going to try to describe it too much, just give it a shot if you're looking for a drink and you're in the neighborhood of 3rd and Stark.


Burl said...

So, the official recipe for the Cherry Lime Rickey:
-Three Olives cherry vodka
-fresh squeezed lime juice
-a splash of soda

I stole the menu! Remember? I forgot until I was cleaning out my purse this morning...ha...I'm so great, but I just forget it sometimes!

Troy said...

Oh yeah, that's right! I think it was my idea to keep the menu though, wasn't it? :-p

Burl said...

no way! you wish sucka! i'm the outlaw in this relationship, k??