Peter Kang’s Blog

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Mini Trip to Portland, OR

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During our short stay, Melanie and I tried to fit in as many activities as possible. Our first stop the morning after we arrived was Silver Falls State Park, about a 40-minute drive outside of Portland. We took a very pleasant 3-mile hike among the moss-covered trees and got to see some pretty waterfalls. Some were impressive and others were pretty puny.

We made our way back to Portland where we enjoyed fried oysters, a salad, and a roast beef sandwich with $5 happy hour cocktails at Clyde Common. It’s a very nice spot right next to the Ace Hotel, and I found out that the bar manager there is Jeffrey Morgenthaler, whose mixology blog I like to read from time to time.  

The rest of the day included a visit to the International Rose Test Garden (I had gone there back in 2009, but it was in January, when no roses were in bloom), a brief nap on grass, and a visit to Powell’s City of Books, a super huge bookstore with lots of character.

Dinner was enjoyed at Biwa, a Japanese izakaya joint, where we came across deep-fried kimchi (it was ok) and some tasty meat skewers. The ramen was pretty good there too, and I really liked their crab fried rice.


We ended the night at a sports bar called Spirit of ’77. It was completely empty on Thursday night, so we had the basketball hoops all to ourselves and played at least a dozen 45-second score-as-many-as-you-can contests.

The next day, we started the morning off with some kolaches (a sweet soft bun filled with savory or sweet filling) from Happy Sparrow Cafe. I really liked the one filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, and ham.

Mel and I split up for a few hours as I went off to meet with a couple different digital agencies while she went to check out Multnomah Falls. We met up again at Coava Roastery and Coffee Bar, a gorgeous cafe inside of a bamboo woodwork shop that serves up some very fine coffee. 

The afternoon was spent on a leisurely bike ride around the city. After 13+ miles, we worked up enough of an appetite and made our way to Beast, where we had reservations for a 6-course meal.

Beast was a pretty cool experience. The restaurant only seats 25 people and has two seatings per night. It’s $68/person for the dinner prix fixe and an additional $35/person for the wine pairing. Lucky for me and Mel, they allowed us to split our wine pairing between the two of us (just smaller pours) and spared us from getting too crunked (especially as we had to drive back). The food overall was pretty good although not all dishes were that interesting or memorable. But we had a nice time and would recommend the experience.

We went to bed really early that night, but the eating picked up right away the next day with a huge brunch at Tasty & Sons, where they take on a tapas serve-as-dishes-are-ready approach, but the portions were huge and we probably ordered two more dishes than we needed to. But everything tasted superb and it was definitely worth the 1-hour wait.


We tried to walk off the heavy brunch with a stroll through the Portland Saturday Market. I was actually pretty disappointed by the collection of vendors there and it seemed like some vendors didn’t do all that well in selling their art pieces or handmade clothes. The real winner, I thought, were the people who ran the market and charged these vendors the fees for setting up shop. 

Tired and looking to escape the rain, Mel and I went back to Powell’s City of Books where I tried to read as much of Y the Last Man as possible. It’s a graphic novel from a few years back about the last man left on Earth after a mysterious plague wipes out all the males, humans and animals, off the planet. It’s got the elements that would hook any guy in (scantily-clad babes, some nudity, lots of bloody action), but the story itself is compelling enough to make you want to finish the thing as quickly as possible. You can download the first issue for free right here.

For dinner we hit up Rogue Distillery & Public House for some grub and a sampling of Rogue Beers. I really loved the homey setup and was impressed by how diverse Rogue was as a business, with their restaurant properties, beer distribution, and also a wide range of spirits (their single malt was pretty nice). After a short visit to BridgePort BrewPub, we made one last stop: a parking lot filled with different food carts. We enjoyed a fried Whiffie pie filled with coconut cream and I got myself a few tacos. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

We woke up at 4:45AM the next morning and by afternoon, we were back in Brooklyn. Portland, good stuff.





Written by peterkang

October 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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