Trip date: March 2022
A full year after the start of the Covid pandemic, I had purchased tickets to see Chelsea Handler at the Keller Auditorium in Portland, and invited my friend Elisabeth to come with me. She lives in Portland and since we only get to see each other a couple of times a year we decided to make a full weekend of it. Roadtrip!
We stayed at the Marriott Bidwell Hotel
which used to be called the Marriott City Center. Newly remodeled, our double queen bed room was very large and had a modern Scandinavian/ hipster Portland feel to it. The hotel has a little shop in the lobby which sells snacks, wine, and souvenirs. Parking is $45 a night so I left my car at Elisabeth's. The Marriott charges $25 a day for god-only-knows-why but they also give you $25 food/beverage credit to use at their 2nd floor bar/restaurant called the High Horse. We just had rosé and a shrimp cocktail during happy hour (which was very good) but others around us had cocktails and seemed very happy with them.
I really liked this "new" Marriott and would definitely stay here again, the location especially can't be beat!
Besides attending the Chelsea Handler show, which was excellent, Elisabeth took me to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. I didn't even know these gardens existed! It was a 10 minute walk from our hotel, and once we entered the gates I felt a world away!
We had tea and veggie steamed bao while sitting outside next to the pond; surrounded by so many gorgeous plants and trees. It was really lovely with everything just starting to bloom in the warm spring sun.
We also took in an awesome exhibit of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at the PAM
. I have always found this museum to have excellent touring exhibits that are very in-depth.
There were two floors of work from Frida, Diego, various friends and colleagues, outlining both of their careers and their relationship. It was super informational and really well done.
Almost everything was from the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gilman who were not just collectors but personal friends of Kahlo/Diego. The exhibit included paintings, photographs, sketches, and even some clothing. It's a wonderful collection if you see it touring near you I'd grab tickets!
I was super happy to revisit some places and to try new-to-me spots.
Tucked inside of Kachka, is the more casual eatery Lavka
. For lunch you enter upstairs in the grocery/deli and order with the cashier. The menu is almost the same but smaller. We both had shots (of course!), pelini and then shared a delicious dark chocolate spread on toast. And we picked up some fun items from the shop!
Elisabeth introduced me to the absolutely lovely restaurant Coquine
in the Mount Tabor neighborhood. Dinner was a 4-course menu that was very seasonal PNW and had thoughtful wine pairings. My main of braised lamb shank on a bed of spiced cauliflower was fantastic and served with a 2008 Tempranillo.
Drinks and dinner at Eem was maybe the highlight of my weekend. This spot gets lots of love from locals, our Uber driver was very excited that we were going here, and for good reason. The food rocks!
We had mushroom friend rice and then I had the white curry with burnt ends. Holy hell! Those flavors are haunting! I feel like I need that curry again as I write this!!
I was really looking forward to brunch at Lazy Susan, but I have to say it was a complete mess. Maybe they were short staffed but it was almost comical at how bad the service was and how inconsistent the dishes were. YMMV.
Portland is always a hotbed of cocktail bars and post pandemic was no exception! I had big plans to get back to a few personal favorites but that didn't happen because of the new spots that held our attention.
was no easy feat but that was half the fun. Inside of Loyal Legion beer bar we made our way to the back where we found an unmarked stairwell and followed in down.
We were able to sit up at the bar and absolutely loved our two rounds of cocktails. I'd say most of the drinks were pretty spirit forward, which is my preferred style, but the menu was super well rounded and had some interesting new-to-me products.
At Eem we had absolutely delicious tiki inspired drinks while we waited for our table. We had these outside in semi-private booths each with their own gas fire pit.
Over at Scotch Lodge
in Southeast Portland, Elisabeth and I both felt as if we had gone to heaven in Tommy Klus' (of Multnomah Whiskey Library) den of whiskey. There's a massive list, from very approachable to incredibly rare, that you can order by the glass. And there's also a fantastic cocktail menu (not all are whiskey based).
Additionally Scotch Lodge has delicious food, is in a super sexy space, and has Instagramable wallpaper. I mean, what else could you want?
Portland never disappoints and this time was no exception!
All Portland photos here
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