Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Date Day :: DIY Pub Crawl

This month's date brought to you by...BEER! It's HubbaBubba's favorite thing, and since it is his birthday month he got to choose our outing. Which meant it needed to be scheduled around college football game times. Nice.

We've always wanted to do a pub crawl of brewery tour...but timing never jives for us. And the cost. Some of them want a hundred bucks just to walk you around...you still have to pay for beer! After much Googling, we found a map that navigates local breweries using the Portland Street Car. We're serious about our beer in these parts!!

Our first stop...was for me. Cupcake Jones = YUM! If you have to pick just one, get the red velvet. But with the minis, why stop at one?

After a short hop on the streetcar, it was off to Rogue Public House. We love Rogue. We even named our dog Rogue. Though, if you ask, we'll tell you we got it from the river. Our next dog will probably be names Dechutes. Again, friends will think it's the brewery, I'll tell the PTA moms it's the river. That's how we roll.

The selection is amazing at Rogue. Toasted hazelnut, double chocolate, Irish cream, honey orange....those aren't desserts, they're beer! We were event tempted to try the Bleu Balls on the menu for a laugh. HubbaBubba wants me to make them at home.

He prefers the stronger, hoppy beers. Brutal, Triple Jump, Dead Guy, and a chipotle flavored beer were his suggestions. Soon, they'll be offering a Voodoo Doughnut inspired bacon Maple...not sure about that one. Good thing they have tasting trays!

Next stop -- Bridgeport. They did a Summer Squeeze beer that I really like. It has a lemony yuzu thing going on. The man is all about the Hops Czar.

We like Bridgeport because you can bring the kids if you want. They're not the kind of place that caters to families, but they don't eschew them either. Ours love the fat pretzels, and the kids menu has real pizza (not frozen) and natural hot dogs. Their salads and sandwiches are great too.

 We took the streetcar back towards Burnside to find Tugboat Brewery, but it was closed. As was Bailey's Taproom. After that disappointment, we opted for a sure thing -- Henry's.

In the building of the famed Henry Weinhard's Brewery now sits Henry's Tavern. A modern industrial vibe pulls together the bar, restaurant and upstairs billiard room. The Happy Hour menu is fun (gorgonzola waffle fries anyone?), the dinner choices are surprisngly varied, and there are over a hundred beers on tap! Sea Dog's Blueberry Ale smells like a muffin and the Apricot Cream is delicious. To me. Hubba was on the opposite side of the menu with Amnesia's Desolation and Ninkasi Tricerahops.

He's already planning our next DIY beer tour...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Pink Heart Society: Writers Wednesday : Break Into Fiction

The Pink Heart Society: Writers Wednesday : Break Into Fiction: What is left for a writer to do when she's done all she can and still the book doesn't feel 'right'? The Pink Heart Society editor Jenna B...

Sunday, September 04, 2011

DIY Portland Chocolate Tour

I'm a big fan of spending my afternoon noshing and laughing with Portland Walking Tours (hence why I've taken the same tour twice) and really wanted to spend some time with Chocolate Decadence...but we couldn't get the timing to work out right. So, we decided to make our own tour.

With a hotel right in the heart of Portland's chocolate district, we barely had to walk! We started a bit east of downtown with chain-store chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. When we were teens, Jeff & I loved treking down to Ashland for their truffles and carmel apples. Our tastes have grown up, because we didn't really like the truffles we tried. The chocolate was grainy and the fillings were kind of oily. They looked fantastic.

Once we got downtown, we went to Leonadis chocolates, a favorite of my friend Kris. Living in Europe ruined her for American chocolate, so when she needs a fix, this is where she goes. Now I know why.

This isn't a place to go when you're on a budget, but if you just want a truffle or two to calm your chocolate jones, go here. Like woah. The flavor combinations are amazing, and the chocolate is so fresh it tastes, well, better. Belgians know chocolate. 

We found Portland's own Moonstruck Chocolates next. I love Moonstruck so much, I wrote it into Compromising Positions (the chocolate they gift one another, and what he finally shares with her). They're very thoughtful in their chocolate, creating blends and flavor pairings that just make everything better. Plus, their caramels are divine.

Next, we tried Swiss chocolatier Teuscher. The store is very kitschy and smells...like Willy Wonka's chocolate river. They had some unique flavor combinations. Everything we tried as delicious and very creamy. 

My favorite stop of the trip had to be at Cacao for drinking chocolate. Walking Tours start at the Heathman, where the chocolate mecca is tucked into a corner, and begin with a shot of chocolate goodness. Jeff tried the cinnamon milk chocolate and it was just as delightful as my dark chocolate drink. You haven't experienced chocolate until you've sipped at Cacao.

Chocolate Decadence does more than just the chocolate shops -- there are rumors of cupcakes, cookies, gelato, and tips on how to pair chocolate with wine. But we did manage to find the best chocolate croissant outside of France at Pazzoria.

As much as I loved our DIY tour (and the cheap date price) I still want to do Chocolate Decadence. I love chocolate!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Ridin' The Riverboat

I'm not sure what I expected from a dinner cruise aboard the Columbia Gorge sternwheeler. I think of river boats and my mind either goes to the swanky casino boats on the Travel Channel, or Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

This was definitely a middle ground - a much used space with two dining levels and an observation top deck. Most of the passengers were outside of our demographic, but there was one family celebrating a 50th anniversary that had a few people I might find at a PTA meeting.

The dinner cruise was a great way to see the gorge and learn a little about the area. The Seattle harbor cruise we did during Spring Broke was much more informative, as was the drive through the gorge during our snowshoe adventure.

Dinner was okay, you can't really expect much from a galley kitchen. I did think the cheesecake shouldn't be frozen, but what can you do?


I had fun taking pictures and watching the sternwheel spin. Things didn't really line up for the sunset shot I'd hoped for, but that didn't stop me from taking pictures until the memory card filled up!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The River Got Me!

After hearing about all the fun we had on our girls rafting trip, Hubba Bubba just had to go. I booked the same trip, but there was a slight change. When I went with the girls, there were two giant logs blocking Husum Falls, so the rafts went around it, and (crazy) people jumped off a bridge. But the weekend before our trip...they removed the logs.

Hubba Bubba was beyond excited to get to run the waterfall. Me...less so. But, I figures this is one of those adventures you do once so you can say you have done it. 

We had a great time on the river. The people in our boat were hilarious. One is a river guide on the Sky, so I think that was why we got to see and do a bit more -- like going into a cave!

Everything was really fun, but it all kind of gets overshadowed by the waterfall. Because we flipped over!

I panicked just a little and would not let go of the raft. There are ropes they throw out to you from the shore, so I thought I'd go from the raft to a rope. Except they couldn't throw the last rope since not all of the people on our boat popped up. Who was missing?

Hubba Bubba!

He got stuck under the raft and rode the entire falls that way!

After being pulled to safety by the Zooraft guides, we all climbed back in our raft for the relaxing portion of the trip. I really didn't want to get back in, but I figured it was kind of like being thrown from a horse and the sooner you got back on, the better.

We really did have a great run, and I plan on going back again when my brother comes out in the Spring. But, I'll be walking around Husum Falls. 

Care to see why? We're the last raft in this video :: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=2444909480742