July is Craft Beer Month

If you have not heard by now, Portland is a beer city.  Portland’s craft beer tradition got started 30 years ago with breweries like Bridgeport and Widmer.  Today, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world.  You can hardly turn a corner in this city without running into a brewery, take a look here.

July is our designated craft beer month.  All month long there is some sort of event, special tasting, or gathering nearly everyday.  OregonCraftBeer.org has the full list here.  In this post however, I want to highlight the festivals, starting with the Portland Craft Beer Fest which starts today.

PORTLAND CRAFT BEER FEST JULY 3 – 5.

The Portland Craft Beer Festival takes place in the Pearl at Fields Park.  The PCBF is a celebration of Portland beer and features only beer brewed within Portland city limits. Given that there are 50+ breweries in town, there will be no shortage of beer.  The PCBF starts today at 4 (although may open early) and admission is $20.

SOUR BEER FESTIVAL JULY 14 – 20

The Sour Beer Festival is hosted by the best bottle shop in Portland, Belmont Station.  If you have yet to try sour beer I highly recommend giving the sour beer festival a try.  Sour beer is actually pretty good and it is fun to try something from brewers who are not trying to out hop each other.

OREGON BREWERS FESTIVAL JULY 22 – 26

The Oregon Brewers Festival is the granddaddy of all Oregon beer festivals.  What started out as a couple of brewers tapping some kegs on the waterfront has turned into a premier beer event attracting people from all over the world.  This year’s event will feature 90 craft beers from across the country and 15 international beers.  Admission is free, however, to taste beer you will need to purchase a $7 mug and $1 tasting tokens.  As all always the event will be on the Waterfront.

 

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Where to Watch Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight

If you want to watch the fight here in Portland and do not want to spend $100 for the fight on Pay Per View your options, unfortunately, are limited. Yesterday I called around to the major sports bars and some of my favorite small ones to see if any would be showing the fight.  Thus far it would appear that only 4 sports bars are showing the fight and all will have a decent cover charge.

Buffalo Wild Wings js showing the fight at their Downtown Portland, Beaverton, and Wood Village locations.  The cover will be $20 and a reservation is required.  As of yesterday the only place that still had tables that could be reserved was Wood Village. Beaverton and Downtown were down to standing room only.

On Deck Sports Bar at their Broadway location will also be showing the fight.  They are charging a cover of $30 and seating will be on a first come first serve basis.

The cover at these places is high enough that if you can get five or six of your friends together it may become more economical to order it on PPV.  I will update this post as I learn of more places showing the fight.  If you are aware of others please add them in the comments.

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Uber Returns to Portland

Yesterday at 2:00 PM Uber began operations in Portland with the official blessing of city government.  This ends what had been a somewhat contentious battle between Uber and city council.  This all started back in December when Uber tried to force their way into Portland against existing city codes.  At the time, Portland’s city code was very protective over the traditional taxi system.  That system made it nearly impossible for new cab companies to get up and running let alone a ridesharing company such as Uber.  City leaders did not take kindly to Uber operating in Portland and began fining drivers.  Uber and the City called a truce whereby Uber would suspend operations and give Portland time to revamp their taxi rules to permit ridesharing companies to operate legally in Portland.  Those rules were finally put in place this week.  Technically, the resolution passed by city council only allows operations for a 120 day trial period.  However, I have a hard time seeing this going away in 4 months.  So stay tuned.

For those who have not used Uber see this post for an explanation on how to use Uber. If you use my referral code, your first ride is free up to a value of $20.

 

 

 

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Win Two Tickets to Europe With Icelandair and #PDXtravelganza

Icelandair is launching service between Portland and Reykjavic starting May 5th.  It is a seasonal service operating flights twice per week until October 20th.  I am really excited about this route because it adds pretty easy access to Europe for us PDXers.  We do not have many options for departing Portland to Europe so this is a welcome addition in my book. Plus, Iceland is awesome, and one of the great things about flying Icelandair is that you get a stopover in Iceland for free before heading on to Europe.  With one ticket you can have two vacations in one.

To celebrate the kickoff of Icelandair’s new route they are giving away two roundtrip tickets to Europe (presumably also with a stopover in Iceland).  Here are the details:

  • Between April 10th and 12th representatives from Icelandair will be in Portland.
  • Follow Icelandair on either Facebook or Twitter.
  • Each day they will post a clue as to their location plus that day’s password.
  • The first person to find their location and reveal the password wins two tickets to Europe!

For full details of the giveaway click here.  Good luck.

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Miho Izakaya: A Delicious Japanese Restaurant In North Portland

This weekend my wife and I had a rare opportunity to actually go out to dinner without kids!  In North Portland there is a Japanese restaurant that has been on my to do list for a long time.  I had a gut feeling it was not a place I would want to take the boys so when we had a couple of hours of freedom we jumped on it and headed over to Miho Izakaya.

Before I get to the food, let me start with the bad.  It is not a real Izakaya restaurant.  A traditional Izakaya is a japanese drinking establishment centered around a grill.  The chef skweres various meats and grills the meat over the charcoal.  Food is served small plate style like a tapas bar.  By invoking the name Izakaya, Miho is conveying that it is a essentially a Japanese tapas bar.  Now, on to the food (which was spectacular).  And sorry for the poor pictures the lighting was not great.

We started dinner with cocktails and a couple of starter plates.  My wife had the seaweed salad and I had miso soup.  My wife says the seaweed salad was delicious.  The Miso soup was good, but tasted like miso so nothing extraordinary.

Miho Miso and Seaweed Salad

Next up, we ordered a Mussels, and Calamari Salad.  Both were phenomenal.  The mussels tasted fresh so I was surprised to hear they were from New Zealand. I’m not sure what the sauce was but it was very good and complimented the ocean flavor of the mussels.

Miho Mussels

As for the calamari salad, I’m not sure what to say other than it was the highlight of my dinner.  It was honest to goodness the best salad I have ever had.  I understand how silly that sounds since I am talking about a salad, but it was damn good.

Miho Calamari Salad

Next up was the main course, a huge bowl of Pork Ramen.  We debated between this and the Ahi Poke, but my wife really wanted the ramen.  She had it for the first time in Hawaii and I think she has been craving some since our return.

Miho Pork Ramen

The broth I believe was a pork broth to go along with the thin slices of pork in the bowl. The noodles soaked in all that flavor and were excellent.  I’ve been trying various Ramen places in Portland and I would put this bowl of ramen up against the popular Ramen joints in town.

Everything was so delicious we decided to stay for dessert and ordered a chocolate cake.

Miho Chocolate Cake

The cake looks amazing and tastes even better.  Just like everything we ate at Miho Izakaya it was spectacular.

The cocktails were also very good.  I had a gin cocktail and a bourbon cocktail.  My wife had a couple of tequila cocktails.  Again, spectacular (I feel like a broken record).  Our meal at Miho Izakaya was one of the more satisfying meals we have had a in long time. Every bite was amazing and best of all no kids!  I highly recommend you check this place out.

Miho Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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While Uber is on Hold in Portland, Try Curb.

If you have not been following along with the details of Uber trying to break into the Portland market let me give you a recap.

  1. Portland said no to Uber
  2. Uber responded by expanding into the suburbs.
  3. Portland said no to Uber
  4. Uber responded by saying F-U and started operating in Portland
  5. Portland city officials freaked out and fined the company a bunch of money.
  6. Uber and Portland come to an agreement.  Portland will work on the regs to allow Uber to operate, Uber agreed to back off.

I’m not sure who the winner is in this situation.  Probably Uber because they will likely be able to operate in Portland.  I have a feeling though that consumers are going to be the loser.  The whole point of Uber is that it is supposed to be cheaper than a taxi.  I have this feeling they will be charging the same rates as the taxis once this is all figured out. Although, perhaps the greatest thing about Uber is the convenience of using the app, which allows you to order and pay for the cab through their app.

On that front, the cab companies have caught up.  Enter Curb.   Curb is an app that works just like Uber in that you can order a taxi via an app on your phone.  The app also stores your credit card so when your ride is over the app bills the card.  No need to give the cabbie cash or a debit/credit card.  It is all handled through the app.

My wife and I used Curb last night.  It really is a very smooth system.  Once we were ready to go, I launch the app and click the button to hail a taxi.  The app finds the nearest available taxi and the taxi is dispatched to your location.  Having used the app three times now I really like it.

Right now there are a couple of promo codes that you can use for $10 off your ride.

  • The first is my promo code, 84T48W, download the app and first time riders will get $10 off their ride.
  • The second is the promo code DINELA.  This code is good for both first time and existing customers.  It is also good for $10 off your ride.

I’m not sure if these codes are stackable, but the DINELA code is good on multiple accounts.  I created three accounts (three different emails and phone numbers) and used the code on each one.

I’m curious to see what happens with Portland and Uber.  In the mean time Curb is a very useful alternative.

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Visiting Portland? 5 Tips to Become a Temporary Local

There are certain travel philosophies that I try to follow.  The biggest one is when visiting a place I try to become a temporary local.  This doesn’t mean I try not to look like a tourist, but it does mean that I try to experience a place like a local.  I try to follow the old proverb “when in Rome. do as Romans do.”

On that note, here are 5 things you can do to experience Portland like a local.  You’ll notice that this list is entirely geared towards food.  That’s because Portland is a foodie town.  Within the city we do not have a lot of tourist attractions.  Instead we have a character and a way of life that in my opinion revolves around food and food culture.

1.  Learn to like beer

It is no secret that Portland likes it beer.  We have more breweries than any other city in the world.  Not only do new ones open every year, I can only think of one that has gone out of business in the last 7 or 8 years.  Just when you think Portland has reached its brewery capacity another one opens and it does well.  So if you are visiting Portland, learn to like beer.  There is a beer for everyone.

2.  Skip Breakfast, Eat Brunch

This epiphany struck me one day when I went to Pine State Biscuit late morning on a Thursday.  I was on a staycation so I felt like I had an excuse to be out and assumed it would not be crowded.  Boy was I wrong.  Portlandia was not far off the mark when they said Portland is where 30 year olds go to retire.  What do retired people do?  Eat brunch of course.

3.  Eat Trendy

Portland is not without it’s chain restaurants, but I swear restaurant openings by well known chefs are treated like a red carpet event.  Well known chefs?  Yep, cooks get famous in this town.  Restaurants come and go in Portland.  Find the next wave and check it out.  Where to find these restaurants?  That leads me to number 4.

4.  Get out of Downtown!

Seriously, locals only go downtown to work and shop.  There is nothing downtown. Everything that is “happening” in Portland exists outside of downtown.  If you want to find the trendy places look east across the river.  If you want to be cutting edge the the central east side neighborhood is getting a lot of attention these days.  North Williams is also booming.

5.  Go Artisanal

Of all things Portland this might be the most parodied, but it’s true.  To fully appreciate this aspect of Portland, I thought I would make a list, off the top of my head, all things artisan, not named beer, in Portland.

  1. Charcuterie: Olympic Provisions
  2. Coffee: Stumptown
  3. Chai: Pip’s Original
  4. Bagel: Bowery
  5. Salt: The Meadow
  6. Donuts: Blue Star
  7. Butchery: Laurelhurst Market
  8. Bread:  Pearl Bakery
  9. Pasta: Pastaworks
  10. Ice Cream: Salt & Straw

Next time you visit Portland try to incorporate some of these things, if not all, into your visit. I think it will improve how you experience Portland and you’ll start to get all the inside jokes on Portlandia!

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Epic Beer Hall Coming to Portland in April

 

In 2013 the Portland Police Athletic Association sold its building on SE 6th and Alder to a developer.  At the time no one was sure what would become of it, would it stay a gym? Oh wait…did I say gym? I meant bar.  In fact I meant seedy dive bar in the Central Eastside neighborhood, but I digress.

The Oregonian reports this week that the former PPAA building will become the Portland beer hall to end all Portland beer halls.  Let’s go through our checklist of must haves for a epic beer hall.  Craft beer?  Check.  Lots of it?  99 taps in fact, so check.  Oregon only craft beer?  Yep, check.  High quality olympic provisions sausage?  Check.  Sweet close-in location?  Check.   Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Loyal Legion.

To say I am excited about this would be an understatement.  It is also going into a neighborhood that is receiving a lot of attention recently from developers and will just add to what is a growing list of new and exciting restaurants/watering holes in the area.  The Loyal Legion will be 100% dedicated to Oregon craft beer.  No out of state beer will be served.  I predict this place is going to go high on the list of must visits for Portland beer tourists.  The Loyal Legion is set to open in April.

H/T Oregonian, read the full article here.

 

 

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America’s Largest Cuckoo Clock at Portland Airport

Portland Cuckoo Clock

Last night when we got home from Hawaii (Trip Report to follow soon) I was greeted by this big wooden cuckoo clock.  Turns out is is part of a promotion by Travel Portland the official tourist marketing wing of the City of Portland.  Travel Portland hired a wood carver to build this sucker and then sent it to Vancouver BC and Seattle to promote Portland tourism.  The clock will be sitting in the atrium at PDX just past security for gates A,B, and C.  In addition to the clock Travel Portland is also running a promotion on their website for winter travel, this is what the press release says.

Winter Deal Wheel Offers Visitors Free Stuff

As if tax-free shopping weren’t enough, the Portland Is Happening Now Deal Wheel highlights a dozen of the nearly 90 discounts and deals around Portland that will be available to winter travelers, including free dining, shopping and beer-related items. Visitors who book a Portland hotel stay for travel through March 31, 2015, on TravelPortland.com will be given access to a downloadable coupon pack that features more than 85 coupons valued at more than $1,000.

The items travelers can redeem without a purchase (deals are good through March 31, 2015) include:

  • Bunk: One FREE sandwich at all Bunk Sandwich or Bunk Bar locations
  • Columbia Sportswear: One FREE Portland Is Happening Now shopping tote by Portland Garment Factory at the downtown or airport locations
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery: One FREE ceramic mini-growler from Portland Growler Co. (beer not included) at the N. Williams or S.E. Powell locations 

Examples of the other 85+ coupons (deals are good through Dec. 31, 2015) include:

  • Burgerville: FREE regular size milkshake or smoothie with purchase of equal or greater value
  • Danner: 20% off a pair of USA-made boots
  • Salt and Straw Ice Cream: One FREE single (4 oz.) scoop of ice cream with purchase of one of equal or greater value

While this sounds good I don’t think it is that great of a deal.  For starters, the coupon book they are referring to is the Chinook Book which can be purchased online.  No need to overpay for a hotel to get the book.  Second, if you are traveling to Portland this winter using my Priceline method for hotels is an absolute must.  Taking advantage of low demand is THE best way to score cheap deals on hotels.

While I don’t think the promotion is that great, at least they built a really cool clock.

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Uber Comes to Portland and How Uber Works

On Friday Uber began operating in Portland, without the blessing of city officials.  Needless to say some of the powers that be in city government had some choice words.  My favorite quote comes from Steve Novick the City Commissioner who oversees the Bureau of Transportation, the bureau in charge of regulating taxis.

“They think they can just come in here and flagrantly violate the law? This is really amazing.  Apparently, they believe they’re gods.”

I suppose you can always count on a politician for asinine rhetoric like that.  To counter and for a helpful video about Uber you should see this video from the Oregonian.

I have yet to use Uber, but I plan on giving it a try on Thursday when the family and I head to the airport.

How Uber works is pretty simple.  After downloading the app and entering your details and method of payment (use my referral link for $20 off first ride) ordering a ride only takes a click of a button.

When you launch the app it will zero in your location.  To order a car press the black arrow.

Uber Pickup

Then to confirm press the black UberX button.

Uber Confirm

Prior to confirming your order you can also use the fare estimator (on the left above the Request button) to get an idea how much your ride will cost.

Uber Fare Estimate

If you want to check the rates you can press the little blue car prior to pressing the black arrow button.

Uber Rates

One major complaint about Uber is that they have surge pricing, meaning they jack up the rates during high demand.  I have no experience with Uber so take this for what it’s worth, my assumption is that when they increase prices the current rate will show up in the blue button.  If they don’t then I’m not sure how much I will use Uber.  I’m excited to try Uber and we’ll see how it plays out here in Portland.

Update:   Uber has suspended operations in Portland after getting into an ugly fight with the City.  Plan for now is Uber will stop operating in Portland and the city has agreed to update taxi regulations in the next three months.  The saga continues…

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