Archive for the ‘Beer Logging’ Category

An Irish Annex

Last night we decided to go out for St. Patti’s. I’m tired as hell as we both had to get up early, but we had to see what was what. We had to.

We ventured to Jakes – the one with the big crab on top as they have had banners advertising their St Patti’s day extravaganza since we got here. Or maybe they never take them down. Anyhow, we arrived to see about 6 white tents wiggling a “NOW that’s a party 2011” dance mix. The cover was $10 and it was cash only.  I mean – who listens to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” on St. Patti’s. NO. That is a FAIL. You are SUPPOSED to pretend to be of Irish descent. You are SUPPOSED to sing Irish songs, dance Irish jigs and in attempts to sound Irish – talk like a pirate.

There were 5 of us and not one was in the mood, so we ventured to McMenamins’ Annex.

You walk into this place and it’s like 60 sq ft. You pass a narrow bar with an eerily grinning bartender, venture down 11 wooden steps and you’re in this little pub area with handmade tables (3′ deep) and music posters all over the walls. I personally was most happy with the table – it was the perfect depth and beautifully crafted. My IPA was delicious as well

We had a couple of drinks and many laughs – then our exhaustion kicked in and like a bunch of old farts, we joined a chorus of yawns and left.

It was a happy St. Patti’s though. I had fun.

Hey, have you seen this. Hi-larious



Adventures in SEATTLE!

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I think my favorite part of being out here is the complete ease of taking a weekender. I described leaving New York as giving birth. I haven’t given birth, but I imagine that when I do one day that I will stop and say “This IS like driving out of New York.”

In Portland, Nancy tells us to drive about 10 blocks and make a couple slight turns and we’re off.

This past weekend was Seattle. We left around 9 a.m. and headed North into the happy puffy clouds and blue skies of Washington. Yes – it was a very nice day. It’s actually warming up, so we no longer have to dress like pillow people.

The drive to Seattle is quick – I mean, it’s  the 5, so the view isn’t so hot, but it’s only the 5. I like trips like that because they give Jaime and I the chance to have some great conversations – conversations about life, about next steps, about things that stress/frustrate us, and the sudden absence of Ashley Judd’s career.

We got to our hotel with enough time to walk the dogs and explore before meeting my friend Molly and her partner, Genevieve for lunch at Steelhead Diner.

I had the sausage po’boy and Jaime had a salmon cake with lump crab meat and a bowl of roasted vegetable chili. Jaime’s choices were highly recommended – mine, well – it was a good dish, just wouldn’t order it again. We hung out with Molly and Genevieve for a good while, laughing – sharing stories – and then we hugged and ventured on our separate ways.

[enter Jaime]

Oh, the market. You know I love me some markets. There’s something about walking through the buzz of vendors selling their hand-made (or total touristy crap) wares that excites me. The calls of jewelry vendors talking about river Jasper, the offers of blueberry jams and vinegar tasting spoons, the quintessential throwing of the fish. Pikes Place Market was much larger than I expected, an endless covered path of anythings branching to lower, winding floors with vintages signs marketing a peep hole to view the “world’s largest shoe” or an endless coin collection or a random bronze sculpture of a squid hanging over a t-shirt shop. You could literally spend a day there, or at least spend most of it eating. Samples of dungenous crab meat with cocktail sauce in tiny cups (btw, an abomination to sauce such a delicacy), a piece of salmon jerky or sweet candied almonds and home-made doughnuts. Yes, please. And it was certainly a mad house of tourists filming flying fish (as did we), taking pictures of themselves in front of the postcard-perfect market sign (did that too) and trying on earrings and other things with freshwater pearls (check).

[enter Kate]

But you can only take it so long. The market was a little too crowded, so we swung by The Confectional. I got Jaime a chocolate mint cheesecake truffle and I had a qaudroople chocolate mini cheesecake. We ventured back up the 45 degree hill to the hotel. My friends, there is something hilarious (to me at least) about what I must have looked like – eating cheesecake and climbing such a steep incline.

The cheesecake was forgettable and made me feel guilty – Jaime loved her truffle, however. (note from Jaime: too rich, too good)

We dined with our friends Mykol and Evan at Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie. [enter Jaime again] Holy crap this place was good. Totally unassuming, totally empty, totally delicious. We ordered nearly everything, or so it felt that way: duck rillet with raisons, poached duck egg and caramelized onions on toast, bread with lardo (ew), soups, steamed salmon, porchetta roulette with rapini and polenta. Oh my. Sweet gluttony. Delicious everything. And with a view of the water from the tip of the, then, quieted market.

[enter Kate]

Then we ventured up to Capitol Hill to go exploring. Our first stop was Molly Moon’s handmade ice cream. Yes! It was delicious. Naturally I had chocolate. But it was SO rich – like chocolate melting in your mouth. [more from Jaime] They made their ice creams from scratch, pairing interesting and sometimes local combinations: balsamic strawberry, honey lavender, salt caramel… the line, not surprisingly, was out the door. And it was cheap!

We decided to round up the evening with one round at Elysian Brewing Co. I’m still surprised by the amount of brewpubs out here. Sampled the Mens Room Ale (irony) then off we went.

[enter Kate]

We turned in early so to have enough time to play in Pike’s place market before we had to leave. First we went to La Panier for some morning yummies. I had a raspberry croissant. It was heavinly! Like the perfect jelly doughnut made a baby with a buttery and perfect croissant. I could have had 9. I only had 1. Jaime had a crudités of peppered goat cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers. Mmmmm.

Next we stepped into a store which featured a nervous cashier and a TON of smoked fish and jerky. We got some salmon jerky and headed next door where I could stock up on uniquely flavored chocolate bars.

Finally we ventured back into the market with high hopes that it wouldn’t be so busy – and it wasn’t! There were amazing booths – really artistic stuff. We stopped by a jewelry booth and actually got my earrings and necklace for the wedding! The woman was so excited. She had been there for 30 years and made us promise to come visit the next time we were in town.

After that we came upon another booth where I found  the perfect birthday gift for my little niece. Then we ventured out and made our way to the Nordstrom Rack. Have you been there? It’s my favorite.

The ride home was a breeze – we even got to sing along with Bohemian Rhapsody!

And then came dinner. See – we spent 16 hours staring at crab legs that were grossly priced by the pound, so Ms. Jaime decided she would get some when we got back to Portland. So – [enter Jaime – again with the food commentary] – I NEEDED to get some Alaskan king crab legs. These wickedly priced delights are worth every penny. I also got some cocktail shrimp and sauteed some kale, and we ate right off the butcher paper. A perfect ending to a weekend of (clearly) eating our way through Seattle.

[enter Kate]

Overall, Seattle was a lot of fun. Would love to go there during the summer – apparently the sun goes up at 5 and doesn’t set till around 10. We also have some lovely friends there. BUT – we prefer Portland, just feels a little cozier.


Beer Logging: Alaska Amber, Alt Style

Had this little ditty at Scandal, a very friendly guys bar in what apparently was or is known as the “Pink Triangle.” Take a guess why. We went there to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race (best show ever). When we get there, people are singing fairly awful karaoke, and we were two of the four women in the whole place.

I ask the bartender, “what time does Drag Race come on?” He says, “Oh, well Glee wasn’t on tonight so we moved Drag Race up. Now, we’re having Drag-eoke. What can I get ya?” “Um…well.. I’ll have that Alaska Amber.” Awesome.

Flavor Flav

Drinkability: Yes, it has some of that. I could have two. Not three.

Hoppy: Not so much.

Tastiness: A little thicker than a typical amber ale. A bit nutty too. Pretty rich, but not chocolate ice cream. A bit malty.

Color: Dark Caramel, I think. The bottle is brown. I mean, how am I supposed to know.

Where From: Juneau, Alaska. Across the street from Russia.

Drink Again: Yes, but not after I try everything else.

PS. Sorry about the lousy image quality. It was the best I could do under the circumstances. Not to mention how awkward it was when the flash went off.

Portland Happy Hours: Reason 5,642

On the very first night we arrived, Pee Wee, the name we’ve lovingly given to one of our concierges, told us if we were hungry we should go a block down to Jake’s Famous Crawfish for happy hour. We’re thinking, we’re hungry… not thirsty. Then, over the course of the last week a dozen people have told me to go to Jake’s. I pass by it all the time; seems unassuming. A regular seafood bar/restaurant.

So, late yesterday we decide to hit it up. We had intended our Sunday to be lazy followed by a food cart exploration (a must in PDX). Of course the carts are closed by Sunday afternoon (or they never open on Sunday’s, we just don’t know). Backup plan: Jake’s.

We go in an it looks a bit like McSorely’s Ale House but classed up with white waiter coats, original antique finishes (it is apparently the second oldest bar in the city), and smooth elevator jazz. All of that topped off with St. Pat’s banners and a formal wooden countdown to the main event. A pub/seafood restaurant with an identity complex, indeed.

They carried only local beers (there are no bad ones. this is a major plus). I get a Rogue Dead Guy, an old standard of mine, and then we peer at the Happy Hour menu. No drinks, just food. Apparently, most, if not all bars have really good happy hour food menus. Apparently an old law wouldn’t allow bars to promote cheap booze, so bars would lure people in with at-cost food. And they still do. Not just crappy stuff either, I tell ya. I ordered the fish tacos (excellent) for 4 bucks; Kate’s gets a chicken quesadilla for 2 bucks. Never in Manhattan. My yenta side perks up at this fact. So, for under $20 bucks (literally under 20, no sales tax here – reason 2), we eat dinner topped off with some killer local brews. Never thought I could save money by dining out. Hooray.

What have we learned today:

1) Happy hours ARE a good idea (I mean, I didn’t just learn this… but I agree with that statement more now)

2) I am still right about Rogue Dead Guy (can’t believe their brewpub is in walking distance from our place)

3) I know what I’m doing for St. Pat’s

Beer Logging: Pelican Angler’s Amber Ale

While I’m here, I might as well try everything. And here, they have fantastic brews. Stay tuned for my entirely biased opinion.

Flavor Flav

Drinkability: Yes.

Hoppy: Slight hoppy aroma

Finish: Smooth with a crisp, slight floral bite at the end.

Color: Caramel

Where From: Oregon, of course.

Drink Again: Yes, but not after I try everything else. Story of my life.

PS. How quintessential is this shot? Whole Grain Dave’s bread, Whole Foods coffee (Pete’s and Stumptown were way overpriced, just so we’re clear), Yoga magazine in the background…

PPS. To clarify, this is not my first brew in the city. I’m only now getting around to logging.

Also tried: Full Sail’s Bump in the Night (a little too bitter for my taste),  MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale (yum yum yum and local), Fat Tire (been there done that never get tired of it). Also, tried the Green Lakes Organic at the Deschutes brewpub. Good, nothing to write home about. They did give us a couple free pint glasses to take home. So there’s that.

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