Archive for the ‘Check This Place Out’

Fall Events in Portland

Looking for some cool things to do In Portland this fall? We have rounded up some ideas for you with the help of our friends at Travel Portland.

Looking for some Pumpkin patches to visit? Click here

Want to get a jump start on figuring out what’s going on in November? Here you go

Basketball season is back in full swing so go cheer our Blazers on. Catch a football game for the Ducks or Beavers. Visit a local Cider house and taste the new fall menus.

And of course you have to get your spoke on and brave a Haunted House. Here are some ideas.


Whatever you do get out and enjoy what this city has to offer!

Portland’s Small House Movement Is On the Rise

In 2010, during the economic slump, when many building plans were being shelved, Portland presciently began to allow homeowners the right to develop accessory dwelling units on standard 5,000-square-foot residential lots for the first time. The city also eliminated development charges of up to $15,000 for new accessory dwelling units to spur homeowners to build. This Garden House won top design award from the American Institute of Architect. More info at the link.

2 Oregon Cities named in Money Magazine

Once again our beautiful city and surrounding areas have been named in a National magazine for a best of. Beaverton, called a “melting pot in Nike’s backyard,” has been named one of Money Magazine’s top 50 small cities in the United States. Portland was recognized as the best big city in the West.


Read the full article here from Oregon Live.

Check This Place Out: El Cubo de Cuba

Over a year ago, I sat down with my great friends Milko and Emily and heard about their goal to open a brick and mortar restaurant.  Successfully operating two of Portland’s hottest food carts, the duo had their sights set on a permanent location where they could dish up their signature Cuban dishes.  After months of hard work renovating the old Taco del Mar on Hawthorne, they finally opened their doors to the public a couple weeks ago.

A lot of the same menu items can be found that they served at their food carts but with some amazing additions and a variety of beverages (they have their liquor license; mojitos, sangria, and rum cocktails look to die for).  A longtime vegetarian, I was a huge fan of their vegan plate, which featured a delicious Caribbean salad, beans and rice, and a side.  I got my all-time El Cubo favorite side dish- tostones.  I’ll be getting the maduros next time as they are also killer.  Kevin and Jan went for lunch on opening day and raved about both the Cuban Sandwich (oven roasted mojo pork and swiss on Cuban bread) and the Pan con Lechon (slow roasted mojo pork….mmmm….).

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Stepping inside, I felt like I was invited over to a Cuban friend’s house for dinner.  It feels perfectly Cuban but also Southeast hip.  The wooden counter opens right to their sparkling kitchen and friendly cooks.  The dining room has bright paint with paintings and photos straight from Cuba itself (the photographs are pretty sweet, stop and take a quick look).  And, best yet, they have a patio!  Even though us Portlanders only love patios in the dry months, we sure do enjoy them while we can!

So, support local entrepreneurs and wonderful people and have an affordable, delicious meal along the way!  Nos vemos en El Cubo!

Check This Place Out: Genoa

Positively, absolutely delicious.

Cristen and I decided to partake in Portland’s Dining Month – every year during the month of June.  A ton of restaurants around Portland, including some of the nicest like Genoa, open their doors and welcome the masses to enjoy a three-course meal for only $29.  That is unheard of for a restaurant of the caliber of Genoa, where the typical tasting menu is $65.  So, naturally, Cristen and I jumped at the chance to have a stellar meal at a reasonable price.

The menu posted online for Genoa’s dining month had two options: a meat option and a vegetarian option.  As a vegetarian myself, I was super stoked to try Genoa’s take on refined Italian vegetarian.  Cristen, who is vegetarian and gluten-free, was also over the moon about the menu as we were told they were happy to accommodate her dietary needs. My mouth was watering all day in anticipation.

Needless to say, I was not let down.

We walked in to the beautiful dining room and were greeted by smiling faces and were escorted right to our lovely table.  Our server explained the menu to us while we sipped on a fancy cocktail.  In addition to the “steal of a meal”, Genoa offered a wine pairing with our meal for an additional $18.  Having never tried a bona fide wine pairing/multi-course meal together, it was a no brainer.

An amuse-bouche was brought out to prep our palette and soon after our first course was brought out.  A delightfully summery salad, it featured strawberries, pickled onions, and fresh goat cheese.  Just perfect.  That was followed with fennel risotto which was better than the previous course.  I could eat that risotto all day, every day.  The third course were oyster mushrooms and Walla Walla sweet onions with a tasty sauce on top.  I love the texture of oyster mushrooms – the vegetarian’s filet.  The wine pairings that came with each course were perfect accompaniments.  I’m no wine expert, but I could see how they complemented each course perfectly.

A sweet little bite was brought out in lieu of a full-fledged dessert (we were stuffed!) but it was a lovely end to a lovely meal.

I was so excited about getting an amazing meal for such a great price.  After my experience at Genoa, I would gladly go back and try out their regular $65 tasting menu another day.  And I’m sure that day, I’ll be salivating in anticipation just like I was this time around (and I’d know what glory to expect!).  Try it out for a special occasion, or just splurge.  You won’t be disappointed.

Check This Place Out: ¿Por Que No?

Even on the rainiest of days you’ll see a line out the door and around the corner – what a testament to the greatness that is ¿Por Que No?.  Food & Wine Magazine named it one of the nation’s best taco joints and Oregonian reader’s named it their favorite Mexican food in PDX.  So what it is about this laid-back, eclectically decorated, South-of-the-border spot that is driving people taco crazy?

The ingredients and flavors are fresh, bright, and terribly delicious (my favorite thing is the guacamole perfection).  They pay tribute to what’s seasonal with a revolving menu that features soups and other Mexican specialties that could be right out of your abuela’s cocina.  It’s fast; even with a long line, you can be in and out comfortably in 20-30 minutes.  The deliciousness doesn’t stop at the food either.  Try one of their legendary margaritas or aguas frescas which probably have as many die-hard fans as their tacos.  When the sun is shining, be sure to check out their back patio or front bench seating.  Even when it is raining, the cozy, warm back patio covered section serves as a more than satisfying alternative.

It’s only three blocks from our office, which makes it a dangerously excellent lunch spot that we hit up at least once a week for a fix.  Throwing a holiday party?  They can pull together a taco bar or whatever your heart desires which will create a symphony of yummy noises from your guests.  Or just stop by for a taco or three.  You won’t regret it.

Check This Place Out: Albina Press

Albina Press is far from just a coffee shop – it’s a full-on coffee shop experience. I once brought an out-of-towner to Albina for a quick mug of Stumptown brew and he said he felt this place was the epitome of Portland culture. Local art hangs proudly on the walls and constantly rotates. It’s quirky to boot; not your grandma’s artwork. Natives bring their dogs and sit out front on the jam-packed wooden benches and fight for chairs and tables inside to soak up the ambiance.

Located just across the street from our office, we feel that we have some of the best people watching in town. It’s not uncommon for us to see people perching in the windows for hours on end. Those who love Albina have made it a home away from home.

Don’t go hungry – they don’t have a lot of food options other than a small selection of coffee shop treats. But do go ready for a pick-me-up because you’ll get one of the best cups in town. Bring a book because you won’t want to leave.

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