Pink Rose Happy Hour

Update: Pink Rose has closed

There have been a couple times as I was walking down NW Lovejoy that I’ve heard lovely music instead of the rumble of cars and the streetcar. Then upon getting closer to NW 13th I am distracted from my errands by the live musicians I  hear playing outside The Pink Rose on their outdoor patio that also has a waterfall and a fireplace.
Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose

Although tempted to stop and have a drink, interrupting my errands, it was only when musician friend Brian McGinty was playing one late September afternoon last year that I finally I got to experience their happy hour (4-7 PM weekdays, and happy hour ALL DAY on Tuesdays).
Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose

Being able to sit outside with a cocktail and listen to live music without being boxed inside is a wonderful treat.
Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose with the cocktail Lady Lovejoy with Medoyeff vodka, fresh pressed strawberry and champagne float

It was great, and since then I have been back other times for the tail end of happy hour on Thursdays when they have had live music (check the Pink Rose Facebook page for such events to see who is playing).

They have one standout happy hour item that is worth visiting again and again. And that’s the happy hour $6 pork cheese fries I had that includes Carlton Farms smoked pork, Tillamook cheddar, scallions, Sriracha aioli.
Pink Rose Happy Hour item of happy hour $6 pork fries I had that included Carlton Farms smoked pork, Tillamook cheddar, scallions, Sriracha aioli on fries

Smaller bites might be the Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms with Painted Hills beef house chorizo and Manchego cheese ($5) or the Bacon wrapped Dates with Medjool stuffed dates, toasted almonds, Rogue blue cheese ($4).
Pink Rose Restaurant happy hour option of the Bacon wrapped Dates wtih Medjool stuffed dates, toasted almonds, Rogue blue cheese plus the Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms with Painted Hills beef house chorizo and Manchego cheese Pink Rose Restaurant happy hour option of the Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms with Painted Hills beef house chorizo and Manchego cheese

They also have a few interesting cocktails to choose from on their cocktail menu, like here when I had the cocktail Lady Lovejoy with Medoyeff vodka, fresh pressed strawberry and champagne float.
Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose with the cocktail Lady Lovejoy with Medoyeff vodka, fresh pressed strawberry and champagne float Hearing the music of modern troubadour Brian McGinty from NW Lovejoy and 13th on the patio of the Pink Rose with the cocktail Lady Lovejoy with Medoyeff vodka, fresh pressed strawberry and champagne float

Another favorite is the Patio Punch Mason Jar– because it is a quart sized mason jar that you can call whether it is filled with Sangria or Blueberry Basil, Citrus Sage punches with your choice of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, bourbon well or call. I’m not sure if these photos effectively communicate the scale of a jar you have to hold with two hands.
Patio Punch Mason Jar at Pink Rose Restaurant - a quart of your choice of Sangria or Blueberry Basil, Citrus Sage punches with your choice of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, bourbon well or call. Pink Rose Restaurant happy hour option of the Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms with Painted Hills beef house chorizo and Manchego cheese plus Bacon wrapped Dates wtih Medjool stuffed dates, toasted almonds, Rogue blue cheese to accompany a Patio Punch Mason Jar (quart size!) of sangria

Besides Happy Hour, Pink Rose’s other main claim to fame is the $14 bottomless mimosas at their brunch, which they do not hold back on at all and serve Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go to brunch to enjoy their Fried Chicken and Waffle with Draper Valley Chicken that is buttermilk battered and fried, served on a malted waffle with bourbon syrup. The chicken and waffle entree is both on their regular weekday menu as well as at brunch, so you don’t have to wait until the weekend.
Fried Chicken and Waffle at Pink Rose Restaurant with Draper Valley Chicken that is buttermilk battered and fried, served on a malted waffle with bourbon syrup Fried Chicken and Waffle at Pink Rose Restaurant with Draper Valley Chicken that is buttermilk battered and fried, served on a malted waffle with bourbon syrup

As an extra perk, they hold a Best Instagram contest weekly on Sunday! You have to post your photo on Instagram and tag them with #pinkrosepdx & follow @pinkrosepdx. They select a photo entrant weekly to win a $30 gift card… which you can clearly consider using towards a happy hour pork cheese fries or a mason jar or bottomless mimosa.
Pink Rose Restaurant happy hour option of the Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms with Painted Hills beef house chorizo and Manchego cheese, plus Bacon wrapped Dates with Medjool stuffed dates, toasted almonds, Rogue blue cheese to accompany a quart sized Mason Jar of sangria Pink Rose Happy Hour item of happy hour $6 pork fries I had that included Carlton Farms smoked pork, Tillamook cheddar, scallions, Sriracha aioli on fries

My favorite excuse though is still for those fries and a drink al fresco while supporting local musicians.

Pink Rose Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Signature

Ox Blood Cocktail Recipe with Dickel Whisky

Last month, I had the honor of being invited to a special Whisky Dinner featuring George Dickel Tennessee Whisky at Ox Restaurant. As part of the event, I was able to sample various whiskies from the Dickel Whisky portfolio (you can see me in green in the second photo!):
The various whiskies from the George Dickel Tennessee Whisky portfolio Doug Kragel at the Portland Ox and George Dickel Whiskey Dinner - you can see me in green at the table listening!

  • Dickel Foundation 1 is a clear, unaged whisky that pretty much doesn’t seem like a whisky. I would characterize it as more of a category of clear liquors, similar to vodka, gin, rum that you would want to mix in a drink. Although it comes from the same mash bill and cold mellowing process, the flavors are very light.
  • Dickel Classic 8 is the the most common, standby Dickel whisky. Dickel whiskies go through a cold mellowing process by which they chill their whisky to 40 degrees F before filling vats with chips of special charcoal from sugar maple timbers, producing a smoother whisky compared to that other Tennessee whisky company that uses the Lincoln County Process as well but not with the steps to chill or fill vats. This classic Dickel is well balanced and easy drinking. The whisky is aged 5 – 7 years.
  • Dickel Superior 12 is an aged blended version (barrels are aged 7 – 9 years), giving it more smokiness, the texture gets more soft and round, and there’s a hint of vanilla. I like a lot of smokiness and buttery texture to my drinks (or anything…) so this was my personal favorite.
  • Dickel Rye Whisky has a notable spicy taste you can detect. I found this honestly a bit difficult to drink neat like 8 or 12, but it was great when paired with a Breakside Pilsner.
  • Dickel Barrel Select are created from only 10 barrels hand selected by the Master Distiller, and all the barrels have already been aged 10 – 12 years. This gives the flavors of the whisky a complexity that includes smoothness like the 8, smokiness and vanilla and some roundness in mouthfeel like the 12, and some spice like the Rye.

Although I enjoyed tasting the little sips of whisky, what made the strongest impression in my mind was this gorgeous looking and incredible tasting cocktail they served using Dickel whisky. It is very simple, with only 4 ingredients, but packs a huge payback in terms of presentation and flavor. It doesn’t hurt that it also uses the Dickel recipe that I liked the most (and now own a bottle of!).  So I thought I would share the Ox Blood Cocktail Recipe with Dickel Whisky…
Ox Blood Cocktail with Dickel Whiskey

Ox Blood Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1.3 oz. George Dickel Tennesee Whiskey No. 12
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz. Beet Syrup (2:1 Beet Juice:Sugar mix)
  • Tarragon Sprig

Directions:

  1. Fill rocks glass with ice.
  2. Shake George Dickel No. 12, beet syrup and lemon juice.
  3. Pour over rocks.
  4. Garnish with tarragon.

I think Ox Blood Cocktail with Dickel Whisky is a cocktail anyone can enjoy – and if you don’t want to make it yourself, it is still on the menu at Ox or next door to them at Whey Bar. The stunning appearance could work for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, a Game of Thrones or horror movie themed party with its quite bold appearance… or no occasion or reason at all on any day.

I had the chance to enjoy the drink while eating Ox Restaurant Oysters and Squid & Octopus Salad. The conversation was enthralling, so the cocktail also lasted into the Ox starters like Empanadas of Spiced Beef with green olive and raisin, a Bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, cucumber, radish and shiso, and also their House Baked Ricotta with button mushroom confit in balsamic brown butter and grilled bread – and all the food went well with the cocktail.

Considering how variant in taste those four dishes I mentioned are, the Ox Blood cocktail is incredibly versatile so it’s not just good looking.
Ox Restaurant Oysters and Squid & Octopus Salad Ox Restaurant starter of Empanadas of Spiced Beef with green olive and raisin Ox Restaurant starter of Empanadas of Spiced Beef with green olive and raisin Ox Restaurant starter of Bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, cucumber, radish and shiso Ox Restaurant starter of Bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, cucumber, radish and shiso Ox Restaurant starter of House Baked Ricotta with button mushroom confit in balsamic brown butter and grilled bread

As you might not be surprised to hear, grilled food goes really well with whisky in general because of the shared flavor component of the earthiness and smoke. No wonder that Dickel picked Ox Restaurant as the host restaurant. Some of the other dishes of the evening that I enjoyed with various samplings of Dickel whisky, served neat:

  • Starter of Spicy Braised Beef Tripe & Octopus, Mint Aïoli, Crispy Sunchoke
  • Charcuterie of Smoked Beef Tongue en Vinagreta, Horseradish, Ensalada Rusa, Sweetbread Croutons
  • From the Grill dishes of Wild Alaskan Halibut on the bone with Nettle Pistou, Lemon, as well as House Chorizo, there was Beef Ribeye and Skirt Steak, and Maple-Brine Pork Loin Chop
  • Side dishes like
    • Leaf Lettuces, Mozzarella Milanesa, Spicy Anchovy Vinaigrette, Marcona Almond and Avocado
    • Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Everything Bagel Seasoning, Chive Mascarpone, and Smoked Salmon Roe
    • Fried Russet Potatoes, Horseradish Aïoli, Dill
    • Maple-Glazed Heirloom Carrots, Chèvre, Tarragon, Truffle-Salted Pistachios
    • Roasted Broccolini, Charred Poblano Romesco, Toasted Pecan, Pickled Red Onion

Ox Restaurant starter of Spicy Braised Beef Tripe & Octopus, Mint Aïoli, Crispy Sunchoke Ox Restaurant Charcuterie of Smoked Beef Tongue en Vinagreta, Horseradish, Ensalada Rusa, Sweetbread Croutons Ox Restaurant From the Grill dish of Wild Alaskan Halibut on the bone with Nettle Pistou, Lemon Ox Restaurant House Made Chorizo Sausage Ox Restaurant side dish of Leaf Lettuces, Mozzarella Milanesa, Spicy Anchovy Vinaigrette, Marcona Almond and Avocado Ox Restaurant side dish of Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Everything Bagel Seasoning, Chive Mascarpone, and Smoked Salmon Roe <Ox Restaurant From the Grill meat dish, Ribeye Ox Restaurant From the Grill meat dish of Maple-Brine Pork Loin Chop Ox Restaurant side dish of Fried Russet Potatoes, Horseradish Aïoli, Dill Ox Restaurant side dish of Maple-Glazed Heirloom Carrots, Chèvre, Tarragon, Truffle-Salted Pistachios Ox Restaurant side dish of Roasted Broccolini, Charred Poblano Romesco, Toasted Pecan, Pickled Red Onion Ox Restaurant From the Grill meat dish of grilled Skirt Steak

And then there was dessert:

  • Pineapple-Cucumber Sorbet with Mandarin Orange Granita
  • Bittersweet Chocolate-Olive Oil Cake, Fudge Sauce, Peppermint Ice Cream, Molasses Anglaise
  • Warm Hazelnut Brown Butter Torte, Honey-Chamomile Ice Cream, Honeycomb Candy

Ox Restaurant - save room for dessert like this Pineapple-Cucumber Sorbet with Mandarin Orange Granita Ox Restaurant - save room for dessert like this Bittersweet Chocolate-Olive Oil Cake, Fudge Sauce,Peppermint Ice Cream, Molasses Anglaise Ox Restaurant - save room for dessert like this Warm Hazelnut Brown Butter Torte, Honey-Chamomile Ice Cream, Honeycomb Candy
Even served family style, I was not the only one staggering out the doors at the end of the meal just completely stuffed with food. Family style is definitely the way to go with Ox Restaurant because we got to try so many things, as you can see!

Have you ever heard of or had Dickel whisky? What do you think of the Ox Blood Cocktail idea?

Have you dined at Ox Restaurant before, what did you think of their Argentine inspired Portland food?

Have you ever paired whisky and grilled meats or vegetables before such as at a BBQ? It’s definitely an upgrade on normal bbq beer… though since beer also can serve as a beer back after whisky, maybe you could serve both?

Disclosure: I was treated to a whisky sampling and meal that was hosted by George Dickel Tennessee Whisky and Serious Barbecue at Ox Restaurant with talks by Dickel spokesperson Doug Kragel and Adam Perry Lang promoting Dickel Whisky. However, I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own. Thank you Taylor Strategy for providing the Ox Blood Cocktail Recipe with Dickel Whisky to me and the first three photos of this post.

Signature

The Wynn: Lake of Dreams, Parasol Down, Conservatory, Jeff Koons, and Le Reve

The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas is considered to be one of the most luxurious on the Strip, with its number of five stars from various rankings and the fact that they even have a Ferrari and Maserati dealership inside. Unlike the other previous casinos that Steve Wynn built, The Wynn takes action on his previous regret that he created crowd-drawing attractions that were outside (Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio)- he wanted to make people come into the casino. So that’s how he planned The Wynn.

Supposedly the main attraction to the Wynn the Lake of Dreams, which is a big waterfall feature inside over a small manmade lake. In the evenings, starting at dusk and for every 30 minutes, there are shows that play using the waterfall wall and the lake with projections and props, with the shows varying (similar to how the Bellagio fountain shows vary). In between those times, the waterfall and lake are an art piece, with a statue of a man partially submerged staring at the flowing water/us (I’m not sure) being pensive/stalkery (I’m not sure) while farther on the right a woman stands about to enter the lake, pensive/stalkery (I’m not sure).
Lake of Dreams at the Wynn

The biggest different though is that to really get a good view, you pretty much have to be a guest of the restaurants that take up most of the side facing the Lake of Dreams, or be having cocktails at the bottom half of the lounges Parasol Up / Parasol Down. Parasol Down includes the lounge area inside where you can view Lake of Dreams through the floor to ceiling windows and the outdoor terrace outside. Parasol Up is the lounge upstairs, which really only gives you a view of people walking in The Wynn and little bit of the parasols. True to the name, there are giant parasols that hang on the ceiling and move up and down.

The view from by the escalators on the top floor:
These umbrella lights move up and down in the atrium which houses the Parasol Down bar and lounge (Parasol Up is on the same level before you go down the curved escalator) at The Wynn, Las Vegas "These

The view looking up from Parasol Down:
These umbrella lights move up and down in the atrium which houses the Parasol Down bar and lounge (Parasol Up is on the same level before you go down the curved escalator) at The Wynn, Las Vegas These umbrella lights move up and down in the atrium which houses the Parasol Down bar and lounge (Parasol Up is on the same level before you go down the curved escalator) at The Wynn, Las Vegas

F was working late, and thanks to Tix4Tonight I was able to get discounted seats to the show Le Reve (The Dream) for the early show. After walking here (remember my walking the South Strip and the Middle of the Strip posts?) I really needed a break off my feet, and cocktails sounded perfect. It was probably only 5 PM and far from dusk, so this lounge area was quiet and peaceful, and I was able to sit at a couch on the side where there was a much needed outlet to recharge my phone from all these pictures I’ve been taking and sharing on the blog!
Relaxing in the Parasol Down bar and lounge (Parasol Up is on the same level before you go down the curved escalator) inside The Wynn. This is where after dusk you can also sit and see the various Lake of Dreams shows every 30 min) Relaxing in the Parasol Down bar and lounge (Parasol Up is on the same level before you go down the curved escalator) inside The Wynn. This is where after dusk you can also sit and see the various Lake of Dreams shows every 30 min

I thought I might have just one drink, but I was very intrigued by the drinks menu here. For instance, a page of Wynn Signature Sips included

  • The Carousel, made with rum, watermelon liqueur, fresh lemon juice, fresh watermelon juice, and lemongrass syrup
  • The Pear-A-Sol, with Absolut Pear Vodka, Belle Paire Pear Liqueur, pear puree, and fresh sweet and sour
  • Lime In the Coconut, with Bacardi Pineapple Fusion Rum, Kalani Coconut Liqueur, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup, fresh basil leaves, topped with Red Bull Silver

Wynn Signature Sips available at Parasol Down inside The Wynn Example drinks at Parasol Down in The Wynn, Seasonal Sips and Signature Shots

So of course I had to do a little taste testing for you. I started out with the Parasol’s Signature cocktail, the previously mentioned The Pear-A-Sol, with Absolut Pear Vodka, Belle Paire Pear Liqueur, pear puree, and fresh sweet and sour. I was pleased to see that it came with these cute complimentary snacks. Vegas is one of those cities that I don’t even think twice of traveling, exploring, and eating and drinking on my own because there are always interesting people to meet and talk to, including even being insistent that she take a photo of me and send it to F to let him see I was having fun without him.
Enjoying a Wynn Signature Sip of The Pear-a-sol, Parasol's signature cocktail at Parasol Down. The cocktail includes Absolut Pears Vodka, Belle Paire Pear Liqeur, pear puree, and fresh sweet and sour along with complimentary snacks Enjoying a Wynn Signature Sip of The Pear-a-sol, Parasol's signature cocktail at Parasol Down. The cocktail includes Absolut Pears Vodka, Belle Paire Pear Liqeur, pear puree, and fresh sweet and sour along with complimentary snacks

They also have several Seasonal Sips and Signature Shots on the drink menu. I tried one of them, the Red Velvet Cake shot with Zing Red Velvet Vodka, and Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur. In the back you can see a Cucumber Fizz non-alcoholic drink, so you don’t have to feel pressured to drink alcohol- the non alcoholic drink was very refreshing and flavorful. I also tried the Signature Cocktail of Sinatra Smash with Gentlemen Jack Tennessee Whiskey, Briottet Ccreme de Cassis, freshly muddled blackberries, fresh sweet and sour, and vanilla infused simple syrup
A Signature Shot at Parasol Down in the Wynn, this one is the Red Velvet Cake shot with Zing Red Velvet Vodka, and Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur with a Cucumber Fizz nonalcoholic drink Example signature drink at Parasol Down in The Wynn. This is the Sinatra Smash with Gentlemen Jack Tennessee Whiskey, Briottet Ccreme de Cassis, freshly muddled blackberries, fresh sweet and sour, and vanilla infused simple syrup

The only place I can think of where you can watch the show at the Lake of Dreams for free is by standing between the inside lounge area and terrace of Parasol Down, by standing in between the escalators leading up and down to Parasol Down, or by a small terrace just by the check-in/out desks of The Wynn. Here you can see the difference in view – from standing in between the escalators leading up and down to Parasol Down where yes they somehow pulled out a whole frog to sing- and the view from the terrace just by the check in lobby of The Wynn when the Lake of Dreams told the story of two balls (a blue and pink one) that fall in love and roll around all over the misted over lake.
The singing frog at the Lake of Dreams in The Wynn, view from the top of the escalators above Parasol Down The singing frog at the Lake of Dreams in The Wynn, view from the top of the escalators above Parasol Down The singing frog at the Lake of Dreams in The Wynn, view from the top of the escalators above Parasol Down View of the Lake of Dreams from the balcony outside the check in lobby of The Wynn... this is a show with lit balls that roll in the water that is misty View of the Lake of Dreams from the balcony outside the check in lobby of The Wynn... this is a show with lit balls that roll in the water that is misty View of the Lake of Dreams from the balcony outside the check in lobby of The Wynn... this is a show with lit balls that roll in the water that is misty View of the Lake of Dreams from the balcony outside the check in lobby of The Wynn... this is a show with lit balls that roll in the water that is misty

You can sort of see the glass doors leading to that terrace by the reception desks behind these flowers
You can sort of see the glass doors leading to that terrace overlooking Lake of Dreams at the Wynn, Las Vegas, by the reception desks behind these flowers

Honestly though, it wasn’t the Lake of Dreams that blew me away with The Wynn. It was the Conservatory Area here that reminded me a bit of what Bellagio offers, but without all the crowds of people that I felt at the Bellagio. The gardens here are exquisite. And, FREE to see.
Carousel made all of flowers inside The Wynn, November 2014 Carousel made all of flowers inside The Wynn, November 2014 Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn make up this flowered hot air balloonGorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn make up this flowered hot air balloon Gorgeous flowers inside the Conservatory Area, cultivated botanical gardens in the atrium of The Wynn make up this flowered hot air balloon

You can also find two artworks by Jeff Koons. The first is Popeye, made with high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating inside the Wynn Esplanade, and the sculpture Tulips which is a bouquet of twisted balloon flowers. As you’re looking at it, know that these pieces weigh several tons, and Steve Wynn paid $28 million for Popeye and Tulips is $33.6 million dollars. It blows my mind how much insane art is just lying around for everyone to look at for free in Las Vegas. FREE!
Popeye art piece by Jeff Koons, made with high chromium stainless steel with transparant color coating inside the Wynn Esplanade Popeye art piece by Jeff Koons, made with high chromium stainless steel with transparant color coating inside the Wynn Esplanade More Jeff Koons art inside the Wynn, this time right by the Wynn Theater, it's the $33.6 million dollar sculpture Tulips which is a bouquet of twisted balloon flowers More Jeff Koons art inside the Wynn, this time right by the Wynn Theater, it's the $33.6 million dollar sculpture Tulips which is a bouquet of twisted balloon flowers

Oh, and I saw Le Reve, The Dream. I was surprised that they allowed non-flash photography during the show, but they even wanted to promote a hashtag to share the photos, so I obliged once in a while, most of the time my eyes were just flitting all over the place trying to see everything on the stage.

There is not a bad seat at all in the house. If you are closer, you can admire the details of the costuming and the rippling physiques of the performers. If you are farther away, you have an overall view of the scene without having to dart your eyes around.
There is not a bad seat in the house at the Wynn Theater, home of Le Reve, The Dream There is not a bad seat in the house at the Wynn Theater, home of Le Reve, The Dream

The stage includes not only the pool and any standing areas that come up and down or sail in (yep), but even all the airspace to the top of the theater! With every scene, your view is ever-changing with not only set and lights, but people wandering in and out, either performing as part of the act or like us, observing (though more artfully posed than me). There were many times I was really torn where I wanted to keep my eyes, and the show seemed to end all too soon. I wanted many parts of every scene to last a little longer so I can really admire the details of it before it moved out of one beautifully posed moment to another.
A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater!

I really enjoyed the show. Besides all the food in Las Vegas, and all the free art to see up and down the strip outside on the streets or inside the buildings, I really love the offering of shows here in Vegas and can’t imagine visiting without seeing at least 1 or 2! Most theater productions are only temporary, but here in Vegas they can build the stage to fit the resident show, and so the production values are just unlike anywhere else.

I highly recommend seeing a show while you are here! There’s every kind of show – I prefer shows like Le Reve or Cirque du Soleil (my favorite is O, though I almost bought tickets to Zarkana paired with the idea of pairing it with dinner at bar Masa or Julian Serrano Tapas- maybe next time! You can see friend Marlynn from Urban Bliss Life’s pictures and review of Zarkana here). The reason I love these shows is because they combine intense visuals and athleticism and grace with music and have no strong narrative. But there is also comedy, musical performances varying from musicals to concerts to tribute shows, magic, adult (I really like Jubilee, the costumes by Bob Mackie and seeing Barbie clothes in real life before me are worth it), headliners (you might even run into them in the casinos, like lucky Hailey of Discourse of a Divine Diva did with Nick Carter! She’s doing a recap of her week in Vegas and I think she packed in more than I did everyday!)… Vegas, so much to do, so much to see!

Here’s a glimpse of the visual splendor of Le Reve, The Dream in Las Vegas at the Wynn Theater.
A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater! A scene from the show Le Reve, The Dream, playing at the Wynn Theater. It's a show that takes place on continuously changing stages, the water, and all the airspace to the top of the theater!

Have you been to the Wynn, what did you think if you have? Have you gone to any Las Vegas shows, which ones?

My Guide to the Free and the Food on the Las Vegas Strip

Signature

How to put together a Food Crawl

Disclosure: This experience was sponsored, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

I was lucky enough to be invited to an awesome food crawl that was being organized by Little Green Pickle. For $40, the Little Green Pickle food crawl (heretofore dubbed LGP Food Crawl) included 4 stops of small plates and cocktails, and a karaoke bus to transport us between those 4 destinations!

I was actually a bit pleased to see that this was something with a ticket price- so although LGP organized and sponsored this event, it felt more like being with peers with the LGP ladies because I was a contributing party and not being fully hosted. If you do the math it’s only $10 a stop that includes food and a beverage at each stop, so still a real steal and still sponsored, thus still needing disclosures.

#LGPFoodCrawl Levant stop #LGPFoodCrawl The Bent Brick experience

I took this as a great opportunity to be able to try new food, be it at new restaurants that I hadn’t made it to yet, or even ones I had visited but perhaps with new dishes to sample. I was not disappointed.

There were 12 of us on this little journey, with 9 of us being food bloggers, several who have already covered with fantastic photos the food we enjoyed at each of our destinations at their blogs, and I think everyone has stuff posted on Twitter and Instagram under the hashtag #LGPFoodCrawl.

So I wanted to focus more on is how YOU can put together one of these events!

Guest List

You want to have enough people so that you can share several dishes and get 3-4 bites. At the same time, you don’t want so large of a group that the various restaurants cannot easily accommodate you.  I would recommend 6, 8, at the max 12.

The larger the group, the sooner you want to get this on everyone’s calendar and the RSVPs set so you can plan knowing how many you have on board. LGP signed us up 3 weeks ahead of the food crawl date!

Ask those signing up to tell you food restrictions because of allergies or preferences upfront now so they can be accounted for in the planning stage.

Remember- you only need a few bites of each dish- otherwise you won’t have the capacity to keep eating for the full Food Crawl! One alcoholic drink per place is probably best too- you don’t want to ruin your palate before you’ve gotten to all the stops. What you do at the last stop is up to you.
"It's You can only have a few bites of every dish on a Food Crawl, or your stomach won't last the Food Crawl!

Don’t feel like everyone has to already know each other- one of the great aspects of a food crawl like this is that you will not be seated in place for the entire meal. You will be moving from place to place, which provides an opportunity to change up who is sitting with who, so you can rotate through multiple conversations with guests.

And, because each location is a short stop, and everyone is trying out new food, you already have something in common to start the conversation and you will surely not run out of conversational material before the next rotation! Probably similar to me, you may feel that you wish you had MORE time to chat with the various other guests even though you just spend 4 hours at this event together!

Logistics

You want to select 3 or 4 restaurants. You don’t want to do more than 4 because you will get pretty full even on sampling over the evening.

The first restaurant is for appetizers.

If you pick 4 restaurants then the second location is for small plates, if you pick 3 restaurants then this location is for mains (if you pick 4 restaurants, then the next location is mains instead).

Finally, the last restaurant is is for dessert.

#LGPFoodCrawl Dessert Extravagance at Urban Farmer

Ideally, the restaurants would be in walking distance of each other- so pick a neighborhood. You can do this with restaurants that are farther away if you have set transportation.

For instance, for the LGP Food Crawl, we utilized the excellent karaoke bus Old School PDX, which gamely chauffeured us to our destinations while also providing us the opportunity to sing along our merry way! As a plus, with a designated driver, we were able to also enjoy Hawks View Cellars Wine as we were singing!
 

You want to spend about 45 minutes at each restaurant, giving you 10-15 minutes in between to travel to the next (thus the desire to make restaurants either walkable or use designated driver transport so you don’t have to sweat over finding parking spots!). So as you can see, this is a 3-4 hour party!

Make reservations for your party based on this schedule. Weeknights or a Sunday are clearly better because the restaurants can be more accommodating in quickly getting you in and out with your food if they aren’t in the weeds.

Let them know what you are doing as well- being upfront means they can plan and execute accordingly. You might choose to pre-select all your food ahead of time- or work with the restaurants to figure out a budget for the number of people/course you’ll be having there and let them surprise you.

You need to make sure the following roles are taken care of by someone in your Food Crawl party- it can be 1 person, or taken care of by 3 lovely LGP ladies extraordinaire as well…

  1. One person who is the people wrangler- getting all the people committed to the date and time and location. They will need to have everyone’s contact information to make sure everyone is reachable in case someone gets stuck in traffic or gets lost between restaurants (thankfully this did not happen to us on our food crawl, but I was very aware there was someone taking care of counting us to make sure we were all there, no one is left behind!)
  2. One person should also have the address/directions and phone number of each destination to help navigate the party to each stop, and if things are running 5-10 minutes late give the next destination a heads up with a phone call. This person is likely the restaurant wrangler- the one who helps each restaurant know what the plan for the Food Crawl is and which course they are to make sure seating and food will be ready for the stop.One thing that could entice restaurants to help you is if you provide an opportunity for them to market themselves- be it examples of the menu, having a manager or chef talk about what they are trying to do, or giving a cheat sheet of all the social media tags!
  3. One person needs to be the official timekeeper, to make sure that everyone sticks to this schedule by watching the time and giving the 10 and 5 minute warning and ushering everyone out to the next destination. This person will likely be the one making sure the check is paid- and make sure to include tax (although this isn’t applicable here in Portland, yay) and TIP!

Now in our Food Crawl, the drinks were included. But, I’ve also heard of ones where all the food is pre-selected and included, but drinks are on your own. In that case, you have to make sure the restaurant knows ahead of time and see if they would agree to separate checks… or perhaps everyone can agree to split evenly and 1 drink each.

Try to not get caught in the nightmare of trying to calculate each person’s portion individually from a group check! I know there are check splitting apps out there Billr.me and Clever Bill Splitter on Android, maybe there are better out there), but it interrupts the fun when you have to do it several times because you are going to multiple destinations. The easiest, fastest options are separate checks are even split.

Now let’s see the stops that were put together for the LGP Food Crawl…

Stop 1: Oso Market + Bar

Oso Market + Bar, Stop 1 on the #LGPFoodCrawl Oso Market + Bar, Stop 1 on the #LGPFoodCrawl
We started out with Stop #1, Oso Market + Bar at 726 SE Grand. This was the only destination I knew of ahead of time, and was only told 1 week ahead of time! The other 3 stops, LGP kept secret as a surprise until we met up at that first location! This seems like an optional step in planning your Food Crawl- it was certainly fun to be surprised with where we were going! And, by not knowing ahead of time there was no peeking ahead at the menus to guess what we might have- instead we just enjoyed what we received.


We were greeted with a glass of bubbly cava. I heartily recommend this as a festive way to kick off the food crawl- a little sparkling always feels special and celebratory.

I was excited to finally step foot into Oso, as I had passed by it many times and adored the big bear but never been in. I’ll definitely be back to try more here. Oso is a mixed-use space that is bottle shop, specialty market with some enticing grocery selections, and neighborhood bar (they have sustainable and biodynamic wines and well as handcrafted beer and ciders that represent local and international breweries). They had pushed together two long tables for us so that we could all sit in a big square table all facing each other, though that meant we had to really reach across the tablespace to pass the platters around.

Here, we had the perfect example of just small appetizer nibbles to get us started as we were doing our introductions to each other and meeting the Food Crawl crew for the evening. We had

  • Tails & Trotters Chorizo Stuffed Dates wrapped in bacon with cumin honey and sage oil. Seriously I could have eaten that whole plate by myself, and I’ll definitely make sure that is on the table for every future visit.
    Oso Market + Bar appetizer of Tails & Trotters Chorizo-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon w/ Cumin Honey & Sage Oil Oso Market + Bar appetizer of Tails & Trotters Chorizo-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon w/ Cumin Honey & Sage Oil
  • Baked Mortadella Montadito with tarragon mustard, peperoncini, and micro greens served on Little T focaccia
  • Bresaola Montadito with tomato-mint jam, Parmesan and basil served on Little T focaccia
  • Cremeux Montadito with fig, honey, arugula and balsamic reduction served on Little T focaccia
  • Ratatouille atop crispy polenta
    Oso Market + Bar appetizer of Baked Mortadella Montadito with tarragon mustard, peperoncini, and micro greens served on Little T focaccia and Bresaola Montadito with tomato-mint jam, Parmesan and basil served on Little T focaccia Oso Market + Bar appetizer of Cremeux Montadito with fig, honey, arugula and balsamic reduction served on Little T focaccia and Ratatouille atop crispy polenta

Notice how each of these are very small bites just to whet your appetite.

At the same time, I think this showcases some of the best of what Oso has to offer, which is great small plates to nibble on that take inspiration from local and global foods as you taste their excellent selection of wines by the glass. They also have sandwiches, salads, and charcuterie and some heartier dinner plates like wild boar bratwurst or steamed mussels with chorizo or bison shepherd’s pie, but this small sample captures their use of quality local purveyors to put together what is a simple appetizer concept (bacon wrapped dates, montadito/yummy stuff on bread) but yet create complex flavors. I can easily imagine how fun this would be to try with different wines to see how they compliment and contrast with different profiles in the wine.

Stop 2: Levant

Stop #2 Levant as part of #LGPFoodCrawl Stop #2 Levant as part of #LGPFoodCrawl Stop #2 Levant as part of #LGPFoodCrawl
Stop #2 was Levant, which offers French-Arabesque Mediterranean food. and located at 2448 E Burnside St that has an open kitchen with open hearth and a floor to ceiling L shaped bar with a library ladder. This is another restaurant that has been on my wishlist, but I had not made it to yet. We started out with being able to select one cocktail from their menu- any cocktail we wanted! I don’t know how the bartender whipped these up so quickly for us, hope his elbow is ok!

I went with the Cocktail of Root Down Daisy– Cognac, Ginger Liqueur, Carrot Reduction, Lemon, Egg White, Vanilla Salt. They had really cool individual kinds of glasses depending on what kind of cocktail you ordered. A couple others also ordered the same thing, and a few had a glass that looked like mine, others had a glass that was the same shape but had gold wheat etched instead.
Stop #2 Levant as part of #LGPFoodCrawl Stop #2 Levant as part of #LGPFoodCrawl, Cocktail of Root Down Daisy- Cognac, Ginger Liqueur, Carrot Reduction, Lemon, Egg White, Vanilla Salt

We were all in the private back room, which usually seats 8 while being surrounded by racks of cabinets of wine, but in a pinch was an easy cocktail location for our group standing up. This can work out well if it is for small plates only, and since the stop is only 45 minutes- something to consider when thinking about whether a restaurant you are thinking of can accommodate you.

Even on a weekday night Levant was hopping with diners and it would have been difficult to talk with the noise level in the main dining room, so it was nice that we had a space to just our group for this stop. Since this was a longer rectangular table, the group essentially split up into conversations based on the half of the room.

Here, we shared 3 items from their Sharing Plates section and 1 item from their Hot Starters section of their menu, almost buffet style since we each got one piece of everything from a serving platter. My photos from my phone do not do justice to how beautifully plated these dishes are- several of my bloggers were carrying the heavy artillery of DSLRs and got closeups with better lighting that will make you want to eat your screen.

  • Fried Halloumi with honey and walnuts. I think I actually said “get out of my way, there’s cheese here!”
  • Fava Bean Falafel with zhoug (a hot chili paste- though I didn’t detect any fire but maybe that’s just me) and tahini
    Stop #2 at Levant on #LGPFoodCrawl, a shared dish of Fried Halloumi, Honey, Walnuts Stop #2 Levant as part of #LGPFoodCrawl, a shared dish of Falafel, Zhoug (a hot chili paste) Tahini
  • Feta and Armenian Cheese ‘Cigars’ with dried mint, garlic, lemon zest and Aleppo chili – again, I don’t remember it being spicy so no worries for you there if you are worried
  • Grilled Beef Kofta with barberries, pine nuts, herb relish and Sumac yogurt… wait, now that I think about it, I don’t remember getting a sample of this. Which one of you ate two?!
    Stop #2 was Levant #LGPFoodCrawl, a shared dish of Feta 'Cigars,' Harissa Yogurt Stop #2 was Levant #LGPFoodCrawl, a hot dish of Grilled Beef Kofta with barberries, pine nuts, herb relish and Sumac yogurt

So win with two cheese dishes! My cheese loving soul thanks you so much Levant. I think this is a perfect example of how with just a couple dishes, you can get an idea of a restaurant’s perspective, and I left still curious and wanting to know more.

Stop 3: Bent Brick

Bent Brick, a German style tavern with an American twist at 1639 NW Marshall St was where we had the main portion of our dinner. I had been here before, but only 1 dish was repeated so I was still able to experience Bent Brick in a new way.

We each ordered a cocktail off the menu- and the Bent Brick has fabulous cocktails it was hard for all of us to choose just one! The Fall Back cocktail sounded very alluring with its butternut squash whiskey, root, herbal liquor, and spiced syrup combination. That’s right, butternut squash whiskey. There was also a cocktail called l.g.p. with lettuce, ebb & flow gin, parsley oil- how curious?!

Then there is this lovely cocktail below on the right, the Smoke n’ Herb with rosemary, tito’s vokda, lavender, lemon, smoked Jacobsen’s sea salt. The one on the left wasn’t mine, but notice the cool herb ice there too: it’s the Bucket List cocktail, with vodka, cranberry-thyme shrub, and soda.
Cocktail at the Bent Brick, stop 3 on the #LGPFoodCrawl, Smoke N' Herb with tito's vodka, rosemary, lavendar, lemon, smoked sea salt Cocktail at the Bent Brick, stop 3 on the #LGPFoodCrawl, Smoke N' Herb with tito's vodka, rosemary, lavendar, lemon, smoked sea salt

We sat at two different rectangular tables here, essentially two groups of six. We dined family style here where 3 dishes were shared among every 3-4 people.

  • Meat Board featuring house made country pate, house made coppa rillette, wigwam and Finchville country ham with pickled vegetables
  • Deep Fried Beef Cheek with fried egg aioli
  • Rye Sourdough Spaetzle pan fried with mushrooms and caramelized onion, topped with Tabasco pickled shallots.
    At The Bent Brick, Stop #3 on #LGPFoodCrawl: >Meat Board featuring house made country pate, house made coppa rillette, wigwam and Finchville country ham with pickled vegetables At The Bent Brick, Stop #3 on #LGPFoodCrawl: Deep Fried Beef Cheek with fried egg aioli The Bent Brick, stop 3 on the #LGPFoodCrawl, Rye Sourdough Spaetzle pan fried with mushrooms and caramelized onion, topped with Tabasco pickled shallots

You may be intimidated by the sound of deep fried beef cheek, but let me assure you that it was tasty and rich. This was a case that I’m not sure anyone in the party would have ordered it off the menu, but because Bent Brick sent out what they wished (I assume for let’s say a set price limit), it pushed us to explore outside our regular boundaries. This item isn’t normally on their menu, but they do have a braised beef cheek in horseradish cream with sauerkraut and beets. This is typical of the Bent Brick, which celebrates locally raised meats and seafood served in unconventional ways.

It does bring up a good question though- should you order ahead of time specific dishes? Or, when you let the restaurant know ahead of time with reservations, and that you are doing a food crawl, if they could recommend/pick for you what to serve your group of xx people that fit within your visit time frame?

Ordering when you get there probably works ok for small dishes like appetizers that are usually fast anyway if the restaurant isn’t swamped, but when it comes to dishes that take longer to fire like mains it’s definitely something to consider.

Stop 4: Urban Farmer

We finished with amazing desserts at the modern steakhouse Urban Farmer. I’ve been to Urban Farmer before, but always filled up on starters, mains, and sides. It wasn’t until this visit with the Food Crawl that I tried dessert. I had no idea Urban Farmer and Pastry Chef Carrie Merrill were producing such exquisite desserts- I have already been back to Urban Farmer since this Food Crawl in fact to have dinner and a dessert experience where I didn’t have to share!

I also didn’t know until this visit that Urban Farmer has a barrel aged cocktail program, where their mixologists are continually barrel aging and creating new limited edition signature cocktails.
Urban Farmer has a barrel aged cocktail program, where their mixologists are continually barrel aging and creating new limited edition signature cocktails

At the other locations, you probably noticed there was a main serving platter that everyone then served themselves a portion onto a small plate. For dessert, hopefully you have all become good friends with everyone as you will probably be digging into the same plate with your spoons!

We ended with a cocktail here as well, but you might also consider ordering coffee, tea, maybe Irish Coffee…

  • Elixir Bianco cocktail, concocted with Pinnacle vodka, Calisaya, Cocchi Americano aged thirty days in oak barrels at/by Urban Farmer, and served up with a lemon twist. The Calisaya may look and taste like an imported Italian liquor, but is actually Oregon-made from Eugene although it is based on cinchona calisaya, a tree bark that actually made its way from Peru to Italy.
    Dessert Extravagance thanks to Urban Farmer, stop 4 on the #LGPFoodCrawl. Elixir Bianco, vodka, Calisaya, Cocchi Americano aged thirty days in oak barrels and served up with a lemon twist The Calisaya may look and taste like an imported Italian liquor, but is actually Oregon-made from Eugene
  • Butterscotch Sundae with warm brown butter blondie, cherries, praline and toffee chip ice cream. This alone already had me planning to return before I even left Urban Farmer that evening.
    "Dessert
  • Honeycrisp Apple Doughnuts with apple butter and rosemary ice cream
  • Woodblock Chocolate Pate with dried fruit compote and olive oil ice cream
    Honeycrisp Apple Doughnuts, with apple butter, rosemary ice cream. Dessert Extravagance thanks to Urban Farmer, stop 4 on the #LGPFoodCrawl Woodblock Chocolate Pate with dried fruit compote, olive oil ice cream, Jacobsen sea salt. Dessert Extravagance thanks to Urban Farmer, stop 4 on the #LGPFoodCrawl
  • Seville Orange Souffle for Two with creme fraîche chocolate sauce. I didn’t catch the dramatic pouring of the chocolate sauce onto the souffle, but Erin from Bakery Bingo did!
  • Candy Cap Crème Caramel with citrus, tamarind with candied candy cap mushrooms
  • Carmella Affogato with cremeux and Hairbender Stumptown espresso
    Seville Orange Souffle for Two with creme fraîche chocolate sauce. Dessert Extravagance thanks to Urban Farmer, stop 4 on the #LGPFoodCrawl Candy Cap Crème Caramel citrus, tamarind with candy cap mushrooms: Dessert Extravagance thanks to Urban Farmer, stop 4 on the #LGPFoodCrawl Carmella Affogato with cremeux and Hairbender Stumptown espresso: Dessert Extravagance thanks to Urban Farmer, stop 4 on the #LGPFoodCrawl

Want more?

Here are links to the other bloggers that were part of this adventure and that you should check out their recaps and their lovely photos!

Also, special applause, shoutout, hugs, and love to our LGP hostesses of Chloe (@ChloeHighberger), Brooke (@brookeadamspdx), Frances (@frances_pdx)!

Disclosure: This meal was sponsored, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

 

What neighborhood or what restaurants do you want to see put in a food crawl that you would participate in?

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Portland Dining Month- A Visit to Park Kitchen

March is Portland Dining Month! During this month, almost 100 restaurants in Portland will be offering a special menu of 3 courses for the low price of $29. In most cases, this prix fixed menu have multiple options for the three courses.

Portland Dining Month 2014 is in March- 3 Courses for $29

I covered some highlights from the list in my last post, and this time I wanted to recap one of my Portland Dining Month dinners, my first one- at Park Kitchen! Located in the North Park blocks, just a little walk from the Pearl but because of it’s location parking is very easy if you need to drive, though it is also only blocks away from the Portland Street Car or the Max Lines. Park Kitchen just recently celebrated it’s 10th anniversary. It is the older sibling restaurant to The Bent Brick (who is also participating in Portland Dining Month).
Park Kitchen in Portland, North Park Blocks

For Park Kitchen Portland Dining Month 3 courses for $29, it is a real value! Let me walk you through the options…

First Course

For the first course, you have the choice of two from their small plates section, either a hot small plate of Chickpea fries with squash ketchup, OR the cold small plate of Winter vegetable salad. I would recommend getting the Chickpea fries because they are famous here, and have been for years. I think there might be a riot if they took these off the menu.
Park Kitchen's Chickpea fries with pumpkin ketchup Park Kitchen's Chickpea fries with pumpkin ketchup

In my case the squash ketchup was pumpkin ketchup, and you will want to scrape that empty. When I asked if the chickpea fries could be wrapped up to save room for the other courses and what little pumpkin ketchup was left included in the box, I was lucky enough to even get a little extra in the container, yay! You can see the serving of this hot small plate is more like medium size that can probably feed 4 people. Also you may notice that by total coincidence that Chef Gabriel Rucker (of Le Pigeon) in the background of my shot as he was also enjoying dinner at PK.

Second Course

For the second course, you have the choice of two large plate options, either the Milk braised pork with Your Kitchen Gardens leeks, curds and whey OR the Louisiana rice grits with trumpet royal mushrooms (vegetarian). Both these entrees alone you are already getting your money’s worth via Portland Dining Month, as that pork dish is normally at $29, and I think the grits at $27.

I picked the pork and it’s a beautiful, delicious plate. It made me wonder why it’s been so long since my last visit to Park Kitchen, as this plate was so excellently executed and full of flavors. Sorry, I’ll do better now PK, I will not take you for granted.
Park Kitchen Milk braised pork with Your Kitchen Gardens leeks, curds and whey Park Kitchen Milk braised pork with Your Kitchen Gardens leeks, curds and whey

Third Course

Sticky date pudding with vanilla-rum ice cream and confit lemon. I love how the very tart confit lemon contrasts with the sticky richness of the date pudding.
Park Kitchen Sticky date pudding with vanilla-rum ice cream and confit lemon

Not part of the 3 courses, but because I needed a little something was this Park Kitchen cocktail of Burnsidecar with Whiskey, Cointreau, Lemon, Angostura Bitters, Spicy Chipotle Sugar Rim.
Park Kitchen cocktail of Burnsidecar with Whiskey, Cointreau, Lemon, Angostura Bitters, Spicy Chipotle Sugar Rim

If you can, make Opentable reservations because if you make you reservation through OpenTable,  Downtown Portland will also make a donation to the Oregon Food Bank as long as you use this link. A great majority- 68 last I looked- of the participating Portland Dining month restaurants accept reservations over OpenTable, and Park Kitchen does accept reservations over OpenTable. Last year, more than $1,800 was donated to the Oregon Food Bank to assist with their work of distributing emergency food to hungry families.

Check out the Downtown Portland Portland Dining Month website for a map of where the various participating restaurants are located to be convenient for you, as well as menu listings. If you are interested specifically in which ones have vegetarian or gluten-free options, Portland Monthly has put together a list.

I am also still in the midst of doing a free giveaway where I am giving away a dinner for two at a Portland Dining Month restaurant! You can still enter, but hurry up because it ends Thursday at midnight (when it turns into Friday)! Giveaway has ended
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