Cocktails in the City

cocktailsWhen it comes to getting a good cocktail, it seems that Portland, OR is right up there on the same level as the other big cities.  Chicago, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco have been known for years as featuring top, fun, creative cocktails.

In fact, Portland might even be better than those cities because it does not have such a long history from which to draw.  Thus it has to make something out of nothing as it were.  Indeed, as local barman Alejandro De La Parra pointed out, “we didn’t invent the fundamentals of what we consider cocktails…For this reason, we can innovate in fun ways.”  Shift Drinks owner Alise Michele Moffatt echoed this sentiment when she said: “Bartenders around town are using unique ingredients with honed technique to create cocktails that feel like one is there, in that time, in that space.”

Last time we were at the Trifecta Tavern – IMHO one of Portland’s most chic cafes – Daniel particularly enjoyed the smooth, creamy Sherry Flip.  Made using oloroso sherry, amaro and just a sprinkling of nutmeg, Daniel felt like he was in heaven.  I wasn’t as brave and just had the Dr. Cocktail – a fascinating blend of made-on-the-premises Swedish punsch (arak-based), navy-proof rum, lime, grenadine made by the chef and laphroig.  I couldn’t drink it all but it was good!

So there you have it.  We are definitely getting there with fun cocktails.  Personally for me, it’s the ambience that I love, but since Daniel loves a good cocktail I am thrilled Portland is being counted among the top-tier cocktail makers.

Getting Romantic on Valentine’s Day

heartsI love Valentine’s Day. I absolutely do not care in the slightest if it is “just commercial nonsense, dreamed up by those in the marketing industry to make a buck.” Give me hearts and flowers and I’m all yours…well if I am all yours to begin with.

Daniel on the other hand, takes a slightly different approach. Well, let’s call a spade a spade. He has a completely 180 degree opposite idea about the festival than me. “It’s just commercial nonsense, dreamed up by those in the marketing industry to make a buck.” Yes indeed, he probably even developed this idea himself.

So, what is a couple to do when this is the case? Well, a bit of a compromise. Or, as Daniel says “me doing what you want,” which is actually a great compromise for most couples to work. But in the end we did two things: one mainly for me and one for him. First, he took me out for a lovely romantic dinner at Red Star Tavern & Roast House and then we went to hear Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast. I have to say that while it wasn’t exactly my kind of humor I did get a kick out of seeing Daniel crack up and of course it’s always lovely to spend time with my hubby without the kids.

The restaurant was so good. The ambiance there – with its amber tones, polished woodwork and murals – is immediately relaxing. Even though it is actually a tavern, it is very upscale so I hardly felt like we were in a watering hole. I love the food from the wood-burning oven and the whole place just exudes smoky rusticness! Daniel really enjoyed the roast game and I had the wood fired goal cheese ravioli. We’re definitely going back there!

All in all, even though it’s not Daniel’s thing I really think we both thoroughly enjoyed Valentine’s 2016.

New Provisions for Travel

coffee beansTraveling can be a tiring business. Which is why it always surprised me that our international airport had possibly the worst coffee options in the history of coffee options! Now though it seems all that is about to change.

My personal favorite – Portland Roasting Company – will have a kiosk at the Portland International Airport, along with Starbucks (can’t go wrong with that), Peet’s Coffee & Tea (I once bought a sandwich there on a trip in London) and Stumptown Coffee (Daniel’s absolute favorite) will also be represented. These will be available after you’ve gone through security (which is always good as I’m usually a bit parched at that point; in other words, need a break from the kids “I’ll get the coffees in, honey!”).

Daniel was actually more exited to hear about the opening of House Spirits (surprise) which is apparently going to be offering the “only airport distillery tasting room” in the world. I’m sure he’ll be “tasting” all that is on offer from Portland distillery. Oh dear…I feel I might have to deal with the kids on the flight and I don’t want that (he’s usually the one entertaining them).

Hmm, so my goal here is to steer Daniel toward Stumptown Coffee, keep him there and ensure he goes nowhere near House Spirits….Maybe I’ll buy him a “toy” from Duty Free…some kind of gadget to keep him occupied.

Boys will be boys!

Paid Paternity Leave

fatherhoodA new policy was adopted in Portland recently by the City Council to ensure parents with a new child can get six weeks paid parental leave. This is also the case in an adoption or fostering. I do agree with Portland’s City Human Resources Director, Anna Kanwit’s statement that “parental leave has a positive impact on parents bonding with their children.” Yes, indeed; would have been nice if that would have been the law when I had kids! I think Daniel would have been much better to have been at home with the kids. I found it very hard.

Apparently this policy will cost Portland between $413,000 to $502,000 annually. It is due to be put in place in January 2016.