Oregon has seemed over the years, reading craft blogs and watching youtube, as a rugged and kindly wilderness of trees, people, and DIY. I’d been told that every man in Portland has a beard and wears a check shirt, and that all the women knit prodigiously. I imagined community veggie gardens on every corner, and sensible hiking shoes by the door of most homes. In my head, Oregon was amazing. And actually, my idea wasn’t too far off. Our week in this green state was a wonderful one, starting with a very fun night out with some very lovely ladies and old friends in Eugene, a university town in the south of the state. The bartender at our whisky tavern had himself a pretty fine beard and checked shirt (of course) and served up some of the best Japanese food I’ve had in a while (yes, of course Japanese food at a whisky tavern in Oregon). We watched local bands jam at the brewhouse next door and laughed and debated and drank beer till the small hours.
Driving north, I finally had the pleasure of introducing Jordy to some of my old friends, in McMinnville, just outside Portland. Not having seen them in 5 or so years I was so happy to share some wine and stories and catch-up. We ate pizza and later, profiteroles, and talked about travels and all the in-betweens of life and their sweet baby on the way. They knew the ins and outs of the area, as winemakers, and gave us a wonderful tour of the cellars at Archery Summit, tasting from the barrel some of their oldest and finest single vineyard pinot noirs. I worked in the wine industry long ago, albeit briefly, and have friends and family in the know, but am overwhelmed every time I visit a cellar at how much love and hard work and experience goes into every bottle.
We arrived in Portland on a Monday afternoon and, since we were in week nine of our holiday, thought it completely natural to sit down to an afternoon of oysters and gin. We followed it with a wander around the stupendous city block of Powell’s Books, a peak at the beautiful Pendleton Woolen Mills, an afternoon nap, a late dinner at Clyde Common and whisky to finish at Kask. Rounding off the next day in style we had a hearty breakfast at Tasty and Sons and browsed for Chirstmas presents at Ink and Peat (OK, so I bought myself a scarf too). We also managed to catch up with some college friends of Jordy’s and tried all kinds of beer and some super authentic and delicious Thai food at Pok Pok (hugely busy with locals but worth the wait).