Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Press Club, a Great Hang: Portland OR

It’s true that all who wander are not lost, but in my case, they’re probably hungry. Which is why it’s so great to wander around Portland, because the chance of stumbling upon some charming place with tasty, affordable food is pretty darn high.

Take last Sunday afternoon – I was in Southeast Portland and came across The Press Club, a bar café complete with a menu loaded with sweet and savory crepes named after famous authors, plus a wall of cool magazines. I enjoyed a Raymond Carver salmon and spinach crepe, along with some sparkling water, while perusing the Sunday New York Times. It was a good 90 minutes, and I could have easily stayed longer.

Overall, this place is a really nice combination of cozy, contemporary and continental. It's remindful of cafés in Europe, and almost made me feel like writing “wish you were here” postcards to friends.

The Press Club
2621 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vino Local: Portland OR

I guess I’m on a bit of a wine kick. (Truth be told, I’m always on a bit of a wine kick, and thankfully, so are most of my friends.) So on Fridays after work, we find it fun to pop into tastings around town.

Bruce, with trusty assistant Kate, prepares pours
One of my favorite places to taste is at Vino, owned by Bruce Bauer
(brother of local food writer/blogger Kathleen Bauer of Good Stuff NW). For many years, Vino was in Sellwood, but then Bruce relocated to that groovy little pocket near SE 28th and Burnside (also home to Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Crema, and the Grill Cheese Grill, just to name a few).

Besides the location, I like Vino's tastings because they’re festive. They often feel like a good party that you didn’t have to throw, not to mention clean up afterwards. Plus, Bruce has kind of a democratic approach to wine, and organizes things in a way that many can enjoy. Tastings are $10 for the first five wines. You also have the option to pay a bit more for “bonus pours” of the higher-end stuff. He supplies quality bread to nibble, and doesn't mind if you bring your own spread to nosh.

As much as I like the Friday festivities, I also like visiting Vino on Saturday afternoons, which tend to be more low-key. You can still taste, and you can also chat with Bruce, who will go deeper with you on what you’re drinking.

And although patio season is a ways off, I do want to mention Bruce’s outdoor area, which is a mighty fine place to sip wine on a warm Friday afternoon.

137 SE 28th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214