A whirlwind drinking tour of Portland, pt. 2

Posted by TraderTiki on November 6th, 2007 — Posted in Beer, Bilge, Places

And so we continue from the previous post.

Thursday night found us warbling at The Alibi, a long-standing tiki bar, now featuring Karaoke. If you want authentic Tiki Bar, and can look past the sloppy drinks, Karaoke, and lottery machines, this is the place. How bad are the drinks? Try a Sailor’s Tattoo, which is Rockstar and Captain Morgan Tattoo. Yeah, and that’s one of the better ones.

Of course, what better way to soak up the booze then a nice trip to Voodoo Doughnut. Okay, I’ll admit it, we went TWICE. A few Tex-Ass donuts were consumed. It’s fried dough and sugar bliss.

New Old Lompoc is a brewery and pub with some great brews.  If you’re into hops, their beers are very nice, with a lot of variety in the hop selection.

Meriwether’s, named for half of the Lewis and Clark expedition,  makes their own produce at their farm, and their own ginger beer.  I’m not sure if I was there on bad day, but the ginger beer in my Dark and Stormy was a bit flat and yeasty, with low carbonation and none of the sharpness and zest I look for in a ginger beer.  The Fig Old Fashioned though, with a muddled fig at the bottom, was pure bliss.

We took a tour of Clear Creek Distillery, and I’d strongly recommend visiting any local distilleries you’ve got in your neck of the woods.  Their products are outstanding.  The Framboise truly captured the essence of Raspberry, the Doug Fir Eau de Vie was even better this time, with lots of perfume and sharpness.  What really surprised me, however, was the Cassis Liqueuer.  It’s pricier, but Kir Royales with this stuff and a bit of Veuve Clicquot will be on the menu for this year’s New Years party.

After touring the distillery, a visit to Daniel at TearDrop Lounge was in order.  The drinks were just fantastic.  My choice was the Winter Morn, made with egg, Vya vermouth, and a bit of the in-house grenadine.  Amongst all the shared sips though, I must say there was no clear winner, just great stuff all around.  I also got a nice Sazerac, shared a Last Word, TDL Toddy, and a drink with some smoked pear in it that was just a socks knocking interesting flavor.  If you get a chance to visit, ask to sample some of the bitters.

Saucebox was visited actually as a sidenote, after knocking back a few PBRs at Mary’s.  Bad strip club, but some fantastic wall murals.  Saucebox was definitely the spot to be that evening, with the vibe a bit too trendy… not Portland trendy, but more Los Angeles trendy.  The drinks were decent, but not spectacular.  I had a very nice Alaskan, with Gin, Green Chartreuse and Bitters.  There were a few Mai Tai variations on the menu, but I didn’t even want to dare it.  I may have to sneak back in for a Mai Tai tour of Portland.

Apizza Scholl’s, well, if you’re anywhere in a 100 mile radius, you need to go, and go early.  This is the place that was on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations that hand-mixes their dough, and only makes enough for the night.  When they’re out of dough, they close.  The pizza is like nothing you’ve ever had before, well, if you’ve never been to New York, and even then, it would fit into the top spots in the pizza for that city.  They also have a damned decent beer menu, from which I had a nice Orval.  Damn those monks and their magic with the brewing arts.

The Horse Brass Pub  is one of those places you can sit on your butt, watch some darts, choose from an enormous beer and scotch collection, and just slowly sink in and turn English.  Smoking is allowed, for now (johnny law’s changing that), and the food is pub grub.  Had a Scotch Egg, which is a hard-boiled egg packed in sausage, breaded and fried.  That’s a pretty unbelievable, but damned tasty item.

The Doug Fir was looked at, but briefly.  There’s a chromed moose head, and the bathrooms are all done in marbled mirror.  The drinks are nice, but the place is often so packed with hipsters and douchebags that your chances of getting a well measured one is about slim to none.  Besides, why stay there when there’s a perfectly fantastic strip club the next block over.

Union Jack’s is, well, certainly one of my favorite strip clubs.  I won’t go into any details, but I will say I found a new love that night.  Amidst the smoke and the stripping, on the top shelf was a bottle of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23, which is some wonderfully smooth and sweet rum.  I’d go into tasting notes, but that’s Scottes’ domain.

The next day, we (okay, I) had a few Brandy Milk Punches, and sent the kids up to Seattle to visit Murray and Jamie.  The butterflies, whips and jingles were hitting a bit hard for me and the ms, so we were homeward bound.

Even outside of the places mentioned here, there was further drinking, and breakfast, and drinking, and mid-century modern thrifting, and drinking, and haircuts, and drinking.  It was a good time!  If you’re ever in the city and need a decent tour, now you might have a better idea of where to go.

And just a note to press, drinking at home is great, but don’t forget to get out there and support your local bars.  Not the ones that’ll slug your liver with crap gin and fruitfly liqueur, but support those places that’ll make your Manhattan just how you like it, offer up some conversation about booze, whatever works for you, just get outside and drink in some life.


A whirlwind drinking tour of Portland

Posted by TraderTiki on November 5th, 2007 — Posted in Bilge, Places

My liver and I are still recovering from Martin and his lovely wife’s visit to our fair city.

A few of the highlights:

Great steaks, where Rare means Rare, at Ringside Steakhouse. The drink for that evening was the Monte Carlo, which is 3:1 Rye to Bénédictine, with a dash of bitters. It’s sweet, tasty, and the Bénédictine just matches the sweetness of the Rye in a profound way.

Clyde Common, at the Ace Hotel, has a rather amazing Whiskey and Bourbon selection, and makes an in-house Tonic and Ginger Beer. The Dark and Stormy uses freshly grated ginger, and the Gin and Tonic uses Hendricks with their home tonic and a few slices of cucumber. Both are fantastic, though the fresh grated ginger would drive my Dark and Stormy through the roof, as I’m prone to using Cock ‘n Bull.

Jake’s Famous Crawfish has been around since 1892, and still has the piss trough to prove it. Yes, under the bar lies a tiled trough and drain, because every moment counts when you’re out drinking. Had a damned decent French 75 there.

Learned a lovely technique on making Spanish Coffee at Huber’s. First, give a nice inch deep or so sugar crust on a white wine glass, fill with 151, and light the alcohol. Swirl the glass about to rotate the flames, baking the sugar a bit. Then, add a touch of triple sec, plenty of Kahlua, top with coffee, whipped cream, and nutmeg. It’s fantastic.

The ambiance at Thatch was fantastic as always, and the food a delight. The drinks though, leave much to be desired. A Tiki bar without passion fruit syrup, well… it just ain’t right! C’mon Robert, get it in gear!

I can’t even finish this brief write-up I’m still so reeling. In the morning, I may just need another Brandy Milk Punch to set me right.

The rambling continues.


Mai Kai Calendar a day, at the Swankpad

Posted by TraderTiki on October 17th, 2007 — Posted in Places

If you’ve never been, and admittedly I’ve never been.. hey, we should plan a road trip… to the Mai Kai, then there’s a good going on over at Swanky’s Blather, the Mai Kai Calendar a day.

The Mai Kai is one of the last established business on Gods green goodness you can get an authentic Tiki drink, as made in the manner and style of Don, Vic, and other restaurant proprietors from the Polypop craze. One of the Mai Kai’s grand traditions is the presentation of the Mai Kai Mystery Bowl by the Mystery Girl. I’m still working on the feature in the Galley, I just don’t look right in a sarong… it might be the moustache.

Here’s a nice video on youtube of the presentation. It’s very, very mysterious.

So go check out the calendars. There are Mystery Girls a plenty.


Forbidden Island Alameda

Posted by TraderTiki on August 30th, 2007 — Posted in Bilge, Places, Rum

Here’s a short video I found on YouTube, shot at Forbidden Island, starring Martin Cate, the man, the myth, the martiki.

I have no idea what’s with the music though.

I am passionate about Forbidden Island, because so is the man behind it. Martin took his hobby, and made it his profession. Every square inch of the place shows his dedication to perfection in attempting to recreate the atmosphere of a classic Tiki bar (within the restrictions placed by the cuonty of Alameda). Not to mention that a few of my collectibles are still on “permanent loan”. When my wife and I were moving to Oregon, I distinctly remember searching for my big pufferfish… only to recall it had been left in Alameda. The better for the bar, for Ohana!

If you haven’t been, I strongly encourage you to visit, and throw some dollars down for drinks made in the true classic tiki style.