Living in Portland is a beautiful, beautiful thing. We’ve got breweries, James Beard award winning restaurants, and a knack for everything that people love most about our fair city: the local businesses. So when out of town friends come into town, it’s basically just a non-stop party. And when this particular friend comes into town, it’s even more intense. We’re talking 3 straight days of drinking, eating, and bar hopping across every inch of Portland. Oh, and this friend just happened to be in town for St. Patrick’s Day, making this an even more insane weekend. Read on to see where to bring your friends if they decide to visit for a weekend in Portland!
Friday: Day 1
After my day job ends at 5 pm on Friday, it’s time to get home and get ready for a night out on the town. Our friend from out of town lives in Mass, so it takes him a little bit of time to get to us. When we’re all together, we decide to start the night off with some quality pre-gaming sandwiches at Duckfat. The sandwich of choice: a smoked brisket sandwich, and 2 orders of their heavenly Brussels sprouts. Local craft beer abounds, and leaves us ready for the copious amounts of drinking ahead of us.
Brussels & Moscow Mules at Mash Tun
After pre-gaming and fueling up is complete, we head over to Ri Ra, as it is St. Patrick’s Day and one of Portland’s most beloved Irish pubs. Unsurprisingly, Ri Ra is packed, and filled with people I’ve never seen before, and really have no desire to talk to ever again. We get a couple of drinks, the bar is crazy packed, and we aren’t as drunk as we’d like to be, so we move on. Since Chris is in from out of town, we decide it’s a good night to show him Mash Tun, which is currently my favorite bar in Portland.
Since we already ate, it’s not a burger night, but it does become a brussels sprouts night. The Brussels at Duckfat are very different from the Brussels at Mash Tun, but they are both pretty damn fantastic in their own ways. Duckfat’s are a little bit tart, and are served with croutons and crisp apples, along with a heavenly mustard vinaigrette, and bacon. Mash Tun’s are simple, but they get the job done. Brussels that are sautéed in a balsamic vinaigrette, and served piping hot. What makes these Brussels stand out is their crispness after being sauteed with the vinaigrette. They keep their texture, and the flavor. Who knew that Brussels sprouts could be such great drunk food?
As if Brussels sprouts and copious amounts of moscow mules weren’t enough, drunk pizza was in order as well. Otto was the perfect place to stop for a few slices of pizza, and of course, another beer, before we walked back home to the West End and called it a night.
Saturday: Day 2: Eat all the food, and drink all the beer.
Well, if you haven’t caught onto the theme quite yet, Saturday was filled with a lot of eating and drinking. The boys went to the Golf Expo, while I went and tried a new favorite, Sticky Sweet at the Public Market. I always knew that sticky rice was good, but I never thought it could be breakfast, or a hangover cure! It ended up being both for me, but it was everything I wanted. I can’t play favorites; I loved the mango and blueberry both equally. Smooth, sweet fruits combined with a decadently creamy (but dairy free!) coconut cream base with a little natural Maine maple sugar, a touch of sea salt, and of course, the sticky rice. The owners are both incredibly friendly, and they are a great addition to the Public Market. If you have a hankering for something sweet, go try Sticky Sweet!
It’s after Sticky Sweet where things got intense. I met up with the boys at Tomaso’s Canteen, where they were chowing down on Dominator breakfast sandwiches, which are loaded with double egg, double cheese, sausage, bacon and sriracha maple mayo. Clearly a good start to a day that’s dominated by drinking! For me, Sticky Sweet was followed by a pounder of Narragansett, which was just the perfect pairing, obviously. Talk about a delicious weekend in Portland!
One of the main reasons this particular friend comes into town is to drink at the Shipyard Brewery. Shipyard is his favorite, and my boyfriend Alex is on the same bus as well. I like Shipyard, but beer isn’t my favorite thing on the planet. But it’s basically a tradition at this point, and drinking flights of beer is just a great way to spend a Saturday night. Flights are a nice sampling of what is on tap at Shipyard, and allows you to try only the beers that sound best to you. I usually go with the light, or maybe fruity beers that they have, but that’s just me. Make sure to stop by the shop part of the brewery, because there’s beers for sale, apparel to try, and various other Shipyard items.
Everyone knows that after day drinking, you need something that will soak up all the alcohol and keep your inevitable hangover at bay, at least temporarily. Turns out, ramen is a pretty good idea at this point. How convenient that Ramen Suzukiya is located not even a mile away from Shipyard! Walking in, everyone was absolutely sure that we had made the right decision. Ramen Suzukiya makes all of their noodles by hand, every single day. You can tell with the first slurp just how delicious this ramen is. All 3 of us got the same kind of ramen: Hakata style. What I love so much about ramen is how creamy it is, minus any kind of dairy. Tie in all those oodles and oodles of noodles, fresh seaweed, and amazing broth for the best hangover killer that money can buy.
Of course this isn’t where the day ended…there was more drinking, and more food, and then more beer. Moral of the story here: having friends in town is made even better by eating and drinking your way through our fair city. Don’t worry, summer is (almost) around the corner, and that’s when your friends will really say, time to come to Portland!