Dining - Fun or Fancy Now, cooking in your room may not be necessary since Portland has one of the best culinary scenes in the nation, but it might help set you up for an epic evening. To begin, you might want to stop by Ten-01 for an original, sophisticated cocktail (Cryptic Nemo anybody? Rye, Ramazzoti, and Campari!) and some high-end bar food like a bit of glazed pork belly.

If you have yet to get your fill of wine you might opt for starters at Bar Avignon. With a wine selection that goes from Aligote to Zweigelt, it’s a great place to recalibrate your palate after a day of tasting Pinot. Pair a glass with wild boar ribs in a peach barbeque sauce and you’ll be on your way to a great evening out in Portland.

A great follow-up might be a simple dinner of inventive, seasonal cuisine served with a decidedly heavy dash of Italian countryside. If that sounds right up your alley, check out DOC.  With its simple, seasonal menu and off-beat Italian wine list, it’s sure to provide an adventure of discovery with every meal.

Two other Portland restaurants that are must visits may not make many trendy top ten lists, but each has something unique to offer. The Portland City Grill , located on the 30th floor of Portland’s Bancorp Tower, has commanding views over the city and out to the Cascade mountains. The food can be pretty good,too. It’s not an inexpensive dining option, but one to consider. Treat yourself to some sushi, a good steak, or some super fresh Pacific seafood while you soak in the views.

Once you’ve blown your wad at The Portland City Grill you might be on the lookout for good deals for a couple of days. One of my favorite dishes happens to be, surprisingly enough, fish tacos. The fish tacos at the Corbett Fish House, and their east-of-the-river sister property the Hawthorne Fish House, come in 6 different varieties, and you can even mix and match a plate of your favorites. They make a great meal, and if you’re not in the mood for fish tacos take a look at their fish and chips menu, sandwiches, or bait section. I think you need to have a sense of whimsy to dine in Portland!

Well, I hope that got you thinking about a trip to Portland. The wines of Oregon really need no introduction. They just need a little drinking, so watch out for a little rundown of some of my favorites. I dipped my toe into the pool last week with Eight Oregon Pinots.

I’ve only spoken about Portland hotels and restaurants here but, of course, the reason most of us are in Portland is to get to Oregon’s wine country! The list of wineries within a reasonable drive of Portland would take its own email, as we’re talking the whole of the Willamette Valley and the Columbia Gorge.

If you have limited time in Portland and want to visit some of the best wineries (you know, the ones we never get to taste because the locals are drinking all the good stuff themselves), hook up with someone who knows. Ron Burke has been running Oregon Wine tours since 2004, and has the inside scoop on the best spots for wining, and dining, in the Willamette Valley. The best part about an organized tour is that no one in your group is doing any driving, so you are all free to enjoy yourselves to the max!

I’ll be visiting with Ron in August, but suggest you visit the Oregon Wine Tours website if you’re planning a trip. I’m sure you won’t regret it!

Having Fun in Oregon

The Mark Spencer
The Mark Spencer is a funky property in downtown Portland, and one better suited to longer-term stays. The location is convenient to everything, and with the added value of having a kitchen in your room you can strech you budget and splurge for a night on the town or a tour of wine country.

Oregon Wine Tours
If you have limited time in Portland and want to visit some of the best wineries (you know, the ones we never get to taste because the locals are drinking all the good stuff themselves), hook up with someone who knows. Ron Burke has been running Oregon Wine tours since 2004 and has the inside scoop on the best spots for wining and dining in the Willamette Valley.