The pacific northwest has a lot to offer, and we're lucky enough to live a completely reasonable distance from two great neighboring cities: Portland and Vancouver. Last weekend we hit P-town for the opening bout of the 2007 roller derby season, and guess what, there was food involved.
Most of it was a complete disappointment, which I accept as one of the risks of eating out a lot, it's not all going to be good. We stayed at the Jupiter Hotel, which is a total ripoff and you should never stay there. It's an old motel dressed up with some pink lights and white platform beds for $100 a night. It does, however, share space with the Doug Fir, a pretty awesome lounge/bar/restaurant. Their breakfast was mixed; the hollandaise sauce on my eggs florentine was abundant but far too citrusy, but the meaty porridge on M's biscuits and gravy was pretty darn good. The Doug Fir shines during happy hour, when you can get any number of things for $2.50 a pop, including the "Fir Burger", hands down one of the better burger experiences I've had. It was big but not too big, perfectly charred but not overdone, and full of oniony goodness. The fries were fresh and crispy, and I saw more than a couple heaping bowls of mashed potatoes finding their way to very cold, hungry patrons. I would have ordered one if we hadn't been so hell bent on hitting more strip clubs before the weekend was over.
And that brings me to my second favorite meal in Portland. It was at Mary's, and it was by far the best damn bag of Orville's Butter microwave popcorn I've ever had. I really embrace my inner voyeur, and Portland is a great place to do it. Let's face it, a lot of strip clubs can ruin the experience just by being so seedy and uncomfortable. In Portland you get couples, groups of friends, and single men and women, and it's a much more hang-out-and-drink-your-beer-with-some-tits kind of vibe. I loved it. Mary's was my favorite, fairly small and intimate and the strippers are super friendly. They do serve real food besides popcorn - our cohorts reported that the nachos and burritos were very tasty and super cheap ($3 or so). Although we made it back to Mary's twice, we never managed to get back there hungry. Ah, something to aim for next time!