Let’s Go To The Movies

by Nancy Bestor

img_0078On a recent rainy weekend in Portland, Bob, Emily and I spent a late afternoon in one of the Rose City’s many independent movie theaters, enjoying the new Beatles documentary Eight Days a Week. The movie, along with original footage of their complete 1965 Shea Stadium concert, was excellent, but equally outstanding was the fact that Cinema 21, along with many other movie theaters in and around Portland, serves beer that you can take right on in to the movie with you.

I vividly remember the first time Bob and I went to a movie theater that served beer. It was McMenamin’s Kennedy School in Portland. And not only do they serve beer at this former elementary school turned hotel/restaurant/bar/theater, they also serve pizza and offer couch seating. I was flabbergasted, but in a good way. A visit to the Kennedy School is well worth your while, even if you’re not going to a movie. The fabulous redesign of classrooms and such into a multipurpose establishment, complete with a detention bar, warrants a visit.

On another occasion we saw What We Do in the Shadows—a mockumentary about vampires—at the Hollywood Theater, where they’ve put in high narrow “cocktail tables” between each row, that offer the perfect spot to set your beverage and popcorn.

Perhaps it’s the novelty (for me at least, not for most Portlanders), but if beer is on offer when I’m going to the movies, I can’t really NOT get one. I recognize that beer and movies together might not work for every theater. As a theater owner, f you have to limit your clientele to 21 and over, you lose a significant share of the movie going public. But beer, popcorn, and a movie? As an adult with adult children, this is a movement I can get behind.

PDX Stands for Pretty Darn Excellent!

by Nancy Bestor

IMG_0269My husband Bob and I come from the San Francisco Bay Area. When we moved to Ashland, Oregon in our late 20’s, we had already spent many of our adult years eating and drinking at hip locations throughout the Bay. Moving to little Ashland was something of a culture shock in the food and drink department. Yes, there are plenty of very good restaurants in Ashland, but not the big city ethnic and urban spots we were used to. Thus, we’re always looking for an excuse to drive to the city, whether Portland or San Francisco, and eat and drink our way around town.

Last month we slipped away from our teenage daughters and spent three delicious days in Portland. We booked a hotel on priceline.com, and were lucky to get the Waterfront Marriott, for $115 a night. Parking downtown can be tricky, but we usually find nearby street parking and only have to pay a hour or so here or there and that’s much cheaper than downtown Portland garage prices.

IMG_0970On our first day, we met dear friends Do and Ray for lunch at my new favorite Portland eatery, Boke Bowl. This “casual ramen spot” started like so many other Portland spots as a pop-up food cart, and serves homemade ramen noodles, and my favorite, steamed filled buns. Another absolutely delicious dish was their warm brussel sprout and cauliflower salad. I would never have tried it if it weren’t for my vegetarian friend Do, and it was oh so delicious. The fried chicken steamed bun was also my favorite, and the grilled eggplant pork bun was my favorite too. As you can tell, everything was my favorite, and I must head back soon to try more dishes. Wait times can be long at Boke Bowl. We arrived just after they opened, at 11:30, and were seated immediately. But by the time we left an hour later, the line was out the door.

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We met Ashland friends Dale and Kim for drinks late that afternoon at another great spot, Departure Restaurant and Lounge. Departure features a stunning outdoor patio bar, 15 floors up above the Nines Hotel, right smack in downtown Portland. The panoramic views alone are worth a visit, and sitting in the late afternoon sun with our young and hip Ashland friends amid the even younger and more hip Portlanders made for a lovely afternoon.

We ate dinner that night at Little Bird, the sister restaurant to the popular French restaurant Le Pigeon. The more casual Little Bird was very good, although on the spendy side compared to other Portland spots we have frequented.

IMG_0984The next day we met Ray for lunch again, this time at Bollywood Theater on North East Alberta, for delicious Indian street food. Very different from the heavier sauced Indian food I have loved in the past, Bollywood’s offerings included roasted beets, kati rolls – chicken, egg and chutney rolled in Indian flat bread, dahi papri chat – housemade crackers topped with chutney and chickpeas, and more. Everything is served on steel plates, just like street food in India, says owner Troy MacLarty. I recommend it!

Our eating tales are not over, because believe me, Bob and I can squeeze a lot of meals into two-and-a-half days. That night we met our friend and former co-worker Sammy and her beautiful new daughter Vivienne for dinner at Por que no? on North Mississippi Avenue. It was a very busy night at this popular taqueria, but the long line moved almost as quickly as my Pomegranate Margarita disappeared.

Finally our Portland food odyssey had almost come to and end. But, before we drove home on Sunday morning, we stopped for a delicious breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. With its fabulous take on American diner style food, Yelp reviews continually mention waits up to two hours on weekend mornings. But again we beat the crowds by arriving just after they opened at 7:15. We ordered, snared a table and soon dug in. I had the Reggie, which is fried chicken, bacon and cheese served on a fresh baked biscuit and smothered in gravy. Bob, always trying to show me up, had the Reggie Deluxe, with an added fried egg. They were fantastic, and we drove home happy and eight pounds heavier.