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Trip Report: Tap Houses & Comfort Food

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This is a summary of my Portland weekend based on the recommendations from this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/876439. Thanks Portland hounds for your help in making our trip a delicious success!

My boyfriend and I spent a Friday through Sunday in Portland with the objective of eating delicious comfort food and visiting tap houses to sample local IPAs.

BREAKFAST

Coco Donuts
They must cook donuts in small batches as we went mid-morning when the pickings were slim and both of our donuts were still very fresh. We had tried to pick up a latte at Spella on our way to Coco but it's closed on weekends so we had espresso drinks at Coco, which are fine but nothing to write home about.

Screen Door
This Sunday brunch was by far the best meal of the weekend. We had the fried chicken biscuit with gravy and a roasted winter vegetable hash with eggs. Both dishes were so insanely good we proclaimed we'd return during our next Portland trip. There was an hour wait for the table, so we walked one block down to Heart for lattes which was a perfect way to kill the time. We had tried to get coffee at Courier before heading to Screen Door but it seems many downtown coffee shops are closed on weekends.

LUNCH

Kenny & Zukes
Sadly, we hit this Jewish deli on an off day as we ordered a ruben and a pastrami sandwich and the pastrami was dry. I have been here before and know what they are capable of, so I'm convinced this was an unfortunate anomaly.

DINNER

Lovely's Fifty-Fifty
We shared a meat lover's pizza with a side of fiery hot calabrian pepper relish and absolutely loved it. The pizza crust is superb and perfectly charred in the wood fired oven. We enjoyed a scoop of the house made ice cream for dessert. There was a 1.5 hour wait so we enjoyed a beer next door at the Interurban bar which was perfect.

Deschutes Brewery
We hit this place late in the evening and were limited to ordering from the 'late night' menu. The fries were pretty good but the dipping sauce was fantastic. The freshly baked pretzel was fluffy and soft and really good, but it was served with an odd dipping sauce of cream cheese blended with other white cheeses and mustard. The cream cheese flavor didn't really work with the pretzel so we dipped it in the fry sauce instead which was wonderful. I had a nice mixed green salad with a delicious dressing. Overall, very nice pub food with a great, rustic atmosphere. Loved the seasonal Chasin' Freshies fresh hop IPA on tap. This is also on the list for a return visit for more pub grub.

TAP HOUSES

Apex
Large tap selection but limited IPA choices. Fantastic outdoor patio. They play their music fairly loud. No TVs to watch sports.

Green Dragon
A much quieter, mellow atmosphere than Apex and more IPA choices. They also had a TV with a football game on which pleased the BF. It was our favorite tap house of the trip.

Bailey's
This downtown tap house didn't offer much in the way of atmosphere, which I admit I was forewarned by you Portland hounds. But it was close to our hotel and a convenient place for a beer our first night in town. They did have a nice, small selection of a few IPAs.

On our next visit, we'll try Horse Brass, Belmont Station, Roscoe's and Hawthorne Hop House. I'm hoping some of these will offer flights of beer tastings.

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  1. Thanks for the report!

    Roscoe's and Hawthorne Hop House do offer taster trays (they have many local options and others on tap). And almost all of the breweries offer taster trays of the beers they have on tap. There are lots of them around town. Many websites to help you find them, though, and some include itineraries for crawls:
    http://oregonbeer.org/
    http://www.portlandbeer.org/breweries/

    We also have a hard cider bar, Bushwacker, which also does taster trays. Usually 6 choices on tap and lots of great bottles. No real food, just nibbles.

    Glad you had a good time!

    And, btw, the better coffee places on the east side are open on the weekend:
    Heart
    Coava
    Cellar Door
    Oblique

    1 Reply
    1. re: JillO

      Great tips on the taster trays, the hard cider bar and east side coffee places. Thank you!

    2. "we ordered a ruben and a pastrami sandwich and the pastrami was dry."

      No that is not an off day, their pastrami is always dry now. I having been a great fan and just was there yesterday. Kenny and Zukes quality has been down for sometime.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ronin223

        That makes me deeply sad as I know how good it used to be.