Portland Bites

Portland is renowned for great eating so this list isn’t even a sliver of some of the fantastic restaurants waiting for you in PDX. However, try these and then try more.


Tin Shed Cafe

Tin Shed Garden Cafe is probably nowhere near wherever you might be but that matters not. Get a car or a cab and go over there because the biscuits are so good they’ll make you wanna slap yo mama. They make a stellar bloody mary, they have covered patio seating, they’re dog friendly and you serve yourself coffee while you wait. This place rocks. Go check it out.


Byways Cafe

Byways is the cutest little truck stop cafe that’s nowhere near a truck stop. The interior is all travel related with suitcases and license plates, collectible plates and red vinyl booths. The coffee comes in mismatched mugs from all over the US, the sandwich bread is thick cut and perfectly grilled and it’s the kind of place that makes you think you might pack a bag and head out on an epic American road trip. But you won’t do that today because there’s more eating to do. So instead, have another cup of coffee and plan your next vacation over a great sandwich.

Mid afternoon munchies:

Clyde Commons

Clyde Commons is a European style tavern with shi shi food and big common tables. They serve food most hours of the day but I love their happy hour specials with a seat at the window so I can people watch. $3 small plates and $5 cocktails. Win and Win.


Veritable Quandry

That’s pate, ya’ll. And it’s delicious. Veritable Quandary is a lovely space with fantastic food and attentive bartenders. We spent a week in Portland and I think I spent 4 evenings here after work. Don’t miss the spicy fried cashews. They’re spectacular.

Departure Lounge

Maybe you need one more drink or maybe you just need a view? Then go to Departure Lounge for the best view of downtown Portland. There are several bar and restaurant spaces in this one building and the outside patio has reclined seating and heat lamps for chilly nights.

I imagine it’s always busy but the view is worth it.

Starting the New Year at Heceta Head Lighthouse

After 5 weeks of touring and a hectic week in 3 different cities with my family, I really wanted some quiet time for the beginning of the new year. I wanted ocean views, friendly people and no plans.

Enter, Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B in Yachats, Oregon.

The view from my room:

I came in late on the 31st and just caught the last sunset of 2011

I spent my last night of 2011 writing, thinking and reveling in all the silence and the ocean surf and I was in bed before midnight. I’ve spent quite a few of 2011’s nights on the other side of midnight so I figured it wouldn’t hurt me to get some sleep.

The first morning of 2012 started with a 7 course breakfast:

This was mango lassi, which came after the fish course  And while I’m the biggest fan of breakfast that the world has ever seen, I’ve never had a 7 course breakfast. I hope that bodes well for unexpected and extravagant meals in 2012!

The sun was out, the sky was blue and it was about 65 degrees on January 1, 2012 so I walked up to the lighthouse.

And got to see what the inside of the light in a lighthouse looks like:

Isn’t that cool? The bullseyes magnify and project the light so only one 1000 watt bulb can be seen for miles.

The views from the lighthouse hill are also extraordinary

I love the double reflection.

And after all that exertion I spent the rest of the day on the porch with some of the other B&B guests, sharing stories, reading books and hanging out. It couldn’t have been better.

Here’s to a brand new year!

It is good to have an end to journey toward.

I spent the night in Arcata, CA, a city I last visited on my one nighter tour of The Producers. As anyone who has ever toured with me (and many who didn’t) will tell you, I have no memory for theatres or cities. I rarely remember what a place looked like, where that restaurant was that I liked or who worked with me in any given city. It’s probably why I write things down; otherwise, I’d have no history at all.

However, Arcata stands out in my memory as being the place where our spot light operator counted no fewer than 9 audience members lighting up joints in the balcony during the show and where my local wardrobe head offered me pot, bought us shots at the bar after the show, tried to pick up our actors and came into the work the next day with bruises on her leg, stories of back flips and the explanation “it’s crazy the things I can do when I’m drunk.” Basically, exactly the kind of place you hope you’ll hit on a one nighter tour. Of course, most venues on one nighter tours are story worthy, but that’s a different blog post all together.

Today I went to a local Arcata hot spot for breakfast:

And had something worthy of my car license plates (Hey, New York!):

Lox, onions, capers and plenty of cream cheese. Pretty delicious. What looks like a small Mexican village in the background is actually a mural on the wall.

Then I got on the road and drove through the Redwood National Park on my way up the rest of the CA coastline.

Like the Grand Canyon, pictures don’t capture redwoods well.

Appropriate that this highway is called Avenue of Giants.

There’s a lot of bad tourism centered around the redwoods, starting with drive through trees and continuing to kitschy theme parks like Trees of Mystery. Their $14 entry charge is about $10 too much so I passed it up despite the compelling gate statues:

I’ll explore America’s obsession with Paul Bunyon at a later date, but here’s a patriotic eyeless version in Tucson:

Apparently his axe was stolen and he got a flag instead…

I drove all the way up Highway 1 and took my last pictures of the California coast.

Then I drove into Oregon:

Had pak kee mao at Thailand Restaurant:

With bubble tea:

And a most intriguing table decoration, in case I wanted to purchase a runner and coaster set:

I spent most of the day in the car, covering ground and thinking about next month. I’ve driven straight through for the past couple of days, feeling this trip come to an end. Tomorrow is the last day and I expect to be in Bellingham in time for my sister’s party to celebrate the opening of gin & tonic season on May 1. Didn’t you know that g&t’s get their own season? Well, now you know so break out the ice and start cutting up limes!

It will take awhile to process that this trip is over. But this blog will continue, so come back.

See you tomorrow.