Recently my wife and kids went out of town on a Monday morning and didn’t come back until Thursday afternoon. No big deal you’re thinking, right? Correction: this kinda magic only happens about once every three years for me. The planets align and I get the entire house to myself for an extended period of time. Four leaf clovers, unicorns, parental freedom…you get the idea.
As Sunday night rolled around, I said to myself, “Shit, Holmes, make some plans for the next few days!” I spent the rest of the evening trying to think of what to do after work the next the few nights. The short answer: “Whatever the hell I want, whenever I want.”
Monday evening at 5 p.m. I was like Fred Flinstone working on high-tailing it out of work. I had my first spot dialed in: Stammtisch in NE Portland. Stammtisch is owned by the same people who own Prost! and Interurban on N. Mississippi. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never enjoyed a beer at Prost so I had to fix that.
I ordered a lovely dopplebock to accompany what I was really there for…the pretzel.
The pretzel was simply delicious. It had bits of large salt flakes on the top and was surprisingly light and layered on the inside. It was served with a house mustard, schmaltz & obatzda. You’d think this thing would weigh three pounds looking at the picture. That was all I needed to get me through my first night of “being on my own.”
Tuesday rolled around I made plans to join my friend at ¿Por Qué No? on N. Mississippi. Turned out I had to kill an hour before meeting up so I had to decide whether to chill at home for a bit or find something else. Right about then, I remembered a charming wine bar called Carmella’s that was about a 10 minute walk from where I stood that I had always wanted to check out.
I’ve been wanting to hit this place since February. I couldn’t believe it took me six months to finally get my butt in the door. I absolutely loved the interior of this place. It’s open, has a nice outdoor nook, large wine selection, a fireplace with videos playing on the wall and another tasting room in the back. I sat at the bar and enjoyed a nice glass of a French red while chatting with the owner. She told me about some upcoming plans for an Oyster Social and a Thursday night BBQ series. I can’t wait to get back there (hopefully in less than six months) and I’m looking forward to visiting when it’s cold and crappy outside to enjoy that fireplace. That would be November-May 🙂
I met up later on with my friend and two of her friends at ¿Por Qué No? and enjoyed a few tacos, a few margaritas and a salad. We “did a lap” around Mississippi and I went home enjoying the feeling that nobody was standing around waiting for me to get home.
My final night, Wednesday, was spent at a watering hole just a few minutes from my house. NE Burnside and especially NE Glisan (50th on up) isn’t exactly known for its dizzying array of dining choices. That is, until the last few years where places like Tabor Tavern and the Tannery have opened up. I love the cocktails at the Tannery and I don’t get down there as often as I’d like to.
The Tannery started out as Skin & Bones a few years ago but didn’t really take hold in the neighborhood. The owner retooled it into a bar and it has done well since then. It’s tiny (a converted garage) but it’s cozy complete with outdoor tables and a turntable station. I settled in and ordered up a Moscow Mule.
I have to confess, they have a pretty good size bar menu but every damn time I go there, I go there for the fries. They come with a house made garlic chili aioli that should be regulated by the authorities for its addictive properties. I’ve had a fair share of aioli in my lifetime but there is something about this stuff that always makes me go back for a refill.
My second cocktail was a house creation called the “Samoan Boxcutter.” The Boxcutter features two rums, three or four other components that I have no idea what they do, along with lime, grapefruit and bitters. I haven’t enjoyed a cocktail like that in a long time.