Oregon My Oregon...
Disclaimer: I love dives. This is a good one. My bestie and I held an 'unofficial' Sandy High School 10-11 year reunion here and I've also bummed around up there during the good ole "Mountain Days'. Its usually pretty dead, but during aforementioned 2 events it was hoppin'!
Being used to more, shall I say, 'metropolitan' drinking prices, my husband and I were THRILLED to be wasted on seriously - $16. This included tequila shots. Heck yeah! Good thing the parents live in walking distance!
During the mountain festival bikers show off their bad to the bone rides by driving the bikes INTO the bar during the mediocre bands intermission - so that's pretty awesome...
For our 'reunion' the bartender cut my bestie and myself some tab slack when she found out we were responsible for the large group of people who met up there! Hows that for service? Unnecessary at the already low prices, but appreciated the gesture.
Decent selection of beers on tap and my husband (not gonna lie, and myself) enjoyed drinking the Northwests finest old man beer, Hamm's! For the more discerning palate there are also a few microbrews to choose from.
Dingy, divey goodness at the Gateway! Stop in if you dig.
I think the below Yelpers summed it up when they say really delicious AMERICAN 'chinese' food. But it is really good. Its pretty much the best egg foo yung EVA! The gravy - while not authentic and a tad too salty - well, I love it. Its, its, its...just....good.
The interior looks like if a diner was wood paneled. Totally weird for chinese, but kind of cool in a kitchsy way; lots of booths and even a long counter you can sit at. This is another Sandy food staple. My parents moved us out there in 1985 and I am pretty sure its been around that long, maybe not - but I have definitely been eating the Foo and BBQ pork since I was 9 or so (1990 baby!)
The staff is as friendly as can be and recognize both my dad and uncle by voice alone and get them mixed up all the time. Huge portions, one 'combo' dinner can feed two hungry adults.
They also have a bar and Oregon lotto machines in the back.
It may be the hometown pride bias but Sparky's is my all time favorite pizza ever. I've been to Chicago and I've been to NYC. I am a fairly well traveled individual, not to mention my husband could eat pizza 21 meals a week. He is a pizza mongrel. Still, ole Sparkys wins my heart, but more importantly, my belly.
I've never ordered by the slice or eaten in the restaurant. My family (5 adults) and I always get the 'family special' which is 2 pizza's, an order of garlic schticks (twisty buttery bread of the gods - its GREAT) and a 2 liter of soda. I believe it runs about $22 and we have lunch the next day. Note: it is good leftovers eatin' as well.
The ingredients seem fresh and yummy - the sauce is generous the way I like it and the crust is substantial but not overwhelming to the toppings. It's not as uppity as say your 'california' or organic breed type chains, but a 100% step up from the chain world fo' sho! I think it would please almost anyone enough for the price and the options in a town the size of Sandy.
The atmosphere is nothing to write home about - it's in a strip mall next to the subway across from the library, but it's cute enough with a little 'art' & a few small tables for the lunchtime 'by the slice' crowd.
The service is adequate - local high school kids of the skate/snow board variety, but they are efficient and friendly enough.
But I love it. Next time you are driving through on 26 give it a shot!
Do I come to Calamity Janes for a quality hamburger? Well, no.
Admittedly this place is more nostalgia for me - as is I'm sure any other child of the 90's who drove up & down Hwy 26 past Sandy. (Lucky me, I grew up there ;)) On your way down the mountain there few non-chain options until you get to, well, Portland. (Trout Pub, Zig Zag Inn, Tollgate and 2 Pizza joints)
What does Calamity's do right?
Cheap huge portions. Unless you are a major Fatty McFatterson get one burger and an order of Nachos, share a shake. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT order anything other than a 'City Slicker' - it is plenty.
Funny inventive burgers and a goofball theme. Yeah, they aren't grassfed beef or particularly grand, but where else can you choose from 40 types of burgers or make your own in an old timey saloon? The burgers are even served in a cute (albeit dorky) cast iron pan.
The turnover is high - heck, I even did a stint there one summer between college, but Kenneth is a staple. I hope he is still there. When he is on, he is pretty fun.
Trust - if you are a family on the way up or down Mt Hood, stop by. If you are 20-30 somethings with no nostalgic tie to the area, you might want to stick to the Trout pub or Zig Zag Inn.
Why, why, WHY can't there be good meat markets like White's in middle Tennessee? A trip home for me usually includes a good treat (most likely a good marinated steak) from White's. Gresham doesn't have a lot of tasty food options going for it, its a whole lot of chains and no originality. My recommendation? If you have access to a grill or/and an oven just go to Whites. Pick up a steak, some potatoes and kebabs and make your own dinner! Even if you have the most rudimentary cooking skills the fine love and work put into the items in this Market make the flavors pop and you'll seem like the next Beard award winner.
Yum! I now crave pepper steak....
Skip the chains, stop by Truffle Hunter! Excellent sandwiches!!
In the food dessert that is Gresham, OR a few places stand out and the Truffle Hunter is one of them. I am 30 and I seem to recall it has been around as long as I have in its cute little house off of Powell. There is a reason for that!
At first look you might think '$12-$14 for a sandwich?' Trust me when I say its worth it (and I am cheap!) First up - pure size. These suckers are HUGE, share with somebody or it will be lunch and dinner. Second - homemade everything! Bread for sammies, desserts, rolls...how many restaurants still do that? Even the haughty toity Portland places get their 'artisan' bread from a vendor! My favorite dish is the Crouque! Obviously you cant be on a diet at the Truffle Hunter, so order up their battered fries as well. They are super crisp and delicious.
The one star off is just for the pure annoyance of usually having to wait. I know, its good and quaint, but an expansion might not kill them. The service is adequate, nothing spectacular, but your drinks stay filled and I've never had anything come out wrong/cold, etc.
A suburban winner fo' sho.
To wannabe quote one Stephen Colbert: Great Bookstore or Greatest Bookstore?
That is all I can say that hasn't been said below. A MUST visit on any trip to pdx. Unless you hate books, magazines and coffee - which if you do, why the poo are in in portland to begin with?
It makes me so happy that The Ghost Hole has Yelp reviews.
I grew up spending a good portion of my childhood in Garibaldi at the Old Mill Marina with my grandparents, so as an adult I had to bring the new hubs to Garibaldi (complete with Tillamook side trip) and we stopped by the Ghost Hole for a beer and bite.
Good fries, really amazing bread on my sandwich and a cute patio complete with water feature ;)
Also - the beer was a much better selection than I expected from a dodgy old man bar in Garibaldi. And cheap. Fun good ole oregon lottery trashy poker machines as well. The old man bar experience isn't complete without wasting a few dollars on the Oregon lottery ;)
Ah, takes me back to the days when the 'Garibaldi Days' parade would pass down main street throwing out saltwater taffy...
It brings joy to my kitsch lovin' heart to review the Enchanted Forest. Heck, I am pretty sure I thought it was kitschy back before I even knew that word! On our way to visit the grandparents in Salem my sister and I BEGGED to hit EF, even though it scared the poo out of me! (My younger sister was pretty brave) A giant slide in the old lady who lived in a shoe? yup. A dirty concrete tunnel to crawl through as an 'attraction' - YES! This is what constitutes an 'attraction' in Oregon, okay? Ain't no Six Flags 4-D coasters here.
My favorite thing is the western town and the bad carnival rides.
I actually disagree with the reviewer who said not to go here without kids. Its cheap and most certainly worth the price of lunch to look in awe at the antiquated 70's interpretations of fairy tales. A teenager wouldn't have fun here with his/her parents (um, do they ever?), but they for sure would love to walk around with other friends/teens giggling at the sets and haunted house.
My fellow yeeps got it right describing this place as both AMAZING and CREEPY, if you like kitsch, creep and fun - check out the Enchanted Forest! If you like Disneyland, well, um...go to Disneyland.
Lulu quality items for half the price and an American company, which - I'm no huge patriot or anything, but it feels good to support local. Right down to the in-store yoga classes, Lucy is the PNW version of Ms. Lemon to a t.
Helpful sales girls (yeah, I'm pretty sure they work on commission, but a sturdy 'I'm just looking' always worked for me!) who will start dressing rooms and make recommendations even if you're the kind to head straight for the sales rack. I found a great pair of pants for under $40 and I was still treated like I spent $400, which is a rare rare happening in this part of town.
The pants have held up really well after 2-3 years of constant abuse. The bottoms aren't even frayed which happens to all my athletic gear (nike, mountain hardwear, prana) it seems. It is kind of weird that they sell other brands in the store, but maybe it just proves they are confident their brand holds up to competition?
I want another pair, but I am scared to order online although the website has a good sizing chart and review section.
I love dive bars and Oregon is like mecca for dive bar enthusiasts. I think every 2 miles another sketchy looking diner and pub touting Keno pops up and I make mental note to try it. Problem is, I only visit relatives a few times a year and my liver can only handle so much!
This trip home I decided to try Whistle Stop on the way back down from a snowy hike at Trillium. The place had maybe 10 people in it a a couple 'regulars' were astounded at how busy it was, ha!
Cigarette machine? Check. A Wii attached to a rear projection old school big screen TV? Check. Friendly service and patrons? You betcha. Wicked greasy onion rings served with a side of ranch WITHOUT EVEN ASKING FOR IT SPECIFICALLY? Coming right up.
The good thing about dive bars in Oregon, no smoke smell and evidently Oregonians love ranch so much it comes as regularly as ketchup. My kinda place.
If there weren't 400,000 other 'pub n grills' for me to try in the state, I'd for sure be back ;)
The Grotto is awesome. Beautiful Gardens, awesome meditation area, gorgeous chapel and festive and sacred holiday decor. Along with the sacred at the holidays you get petting zoo's, cocoa and carolers; so secular Christmas revelers will enjoy as well!
The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is the insanely creepy wax Mary sculpture in the gift shop. Wax sculptures are awesome and kitschy but have no place replicating the Holy Mother. C'mon!
Huge whiskey selections, great beer/booze pairings and a nice enough waiter who put up with our shenanigans. I am sure were were a teeny bit obnoxious, but dude was cool and friendly - even when the boys started asking for nutso chick drinks. Win.
Even if you miss happy hour, you can start the night with a nice pricey cocktail and then continue your buzz with the $5 'Alberta' - ghetto whiskey shot and an 'old german' I think. Not mega quality, but not horrid either!
Pretty interior and great little neighborhood. I dig.
There isn't much more for me to say that hasn't been said. I am sort of in love with throwing my waistline to the wind and enjoying Pine States happy hour(s).
Oh, wait I guess I can put a stick up my proverbial Yelp bootie and mention as a long time resident of Nashville, that obviously makes me a biscuit MASTER and aficionado - therefore my taste buds are more important than yours ;D
So yes, I have to compare your Pine State love to some really really, and I mean *really* excellent biscuits from Monell's, Arnolds, Biscuit House and yes, even tourist trap, Loveless Cafe. For those I give you - 3.5 stars. Pretty good, but I *did* come late, so maybe the biscuits were made earlier - which actually is kind of a sin just thinking about old biscuits....
I also give the hush puppies a 3. They were inventive, but as a basic hushpuppy dough and batter it was a little too dry and overcooked.
You know what brought the 5 star heat though? The amazing gravies (I tried the meat and mushroom, and oddly the mushroom won my heart), the worlds best hashbrown's (crispy to the middle, yo!) the perfect pulled pork (I will go to Podnahs next Portland trip - count on it!) and the fact that I could enjoy well priced tasty adult beverages with my breakfast foods; late night. I also tried the classic 'reggie' and I mean - you can't hate that. A holy trinity of fried, bacon-ed and smothered? Yeesh,
Thank you Pine State, I can't wait to come wait in line with the rest of Portland for a fresher biscuit during breakfast.
December 24th and I have been overeating and drinking my way silly through Portland and in my parents Sandy never ending kitchen o'cookies & junk snacks for days. I have to make a last minute Christmas errands trip into Gresham and am hankering for a fresh juice for brunch.
Wait? A town this size doesn't have a whole foods? A new seasons? A juice bar? ::rubs eyes, checks to make sure she is still in the PNW:: Dang Gresham, you have secured your spot as Oregon's most non-Oregonesque city.
I took to Yelp for a quick options search before I added my juicer to the packing list for my next trip and found potential promise; Lillians in downtown Gresham. Worth a shot no?
I wearily dropped into the small, colorful space in a mixed use building, was greeted and ushered towards the back for my juice. Lillian herself eschewed her menu, took a look at my eyes and fingernails and whipped me up enough vegetable matter to sustain my liver and gullet for 3 more days of drinking for the same price as a whole foods or other chain.
Thanks Lillian, not only does Gresham need you, but I am fairly sure you saved me from scurvy!
Every time I'm in my home state I stay loaded up on DB's reasonably priced coffee drinks to combat grey skies. Are there more schmancy 'artisan' and better coffee to be had in P'land? I mean, dur...yes. However, my non-profit salary appreciates the good quality, large selection, ability to customize with a smile and friendly service. I've never had a big issue with attitude like some other joints.
The main drawback if for sure the longish lines, but I feel they bust them out as fast as they can. I mean its a rainy day and hot, decent well-priced coffee - sorry its busy prima donnas!
I also think sometimes their 'flavorings' could be more well, flavorful - but thats remedied by an extra pump or so. Solid coffee.