Oregon’s largest city may not be the state capital, but Portland is definitely the capital of cool. And with a new season of cult comedy hit Portlandia premiering tonight — co-starring Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Carrie Brownstein — what better time to explore this mecca of creative cuisine, craft cocktails and stylish boutique hotels? Here’s what’s new in Portland right now.
Portland Dining Month, an annual celebration of the city’s restaurants, takes place during March. More than 90 spots, from contemporary kitchens such as Aviary, Ned Ludd, Clarklewis and Lincoln Restaurant (run by Tastemaker Jenn Louis) to fine-dining options like Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Heathman Restaurant and Bar, will serve up three-course menus for just $29 — an excellent value for some of the city’s most delectable dining.
Even outside of Portland Dining Month, there’s plenty to try in the restaurant scene. Check out multi-course Thai tasting menus on tap at Lang Baan, a 20-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant that owner Earl Ninsom debuted this month at his eatery, PaaDee. Portland pastry partisans are panting over Maurice, a recently opened “pastry luncheonette” and evening dessert destination, where chef and self-proclaimed “Sweet Savant” Kristen Murray crafts sophisticated treats such as black pepper cheesecake, fig tarte tatin with duck fat puff pastry and a chocolate tart paired with salted butter gelato.
The shelves at the Multnomah Whiskey Library, an elegant lounge in the Pearl District, are lined not with books but with more than 1,000 varieties of spirits. If you’re lucky enough to secure a seat on one of its leather couches (lines here are already legendary), expect traditional tableside cocktail service along with tastings and pairing dinners. The owners of Clyde Common, one of Portland’s most popular downtown cocktail bars, have opened Pépé le Moko, a speakeasy-style joint serving craft cocktails alongside sardines with pickled fennel and other Spanish-inspired small bites.
Hotel Lucia, a Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property, has just completed a $2.3 million renovation of its 127 guest rooms, outfitting them with custom-designed rosewood furnishings, Italian-made bedding and wall-mounted HDTVs. Hotel guests can now also request morning delivery of fresh-pressed juices from Portland’s popular Kure Juice Bar. Over at Hollywood-glam Hotel deLuxe, take in a classic film at the Pop-Up Cinema in the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel’s private screening room. Upcoming movies include old favorites: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on March 9 and The Wizard of Oz on March 23. Drinks and snacks are available during the movies — at happy hour prices. Screenings are free and open to the public, but reservations are required; call the hotel to book your seat.
Photos Courtesy of Hotel Lucia, Portland Dining Month and John Valls