Glowing Greens Mini-Golf

golf01You know what I could use more of? All-age places to hang out and have a blast that are open until a reasonable hour (as in LATE!). You know what else I could use more of? Glowing crap. Glowing Greens provides both of those and in a pretty bad-ass package.

If you’re like me, you’d heard of the glow-in-the-dark put put that’s in town. I swear every couple I know is aware of it at least. Perhaps that lends to me not going on many dates, but it wasn’t until this weekend I had a reason to go visit. I had almost expected a mildly cool but cheesy location that’s a normal mini-golf course that just happens to turn on black lights on the weekend. What I found was something completely different.

A single door, beset by Qdoba and a parking garage, is marked by a skeleton dressed up as a pirate, likely guarding booty if I had to guess. This is good news, because I can get down with both skeletons and pirates. After stepping in and walking down 2 flights of stairs I was essentially standing in a gigantic, pitch black basement with nothing but black light and glowing walls. This… is kind of rad.

golf02The full 18 hole course is surprisingly fun and just challenging enough to make at least one person in your group curse at how much they suck. That’s a great thing when your friend is demoralizing themselves.

The experience is awesome, especially for the conservative $10 cost. Literally everything from the walls, to decorations, to golf balls are glowing in the black light. Skeletons are laughing and heckling at you from the sidelines. Giant boxes are motion activated to scare the crap out of you as you walk by and it lurches and shakes with a devilish growl. Ask me how I know that last one.

Overall, Glowing Greens provides a fantastic experience that’s fun for all ages. Whether you’re going on a date, a trip with the kids, or even wasting an hour hanging out with yourself, this is a great spot.

-Tizz

Teardrop Cocktail Lounge

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And here it is, Tuesday and once again the most happening spot in the area. The folded windows draw back in a fan and the heavy, all glass entryway is pinned open. I’ve got to try this place; it’s constantly crowded with people of all ages and you can hear it from a block away.  Today it’s a little more calm and the perfect time to try it out.  Walking in is like the scene of a movie.  The ceiling opens and draws back wide with the bar as a central point ahead. Seats are sparse, conversation is boisterous and hip jazz in the background is making everything a little more dlightful.

I make my way up to the bar and am happy the primary menu turns out to be nothing but drinks.  It’s a slick trifold with options: House, Classics, Friends. The House concoctions are created here and strive to hit areas of your taste buds you’ve long since forgotten. Succulent flavors, cooling effects, acidic bites and sometimes texture get’s brought into the mix.

The Classics come from different historic time frames.  Browsing the list shows recipes dating from 1888-1954.  So this is what my great, great, grandparents had?  Cool. Deshler, Rittenhouse rye, Dubonnet Rouge, Cointreau, bitters… wow!  Served with a twist of lemon. Some of these drinks should be revived as modern comebacks.

Image courtesy of Delta Sky Mag

The Friends portion, while last, was truly my favorite.  In a nod to greatness they’ve borrowed unique drinks created by specific bartenders at specific bars in other areas of the country.  I can only imagine these are the favorites of lengthy travels.  Is Brooklyn, San Diego, or Las Vegas your favorite? Mine was from Atlanta, GA called the El Rosario from Paul Calvert at Victory & Paper Plane. Nova Fogo cachaca, lime, Fernet Branca, and agave nectar combine with a mint leaf and topped with pepper for some serious spice that finished cool.

Ready for a (disgustingly) awesome fact?  Each of the trio has a party bowl option which serves “4-6 people” for an easy $54.
As for the environment… The mood is mellow and would be a great spot for a date if it weren’t quite so loud and busy.  Perhaps the weekdays are the ideal time to go. Silent movies are projected onto the wall above you and it seems to most certainly be some cheesy 70’s/80’s flick you’ve never heard of.   Depending on who you are, be wary of the somewhat trendy crowd.  Depending on the night they can be extremely pleasurable or just a hair pretentious.  One thing to be said is the varied styles of folk though.  The group of 80 yr olds are laughing it up just as boisterously as the 21+ crowd.  A perm the color of a freshly painted fire hydrant sat next to me, rocking some bright gold-plated earrings that say “BOSS”.  Radical.

Lastly, let’s talk bites.  The selection spans only 10 items (Yes, that includes appetizers and desserts) and ranges from $4-16.  I was happy paying that for this food.  The tuna tartar looks as great as it tastes; plated with sesame oil and fruit crisp that’s crisp and fresh. The Italian meatballs are nothing short of amazing, holy cow! Every bite is sweet, savory, and bold.  Be careful sharing because there are 5 meatballs and that means you’ll be fighting for the last.  Of course I’ll save the best for last… this gazpacho is simply the absolute best I’ve tasted.  It was the favorite of everyone at the table.

-Tizz

This town is booming.

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It may have been while skimming down the street in SE on a fixie bike, seemingly passing other bicycles on the city streets more often than cars, only to run point blank into four closed street being used to paint giant murals in the intersection by kids, artists, and passerby’s… It could have been during a well deserved trip to enjoy a fine whiskey at one of twenty dozen neighborhood bars of NE… or perhaps it was while trying to decide which countries delicacies to indulge upon considering the vast variety of food choices in NW… whenever it was I know for sure how booming this town is right now.  As a wannabe Oregonian of 8 years there are always stories floating about of how Portland “used to be”, but I’m happy to be around now.  Believe it, we’re one of the most hip cities in the country.  We have music, food, events, nature… you name it.  We even have our own TV show.

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While traveling it’s good nature to tell folks that our city is completely full and not accepting new applicants, or simply it’s the most horrendous place I’ve ever loved to live.  We must keep it a secret!  Other parts of the country truly believe we are where hipsters breed, the weirdos hang out, and fashion goes to die.  And in all reality, it’s sort of true.  That’s what we love about it though, and others apparently do too. We’re the #10 fastest growing city in the country.

We’re well paid too, with a median salary of $60,000.  That would explain all the new homes going up in what used to be backyards – building up and sporting solar panels.  It would also explain poverty and crime getting pushed outward towards Gresham.  The nice thing is we’re not over crowded like bigger cities and there’s room to grow – or boom, you might say.  My next thoughts? How long we’ll have until we think again of how Portland “used to be”.

 

-Tizz

Papa Haydn’s – Ea(s)t(er) Your Heart Out

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There is really one name for dessert around Portland: Papa Haydns.  Since opening in 1978 they’ve become a staple around town for succulent cakes, tortes and pastries.  You can imagine then our excitement at being recently invited to an Easter tasting of seasonal and regular tastes available this Spring.  SPOILER: I’ve never been so happy in my life.  Looking for your new favorite dessert?  Read on.

 

papas11Led by Executive Pastry Chef Jessica Caraccioli who has years experience in some of the most well-known restaurants around Portland, new flavors and twists to classics have been delightfully selected to work with a broad array of palettes and preferences.  Their location on NW 23rd is seemingly the most well known due to its location and occasionally needs reservations for dinner – worth it though.  The real magic happens in the original North Sellwood location where they handle both the restaurant and wholesale products around town.  Some of these treats are available at local grocery outlets New Seasons, Zupans, and Fred Meyer, all of whom are dedicated to fresh, local foods.  Having received a background, lets jump into flavor town.

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Our tasting started with a quaintly named Easter Special, “The Lime In The Coconut”.  Apart from loving the name I quickly found what the commotion is about.  A healthy dose of lime curd takes place between layers of coconut cake and Italian butter cream.  Shards of coconut line the exterior to present a full texture with a small, edible fondant daisy placed on top.  The pedals are sweet and the lemon curd dolloped in the middle turned to be the most surprising items we’ve tasted in a while.  To be honest, I tend to shy away from coconut at times as it tends be often overwhelming in other desserts.  This then was a delight as flavor returned light and understated.  The coconut was bright but never overcame the delicious lime tart paired with it.  I found the secret in the fresh lime zest spritzed through the curd.  It pairs well with the home-made simple syrup and a slight soak in coconut milk the cake receives before use. Overall the flavors were light, soft to the pallete, and perfect for a nice Springtime enjoyment in the sunshine (or impending rain, depending on the hour of the day).

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The next delicious treat was the Café au Chocolate.  This is one of the most beautiful and understated desserts tried.  At first glance it looks like half the Death Star has crashed into your plate, topped in chocolate and served up for your pleasure.  I never liked the Dark Side anyway.  Inside we find the true spoils: a dense cappuccino brownie with crunchy croquant (similar to small rice balls) topped with milk chocolate espresso mousse and finished with dark chocolate espresso ganache.  That may seem like a lot, and it is.  It’s amazing.  The texture of the croquant, the light layer of mousse and caramel finish it’s plated with all pair well.  Found it a to be a succulent dish which should be had with a cup of coffee or espresso at hand to give a little moisture if (ahem:when) you get overwhelmed by chocolate.

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The next plate, simply named “Passion” is likely my favorite.  Passion is a treat to the eyes as well as the taste buds.  What seemed to be plastic holding up the dessert ended up a solid white chocolate banner, thinly designed to hold the innards in place. Edible, of course, and holding flavor that’s about to blow your mind. Once you break through the mold you’ll find an assault of flavor pounding on your taste buds like the hammer of Thor.  From top to bottom first to arrive is a thin layer of passion fruit curd which reminds us of a gel.  Digging past the urge to eat all the gel immediately you find more passion fruit flavor, this time in the form of mousse.  This mousse in particular is extremely delicate and must be mixed at an exact temperature ensuring appropriate taste and texture.  The chef is so precise she prefers to do it herself.  In the middle you’ll find a “present” as she puts it, of raspberry cream cheese mousse which seems more frothy than the mousse surrounding it and adds a hint of complexity and twist of flavor to your bite.  All of this tops a classic chocolate-buttermilk cake which you’ll want to indulge upon again and again.  There is a sweet/tangy balance here that makes each flavor pop wildly.  This is an impressive dish to order and will satisfy in more ways than one.

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Following the need for a more classic chocolate cake I tried the Raspberry Gâteau.  This is a purposefully fallen chocolate soufflé baked with Triple-Sec and Brandy.  Can we take a moment to praise the dessert gods?  Enrobed with dark chocolate ganache and topped with fresh, local raspberries, this makes for a dense and rich chocolate flavor with a light-touch fruit finish.  Tthis is a great substitute in place of a regular slice of cake.  It’s fulfilling and enough to satisfy two.

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To finish things up I was greeted with a White Chocolate Mint Torte, served beautifully and looking impressive before taking a bite.  Take note why: a three-day process is used to ensure each dynamic shows it’s true value. What looks like the most impressively built portion, the exterior shell is an almond sponge cake textured with a distinguishable chocolate “stair” design.  It’s beautiful by itself yet shows only one aspect of how this treat comes alive.  The cake simply wraps a white chocolate mint mousse topped with a gel that sits atop a medium-bodied brownie.  The taste reminded me of biting into a large, creamy Andes mint or mint-chocolate ice cream in cake form. Scrumptious.  Another beautifully plated dessert which adds to the overall charm.

 

Papa Haydens impressed and if the food, led by Head Chef John Mealus, is anything like the desserts this is most certainly the place for your next date night.  Both locations will delight whether this is your first or four hundredth meal together. Take a look at their website and drop in to enjoy dinner or a tasty dessert.  TheTizz gives our full recommendation and we’d love to hear your own experience in the comments below.

-Tizz

Kay’s Bar

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Sellwood is an interesting place. Stepping into a dive bar may require hopping over a dog or two on the way to your seat.   Bicycles rival cars for the most popular way of transport.   Working attire?  Better believe you need a full sleeve tattoo and holes in your ears.  It is home to well renowned restaurants with lines around the block and a dozen dive bars which make you feel like a scumbag after leaving even if you weren’t one beforehand.  And you know…  it’s excellent.  Sellwood has character, flavor, and life.

Kays is one of those original favorites that adds character.  Opened in 1934, it’s history walking in the door.  The best way to describe it is the classiest of dive bars.  You can tell by the wood clapboard walls and the 1980’s malt liquor adds strewn all over that this used to be a dive bar. What throws you off is the tasteful remodel which must’ve come in the last 10-15 years.  Marble counter tops at the bar. Classic red topped stools.  Stitched leather seat backs in the booths which line the outside walls.  Someone did this with purpose.

Really you’re needing to stop in for the burgers and poutine.  That’s right, poutine. In case you’ve been living under a rock, poutine comes from our Canadian neighbors to the North.  One of them had the brilliant idea to take a plate of fries, add gravy and seasoning, then melt cheese on top.  It’s extremely unhealthy and yes, you should still eat it.

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The burgers are some of the best in the area.  The menu is often given a little shake and you’ll find slightly different styles of burgers often, likely due to the amazing amount of toppings available.  The Kay’s Burger, starting at $9, is a build-your-own style with easily 15-20 options to identify your preference.  Portobello, avocado, and Swiss?  You got it.  Blackened seasoning, queso blanco, and jalapenos? Yep.  BBQ sauce, bacon, and cheddar?  Sure.

Happy hours are available from 3-6 every day (3-8 on Mondays) and have a good variety of things you can snack on or create a whole meal from.  With a small but great variety of beers on tap and over 50 whiskeys available, this is easily a place you can find yourself wanting to return.

-Tizz