The Pearl

The Pearl District in Portland is a fun place to visit whether you prefer books, food, architecture, history, or beer.  Oh, or hippies.

It’s the kind of place where no one stares at me for walking around in hiking socks with my hiking sandals.  I guess with a North Face store and an REI in the neighborhood, it might even be considered fashionable.

There are also two breweries:  Rogue and Deschutes.  And, of course, a wide assortment of pubs and restaurants.

If you happen to be off work on a sunny afternoon in downtown Portland with great friends who have driven down from Seattle, this is the perfect place for a pub crawl.  Well, in our case it wasn’t so much a pub crawl as a stuff-yourself-silly-and-drink-a-flight-of-beer crawl.

It started when we decided we were starving for lunch.  My friend asked a mail carrier who happened to be walking by and he suggested Jake’s Grill at the Governor’s Hotel.  We ate way too much.

Then, after wandering around, we decided to check out the Deschutes brewery since it just happened to appear in front of us.  Deschutes has its own ambience with lots of high ceilings and dark woods and even elaborately carved decor.  But my favorite part of the decor was the “Restrooms Over There” sign with an arrow pointing to a large neon sign over the door to the restrooms that said “Over Here!”

But maybe that seemed funnier after we finished our flight of beer samples?

I think the blurry shots inside the pub perfectly captured the way it looked to me.

The beers were interesting.  A couple of them had an after taste that made me think someone had emptied an ash tray into the keg.  What was really interesting was that Pat tasted ashes in brews that finished smoothly for me and one of our friends.  But our friend and I tasted ashes in brews that Pat couldn’t taste it in.  Our theory is that Pat’s German taste buds are tuned differently than our more watered-down American taste buds.

Having finished our flights, the only thing left to do was to wander around some more and start to plan for dinner.  Never mind we’d eaten just 3 hours earlier.  We found an interesting seafood place we wanted to try from my iPhone. As we walked in the general direction of the restaurant, we thought maybe we would stop at another pub first just to kill some time.  But, everywhere we stopped, the bar was full.

We eventually and accidentally ended up at Jake’s Seafood, which was not the restaurant we had selected.  Giving up on the idea of having a drink at the bar, we got a table.  Once we were seated, we felt obligated to order dinner.

As it turned out Jake’s Seafood had been around for 120 years.  The food was fabulous, but my advice is don’t go there when you’re not hungry–it’s a shame to waste the experience.

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