A Trio of Cocktails & One Hot Dinner

For one of the first times in my life, I did not plan much for our stay in Portland. No restaurant reservations, no mapped-out plan of attack, no regimented schedule of activities. We went where the wind took us, stopping as we wished, and seeking out any place that had an open table. A friend had recommended the Armory Lounge at the Regency hotel as a place to find a classic cocktail, so that’s what we sought out as a starting point.

After sitting somewhat foolishly near the midst of what looked to be a growing wedding party, our server went out of her way and politely asked us if we wouldn’t prefer to move to a quieter area of the bar to be more comfortable and able to talk. She showed us to a table for two out of the way of raging bridesmaids and took our order. Given the heat of the day, I wondered if a mint julep would be the best way to cool down. I asked the server if the bartender was decent, and she gave me her assurance.

It arrived with the whiff of a refreshing mint breeze, more beautiful than the poor lighting of this photo could ever convey. Andy settled in with his traditional gin and tonic, and we enjoyed the first moments of our vacation.

We asked the server for some local recommendations on dinner places, and she came back with a list of possibilities. We walked around a bit, perusing a few stores along the way,and watching the moon hang in the early evening sky. Shop windows glowed from within, and reflected light from outside – that slightly-surreal switch that happens when day turns to night.

The Grill Room had a short wait, so we sidled up to the bar and I asked the bartender to make something with a grapefruit slant. When on vacation, I prefer to leave the libations up to the recommendations of others, and he did not disappoint, conjuring this variation on the Last Word – and I didn’t even have to request it.

The wisdom of selecting a restaurant with an open grill on one of the hotter days of the year is questionable at best (and to be honest, there clearly wasn’t much wisdom in it at all), but the food was amazing, and a glass of white wine closed off a perfect evening in Portland. (I have judiciously left off the ice cream photos, lest you think me ruinously gluttonous.)

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