Monday, 07 April 2014 15:08 | Written by Byron Beck
Pink Martini's China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale, Mindy Leek, Gail Martin, China, James Dees, Juan Martinez, Stephen Beaudoin, Nancy and Mayor Charlie Hales
SQUARE DANCE: 30 years ago, I was the first intern at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Maybe that's not such a big deal. But it was to me. Back then, when Portland's "living room" first opened the Square was where everybody would meet, hang out (remember this was before cell phones and social media) and enjoy this unique downtown space. I was thrilled to be a part of it way back when.
I was also thrilled to be at the square on Sunday, when a wonderful sing-a-long, orchestrated by Pink Martini front man, Thomas Lauderdale, was held on the square in honor of its 30th Birthday. It seemed like everybody was there, including Mindy Leek who was one of the first Program Directors at the square, as well as Gail Martin, whose late husband, Will Martin, designed the square (remember when it had purple tiles?)
Joining Thomas in song was Nancy and Mayor Charlie Hales, China Forbes, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Terry Bean, several local choirs and whole lot of Portlanders who not only sang their hearts out but also gobbled up the 1,984 cupcakes from Cupcake Jones.
Friday, 04 April 2014 14:12 | Written by Byron Beck
Tom Spanbauer, Carl Halvorson, Thomas Lauderdale and Neil Goldschmidt's book, Monica Drake, Shawn Levy, Juan Martinez, Bo, Lana Veenker
LOVE FEST: Thomas Lauderdale invited a "who's who" of Portland's glittery literati scene on Thursday to hear Tom Spanbauer read from his new novel "I Loved You More" in the space that is often the site of many a Pink Martini rehearsal. There was wine. And ice cream from Salt & Straw. And there was also a whole lot of love in the room. There was also another book; Kay Hutchinson gave Thomas a copy of Neil Goldschmidt's French dictionary from when he was a student at Willamette University. Thomas was thrilled.
Thursday, 03 April 2014 14:03 | Written by Byron Beck
St. Jack winners with Emily Baker (center top), ping pong hotties, judges Tyler, Katie and Juan, cowboy, hot bald bartender, Kevin, Juan, Herve, more hot bartenders, mariachi band and more hotties at Union Pine
COCKTAIL COUNTDOWN: Had the chance to stay up late, eat Tamale Boy tamales, listen to Mariachi music, guzzle tequila and watch my Juan and only judge a cocktail contest. All in all, it was a pretty good night at Union Pine for the the Olmeca Altos Cocktail Countdown where six teams from six different drinking establishments created creative concoctions with Olmeca Altos Agave.
Here's what Emily Baker who made it all happen had to say about it: "Last night's Olmeca Altos event was amazing. Thank you to Daniel Warrilow for MCing, Juan Martinez, Katie Burnett and Tyler Stevens for judging and CONGRATULATIONS are in order for ST. JACK restaurant & bar for taking home the win! I truly appreciate the effort everyone put in to organizing this and to all the folks that came and drank tequila, THANK YOU! (Shout out to The Commissary PDX Sean Hoard and Daniel Shoemaker for the amazing drinks and to Tamale Boy for the great food, and to the fantastic line up of competitors Rum Club, Interurban, Swift Lounge , Vault Martini, and The Knock Back!)"
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 11:53 | Written by Byron Beck
Badcock Vodka at 2013's Toast at the World Trade Center in Downtown Portland
TOAST TIME: TOAST will take place April 11th and 12th at The World Trade Center, in Portland, Oregon.
The 4th Annual Toast event is an opportunity to taste from a wide variety of over 120 spirits from across the Northwest, the country and the globe.
Whether your spirit preference is Whiskey, Rum, Gin, Vodka, Tequila, Brandy, Liqueurs - or even unique spirits like Absinthe and Aquavit - the estimated 30 distillers and producers at TOAST will have it covered. TOAST allows small distillers and producers to showcase their handcrafted spirits, while providing an opportunity for the public to experience the diversity and quality of craft spirits from Oregon and beyond.
Ted Pappas, owner of Big Bottom Distilling, LLC and President of Oregon Distillers Guild explains how this year's event will be bigger, "This year we will have multiple events throughout the greater Portland area highlighting local distillers along with some of our outstanding restaurants leading up to the event. It’s the first step to transforming our event from a few days to a week of activities."
Continuing this year will be the Food Cart Court, where several of Portland's favorite food carts will be cooking up their respective specialties for purchase. Rain or shine, covered seating will make this a convenient and enjoyable post-work destination on Friday evening, or dinner on Saturday.
Sponsored by The Oregon Distillers Guild, TOAST takes place next Friday and Saturday on the sky bridge level of the World Trade Center in Portland. Hours are: April 11th, 5pm to 10pm and Saturday, April 12th, 4pm to 10pm. Admission at the door is $25 each day, and $20 tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.oregondistillerytrail.com/TOAST2014.
Tickets include single day admission, interaction with over 30 spirit producers, taste spirits from around the world, and a tasting glass, while they last. Bottles will be available for purchase to take home, and parking is $5/day at the convenient underground parking lot at the World Trade Center. Proceeds from TOAST support the Oregon Distillers Guild. Please follow the ODG online at www.oregondistillerytrail.com
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 11:10 | Written by Byron Beck
Hot guys and gals, and Ryan Magarian (right, bottom) at Easy Company
COCKTAIL COMPANY: On April 1 a few lucky souls, myself included, had a chance to get a special sneak preview of Easy Company a beer and cocktail bar from Ryan Magarian and Kurt Huffman located at 329 NW Couch Street in Old Town/Chinatown. It was a chance to taste Ryan's incredible cocktails, beer and wine as well as bites from Lardo's commissary kitchen located just next door in the former Ping space.
This is sure to be one of the hottest and hard-to-get-into bars in town and is a wonderful oasis of great drinks and great design (make sure to check out the chalkboard attached to the undercarriage of the staircase that once led to Hung Far Low) in a neighborhood that needs a few less d-bags and a lot more bars like this one. Easy Company is hot.