What’s New in Portland, Oregon – 2017

AT A GLANCE

FOOD & DRINK

Micro-restaurants | Asian flavors | Seafood options | Cookbooks | Tea time | Whiskey town | Urban wine | New brews

LODGING

New lifestyle hotels | Project pipeline | Small & sweet stays

DESTINATION NEWS

Japanese Garden expansion | Centennial in the Rose City | Portland on Dutch reality TV

ARTS & CULTURE

Collaborative makers | Art museum exhibits & expansion

TRANSPORTATION

PDX flies high | Cycle city

NEIGHBORHOODS

PDX | Orange Line | Woodstock | Old Town Chinatown | St. Johns

MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS

Lloyd District transformation

REGIONAL

Solar Eclipse

TRAVEL PORTLAND MEDIA CONTACTS

FOOD & DRINK

Micro-restaurant madness

Courtesy of Pine Street Market

Bo Kwon, a pioneer of Portland’s food cart movement, launched CartLab at RiverPlace in the South Waterfront community in late 2016. The 7,000-square-foot (650 sq m) space houses five micro-restaurants operated by longstanding food carts. Kwon’s Koi Fusion is joined by PDX Sliders, FOMO Chicken and Wasabi Sushi as anchors in the program, alongside a rotating cart and a rotating dessert spot (currently Tight Tacos and Gelato Maestro). The bar dispenses liquor, wine and 20 taps of craft brew, shows sports on the TVs and is decked out in retro Nike memorabilia.

Symbolic of the city’s quickly expanding culinary scene, Old Town’s historic Carriage and Baggage building transformed into Portland’s first designated food hall in 2016: Pine Street Market. Nine food and beverage vendors rub shoulders in 10,000 square feet (929 sq m) of renovated space, complete with communal seating. Mike Thelin, the market’s culinary curator and co-founder of Feast Portland, has gathered local and international culinary talent under one roof. Patrons can enjoy and share fare from the likes of Marukin Ramen, OP Wurst, Pollo Bravo, Trifecta Annex, Wiz Bang Bar, Kure Juice Bar and Barista PDX.

Kevin Cavenaugh’s Guerrilla Development spearheads multiple projects that congregate micro-restaurants in design-driven, community-centric projects. The 2/3rds Project in St. Johns recently filled out with 87th and Meatballs, The Sudra and The Garrison Taproom (from Royale Brewing). In Northeast Portland, The Ocean emerged from a former Dodge auto shop. This vibrant collection of micro-restaurants attracts diners with burgers and brews at Slowburger; traditional, vegetarian and seafood tacos at Uno Mas; vegan, Indian eats from the original location of The Sudra; Italian and meatball specialties at 24th and Meatballs; and sweet and savory pies at The Pie Spot. Just down N.E. Sandy Blvd. is another Cavenaugh creation, The Zipper. This micro-restaurant complex satiates with slices and whole pies from Slice Pizza Company, New Orleans po-boy sandwiches at Bywater Grocery and one of the best falafel dishes in town from ChickPeaDX. The ambitious diner can top it all off with grape Kool-Aid soft serve at Basilisk, or wash it down at whiskey-focused Paydirt.

Around the corner, Providore Fine Foods, anchored by specialty foods purveyor Pastaworks, provides yet another dining adventure. Arrosto offers Mediterranean-style rotisserie chicken, while The Flying Fish Company and Oyster Bar serves raw oysters, soups and bone-broth. Little T Baker provides fresh breads and pastries, and Rubinette Produce Market vends local farm-fresh produce.

Portland’s twist on Asian flavors

Marukin Ramen courtesy of Jannie Huang

From homegro Marukin Ramen and Afuri Ramen established their first stateside outposts here in 2016, with Afuri Ramen selecting Portland specifically for the water quality. Although Biwa has recently shifted their focus to small plates, their popularity as a ramen institution helped spur the scene, with its own Noraneko Ramen spin-off, and competitors Boxer Ramen and Boke Bowl. Relative newcomer Akasaru Ramen lures diners with chicken and bonito dashi-based broth, while The House of Ramen offers a make-your-own format with six soup bases, three noodle types and five toppings. Japanese chain Shigezo serves handmade ramen noodles (among other menu items) at three Portland locations: downtown’s Shigezo Izakaya, at S.E. Division’s Yataimura Maru and at Izakaya Kichinto in North Portland.

Beyond ramen, Portland’s Asian food and beverage scene has exploded. Opened in 2005, Pok Pok PDX introduced many diners to the cuisine of Northern Thailand. Chef and owner Andy Ricker will open his fifth Portland location in Northwest’s Slabtown district in spring 2017. Focusing on Southern Thai flavors, Hat Yai is the newest offering from Earl Ninsom, the chef behind wildly popular Langbaan. The casual spot opened in summer 2016 and serves a trifecta of fried chicken, curry and roti.

Korean street food has also become a hot commodity across the city. Chef Han Ly Hwang is doing brisk business with his Korean barbecue food truck and cart, Kim Jong Grillin’. Revelry, from star Seattle chefs Rachel Chang and Seif Chirchi, offers small plates and shareable snacks like kimchi pancakes with pork belly and seaweed noodles with Dungeness crab, along with a cool soundtrack. At Han Oak, Peter Cho elevates expectations with prix fixe dinners focused on barbecue and hospitality. Koi Fusion and FOMO Chicken marry traditional Korean flavors with unexpected influences from Mexico and America’s south, respectively.

Wei Wei – a Taste of Taiwan has captured acclaim for its pan-seared soup dumplings (sheng jian bao). Fans of soup dumplings eagerly await the January 2017 opening of XLB, a “straight-up Chinese” restaurant where Jasper Shen’s soup dumplings (xiao long bao or “XLB” for short) are sure to star. More dumplings — and other Beijing-style Chinese street food — are on offer at Danwei Canting, which opened the first week of 2017. For a quick fill-up, swing by dowtown’s Bing Mi! food cart for an authentic Chinese crepe stuffed with black bean paste, chili sauce, pickled vegetables and green onion. Finally, visit Vinn Distillery for a bottle of Baijiu, a Chinese white liquor distilled from grain, to toast to the cornucopia of Asian flavors available in Portland.

An ocean of seafood options

Jacqueline courtesy of Katie Acheff

A spate of new restaurants has gifted diners with diverse options when searching for a satisfying seafood meal in Portland. In fall 2017, Headwaters was unveiled at downtown’s historic Heathman Hotel, a completely reimagined restaurant led by James Beard Award-winning chef, Vitaly Paley (Paley’s Place, Imperial, Portland Penny Diner). The redesigned space is bright, modern and open, staffed with familiar faces and featuring a menu that plays to some of its past French influences. Commissioned artwork evokes an aquatic theme, echoed at the new Sea Bar, which is stocked with raw, smoked and kippered offerings. Dinner is heavy on harvests from the ocean, such as Clams Casino Royale, Diver Scallops and selections of “Seafood According to the French.” In addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Headwaters offers a Russian tea service that honors Paley’s heritage.

On Southeast Clinton St., Jacqueline has quickly amassed a following from its neighborhood and beyond. Infused with elements from “The Life Aquatic” (including the Bill Murray portrait behind the bar, whimsical wall coverings and a moniker shared with the submersible in the 2004 film), the restaurant and oyster bar focuses on fresh, seasonal seafood and vegetables. Look for treats like Oregon oysters and foraged mushrooms. The menu changes daily, but the $1 oyster happy hour is a mainstay Wednesday through Sunday.

Those looking for a fresh catch can head over to the Portland Fish Market in the recently bustling Woodstock neighborhood. Here, two fishing families have banded together to serve up a variety of wild fish and shellfish, often within hours of being caught. The Portland Fish Market gives patrons access to Pacific Northwest seafood that is sometimes overlooked and recently opened a fish and chips window, serving traditional options (like cod and halibut) and, on occasion, rockfish.

The burgeoning Hawaiian food craze in Portland is also infusing the city’s seafood scene with new poke-dedicated restaurants. Bamboo Sushi recently transformed their downtown hole-in-the-wall sushi joint, The Annex, into Quickfish Poke Bar. Like Bamboo’s other outposts, Quickfish focuses on certified sustainable fish and fresh ingredients. Across the river in Southeast Portland, Poke Mon mixes up its classic Hawaiian menu with monthly collaborations with Portland chefs. A portion of the proceeds from each month’s limited-time bowl is donated to a charity of the chef’s choice.

Rockin’ Crab Café , a popular spot in Portland’s Jade District, has opened a S.E. Division St. location in the former Block + Tackle. The Cajun- and Asian-influenced spot serves up whole crab and crayfish, as well as hot pots and clay pots. Signature cocktails, craft brews and regional wines round out the menu, and with happy hour all day until 6 p.m. Head to the back for an elevated seafood experience at lauded Roe, where Chef Trent Pierce is at the helm. The intimate dining room delivers innovative prix fixe menus (reservations are a must) with a focus on fresh foods foraged from the Oregon Coast. This hidden gem is planning a move to Portland’s west side, where a larger space will feature a chef’s counter and more space.

Cooking up Portland at home

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Quin Candy courtesy of Maggie Kirkland of Honeysuckle Photography

Thanks to candy-maker Jami Curl and Ten Speed Press, it’s now possible to recreate the magic of Quin Candy at home. Hitting shelves in April, “Candy Is Magic” shares Curl’s vision of candy and how to make it a reality. Bursting with vibrant and inspiring photos, step-by-step directions and invaluable tips, the new tome is filled with nearly 200 recipes for making professional-quality sweets. If pastries are in order, get a copy of “Don’t Call Me a Tart!” for more than 30 favorite recipes from Baker Elizabeth Beekley of beloved downtown bakery Two Tarts, which shuttered in 2016.

Pick up a copy of “Hello! My Name is Tasty,” available Aug. 15, 2017, and watch as friends and family recreate the line-ups for brunch at John Gorham’s Tasty n Alder and Tasty n Sons. Published by Sasquatch Books and co-authored by Liz Crain, the cookbook offers 100 brunch and dinner recipes and more than 75 photos from Gorham’s flavorful enterprise. Get comfortable with this one, particularly to enjoy its collection of “Tasty-style” stories.

Take a veggie-forward approach with the help of Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant, Sunshine Tavern) and Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s). From Louis comes a veritable encyclopedia of good green stuff. “The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with Over 150 Recipes” will be released in April by Ten Speed Press. Meanwhile, McFadden’s exploration of seasonal produce will be available in May from Artisan. “Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables” offers 225 approachable recipes that cull the most flavor from produce at its peak. Don’t be fooled by the title — a healthy dose of meat, poultry and seafood recipes is also included.

Keep an eye out for more new cookbooks from Portland’s culinary stars. Chef Bonnie Morales of Kachka is working with Flatiron Books to create a volume that reflects the restaurant, but keeps home cooks in mind. In addition, Andy Ricker (Pok Pok) is at work with Ten Speed Press for two new cookbooks, “Pok Pok Drinking Food of Thailand” in 2017, which should be followed by “Sen Yai Noodles” at a later date.

It’s tea time

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Smith Teamaker courtesy of Zoe Ching

Often acclaimed for its commitment to craft beer, Portland may very well be the universal craft beverage capital, considering its penchant for any high-quality thirst quencher, including tea.

Steven Smith Teamaker (whose namesake founder was an icon in the tea world) continually reinvents tea, from new blends to innovative culinary applications and drinking experiences. Head to its lovely Central Eastside tasting room to sample draft tea on tap, a flight of hot teas, or the latest release from the Maker’s Series, a regular creative mashup between head tea master Tony Tellin and a local maker. For instance, Maker’s Series No. 004 Astoriamaro is the result of a collaboration with Bull in China, known for elegant and functional bar tools, created by and for mixologists. The result is a floral and fruity blend with dark roasted and bright citrus elements, adaptable to different executions. For a limited time, visitors can stop by Alma Chocolate to experience the blend mixed into drinking chocolate or at Wiz Bang Bar (of Salt & Straw fame) to savor it in a soft-serve ice cream. To experience Smith Tea in a formal setting, head to the historic Heathman Hotel‘s revamped Tea Court Lounge for its Russian Tea Service. Selections fill Vitaly Paley’s (Paley’s Place, Imperial, Portland Penny Diner) collection of samovars in a ritual complete with pastries and sweets inspired by the renowned chef’s roots in Belarus.

Townshend’s Tea Company, which offers more than 100 varieties of loose-leaf teas, extends its expertise into tea-based spirits with Thomas & Sons Distillery. Its family of tea liqueurs includes Sweet Tea, Spice Tea, Smoke Tea and Bitter Tea liqueurs distilled from a fermentation of tea and sugar. Tea is also a base in a new twist on traditional Italian Fernet, Townshend’s Pacific Northwest Fernet. More than 20 fresh and dried botanicals, such as Douglas fir, birch bark and Willamette hops, contribute their nuances to the digestif. Taste the full line of spirits, along with seasonal offerings and limited releases, at the Southeast Portland tasting room.

For a traditional and ceremonial take on tea, mark the calendar for April 2017, when the expansion at Portland Japanese Garden will be complete. A new tea café (one of three new LEED-certified buildings) will be open to the public and serving traditional Japanese tea.

Whiskey town

hopworks-hub-brewers-whiskey-courtesy-of-hopworks-3

HUB Brewer’s Whiskey courtesy of Hopworks

Local distillers have been working for years to create authentic Oregon whiskeys using locally grown grains and pure water sources. Five years in the making, Bull Run Distillery‘s Oregon Single
Malt Whiskey combines pure water from Bull Run Watershed, 100% malted barley from the Klamath Basin (in a wash from Burnside Brewing) and new American char oak barrels sourced from Western Oregon. Together, these elements create a young but complex beverage. In a four-year-long endeavor, Hopworks Urban Brewery has taken the wash from its Organic HUB Lager to create HUB Brewer’s Whiskey. Distilled at New Deal Distillery, HUB’s single malt style is smooth with notes of brown sugar, dark currant, chocolate and leather. The whiskey is available at both Hopworks locations so guests can try the HUB Lager and HUB Brewer’s Whiskey side by side.

At New Deal Distillery, the Distiller’s Workshop Series is devoted to experimentation and offers two new whiskies. A waft of New Deal Rye Whiskey (made from a mash of rye and malted barley) reveals oak and caramel with a hint of smokiness. New Deal Smoked Bourbon Whiskey starts with a bourbon mash and delivers a warm, spicy drink with some floral notes. Stone Barn Brandyworks tends rye whiskey year-round, and its newest single-barrel whiskey, Barrel #19, is crafted in Irish whiskey style.

Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with longstanding Oregon whiskey favorites, including Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey from House Spirits Distillery, Hogshead Whiskey from McMenamins Edgefield Distillery and McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, a pioneer in American single malt whiskies, from Clear Creek Distillery and Hood River Distillers.

Urban wineries pour forth

photo-courtesy-of-urban-crush

Courtesy of Urban Crush

Interspersed among Portland’s famed craft breweries and distilleries are urban wineries producing small-batch wines that highlight the Pacific Northwest’s diverse climate and wine grape varietals.

At Urban Crush (open Thursday–Sunday), three artisan producers share a production facility, tasting room and lounge. Angel Vine focuses on zinfandel-based wines from fruit acquired in nearby Washington, while Cinzia Bella Coure delves into Italian heritage to create amarone-style wines. D’Anu Wines gives careful attention to each signature wine by using quality grapes.

Nearby, the Teutonic Wine Company wine bar gives off a tavern vibe, selling glasses and bottles while a vinyl soundtrack plays. The winery’s cool-climate, German-style wines are made to pair with food and are inspired by the Mosel region. The wine shop even includes selections from a favorite Mosel Valley winery. Southeast Wine Collective pours wines from 10 member wineries (making 21 varietals between them), as well as other new and old world producers. Watch for events by their Cuisinières (literally “lady cooks”) Supper Club, where the collective’s chef Althea Grey and co-founder Kate Norris team up to create seasonally inspired dishes expertly paired with wines. Or stop by for the complimentary Winemaker Series and get to know the wines through their makers.

Tucked away on Northeast Alberta Street, the tasting room of Viola Wine Cellars (open Thursday–Saturday) welcomes oenophiles in to sample its Northern Italian-inspired wines. Viola’s wines are produced un-fined and unfiltered, with native yeasts and very low sulfur additions. In North Portland, Garagiste (open Wednesday–Sunday) features tastes from Jan-Marc Wine Cellars, which celebrated its first crush in a two-car garage in 2003. Experience pinot noir, Gewürztraminer and riesling sourced from the hills of south Salem and warm climate varieties, such as chardonnay, merlot, syrah, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon from the eastern Columbia Gorge. The cozy space also serves bourbon, whiskey, beer and cake.

For a full-bodied experience of Portland’s wine scene, PDX Urban Wineries offers a passport through nine local tasting rooms and special events year-round.

News in local brews

courtesy-of-wayfinder-beer

Courtesy of Wayfinder Beer

As Portland’s craft beer scene continues to boom, new breweries invigorate the movement with new flavors and inspiration drawn from around the world. In 2016, more than a dozen new breweries with taprooms have opened around the city, meaning a frosty pint is never far from hand.

In Southeast Portland, four newcomers offer a taste of what’s new in local brew. Grixsen Brewing focuses on traditional beer styles (but doesn’t shy from occasional experimentation) and, after operating two beer gardens, Scout Beer opened a taproom pouring beers inspired by breakfast and lunch of youth. For starters: Porridge (oatmeal pale ale brewed with cinnamon raisins and vanilla), Anaphylactic (dry porter brewed with peanut butter) and Cuckoo (hint: Cocoa Puffs play a role). Head to Wayfinder, a beer-lover’s destination for world-class brews served with comfort food or to Mt. Tabor Brewing for classic beers styles and a Belgian blonde.

In the Sellwood neighborhood, Ancestry Brewing, based in nearby Tualatin, has opened a taproom featuring a line of family-crafted ales in “3 Pillars” of beer: American, English and Belgian. The Woodstock neighborhood is now home to the only Double Mountain Brewing outpost outside of Hood River. In addition to great beer, they brought their legendary brick-oven pizza with them. In the up-and-coming Lents neighborhood, find Zoiglhaus Brewing, a thoroughly German-inspired establishment conducive to chowing down on schnitzel, spaetzle and oversized soft pretzels while sipping a Cologne-style Kölsch or spicy Hefeweizen.

In other parts of the city, Great Notion Brewing in the Alberta Arts District specializes in fruity IPAs and creative sour ales, blending in Oregon summer fruits and aging the concoctions in oak barrels for up to two years. Royale Brewing also opened a new taproom in St. Johns, The Garrison, offering a rotating selection of hand-crafted brews and growlers to go.

Outside of town, craft beer connoisseurs will want to trek to Newberg (21 miles [34 km] southwest of Portland) to quaff from the selection at Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, made by renowned beer writer and brewer Christian DeBenedetti. American interpretations of European-style brews are crafted in small batches using wild yeasts and heirloom fruits and nuts sourced from the property. Closer in, Oregon City offers Coin Toss Brewing, where a heritage series focuses on historical beer recipes.

LODGING

Experience new national lifestyle hotel concepts

hi-lo-guestroom-courtesy-of-hi-lo-hotel

Hi-Lo guestroom courtesy of Hi-Lo Hotel

Given Portland’s reputation for launching original concepts, from its innovative food and beverage culture to its out-of-the-box transportation solutions and sustainability initiatives, it’s only natural that major hotel brands are eyeing the region as a testing ground for emerging lifestyle brands within their portfolios. The latest trends in accommodations will let travelers enjoy styles that reflect the Rose City without sacrificing the attention to service and detail on which luxury brands hang their reputations.

With innovation in mind, Marriott is working on opening two distinct properties downtown. The Hi-Lo Hotel debuts in April 2017 and is the latest in the hotel group’s Autograph Collection, which is distinguished by each property’s striking individuality. The 120-room boutique hotel occupies the historic Oregon Pioneer Building at Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Stark Street, retaining Huber’s Café (the city’s oldest restaurant, with a dining room on the National Register of Historic Places) and introducing a new eatery. Modern organic furnishings and locally handcrafted amenities will be featured throughout. The 13-story AC Hotel by Marriott, opening in February, will include 204 rooms, a breakfast area, lobby bar, and fitness and business centers. Located at Southwest Taylor Street and Southwest Third Avenue, the hotel is anticipated to incorporate local sensibilities, including cocktails, craft brews and reading materials.

Meanwhile, Hilton is gearing up to open the Porter Hotel downtown in March 2018. Built under the luxury boutique brand Curio, the hotel will offer 299 rooms, a rooftop restaurant, a bar, a market and take-out window, and a subterranean pool, sauna and spa. Portland is one of just a few cities to become home to one of these distinctive, new four- and five-star properties. Hilton is also bringing its Canopy lifestyle brand to Portland’s Pearl District, making the city one of only 11 worldwide to develop a property in this portfolio. Each Canopy hotel will be unique, and when it opens in March 2018, this particular site at Northwest Glisan Street and Northwest Ninth Avenue will offer 153 rooms; local craft beer, wine and spirits; artisanal breakfasts with fresh, local ingredients; and various other touches to offer an authentic Portland experience.

Finally, Broadway Tower is moving ahead in downtown and is expected to open in January 2018, making it the second U.S. Radisson RED property. The tower broke ground in summer 2016 and will include 180 hotel rooms on multiple floors with office space in levels above. Unlike traditional properties, Radisson RED has no front desk, and instead relies on technology to simplify the overnight experience (guests use an app to enter rooms and order food). Designs include a bar, restaurant, fitness center and conference rooms.

More lodgings in Portland’s pipeline

Boutique lifestyle brands aren’t the only up-and-coming hotel properties. Portland is expecting more than 1,700 rooms to come online by the end of 2017, and the growth shows no sign of slowing down. Upwards of 1,600 rooms are slated to enhance the lodging inventory in 2018 and beyond. Here’s a rundown of more projects in the pipeline:

Currently under construction, this 126-room property near the Columbia River offers executive conference facilities, family suites and comfortable rooms with an abundance of natural lighting.

Currently undergoing permit review, this eight-story, 243-room property will sit at Northwest Ninth Avenue and Northwest Everett Street in the Pearl District.

Local developers are proposing a 112-room boutique hotel with a restaurant and retail space on the ground floor of this 1907 building, located at the Chinese gate on West Burnside Street.

Adding on to the classic moto-lodge, the Jupiter Hotel will construct a six-story, angular-geometried expansion complete with 67 additional rooms. Along with a reception desk, the ground floor will include a restaurant and retail space.

This six-story project will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units available to members of the WorldMark by Wyndham vacation ownership program.

Provenance Hotels and Portland-based NBP Capital have partnered to create a 150-room lifestyle hotel in two historic buildings. The adaptive reuse project will connect the Woodlark Building (built in 1912 and located on the corner of S.W. Alder and Park streets) with the adjacent former Cornelius Hotel (built in 1908).

Plans are in the works for the 600-room hotel across the street from the Oregon Convention Center, with amenities including a full-service restaurant, room service and meeting and banquet rooms.

Dating back to 1882, the abandoned Harlow Hotel is set to undergo a complete renovation and reopen as a budget-minded boutique hotel.

  • Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (Washington County, open date TBD)

Pending design approval, McMenamins will be building a 47-room hotel at its complex which dates to the 1840s, while converting the Imbrie House to an 11-room B&B.

  • Toyoko Inn Economy Hotel (Downtown, open date TBD)

Poised to make its West Coast debut on a vacant parcel downtown at S.W. Oak St. and Third Ave., this will be a limited service, modern Japanese inn akin to Toyoko’s 240 other hotels, most of which are located in Japan.

Small spaces make for sweet stays

caravan-view-from-street-courtesy-of-jeffrey-freeman

Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel courtesy of Jeffrey Freeman

Caravan, the nation’s first tiny house hotel, continues to draw visitors intrigued by small-scale living and cozy comfort with six custom-made “tiny houses” in the Alberta Arts District. The homes range from 100 to 200 square feet (9.3 to 18.5 sq m) and come equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and space to sleep one to four guests, as well as local artwork, games, coffee and snacks. Unlike many tiny houses, Caravan also features accessible accommodations for guests with limited mobility. Plus, it’s possible to take the Caravan lifestyle on the road with one of three (and up to six this spring) teardrop trailers available for rent for outdoor adventures.

Near Northeast 28th Avenue and Burnside Street in the Kerns neighborhood, Tiny Digs Hotel opened in October 2016. Thirteen custom-built tiny houses circle a gathering area anchored by a fire pit, outdoor art, comfy seating and twinkling lights. Live entertainment and guest food carts make for a relaxing night “in,” but stellar food and drink options – such as Migration Brewing, PaaDee, Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Alma Chocolate and Staccato Gelato – are only a quick jaunt away. Each tiny house is fully furnished and self-contained, with private decks for lounging.

For those exploring the region, Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches offers a tranquil overnight stay in natural surroundings. Less than an hour east of Portland, the petite lodgings are within range of the city’s food, art and culture, but in the thick of exhilarating winter fun, with quick access to stellar skiing, snowboarding and back-country adventures. The five units offer full baths, kitchens and accommodations for up to five guests. West, in the Willamette Valley, The Vintages Trailer Resort offers a retro vibe for visitors exploring wine country. Experience a blast from the past in any of 31 trailers (models date from 1947 to 2014) while savoring amenities like fine linens, luxurious robes, comfy mattresses and gourmet pour-over coffee.

With a heavy focus on design and comfort, these small spaces are likely to leave a big impression.

DESTINATION NEWS

Portland Japanese Garden unveils first ever expansion

The countdown is underway as the Portland Japanese Garden wraps up its ambitious expansion and prepares for its grand reopening on April 1, 2017. The garden has long served as a tranquil oasis in the West Hills, but to accommodate a growing number of visitors, more extensive accommodations were in order. The $33.5 million expansion adds 3.4 acres (1.4 ha) to its existing 9.1 acres (3.7 ha) and provides a stronger cultural experience for visitors. Renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is completing his first public commission in the U.S. with the project, designing a cultural village outside the main gate, as well as a 20-foot (6.1 m) Japanese-style medieval castle wall. A new courtyard will serve as a venue for performances and events, and three LEED-certified buildings will house a library, classrooms and a tea café. Upon completion, the existing garden (which has remained open throughout construction) will be joined by additional garden spaces, including a water garden and a bonsai terrace.

Consistent with its mission, the garden is launching an education initiative to teach traditional skills and techniques for creating and stewarding Japanese-style gardens. The Japanese Garden Training Center will offer master-level workshops and trainings, as well as public lectures and other programming. The first official seminar, “Waza to Kokoro – Hands and Heart: The Use of Stone in the Japanese Tea Garden,” is slated for August — and is limited to 16 experienced applicants.

A centennial in the Rose City

Samuel Contreras and Erika Alvarenga at The International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon.

International Rose Test Garden courtesy of Travel Portland.

Giving authority to Portland’s moniker, “The City of Roses,” the International Rose Test Garden is poised to celebrate 100 years of fragrant blooms in 2017. Established to provide a refuge for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I, the garden is a testing ground for new rose varieties and is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. Over the years it has been enhanced with the Gold Medal Garden, the Miniature Rose Test Garden and the Shakespeare Rose Test Garden, which shelters roses named after the Bard’s characters. While centennial celebrations are still being planned, you can pick up a Rose City memento or two and enjoy its essence at home.

Pop into Made Here PDX for botanical products imbued with rose scent. Age of Earth’s “Tranquil” botanical therapy sachet inspires calm with rose petals, rosehips, chamomile, lavender, valerian root and passion flower. Try the No. 2 Citron aromatic body spritzer from Saint Olio for a “lovely, therapeutic mist” of opulent rose and orange blossom. At shops like Milk Milk Lemonade or Beam & Anchor, find OLO’s Cedar & Rose fragrance, purported to evoke a sensory experience akin to strolling through the Rose Garden itself.

This being Portland, it should come as no surprise that food and drink makers have infused some of their favorite creations with roses. From Thomas & Sons Distillery, Townshend’s White Rose captures the subtlety of delicate white tea and rose petals in a clean, velvety spirit that is delicious enough to stand on its own or mix in cocktails. The distillery’s parent company, Townshend’s Tea, offers fragrant rose-laced, loose-leaf teas. Try the Rose Peony for a light-bodied treat or the Rose Petal for a more robust sweet and floral drink. Rounding out the mix, Townshend’s sister company, Brew Dr. Kombucha offers a White Rose kombucha for the health-inclined. Finally, don’t forget to pick up the Floral bar from Woodblock Chocolate; the 70% cacao, double-origin blend is finished with rose-covered wrapping for a pretty gift.

Portland stars on Dutch reality TV

Big Pink and downtown Portland, Oregon with Mount Hood in the distance.

Portland city skyline courtesy of Travel Portland.

Dutch reality television comes to Portland in the 17th season of “Wie is de Mol?” (“Who is the Mole?”). The reality program selects an international destination as its backdrop each season, and this is the first time it’s been filmed in the United States. Debuting in the Netherlands on Jan. 7, 2017, the program has been airing teasers that feature Portland landmarks and neighborhoods, as well as Oregon’s vast attractions from the coast to the high desert.

The extremely popular show follows presenter Art Rooijakkers and 10 celebrity candidates to Oregon, where participants collaborate to complete assignments that impact their ability to earn money. One participant sneakily sabotages their efforts, and the rest must determine the identity of “The Mole.” A test is given at the end of each episode to move the contestants closer to unmasking The Mole, and the person with the fewest correct responses is eliminated. In the meantime, Dutch viewers will get a taste of the scenery, attractions and culture of Portland and Oregon — and more reasons to book direct flights from Amsterdam to the region.

ARTS & CULTURE

Collaboration marks maker culture

Bull in China, Portland, OR

Bull in China courtesy of Carly Diaz

Portland’s maker culture is diverse and deep, and its collaborative spirit brings individuals with seemingly disparate passions together in an effort to continuously innovate.

Considering Portland’s thirst for good coffee and appreciation for fine spirits, it was inevitable that these two worlds would collide. Distillers in town are known for seeking out and experimenting with regional ingredients, and many have started approaching local roasters in search of booze-friendly blends. New Deal Distillery partnered with Water Avenue Coffee for its coffee liqueur, House Spirits Distillery makes its version with Stumptown Coffee Roasters; Eastside Distilling tapped Portland Roasting Coffee for its Below Deck Coffee Rum.

Artisan confectioners are also surveying the scene and creating unexpectedly delicious combinations. Alma Chocolate adds a generous dose of House Spirits Distillery whiskey to its whiskey caramel sauce and turns south to Salem’s Sundance Lavender Farm for help in creating a lavender version. Whylder’s Craft Chocolate partners with Jacobsen Salt Co. and Coava Coffee, adding extra textures and flavor components to its snappy bars.

Beyond the Portland’s culinary community, the city’s many other makers are also on the lookout for the next great mashup. Rejuvenation Hardware, Portland’s homegrown source for lighting and “house parts,” collaborates with a slew of area designers to develop unique product lines. Visit the flagship store for a sense of local talent, such as lighting from Caravan Pacific and Cedar & Moss, lamps and home accents from FOLK and customizable ceramic light pendants from Pigeon Toe.

Bike makers are known as a tight-knit community in Portland and collaborate with one another and with other local businesses. Family-focused Kinn Bikes, for instance, got off the ground with help from Zen Bike Fab, Sugar Wheel Works, The Portland Made Collective, ADX, Clever Cycles, the Bike Commuter and others. Cargo bike builder Metrofiets approached Hopworks Urban Brewery to fashion a custom beer bike with room for two kegs, pizza and a sound system. The company also collaborated with Trailhead Coffee Roasters on an efficient, pedal-powered delivery vehicle that doubles as a coffee making stand. Meanwhile, Circa Cycle popped next door to MOORE Custom Goods to get fashion designer Andrea Moore’s take on her ideal bike. Oregon’s bike builders also collaborate annually with local craft brewers in the Handmade Bike & Beer Festival, held each October.

New exhibits and spaces at Portland Art Museum

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Rothko Pavilion courtesy of Portland Art Museum

Preparations are underway for an addition to the Portland Art Museum: the Rothko Pavilion. Developed in concert with the children of artist Mark Rothko, who grew up in Portland and had his first solo exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in 1933, the project will connect the museum’s freestanding buildings to create a unified. The glass-walled structure will serve as a central entrance and a community commons area. Other enhancements include new exhibition spaces, a rooftop deck and a sculpture garden. Set to break ground in 2018, the Rothko Pavilion is expected to reach completion by late 2020 or early 2021. A capital and endowment campaign is underway to help raise $75 million in funds.

Meanwhile, the Portland Art Museum continues to intrigue art aficionados with thought-provoking, world-class exhibitions. From Jan. 21–April 16, 2017, the museum marks the 100th anniversary of the death of influential French sculptor Auguste Rodin with “Rodin: The Human Experience — Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections.” The display of 52 bronzes will showcase Rodin’s “particular passion for modeling the human form in clay.” Highlights include studies from “The Burghers of Calais,” “The Night (Double Figure),” “Monumental Torso of the Walking Man” and “Dance Movement D.”

Also in January, the museum unveils “Constructing Identity” from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art. Running from Jan. 28-June 18, the exhibition involves paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings from more than 80 artists exploring the African American experience through art. Although emphasizing contemporary artists, the exhibit includes a curated selection of historical works from the 1930s, ’40s and Civil Rights era. Look for works by Henry Ossawa Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Faith Ringgold, Radcliffe Bailey, Kara Walker and Mickalene Thomas, among many others.

TRANSPORTATION

PDX soars with accolades and new non-stops

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Portland International Airport (PDX) courtesy of Port of Portland

With a steady eye on the traveler’s experience, Portland International Airport (PDX) keeps getting better by continuing to add new flights and rack up accolades. It’s no wonder the airport has been voted “America’s Best Airport” by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine for four years in a row.

Leading up the new flights, Delta begins seasonal nonstop service from London Heathrow (LHR) to PDX on May 26, 2017. Four times a week, international travelers can easily cross the pond (and a continent) to make their way to Portland. The new LHR connection expands Delta’s capabilities to deliver international passengers directly to Portland’s doorstep, building on daily year-round nonstop flights from Amsterdam (a Delta Air Lines/KLM endeavor) and Tokyo. Plus, Icelandair continues to enjoy healthy demand for its direct flights to Portland. In addition to extending its seasonal service through January 2017, the carrier will quickly resume service in March with even more flight options — up to five flights a week from its hub at Keflavik International Airport. With new direct flights from Alaska Airlines, the Rose City is even more accessible for domestic travelers. Nonstop service from Newark began in November, and a direct connection from Orlando is poised to begin in March 2017. Travelers with little time, but big plans for their Oregon visits are also in luck: PenAir now flies south to Klamath Falls and Boutique Air launched flights east to Pendleton in December 2016.

PDX gets better every year, and travelers and industry professionals confirm it. In addition to staying atop the Travel + Leisure survey, PDX was named “Airport of the Year” by the Air Line Pilots Association in August 2016 and was ranked highest among large airports in the J.D. Power 2016 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. The airport also won nods in TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards for “Best Large U.S. Airport,” “Best U.S. Airport Shopping” and “Best U.S. Airport Dining.”

Cycle city

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Courtesy of BIKETOWNpdx

Portland is widely recognized as a haven for bicyclists, with new programs and plans rolling out at a steady pace. BIKETOWN, Portland’s fledgling bike share program underwritten by local sneaker and athletic wear powerhouse Nike, is making inroads among residents, commuters and visitors. In the first four months following its July 2016 launch, 38,000 riders made use of the program, logging 151,000 trips around the city. With 1,000 bikes and 100 stations in central, high-traffic areas an eco- and wallet-friendly ride is never far away. BIKETOWN costs as little as $2.50 for a quick 30-minute jaunt, providing an easy and cost-effective solution for those looking to explore all corners of Portland.

Locals and visitors soon will have more areas to explore by bike. The new SE 17th Avenue Multi-Use Path will connect Portland with up-and-coming communities to the south in early 2017. The regional trail will connect the Springwater Corridor trail in Southeast Portland’s Westmoreland and Sellwood neighborhoods to the 6-mile (9.7 km) Trolley Trail between Milwaukie and Gladstone. The paved and gravel Trolley Trail follows that of the Portland Traction Company streetcar, which operated from 1893–1968.

Looking ahead, plans are afoot for Flanders Crossing, an overpass that will make it easier to cross Interstate 405 between Northwest Portland and the Pearl District. Look for construction in 2018 and a completed crossing by spring or summer of 2019.

NEIGHBORHOODS

Neighborhood favorites at PDX

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Timberline at PDX courtesy of Timberline Lodge

Local businesses and attractions continue to give Portland International Airport (PDX) flair, making it reminiscent of the distinct neighborhoods across the city. Craft coffee from Stumptown Coffee is a perfect complement to brioche-style doughnuts from the new outpost of Blue Star Donuts, opened in December 2016. Find Moberi, the latest addition to the airport’s rotating collection of Portland food carts. Rejuvenate before or after a long flight with Moberi’s fresh acai and pitaya bowls. Passengers passing through Concourse C can pop into the world’s only airport distillery tasting room by House Spirits Distillery, modeled after its Southeast Portland tasting room and complete with flights, draft cocktails and curated specialty items. Made in Oregon has remodeled to make room for more craft goods and Timberline Lodge has opened an outpost, offering locally designed and printed apparel and souvenirs. The marquee lights of Northeast Portland’s Hollywood Theatre have been recreated in miniature to adorn an 18-seat theater and performance space, spotlighting independent artists and screening short films at no cost to travelers beginning in early 2017. Tender Loving Empire comes to Concourse D in April, rounding out the PDX experience as a record label and store showcasing local makers.

Orange is the new track

Portland’s light rail system, the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX), added a fifth line with the opening of Tilikum Crossing in September 2015, giving riders an opportunity to explore a whole new part of the city.

The Orange Line travels south along the east side of the Willamette River to neighboring Milwaukie, providing visitors easy access to a slew of additional places to explore. A short trek from the S.E. 17th and Holgate MAX stop, Thomas & Sons Distillery dispenses samples of its full line of tea-based spirits — including liqueurs, Italian amari and botanicals — as well as limited-release and seasonal concoctions. A few blocks south, sports bar Bar 33 Brooklyn pours brews from 13 taps, serves American pub-style eats and shows local teams in action on multiple screens.

To experience the latest happenings in the Sellwood-Moreland area, alight at S.E. Bybee Blvd. and stroll west for a trip back in time. From the owners of Animal Traffic and The Annex, the new Fairlane Coffee shows love for classic cars (catch Classic Car Sunday to see what’s in the lot) and all things vintage, not to mention local producers. Nibble on baked goods from Lauretta Jean’s while sipping a latte powered by Water Avenue Coffee or a cup of tea heralding from Tea Chai Té. Visit the pre-Prohibition era with drinks at Bible Club. Well-situated in a circa 1922 house, the establishment is fully decorated and equipped with American-made items predating the 1930s, from the furnishings down to the cork screws. Even the soundtrack straddles the decades around the turn of the previous century. Rumor has it a green light burns in an upstairs window to inform guests when Bible Club is open. Out back, the casual outdoor bar, Revival, beckons guests on summer nights. Return to the present with a stop at neighborhood eatery Relish Gastropub, where signature cocktails, beer, wine and elevated seasonal pub fare provide just the nourishment needed for the MAX journey back to a downtown hotel.

Revival in Woodstock

In Southeast Portland, the Woodstock neighborhood has been a recent focus of food and drink purveyors, renewing interest in this quiet and quirky corner of the city.

Highly anticipated Double Mountain Brewery of Hood River opened its taproom in the summer of 2016 and never looked back. Regulars swear by their New Haven-style pizza, but salads and sandwiches also aim to please. Four year-round brews are always on hand — including Hop Lava, IRA-India Red Ale, Kolsch and The Vaporizer — and rotating taps feature seasonal, limited edition and experimental beers.

It’s not just out-of-area establishments that consider the area ripe for expansion. Hawaiian staple Ate-Oh-Ate (backed by the trio behind Laurelhurst Market, Simpatica Dining Hall and Reverend’s BBQ), recently opened the doors to its second location in town. Swing by for the likes of kalua pig plates and teriyaki burgers.

New owners of the former Mezza Restaurant unveiled their new concept: Bergerac Restaurant. The French bistro serves light French fare for lunch, brunch and dinner (think omelets and quiche early in the day and comfort food like gratin dauphinois, boeuf bourguignon and onion tart in the evening. For a finishing touch, try Cloud City Ice Cream, where fresh, handmade ice cream makes the most of tasty local products from Jasmine Pearl Tea Company, Water Avenue Coffee, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Jacobsen Salt, to name a few. Or, head to the rooftop bar of New Seasons grocery store, where you can enjoy beer, cider and cocktails al fresco.

Old Town Chinatown sees new life

by-the-collective-courtesy-of-by-the-collective-2

Courtesy of By the Collective.

Old Town Chinatown is enjoying a resurgence, and it’s not just the mouthwatering temptations of Pine Street Market that are drawing attention. In Portland’s oldest neighborhood, storefronts are playing host to unique concepts and drawing interest from streetwear aficionados. By the Collective serves as barbershop, streetwear store and launchpad for aspiring clothing designers, offering insights on apparel, content and visual production. At Deadstock Coffee, sneaker culture, coffee and art collide. Get a pair of kicks (or an entire collection) detailed, or drop in on a workshop to get up to speed on footwear design and development. Index PDX is the place to find rare and classic footwear. In a consignment shop unlike any other, shoppers can discover countless designs represented in pre-owned sneakers — all authenticated and refurbished to tip-top condition — as well as new releases from big streetwear brands.

Find one-of-a-kind gifts and mementos at various other retailers in the area. Design studio and letterpress company Waterknot vends an assortment of greeting cards with Pacific Northwest themes (think hiking, cycling, coffee and beer) as well as gifts, books and chocolates. Local favorite Kiriko Made is breaking in a new retail shop and studio space, where Japanese textiles are transformed into shirts, dresses, accessories and housewares. Meticulously crafted leather goods from a multi-generation family business can be found at Orox Leather Co. Finally, San Johnny (formerly Dogwood Pdx) has expanded its midcentury and modern bohemian focus to incorporate finds reflecting Mexican lifestyle and design.

For a quick bite, nearby Ankeny Square has been transformed into Grubbin’, a new outdoor food and entertainment venue. In this first-of-its-kind program, the city is leasing the square for $1 a year to concept developer Jamal Gardner, who arranges live music and leases space to food carts (already featuring Venezuelan, Italian and American tastes) to revitalize this historic corner. Other tasty options nearby include Pop Bagel, where the Portland-style pretzel bagel is king, and Donut Byte Labs, a food cart making gourmet mini donuts fresh all day and evening.

Old school cool in St. Johns

Get a taste of old Portland in historic St. Johns, where businesses have endured for generations in this northern pocket of the city. Part of what’s referred to as the “fifth quadrant” (aka North Portland), St. Johns was once a standalone town, established in 1865, until it was annexed by Portland in 1915. Despite more than a century having passed, St. Johns retains a unique identity and exudes an old school coolness not found in other parts of Portland.

No other neighborhood can claim as distinct and elegant an icon as the St. Johns Bridge. Built in 1931, the teal suspension bridge is one of Oregon’s most famous, and on the north side of the river, it looms over Cathedral Park, named for the cathedral-like arches that support the span and create a reverential quality popular for photo opps. Businesses from a bygone era endure in St. Johns. Tulip Pastry Shop has been crafting all of its baked goods from scratch since 1950 and is now under the guidance of its third generation. At Signal Station Pizza, enjoy a slice or a whole pie while appreciating the antique gas pumps (dating to the 1930s) out front, or step into the 1950s with a trip to Pattie’s Homeplate Café and Fountain. Continue the retro tour with the soothing sound of vintage records at Vinyl Resting Place; check out the selection of jazz, folk and blues. Pop in to Blue Moon Camera and Machine, where film cameras and typewriters — fully refurbished and warranted — provide solid comfort. Or, catch a flick at the 1913 St. Johns Twin Cinema & Pub, complete with popcorn, snacks, pizza and beer.

New enterprises add to St. Johns’ fabric without disrupting the vibe. Stop in at Mama San Soul Shack for new American street food influenced by southern and Asian cuisines. Grab a pint at Occidental Brewing and some German bites at its Occidental Wursthaus, featuring views of the St. Johns Bridge from the patio. Visit Moonstruck Chocolate to see one of Portland’s artisan chocolate pioneers in action; sneak a peek of the production process through the shop’s viewing windows. Finally, experience how McMenamins has preserved another unique, historic structure as a movie house and pub at the McMenamins St. Johns Theater & Pub. End the day with a stay in a fully furnished apartment or remodeled traveler trailer at The Colony, a mid-century colonial-style building that also serves as an event space.

MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS

Lloyd District takes shape

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Hyatt Regency Portland rendering courtesy of Metro.

Groundbreaking is anticipated as early as summer 2017 for the first convention center hotel in Portland. The 600-room Hyatt Regency Hotel is expected to open by the end of 2019 in the city’s burgeoning Lloyd District. Situated across the street to the Oregon Convention Center, the hotel will offer easy access to meeting facilities for all sizes of events.

The new hotel will be just a short walk, taxi or bike ride away from the burgeoning Central Eastside, where a collection of artisan producers and chefs provide an extraordinary food and beverage experience. This once industrial part of town is now home to an ever-expanding collection of new restaurants, breweries and distilleries reimagining old warehouses and spaces. Visitors can kick back with a beer at Wayfinder or explore Portland’s quickly growing spirit scene on Distillery Row. Offering Russian Fare, Kachka remains a favorite on Central Eastside, with promise of more mouth-watering zakuski on the way with an expansion planned for summer 2017. Nearby, Olympia Provisions helped raise the bar for new businesses on the block with their high-end charcuterie.

Located in the refreshed Lloyd District, Hyatt Regency will have easy-access to the Lloyd Center. The shopping mall carries leading brands (without sales tax), including Macy’s, H&M, Gap, Loft, Hollister and Barnes & Noble, and is in the midst of a two-year transformation that has resurrected architectural elements from its mid-century beginnings. The project has installed a grand spiral staircase echoing the original, along with a revamped and (slightly) shifted beloved ice skating rink, which now serves as the focal point of the center. Additional upgrades to the exterior and interior continue apace, including a new pedestrian entrance, landscaping and furnishings. Shoppers should be enjoying the new and improved mall by spring 2017.

REGIONAL

Solar eclipse coming in 2017

For the first time since 1979, a total solar eclipse will darken part of the continental U.S., with Oregon providing the first glimpses as it moves east across the country. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, parts of the state will experience total darkness as the moon obscures the sun — a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be viewed from multiple locations within a few hours of Portland.

The trajectory begins on the Oregon Coast at 10:15 a.m., with prime viewing between Lincoln City and Newport (about 130 miles [209 km] hours southwest of Portland). The arc continues over the Willamette Valley and wine country — try the state capitol, Salem, or Albany as a viewing base, both just a straight shot down Interstate 5. Or, sign on for Evergreen Escapes’ Oregon Solar Eclipse Wine Tasting Tour, which includes admission to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s viewing party at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, followed by tastings at two nearby boutique wineries.

For the best chances of clear skies and an unobscured experience, head to the high desert and Central Oregon. Just two hours from Portland, Madras is the state’s prime viewing location, with 2 minutes and 4 seconds of total eclipse starting at precisely 10:19 a.m. Get a bright and early start from Portland, as all accommodations in Madras were snapped up within an hour of becoming available.

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