Holiday Gift Guide for Public Transit Commuters $0 – $100

The items in this gift guide come with a personal recommendation from me because they embody attributes that I find desirable, and often times necessary, for someone who commutes primarily by bus. Whether you’re on the hunt for that perfect gift, or just window shopping, the items listed here are worth perusing. So what are your “must-have” items for being out in the elements, or on a journey by bus? If I’ve missed something important, leave your suggestions or tips in the comments below. Enjoy!


Yahoo! Weather App (Android, iOS), $0

Their words: “Don’t just check the weather – see it. Prepare for your day with the most accurate hourly, 5-day, and 10-day forecasts. Stunning Flickr photos match your location, time of day, and current conditions. Get all the details: wind, pressure, and chance of precipitation. Experience weather conditions for rain, snow, fog and extreme heat with animated weather effects. See animated sunrise, sunset, wind, and pressure modules. Browse interactive maps: radar, satellite, heat, and snow. Track all your favorite cities and destinations! Twice daily notifications help you be prepared, whatever the weather.”

My thoughts: If there’s one thing that I use daily as a public transit commuter, it’s my weather app on my smartphone. The only problem is, I’m not really sure how you give someone an app that’s free. Email them the link? In any case, this app is just too cool not to share with fellow commuters. It’s by far the prettiest weather app I’ve found. It’s fun to look at, and just about as accurate as predicting the weather can be. Click here to download the app.  


Knit City Shopper by Blue Q, $11.99

knit city bag

Their words: “Take me down to Knit Knit City, where the buildings are green and the yarns are pretty, oooh ohhh take me home! By Leslie Clerc. Double Duty Handles, this style also has a convenient shoulder length strap. Made with 95% post consumer recycled material. 15″h x 16″w x 6″d”

My thoughts: I’m pretty sure I’m a reusable bag hoarder. Not only because I forget them and have to buy new ones all the time, but because when I see something as cute as this, it’s too hard to resist. Being a knitter, I love that the image looks knitted and like the city has been yarn-bombed, and that there’s a lady on the bag actually knitting. The Blue Q website has a huge variety of other designs as well. Click here to buy the Knit City Shopper. Continue reading

Little Boxes: Shopping by Bus on Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Shopping at Flora, photo by Mikola Accuardi

There are countless reasons why I am completely in love with Portland, and the Little Boxes shopping event has just been added to that long list. Little Boxes is a two-day shopping event on November 28th and 29th that supports local businesses. Personally, I love shopping, but I can do without the crowds, urban sprawl, and gluttonous nature of the “Big Box” superstores. I also love keeping my money in my community by purchasing at independent and neighborhood shops. So often the quality and uniqueness of the things you’ll find at these shops ends up being the most auspicious and memorable gifts for those lucky enough to be on your holiday gift list. As if the benefits of supporting your community and finding perfect gifts for your friends and family wasn’t rewarding enough, the Little Boxes event also has a raffle tied into the mix, with a chance to win huge prizes. Watch this fun video for a great visual presentation on how to play while you shop. Continue reading

The Spirits of Portland: 10 distilleries accessible by bus

Whether you’re from Portland or not, most people know of our exceptional craft beers and locally produced wines. But did you know that the greater Portland metropolitan area is home to almost twenty local distilleries? And just as you’d expect, the distilling practices that create Portland spirits fall right in line with our usual high standards for quality, including small batch productions and seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Featured here are ten of Portland’s easily accessible distilleries, complete with the closest bus, MAX, or Streetcar stops. Tasting room hours vary at each location, so visit distillery websites for more information before making your journey. Take advantage of TriMet’s trip planner to enter your starting location and the distillery’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary. Enjoy!


1. Bull Run Distilling Company 2259 NW Quimby St, Portland, OR 97210

BullRun

Photo by Bull Run on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“The Bull Run watershed is the primary drinking water supply for the City of Portland. It’s the same beautiful, raw water we add to each of our spirits – and it’s the same soft water that helps create the great mouth feel in each of our spirits. Arriving in 2015: Bull Run has dedicated two 800-gallon distilling vats to this Oregon-made whiskey. That’s right — not Scotch, not Irish, not Bourbon, but “Oregon Whiskey” distilled using local water and grains and aged in the unique Oregon climate. While it’s expected to be released in 2015, the whiskey will decide when it’s good n’ ready.” ~Bull Run Distilling Company

Accessibility by bus:


2. Clear Creek Distillery 2389 NW Wilson St, Portland, OR 97210

ClearCreek

Photo by Kenn Wilson on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Founded in 1985 by Steve McCarthy, today Clear Creek Distillery carries forward a world renowned portfolio of eaux de vie, grappa, liqueurs and whiskey all distilled in our Portland facility from Pacific Northwest fruits and Scottish barley. We use traditional European pot stills along with techniques learned in Alsace and Switzerland, then perfected through 30 years of Oregon craftsmanship. Our products are served in the World’s best restaurants and appreciated by connoisseurs everywhere.” ~Clear Creek Distillery

Accessibility by bus:


3. Eastside Distilling 1512 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Eastside

Photo by Eastside Distilling on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Eastside Distilling has been producing high-quality, hand-crafted spirits in Southeast Portland’s Distillery Row since 2008. We believe that locally-produced spirits simply taste better, so all of our unique products are made right here in Portland, Oregon from natural ingredients in small batches for unparalleled quality and taste.” ~Eastside Distilling 


4. House Spirits Distillery 2025 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

House

Photo by Kenn Wilson on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Founded in 2004 in Oregon, House Spirits Distillery is a leader of America’s craft distilling movement. Our award-winning products are batch-distilled and are inspired by a passion for quality spirits and delicious cocktails. Located in the heart of Portland’s famous Distillery Row, each of our spirits has the richness and craftsmanship to be enjoyed on their own and also lend themselves beautifully to your best-loved drinks and cocktails.” ~House Spirits Distillery


5. Industrial Row Distillery 645 N Tillamook St #3, Portland, OR 97277

IRD

Photo by Industrial Row Distillery 

Not yet on Yelp

IRD is a grain to bottle distillery that believes in quality above all. At IRD, our first spirit is Vodka. We perfected the process and the result is Dystopia Vodka. Our vodka retains a characteristic aroma with a subtle hint of flavor originating from the grain it was made from. On top of this we leave it unfiltered – just pure distillate and crystal mountain water.” ~Industrial Row Distillery


6. New Deal Distillery 900 SE Salmon St, Portland, OR 97214

NewDeal

Photo by New Deal Distillery on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“New Deal Distillery provides high quality, craft-distilled spirits, inspired by the DIY spirit of Portland. All of our artisan vodkas are made locally in small batches with Bull Run water and natural and organic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible.” ~New Deal Distillery 


7. Rogue Distillery and Public House 1339 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209

Rogue

Photo by Will Vanlue on flickr

3.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Before any Rogue Spirit heads out the door, we give it a final look over to check on quality and flavor. At each step along the way, we know our ingredients because we planted them, we grew them, we harvested them, we floor malted, roasted and smoked them, and because we took the extra time to bottle them by hand. Spirits made from scratch deserve to be bottled by hand. Taste the difference it makes the next time you open a bottle of Rogue Spirits.” ~Rogue Distillery 


8. Rolling River Spirits 1215 SE 8th Ave Ste H, Portland, OR 97214

 RollingRiver

Photo by Rolling River on Yelp

No reviews on Yelp

“Rolling River Spirits is a family-owned and operated craft distillery located in Portland, Oregon. Our Rolling River Vodkas, Gins, and Whiskeys are handcrafted in Portland, Oregon, with only the finest ingredients. Our family’s Master Distiller, Tim Rickard, personally creates each blend using his own custom-built stills and Portland’s renowned pure water, which stems from our tallest peaks and one of the city’s most revered icons– Mt. Hood.” ~Rolling River Spirits


9. Stone Barn Brandyworks 3315 SE 19th, Portland, OR 97202

StoneBarn

Photo by Stone Barn Brandyworks

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Stone Barn Brandyworks produces craft distilled, regional fruit brandies, brandy-based liqueurs, and when fruit is not in season, we keep making whiskey.” ~Stone Barn Brandyworks


10. Vinn Distillery 833 SE Main St, Portland, OR 97214

Vinn

Photo by Vinn Distillery

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Vinn Distillery is a family-owned local distiller of rice-based products. We craft our products by hand right here in Oregon, using methods passed down for generations. Since our spirits are made entirely from rice, they have the added benefit of being gluten-free. We are excited to have our tasting room located right in the heart of Distillery Row in southeast Portland. Come visit us there and sample all our products!” ~Vinn Distillery


Article by Stephanie Paris

Cover photo by Thomas Heyman on flickr

Sipping in Stumptown: Portland’s best wine bars and tasting rooms

winemap

Little goes together as well as wine and not having to drive. Fortunately for Portland, the wines of our region’s local producers as well as those from around the world can be found at the copious urban tasting rooms and wine bars scattered throughout the city. Taking public transportation means that there’s no need for a designated driver, and everyone that wishes to imbibe can do so at their leisure.

The featured establishments in this article are just a few of my favorites, and by no means are the extent of what our city has to offer. Each listing includes the closest TriMet stops to its corresponding wine bar. Whether you choose to visit one of the venues below, or stick with a favorite of your own, take advantage of TriMet’s trip planner to enter your starting location and the wine bar’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary. Enjoy!


1. Ambonnay Champagne Bar 107 S E Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

Ambonnay

Photo by @AmbonnayBar

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$$

“Ambonnay is Portland’s first and only watering hole exclusively featuring champagne and sparkling wine. We offer an extensive menu of fizz, some by the glass, another 100 or so by the bottle. Our selection changes regularly. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink before dinner, a once-in-a-lifetime champagne experience, or just a place to hang with other bubble addicts, Ambonnay is here for you.” ~Ambonnay Champagne Bar

Accessibility by bus:


2. Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom 404 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

CoopersHall

Photo by Coopers Hall

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Coopers Hall is a winery dedicated to keg production, the first of its kind in Oregon. Our taproom and restaurant boasts 44 taps of wine, beer, and cider; with more dedicated to wine than any other location in the Pacific Northwest. The tap room serves rotisserie cooked meats and savory sides from Roscoe Roberson, former sous chef at Racion. Coopers Hall resides in a quonset hut structure built in the mid 20th century, a former auto body shop, with no confines between the winery and tap room. The spacious environment invites guests to get closer to all aspects of the wine making experience from grape to bottle. Coopers Hall is perfect for a night out drinking, dinner with friends, and also available for large events and private gatherings.” ~Coopers Hall

Accessibility by bus:


3.  Corkscrew Wine Bar 1665 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland, OR 97202

Photo by Joshua C. on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Corkscrew Wine Bar is an inviting gathering place in Sellwood-Moreland that’s been offering world class wine selections and friendly hospitality since its opening in 2010. The beautifully designed, warm, and cozy atmosphere is centered around wood panels, beams and interiors from a single reclaimed barn ~ providing old world charm with glowing candle-lit ambiance. The wine bar serves interesting and thoughtful wine glass pours, bottle selections, and three local beers on tap accompanied by a small plates. With a focus on small family owned vineyards using organic, biodynamic and responsible farming.” ~Corkscrew

Accessibility by bus:


4. ENSO Winery 1416 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214

Photo by Ryan S. on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“ENSO is an urban winery that hand crafts authentic old-world style wines that express both the moment they were created, as well as the moment they’re enjoyed. We have chosen to source grapes from the finest vineyards up and down the west coast. Three states. All states that we have lived in. And all states that we love. Our grapes come from Washington, California, and Oregon – and we absolutely love each vineyard that we work with. At ENSO, in addition to our wines, we keep a rotating tap of all Portland Urban Wineries and local beers. There is plenty to taste and try in our tasting lounge. We have our weekday aperitivo (aka Happy Hour) from 4-6 pm where we offer discounted prices on wines by the glass, beer by the glass, and charcuterie and cheese.” ~ENSO Winery

Accessibility by bus:


5. The Hop & Vine 1914 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217

hop

Photo by Andrew C. on Yelp

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“The Hop & Vine is North Portland’s premier craft drinking destination. Our full bar features eight craft beer taps, an extensive wine list, creative cocktails and a local seasonal food menu. Our casual dining experience, artistic decor and beautiful large backyard patio makes us an excellent destination for small or large groups under an intimate vibe. The adjacent Bottleshop features more than 400 beers and wines, and over 40 types of vermouths and bitters … featuring local and craft beers, Willamette Valley and biodynamic wines as well as meads, ciders, and amaros. Our selection is carefully curated and constantly changing. Call or visit us to see what’s new or sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn about new brews and bottles, free tasting events, and specials.” ~Hop & Vine

Accessibility by bus:


6. Pairings Portland Wine Shop 455 NE 24th Ave, Portland, OR 97232

Parings

Photo by Pairings Portland

5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Pairings Portland is a wine shop, wine bar, and classroom dedicated to a new approach to wine.  Fun & approachability are front & center. We like to think of a glass of wine as one of the ingredients in your dish and we’ll help you find the wine that makes your food sing.   We offer wine by the glass and bottle as well as flights, classes, creative events, and custom offerings both at the shop and away. You’ll be amazed to discover it’s possible for anyone to feel like a Pairing genius!!” ~Pairings Portland

Accessibility by bus:


7. SE Wine Collective 2425 SE 35th Pl, Portland, OR 97215

SE

Photo by Joshua C. on Yelp

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“We’re making wine in the heart of southeast Portland! As southeast Portland’s only fully bonded and licensed commercial winery that performs custom crush services for both commercial and private brands, the SE Wine Collective’s production features state-of-the-art equipment and highly skilled and personable staff needed for everything from harvest crush, fermentation, blending, and ageing to filtration and bottling. Our urban wine collective brings together like-minded winemakers within Portland’s city limits. The SE Wine Collective is home to 10 Wineries.” ~SE Wine Collective

Accessibility by bus:


8. Taste on 23rd 2285 NW Johnson St, Portland, OR 97210

Taste

Photo by Leland H. on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Were I inventing the perfect neighborhood wine bar, Taste on 23rd is how one version  might look. Tucked into one of NW 23rd’s many old Victorians, it’s a lovely and welcoming space with a nice center bar and several tables of various heights and sizes scattered about. The staff is so welcoming and friendly; you can tell when regulars filter in, but they’re just as happy to see you as to see them. You should become one!” ~Hannah L. on Yelp

Accessibility by bus:


9. TeSoAria Winery Tasting Room 4003 N Williams, Portland, OR 97227

TeSoAria

Photo by Marianne S. on Yelp

5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Come visit our Portland Tasting room and experience Founder/Winemaker John Olson and Chef Max’s Wine and food pairings. We currently have over a dozen TeSoAria wines to taste, including  two Live Barrels of wines that is currently ready to barrel taste. Wine is available by the flight, glass and bottle. Barrel taste and then experience the individual hand bottling process that you can participate in.   Our friends are always welcome and new acquaintances leave as friends! ” ~TeSoAria Winery

Accessibility by bus:


Article by Stephanie Paris

Cover photo by Coopers Hall

Portland in a Glass photo by David Paris

 

 

Restaurants on the Route: Bus Line 14 – Hawthorne

TriMet bus line 14-Hawthorne connects Lents Town Center, SE Portland and Portland City Center. It travels through one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in Portland, the Hawthorne District. The boulevard includes McMenamins’ Bagdad Theatre & Pub, a branch of Powell’s Books, New Seasons Market, and a seemingly endless number of great shopping and dining options. In fact, there are so many great places to eat on this route that it was hard to choose which ones to feature! As of now, these are my top 7 restaurants recommendations on the Line 14 bus route.

The closest 14 bus stops are listed for each restaurant below. For additional trip planning assistance, visit TriMet.org and enter your starting location and the restaurant’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary.


1. Lardo 1212 SE Hawthorne St, Portland, OR 97214

and pickled veg and lamb burgerPhoto by Jack Pinette on flickr

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“Starting life as a food cart in SE Portland, rarely has a spot been so aptly named. Rocking an ancient charcuterie moniker that truly serves as a harbinger of things to come, Lardo is a sandwich shop that worships at the altar of  bovine & swine. Using old-world techniques, contemporary flourishes and a gonzo approach, Lardo proudly celebrates its excesses. Pushing a menu that features pork drenched double burgers, a giant meatball Banh Mi, and hand-cut french fries (again) smothered in pork, Lardo also has beer. Lots of beer, actually. Rotating taps of knee-buckling craft brew greatness, backed-up with a refreshing mix of premium cocktails. Operating on both sides of the river, Lardo serves as a mecca for those seeking a uniquely smash-mouth deli experience.” ~ Lardo

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


2. Harlow 3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

HarlowPhoto by Shannon Kringen on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“An all organic restaurant featuring a gluten-free food menu with raw, vegan vegetarian options, extensive juice and smoothie bar, house cocktails, beer and wine. Healthy food made with love.” ~Harlow

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


3. 3 Doors Down Cafe 1429 SE 37th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Photo by Alyssa C. on Yelp

4.5 stars on Yelp $$$

“Come in. Sit down. Eat! Comforting yet inspiring … classic and creative … curated with taste.” ~3 Doors Down Cafe & Lounge

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


4. Cultured Caveman 4031 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Cultured CavemanPhoto by Ken Snyder on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $

“Cultured Caveman began as the first paleo-friendly food cart on the west coast. We are now 3 food carts and a restaurant in Portland, OR. We welcome everyone, especially those with dietary restrictions or allergies. Thank you for supporting the next evolution of restaurant nutrition.” ~Cultured Caveman

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


5. ¿Por Que No? 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Rick Chung on flickr

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“¿Por Que No? strives to support our local economy, whether it means using line caught fish and local meats or remodeling with recycled materials. We have traveled from the Pacific Coast of Mexico to the mountains of Oaxaca to share the flavors and the essence of what we found. In the end, it’s all about the food and the community of people who enjoy it!” ~¿Por Que No?

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


6. Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant 2504 SE 50th Ave Ste D, Portland, OR 97206

BetePhoto by Lisa Brandt Heckman on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“We are happy to have you enjoy the different Ethiopian cuisine. We serve many vegetarian and various meat dishes as well as seafood. Experience Bete-Lukas’s exceptional cuisine featuring a complete menu with everything from salad, tibs (meat), alicha, vegetarian dishes, sambusa in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. The Ethiopian art decorated dining room with warm walls, and the stylish artistic photos in the wall, nurture the setting.” ~Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


7. The Egg Carton 5205 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206

EggCartonPhoto by The Egg Carton

4.5 Stars on Yelp $

“The Egg Carton is family run by Sarah and Tim Arkwright. We pride ourselves on both our service and our fantastic food and drinks. The Egg Carton has been named one of the top food carts in Portland and one of the friendliest. Come on down and visit our pride and joy.” ~The Egg Carton

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


Article by Stephanie Paris, all quotes pulled from corresponding restaurant websites

Cover photo by Rick Chung on flickr

 

Restaurants on the Route: Bus Line 4 – Division/Fessenden

The TriMet line 4-Division/Fessenden route is a long one. It connects and travels through Gresham, SE Portland, Portland City Center, Old Town/Chinatown, Union Station, the Rose Quarter, NE Portland and St. Johns. As you can imagine, there are a great number of restaurants worth exploring along this route. As I find ones I love, this page will be updated with the addition of newfound hot spots. As of now, these are my top 5 restaurants on the Line 4 route.

1. Butterfly Belly 6036 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

Photo by Stephanie Paris

4.5 Stars on Yelp. $

“As butterflies selectively collect nectar and pollens from all over, Butterfly Belly’s selection of many popular dishes from all over Asia strides to please our guests with warm and colorful ambiance, uncompromising hospitality, fresh, healthy, and most importantly tasty food.” ~Butterfly Belly

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Butterfly Belly.


 

2. Tangier 221 SW Pine St, Portland, OR 97204

SpinachPiePhoto by Stephanie Paris

5 Stars on Yelp. $$

“A warm and welcoming family restaurant conveniently located in downtown Portland near the water front, noted for serving the finest msot traditional Moroccan and Mediterranean available. Our casually elegant atmosphere and exquisite cuisine will enhance any dining or celebration experience.” ~Tangier

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Tangier.


 

3. Samurai Blue 3807 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

Photo by Adam Sawyer

4.5 Stars on Yelp. $$

“A tantalizing variety of hot and cold dishes, sushi and sake.” ~Samurai Blue

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Samurai Blue.


 

4. Sidecar 11 3955 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“Sidecar 11 is perfect for celebrations, joining friends with food and beverage in a small bar setting. The food menu emphasizes simple creation small plates and the bar creates unique and classic style cocktails with a dedication to the art of mixing drinks.” ~Sidecar 11

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Sidecar 11.


 

5. Signal Station Pizza 8302 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $

“We pride ourselves on serving a delicious pizzas at a fair price. Our goals are to provide both a quality product and and friendly service. Our menu offers artisan pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches and salads. We also serve sodas, beer by the bottle and on-tap,  and a fine selection wines by the glass or bottle.” ~Signal Station Pizza

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Signal Station.


Article by Stephanie Paris