It’s First Thursday in Portland and the choices are endless. I get off of work pouring wine at an event and I’m ready to have a glass of my own. So my first stop is back to Urban Wineworks to drop off my stuff and to join in on the imbibing. At Urban Wineworks we always feature a local artist, so we have a musician or DJ to keep the mood flowing. Not to mention donated food by one of our favorite caterers. My friend Meg met me to celebrate finishing her school exams, so we started cruising on over to the Pearl where all the pretty people play. First stop was Vino Paradiso . I’m a huge fan of this intimate venue, because not only do you get to see the chef chop up some goodies right behind the bar (the kitchen consists of a small section of the bar where the chef uses small burners to create your meal), but the wine list is impressive and flirtatious. This non-intimidating list is approachable yet non-conventional. Plus live music can be heard lingering in the background or center stage.

After some dinner I’m not satisfied enough to cap off my evening just yet. So we head on over to Andina , which is one of my favorite hot spots. This Peruvian restaurant gem is filled with flavor, beauty and vibe. Who can resist tapas to share over cocktails inspired by infused alcohol and fruit? My friend sips on a mojito de pina (mojito with pineapple juice) while I stick to vino. I savor a malbec that pairs nicely with the torta de chocolate, a sexy chocolate cinnamon cake. I’m ready for another but ready for bed. Gotta save some energy for a Friday outing. But visit The Pearl Wine Shop if you’ve got some time to kill. Charles, the wine guru downstairs, will unveil some lovies and teach you a thing or two about the producers he’s showcasing. Good stuff.

Next thing I know…It’s 8:30 p.m. on Friday night in Northeast Portland, and I’m in one of my favorite neighborhoods to stroll in. I’m still lagging a bit from the night before, but I meet up with a group of buds to celebrate my friend Rebecca’s birthday. I had to wake myself up after a thirty minute post-work nap to get ready for my drinks and meal. The perfect snooze-shocking drink was a mojito of the most refreshing kind. I’m a mint junkie and this fit the bill. At Equinox restaurant you can find the earth-friendly crowd mingling amongst the hipsters, while listening to a live trio play French style dance music. After the start-up cocktail, we chimed in to agree on a few bottles. I was up for red to warm my bones, so we uncorked a few bottles of the Abacela 2003 tempranillo. This Oregon winery produces some knockouts and this paired nicely with my chicken stuffed with chevre, prosciutto and spinach standing atop of mashed potatoes and crisp bread. It even lasted the last lap to blow kisses at my Mississippi mud cake. Hello and goodbye. Dinner is over and I’m off to bed.

Editor’s Note: Leigh Brown works for Urban Wineworks in Portland and will be bring to life Oregon’s wine scene in her bi-monthly column, Leigh’s Wine Buzz.

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  1. Headlights says…


    I really love your blog. Portland sounds like a fun place with lots of dining options. For those of us who cannot drink wine for religious reasons, do you have any good non-alcoholic wine recommendations?

    Written on January 11th, 2007 / Flag this Comment
  2. Barry Brown says…

    Yet another amazing and informative column from Leigh Brown. I drank a couple of glasses of the Abacela 2003 this evening and it was truly an instant hit with me. How Leigh finds these pearls is beyond me. Thanks for all of the restaurant tips also. You can be my travel guide anytime.


    Written on January 11th, 2007 / Flag this Comment
  3. davey justice says…

    Sold! Wow is my mouth watering! Thanks for bringing food and wine to life! You have a knack for what you do Leigh! Keep writing and we’ll keep reading!

    Written on January 16th, 2007 / Flag this Comment
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