Love the Look!
I was just giddy, when I spotted this delightful entrance to T Paul's Supper Club, on our Oregon trip. I loved the rounded canopy, with neon sailboats! I loved the retro sound of Supper Club! It made me think of dressing up for dinner in the 1950's.
But in 2023, the word club also sounds exclusive and less welcoming. That's why I was happy to see the words on the window.
"Eracism... Liberty and Justice For All" Cheers to that!
Don and I happened to be staying at the Hotel Elliott, right across the street.
We ended up having a mini dining adventure at T Paul's. If we'd only known there would be a Tiki option on our road trip, we would have packed the proper shirts!
We didn't check into the Elliott until 5 pm. We got settled and I told Don I'd dash across the street to see about dinner options.
I left our hotel, with its own sweet, rounded entrance and headed across to the glowing door. Actually the door was to the T Paul's lounge, Bar 300. I took note of the words on the glass, "Snappy Hour from 4 to 6"
My watch said 5:35!
A Quick Look
I stepped inside and immediately noticed the table for 2 on the left! I laughed to picture us sitting there, looking like we were ready to hand out Mai Tais.
To the right of the door was a cute modern table, beneath some artsy light fixtures. The window offered a good view of our hotel.
There was a large dining area off to the right, with curious decor hanging from the high ceiling.
I looked above the diners and drinkers and tried to figure out some of the decorated features. Giant Umbrellas... curious fans...
Were those fluffy Christmas trees? Who knows? I didn't have time to look around. I dashed back to fetch Don. I told him Snappy Hour ended in 15 minutes.
That's pretty embarrassing to admit how quickly we move, when there are bargains awaiting.
We chose a cozy seat near the bar and ordered drinks right away. Don didn't even get a happy hour drink, but mine was some Mule-Something-or-Other with cranberries and lime. It was the Bartender's Choice of the Day Snappy Hour Drink.
At 5 minutes of 6, we placed an order for food from the Snappy Hour menu. (It's clear that I like to say Snappy Hour) Our server was delightful and didn't roll her eyes at our cheap strategies.
It was actually a pretty fun mix of food. The Snappy Hour Nachos were generous and just spicy enough.
Don is holding an order of dumplings. They had a bit of crispiness, which made them good for dipping!
I'm holding the Bourbon Prawn Cocktail, with some fabulous house made crostini on top. The sauce was decadent! When the prawns were gone, I spooned out the remaining sauce with the crispy bread!
Our hotel room awaited us across the street, but I of course took a trip to the Ladies Room, as an excuse to explore.
I walked through the main dining room and up some stairs to take in the view.
I liked this artwork, behind the desk. Underwater light fixtures? Bubbles? Jewels? Seagrass?
The stairs took me to an elevated dining area. The colorful walls had a few guitars decorating them.
There were city images decorating the wall, that made me feel like I was looking out windows. That would be the ultimate dining adventure, to sip and feast, while gazing out over Venice and Paris... at the same time!
Lots in the Hall
On the way back to the restrooms, I found lots of wall art.
Much was related to Marilyn Monroe. I'm sure there are stories about all of the art choices.
Quotes & Signs
There are probably stories behind all the quotes too. There were a lot of them.
Inside the Ladies Room I read the bold question, "Who Runs The World?" I should have asked Don to check the Mens room to see if they had the same question, with a different answer.
More Than Alcohol
As we finished up, I snapped a quick picture of the wall across from me. One more little quote. Alcohol You Later. Kind of clever.
When our server asked if we'd like another drink, we opted for something sweeter to take with us. She described their house-made cookies and we suddenly left with a hefty bag of jumbo cookies. Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal! They were huge and amazing!
Before we headed across the street, I took a photo of Don at the Tiki Bar table. A man offered to take a photo of both of us. He posed and thanked him. I love that photo of Don, looking so at home in that little hut.
That photo reminded me of something. It bugged me. I finally found it on my phone. A photo from a trip to Santa Rosa, CA, 5 years ago. I love matching up photos!
Pause to Peek
So we headed out the door, beneath the glowing sailboats.
I had to stop and study the pretty looking building, lit up at night. What a nice and simple and tasty evening we'd had.
In the morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, looking out the window at T Paul's. It didn't look nearly as festive in daylight, but there was no car clutter and I could more easily see the doric columns all lined up. Interesting.
I looked over and wondered more about the building and the business, What was this building originally? Who thought up the creative interior? How many locals choose the tiki table? I'm guessing just tourists!
I'm glad we have our tiki photo to remember our evening!
Pok Pok in Portland
Lucky Visit in 2019
Today I'm remembering a unique dining adventure, that I failed to write up! Back in October of 2019, we lucked into a memorable meal at Pok Pok, in Portland.
Don and I were visiting our daughter and son-in-law, when Heidi managed to come up with last minute reservations. Little did we know, that exactly a year later, Pok Pok would close down. The pandemic was just part of the reason.
Heidi gave us the scoop before we arrived. Chef Andy Ricker opened Pok Pok in NW Portland, in 2005. Although he wasn't Thai himself, he specialized in Northern Thai cuisine, specifically from Chiang Mai.
There's much more to his story but basically, his food and authentic approach, became a hit quickly. Before long, Chef Andy opened other locations in Portland, as well as Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Vegas. There were James Beard Awards and he was featured on Anthony Bourdain's show.
The Original Pok Pok
Our visit in 2019, was to the original Portland location. The little eatery didn't look all that impressive when we arrived. There were colored lights and the lit up sign, with mortar and pestle image.
The patio was enclosed in plastic, long before the pandemic made that common. It looked like a place that might be featured on Guy Fieri's, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives show. And it actually was.
We arrived before 8 and there was no line. We'd heard a wait of two hours was not uncommon.
Memories of Chiang Mai
We 4 were excited to sample some popular dishes. Less than 2 years before, we had visited Chiang Mai and had been impressed with the unusual North Thai cuisine.
The photos above were taken on that visit. It was January 2017 and we had traveled from Bangkok, after the wedding celebration of our son and his new bride. It was wonderful having Chali's family, guiding us through many feasts.
Cozy Feast in Portland
Two years later, (just months before the pandemic) Don and I headed up the stairs with Heidi and Jamie and squeezed into a tiny room that I assume had once been a porch.
Our table practically touched the other 2 tables in the space. We wished we could have magically made the 2 dining couples disappear. Then we could have magically added Scott, Chali and her family to our gathering. It was sad not having them with us.
It was hard to believe we were in Oregon, not Thailand. Our server Matty, brought dishes that looked exactly like ones we remembered eating. Even the tablecloth reminded me of some we'd dined on. And the water tasted of coconut. Or was that my imagination?
Even the curious choice of music was memorable. It was full of surprises... like some of the music that amused us on our trip. Thai Pop? There were voices that sounded like high pitched Disney characters. Then suddenly we were listening to American Pop music. Elvis!? It was all part of the curious atmosphere!
My Khoa Soi
In a few minutes the other tables vacated and we were able to relax and push our chairs an inch from the table. Suddenly our hushed voices were normal voices, raving about our food.
We had a number of Khao Soi orders at the table. My bowl was filled with 2 pieces of chicken on the bone and slurpy, slippery noodles, all swimming in an incredible sauce. Cilantro and crispy noodles on top! The plate of lime, onion, bok choy, pepper paste, allowed me to dress it up, just like I remember doing in Chiang Mai!
A Photo from Chiang Mai
I dug out these old photos of our first Khao Soi feast, back in 2017.
The broth looks less thick, but oh how I remember the amazing flavors. And lucky for me I was born with genes that love cilantro! I was excited to add my own ingredients!
The papaya salad was a hit! Long beans, fried shrimp, peanuts, Thai chili, lime juice, palm sugar, tamarind... and papaya of course.
The fun bit, was how a mortar and pestle was used to pound the papaya with ingredients. The pounding sound of "pop-pok" is how the restaurant got its name!
Kaeng Hang Leh Pork Belly
Don made an impressive choice when he ordered Kaeng Hang Leh. This sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry, is a rich and exotic Chiang Mai classic, also.
It came in its own little iron pot, with a container of sticky rice.
Matty was our wonderful server. She was from Bangkok, but said she had never been to Chiang Mai until after she started working at Pok Pok. She said Chef Andy had a very big house there.
Matty said she was happy to be in photo and offered a gracious bow. I'm not sure how I managed to blur so many photos!
Don did a decent job of saying thank you in Thai. Khop Khun Mak Kharab. I hope I got that right. Matty was delighted with the attempt. And she was even more excited when she heard we had all been to Thailand.
Sharing a Photo
I shared a photo on my phone of Chali and Scott's wedding and she smiled and studied the image for a while.
As we left the restaurant that night, we knew we'd have to return another time, when we had more family together in Portland. It's now sad to know we can't do that.
All the Pok Pok restaurants have closed, with no plans to reopen. I guess that means we need to pull this group together for another trip to Thailand! I'm game!
Boons Treasury in Salem
Snow in Salem
Don and I pulled up to Boon's Treasury at 11:15, on February 23, 2023.
We hardly expected to find the tavern open and serving, on that snowy morning.
Second Biggest Snowfall
We had left Portland 2 hours earlier. We'd shoveled the rental car off the night before, but there was still lots of snow to remove in the morning. Portland was pretty much shut down, due to the second biggest snowfall in history. But we hit the road.
We were determined to make it to our B&B reservation on the coast. We packed "just in case" blankets and water and supplies. We hadn't expected to attempt a lunch stop, but Salem had not been hit so hard. We drove into town.
No other cars were in the lot at Boon's Treasury, but the OPEN sign was glowing.
The staff of two was inside, but hadn't unlocked the door yet. A young woman, bundled in warm clothes rushed to let me in.
Cozy and Empty
She and the man behind the counter apologized for the locked door.
"We didn't expect anyone to come, with this weather." Salem doesn't usually get much snow I guess.
We were invited to take a seat anywhere. The place was small, but there were plenty of tables waiting for customers.
We took a quick look around and caught onto the theme. (The brewpub restaurant, was located on Liberty Street!) We could have taken the table next to the flag waving woman, who wanted us to enlist.
We decided to sit in a cozy booth with another patriotic woman. I ordered coffee right away and let my warm drink, plus Lady Liberty's torch and the glowing lamp, warm me up.
Our server's name was Heidi and she was delightful. When she wasn't checking on us or chatting with us, she was happily gabbing with the guy setting up behind the counter/bar.
Sometimes it's a little awkward to be the only diners. Especially if the staff was hoping no-one would come in. But these 2 were a happy team and the tavern felt cozy and warm and welcoming on that snowy day.
Don and I have eaten at quite a few restaurants in Oregon. owned by the McMenamins. We don't usually care for chains, because they're predictable.
But there are always surprises at the McMenamin restaurants and hotels. Almost all of the properties are in historic buildings. The history is never hidden, even though the creative and often whimsical art can distract. I headed back past the bar, where I spotted some old photos.
Boon Treasury Building
Heidi said the Treasury building was the second oldest in Salem. This photo shows the building on the far left, around 1940.
The building on the right is Wade's Green Store. I believe Lincoln Wade moved his store into the Treasury Building, in the late 1800's.
This photo shows the building a little more clearly in 1953, when it was Karr's Tavern. At that time the Italianate-style brick building was already nearly a century old.
John D. Boon built the structure in 1860 to house a general store. He happened to be the first Oregon State Treasurer, so the building also served as Oregon's Treasury for a while.
Herbert Hoover and Murray Wade?
I spotted this framed telegram near the photos. It was a birthday greeting from President Herbert Hoover to his boyhood friend Murray Wade. That got me curious.
I Googled for more info and learned that Hoover spent some of his teen years in Salem. He became friends with Murray, whose father's store had moved into the Treasury Building. They used to play on the roof and some say Hoover carved his initials into the side of the building. I should have looked!
Before our food arrived, I made a visit to the Wash Room. I guess it's possible that there was a bathroom when Boon's Treasury was built. But I'm guessing not. Thomas Crapper designed the first flush toilet in the 1860's. I kind of liked the old-time-y stall doors!
I liked the framed announcement, in the Ladies Room. The Countrypolitans Return to Rose City! Hmm? This cowgirl with her raised arm looked much friendlier than Lady Liberty, back at our booth.
I happily sipped my coffee until our food arrived. We'd gotten on the road before I'd had a chance to partake of caffeine. Don ordered his favorite, Grilled Tuna Sandwich with Tots. He was happy.
I was thrilled with my soup and salad combo. My House Salad seemed extra huge. It was packed with fresh veggies and the blue cheese was tasty.
My soup was a hit. Tomato and Artichoke Soup! It reminded me of an Italian Minestrone soup, that I've been longing for. It was a perfect mini feast before we hit the road.
The restaurant wasn't nearly as quiet by the time we finished up our meal. A few diners had arrived. But it wasn't loud enough to miss the soft, but rapid thumping that I heard above my head. "Do we have any child ghosts in this building?" I asked Heidi.
Heidi paused to listen, then laughed. She told me the space above had just recently opened as an Airbnb rental. I pictured a toddler having a very fun time. I also pictured the toddler having a hard time sleeping at bedtime, if Boon's was noisy.
Off We Go
We thanked Heidi for a giving us a great and yummy break on our trip. We headed off and enjoyed the rest of our snowy drive to the coast.
We arrived at Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast by 3:30. You can barely see the white Keepers House on the hill. The lighthouse is out of sight.
I would recommend the combo of Boon's and Heceta to anyone, rain, shine or snow! A Dining Adventure plus a Notable Night!
Jake's Famous Crawfish in Oregon
Jake's is the second oldest continuously operating restaurant, in Portland. Since 1892!
I've had my eye on it, since I first spotted the cool sign in 2018.
Across From Crystal Hotel
Jake's was right across the street from our hotel, in 2018. We were visiting Portland, helping our daughter and son-in-law move into their new home.
We didn't have time for a Dining Adventure at Jake's, but my eyes were drawn to the building with the green awning and flags.
Whitney & Gray Building
The 4-story building on the the corner of Stark and 12th, was built in 1910. A year later, the iconic eatery moved in. I'm guessing at the time, it was a little more of a saloon with crawfish, kind of place. Today, I think it's more about cocktails & seafood!
In 1911, the biz (under another name) had already been operating for 19 years, at another location. It became known as Jake's, when Jacob (Jake) Lewis Freiman became an owner, in 1920. Evidently Jake was quite a colorful character. After his death in 1933, the name never changed. It's actually part of the Landry's chain today, but that's not exactly spotlighted.
Jake's is in the Book!
Back in 1959, Ford Motor Company published this cookbook and shared a recipe from Jake's.
We were traveling with our cookbook... because the vintage book guides us to interesting adventures! I knew we'd have to pay the restaurant a quick visit, even if we didn't have time to dine.
Posing with the Book
We stopped in at Jake's around 10 pm, after we returned to the hotel. I had the book in my bag. We got a table in the busy bar and hoped we could impress someone with a peek at page 230.
As it turned out, the bartender had a spare moment. He seemed a bit amused when I showed him the recipe for "Crabmeat Cakes". Or maybe he was just being polite. But he was a good sport and posed with the book!
The kind bartender looked just a tiny bit like the waiter in the cookbook's fine illustration. I didn't dare tell him that.
The little write up mentioned the Gay Nineties deco... "with oil paintings and chandeliers rescued from famous old homes..." Walter Holman was the owner at that time. The business changed hands many times, before William (Bill) McCormick bought, in 1971. Yes, that would be the name associated with the well known chain, McCormick and Schmicks. Bill hired Doug Schmick as a manager!
A Quick Cookbook Adventure
Don and I only had a little wine. It was hardly a Dining Adventure. But we were still able to soak in the atmosphere.
Besides lots of framed paintings, there were walls covered in framed photos. In over a century there have been numerous famous guests... from Humphrey Bogart to Madonna.
Floors and Walls
We didn't explore the many dining rooms, but we absorbed lots of character in the lounge, from the original tile beneath the stools...
...to the artwork above the bar. I don't believe the spotlighted nude painting, was shown in the cookbook illustration.
Charlie Visits in 2022
So for years, Don and I promised ourselves we'd return for a real dining experience, when visiting our daughter and son-in-law. But the pandemic and the birth of our grand baby, (Charlie) changed the focus of our visits.
Last fall, I was pretty jealous of our little granddaughter, when she had a dining adventure before me! My daughter texted me this photo of Charlie dining at Jake's and paying the bill! Actually her visiting Uncle Chris and Aunt Karen treated. It made me crave Jake's once again.
From the Museum to Jake's
So in February 2023, we headed to Portland for Charlie's second birthday. We planned a special outing that included a visit to the Portland Art Museum, (with dear friend Milissa) and a Dining Adventure at Jake's!
Charlie had her first art museum experience and then we were off to dinner!
The Classic Bar
It was a chilly winter evening. We entered the first door, which took us into the bar. It looked like I remembered. Charlie marched up to an empty chair and slammed her beer mug... I mean sippy cup, on the table.
She then noticed her family had moved on. But she was in no hurry. She sort of strutted through like a "regular" and gave the men at the bar a good glance. I half expected her to stop and study them... like art.
Charlie stopped suddenly near the host's desk and pointed. I thought she was pointing out the artwork above the steps. She'd just come from the museum after all.
But she was mesmerized by the ceiling fan. No budging until she was ready.
So Many Tables
We'd smartly made reservations for 5:30. I had wondered what kind of table we would have. White tablecloths are sort of scary, with a 2.0 year old.
The cozy booth looked fun, with its own little lamp and table-sized oil painting. We heard later that much of the displayed artwork was found in the basement, when the restaurant last changed hands. Worth more than the building! We were told.
I kind of hoped to have a table near the old photos, so I could examine them without rudely leaning across dining strangers.
I sort of hoped for a table that was tucked away, where a 2-year old could be a 2-year old, a little more discretely.
In the Middle
But we were given a big round table in the center of the first room.
It had a plaque on it that read, "St. Patrick's Day Luncheon Table" Hmmm? I would need to look that up. I did later and I found nothing. (Next time ask!)
Well, the table was perfect. I love round tables where we can all see one another. And no tablecloth to yank or stain!
And Charlie was in heaven, because she could see all the bustling activity. She didn't want to miss a thing.
Don, the waiter was exceptional. He'd been there 17 years and he was a real pro, He did not look a bit like the waiter in the cookbook.
We ordered drinks first. Old Fashioneds for most. Martini for me. Water for the little one.
Don served our drinks and graciously took our toasting photo. When I look at the photo, I'm reminded about how much has happened between our 2 visits to Jake's.
Cheers to getting through the pandemic and cheers to a new member of the family. And cheers to our friend Milissa, moving back to Portland so we could celebrate together!
Unfortunately, I did not have the cookbook with us, this time. But we did order the Crab Cakes, which were called Crabmeat Cakes, in the recipe.
I'm sure the recipes don't match a bit. The title on the menu said, "Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp Cakes".
I tried to get a photo quickly, before they were gone!
This little girl happens to adore crab cakes. So she got to them first!
Don allowed me to snap a photo of his Prawn Cocktail before it disappeared.Delish!
My House Salad with glazed walnuts and blue cheese was a good, refreshing feast in itself.
Parmesan Crusted Petrale Sole
I only managed to get a photo of my own entree. It was a heavenly serving of sole, with pan seared lemons and capers and warm Beurre Blanc sauce.
The beans and potatoes were excellent as well. I was happily stuffed!
Speaking of happy... this photo of me with Don, shows me looking a little too happy!? That martini was very strong!
But Charlie drank only water and she looks equally tipsy. I think our evening was a happy hit.
By the time we headed off it wasn't even 8:00 yet. The Happy Hour Crowd had left open seats.
Once again, we headed out the door, with no time to pause and study old photos. I didn't stop to ask any questions about Jake's 131 year old history. Next time...
Off We Go
We'll learn more stories next time. Our Dining Adventure was more about celebrating with special people.
The food and atmosphere was wonderful, but the people seated at the round table made it twice as memorable!
Good Bye Jake's
It's been over a month since our Jake's dinner. I'm feeling extra grateful that we squeezed that in!
Charlie and her parents have decided to move back to Texas! We couldn't be happier... but it looks like Jake's won't be an annual thing. Poor Charlie. I think she was getting hooked!
Cafe Nell in Portland, OR
Cafe on the Corner
This is the cute cafe, where my dear friend and I enjoyed a heavenly patio breakfast, beneath a 100 year old oak tree!
Actually we arrived at 10:30 and they weren't open for breakfast. We looked longingly from across the street.
We crossed over to see when they would open. 11:00.
The covered patio appeared quiet, except for spurts of activity. Staff seemed to be preparing for some kind of surprise party and we were entertained.
The outdoor dining area was lovely with chairs that reminded me of Paris. The enclosure was classy, unlike all the quickly rigged structures, I remember being thrown up for Covid dining. The 100 year old oak added some drama and history!
We found a cute little bench area with umbrellas and sat a moment.
But that used up 5 minutes. Milissa and I went on a walk to kill time. The neighborhood area in Northwest Portland, was very inviting on a summer morning.
Milissa and I had lots to talk about, so it really didn't matter whether we were at a proper table or traveling down a sidewalk.
Ready to Go
We returned at 11 and the red carpet awaited! There were curtains and strings of lights and potted bushes. We could be outside, but feel the comforts of inside dining.
We were the first diners to arrive. The surprise party was happening out of our sight. We didn't get to witness the reaction.
My Coffee Buddy
Milissa and I met through our kids 30+ years ago. We have conversed over all kinds of beverages. On this morning we were happy with our blue bottle of water and our cups of coffee.
We now live 2,000 miles apart and our coffee and converstaion has to be shared over the phone. But on this August morning, we talked over coffee in person! It felt like we'd left our homes in Texas and Oregon and had met up at a cafe in France.
I was glad they had good breakfast options on the lunch menu. I ordered the Bacon, Egg and Blue Omelet. "3 free range chickens, bacon, chopped tomato and blue cheese".
The omelet and potatoes were tasty. I liked how the food was served, with cloth napkins... little dish holding butter, jelly and catsup. It just felt nice. But the wait service was not quite as nice. We finally begged for a coffee refill. But honestly, we were caught up in our own world and were happy to be a little ignored.
The patio never filled up, so we felt okay lingering as long as we liked. We eventually paid up, then stepped inside to take a peek around.
The red stools and red carpet and red and black chairs really felt festive and French.
Nell's describes their food as, "French inspired American classics". They've been in business on this neighborhood corner, for 13 years. I read that the last 2 restaurants in this space, were also French.
The red fireplace was extra cool. There were lots of mirrors! I'd love to see the place at night with glowing lights reflecting off the mirrors.
I had my buddy sit for a photo, before we walked back to her apartment. She fit right into the umbrella scene, with her black and white attire.
Our dining adventure was a little piece of heaven. We had lots of catching up to do and we didn't have to holler over crowds. Our table was cozy and pretty and clean and calm. The food was nice and a carafe of coffee on the table would have made it just perfect.
I'm hoping for another dining adventure with Milissa, very soon!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.