Tag Archives: Bourbon

2014: A Quiet Year

28 Dec

It’s annual round-up time. A time of reflection on the highlights and the things that didn’t go quite as planned. A time of new goals and visions for the year ahead. Here’s my top ten from 2014.

  1. Made some really great connections, forged some lifelong friendships and learned to grow my business at Pioneer Nation.
  2. Had two photography shows.
  3. Went to my first live TEDx event in Portland. It’s pretty cool seeing it in person versus the countless videos I’ve watched on screen.
  4. Celebrated one year living in Portland. Yay! I love this city and it’s quirks.Portland!
  5. Met my two Australian mastermind members for the first time (after a year and a half of weekly online chats!). All four of us in one place at one time was amazing! WDS brought them and so many more people that I loved seeing. Plus all the new people I met that live in Portland and around the world. Thanks again Chris for picking my friends and also helping me achieve my third world record.
  6. Volunteered a lot. Two big projects I worked on were for the Brian Grant Foundation and Women Enough.
  7. Took a road trip to Boise.
  8. Got my very own horseshoe on the wall at Pope House Bourbon Lounge. I missed my original quest deadline but made the second one. Just over a year to complete 50 bourbons.
  9. Camping on Mount Hood and checking out Timberline lodge for the first time.
  10. Went to Maui for Thanksgiving (aka Friendsgivemas)! It was great to spend the holidays with good friends and tour the whole island in the process.

Sunset in Maui

It was a quiet year. A year of growth in the valleys. A year of no new countries or states but I did a lot of local exploring. I explored more spots in Oregon, California and Idaho. The good news about local travel is you don’t have jet lag or a 10 hour flight.

What went wrong?

I was supposed to go to Greece for TBEX and some of the surrounding countries but the trip just wasn’t coming together as easy as I wanted it to so I didn’t go at all. Bummer, but I did work and save some money! I was supposed to go to Africa as well but there was a death that derailed the trip, so I opted to postpone. I found out that you can delay your mileage tickets for up to a year. Pretty cool trick I learned this year. Hoping that I won’t have to use it very often, but good to know.

Next year I have to grow more in my business and add some more travel to my list. Starting with my postponed Africa trip…stay tuned for more adventures in 2015 on the blog. You can also follow my 140 character adventures on Twitter and my photo adventures on Instagram.

Wishing you a happy 2015! Cheers.

What’s on my list

13 Oct

Bucket lists, life lists and quests.

What’s the difference with it all? Most life lists and/or bucket lists don’t have dates assigned to them. They are just lists of things that you’d like to do…someday. If you want to assign a date and work toward achieving that item, it moves into the quest category.

Some of the items I’ve checked off my lists:

Run a 5k — Thinking that I would never want to run a half marathon being a short distance runner in high school. I thought I would get back into running and set my sites on a more achievable goal, a 5k. Accomplished it twice! Then, I needed a bigger goal, a 10k! When that was accomplished I moved on to a half marathon.

Skydiving — Went to Vegas for my 27th birthday so I could have a longer free fall than some places near my home. What a thrill! Truly one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life. I highly recommend it.

Danger

Take a three week vacation — I did this when I quit my job. I took the first three week vacation of my adult life and I loved it. I also fell in love with Spain and Belgium.

Take a sailing class — I wanted to ride in a sailboat but what better way to prepare for the next sailing adventure than to take a lesson.

Walk on the Great Wall — One of the wonders of the world! I’ve been on it twice, in two different places.

Attend an NFL game — I love football! I have a few favorite teams so I thought why not go visit a friend in Atlanta and also see one of my teams play while I’m there.

Ride a mechanical bull — I kept trying to do this close to home but I kept missing it, so I found one in Vegas, then again at WDS.

Take a helicopter ride — I gave this as a gift to my husband for our one year anniversary. A paper ticket for both of us to check it off our bucket lists.

Check out both sides of my ancestry — I went to Germany a couple times, once for Octoberfest. I also went to Ireland for Saint Patricks day and a road trip. Both amazing adventures. Beautiful countries!

Become a whiskey club member — Twice! It does take me a while to try 50 whiskies or bourbons but I get there, eventually. And now I have my name on a plaque for Elysian Whiskey Club and a horseshoe with my name on it for completing the bourbon derby. Fun times!

Quit my job and start my own business — Check!

Some items I haven’t checked off my list yet:

Surf lesson — Maybe body boarding was all I needed to do but I still have surfing on my bucket list.

Snowboarding — I’ve been skiing but never on a snowboard. Thought I should try it at least once but I really hate being cold. Brrr…

Hang Gliding lesson — I love flying, what else can I say!

Zorbing — Ever since I heard about this I thought it would be fun to do, just not in a mall, somewhere cool like New Zealand.

African safari — This almost happened in the summer but I had to postpone. Hopefully it’s happening in the near future.

Zip lining — For some reason I want this to be in the jungle.

Grow my business — Continual growth and improvement…always!

Mostly my bucket list contains the United States (all of them) and all those other cool countries around the globe. I’d like to go everywhere but I don’t have a date for it all so it’s not quite a quest. Just a lust for roaming. (33 countries and counting…)

I'm not a fan of selfles so the feet will have to do! The famous PDX carpet!

I’m not a fan of selfles so the feet will have to do! The famous PDX carpet!

Need more on quests and how to start your own. Make sure to check out Chris Guillebeau’s book: The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

Since, I didn’t get any entries to win the book, I’m giving it to the first person that asked to have it. I hope they enjoy the book as much as I did. If you still want to comment on your quests, I’d love to hear about them.

Cheers to your next quest!

Top 30 Portland restaurants

6 Jul

In Portland for the weekend or a week, you are going to need to do some serious eating or tapas hopping as I usually do. Portland is a big foodie city and everyone has their recommendations. We love to eat and we don’t mind waiting in line for it, because it’s just that good. You don’t always have to wait but brunch is kind of a big deal and that’s where the majority of the lines will be. As they say, “young people come here to retire.” They like to sleep in and eat brunch. Brunch is not just breakfast but also lunch. Then the next meal turns into happy hour. Sounds pretty great unless you are like me and love to eat more than two meals a day. Portland also offers a lot of options for vegans, vegetarians and gluten intolerant folks. Everyone can find something to eat in Portland. Plus if you are trying to get points for a dining miles program we have several options to choose from. Some areas, you can do two without going more than 20 feet.

Here’s a guide of my top 30 + (since I’m always adding to the list, I can’t stop…eating!)

Brunch:

Screen Door — excellent southern style cuisine but you will be waiting in line for awhile. Bring your coffee cup! It’s my favorite breakfast spot but they are only open for it on the weekends.

Son of a biscuit — For brunch or dinner, this place has the best fried chicken in town (or at least of places I’ve tried). The perfect juicy meat with crisp outside. Plus, they make it spicy and you get a biscuit to cool the fire burring in your mouth. Or you can just get the biscuit pudding. Melt in your mouth delicious. Pretty cool name too.

Jam on Hawthorne — great people watching on this street at any time they are open. Another spot that you will wait in line if you go on the weekends. But you can have coffee while you wait. The food is great and they have some good drink specials.

Gravy — it’s not just for dinner. Gravy offers gravy for the meat and vegetarian eaters. They also offer non-gravy food options.

Miss Delta — there has never been a wait here for breakfast and I’d say it’s almost as good as the places where you have to wait for an hour or more.

Genie’s Cafe — they have some of the best Eggs Benedict around. It’s not just one way, but several. They also have a bar as do most other brunch places but worth the mention as it’s separate from the breakfast area so you can wait in there and have a drink.

Tasty n Alder or Tasty n Sons — they have some great eats. Try the cumin, maple glazed yams. To die for!

Harlow — my favorite for gluten free and vegetarian options. Nice for people watching as well. They have great community tables if you want to get to know some folks in the neighborhood as well.

Vegan brunch at Harlow @rouxroamer

Happy hour bites and drinks:

Swift Lounge — this place is Portlandia at its best. A great local hang out. At any given time, you can usually see beards, mustaches, flannel, tattoos, skinny jeans and heels. They also serve their drinks in mason jars. Happy hour isn’t just an hour either!

Toro Bravo — great higher end spot for drinks and tapas for happy hour or dinner. Bacon wrapped dates are a highlight.

Cruz Room — this place has great tacos and infused liquors. They also host a fun trivia night.

Circa 33 — when the light is on this place is even better! What does the light mean? Blue means no and red means the Speakeasy is open for business…if you can find out how to get in. Great food and drinks. They even have a covered patio.

The Station — this place is literally an old power station. You can still see the history of the building on the walls. Good food and drink specials too.

East Burn — they have happy hour, crayons, swings and skee ball. Need I say more.

Departure — amazing views of Portland from the 15th floor in downtown. Great happy hour specials on food and drinks. You can also ask for the vegan and gluten free menus. Very accommodating.

Closed indefinitely… Produce Row — they are really well known for their bourbon. In fact they were selected for one of the top 55 places in the U.S.. Try a bourbon and beer pairing. I also highly recommend the fried cauliflower and sriracha sauce. Great, large patio space in the back that’s covered for year round enjoyment.

Swift Lounge @rouxroamer

Drinks:

Sapphire Hotel — this place used to be a brothel. Rich in history and drink names. Great for a romantic evening or a get together with friends.

Secret Society — if you ask for a chalice, they’ll give you one…well sort of. Another great, unique, candlelight space with an excellent bar if you can find where they are. After all, it is a secret, right?

Pope House — they have one of the biggest bourbon collection I know of. Plus, if you try 50, you get a horseshoe on the wall. Not my favorite food menu but it’s pretty decent if you like carbs. Best Bourbon lounge on the west coast!

Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library — if you can get in or have VIP status this is the place to go for whiskey, whisky, rye and bourbon. I think they have everything you can think of. The menu is a book, literally. Also, you can write it off as studying, right? I mean they have the old fashioned green table lamps and desks. Plus, if you order a cocktail they come out and mix it right in front of you on a cart.

Sapphire Hotel @rouxroamer

Ethnic:

Samurai Blue — they have a sushi roll with mango and coconut. I’ve never seen this anywhere else and it’s amazing. Plus they have happy hour and outdoor seating.

Sushi Mazi — they have grasshopper sushi. Apparently it’s one of those foods you have to try before you die. It’s actually pretty good. The rest of the sushi rolls are good too.

Chiang Mai — I’ve been seeking the best Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles) and so far they are on the top of my list.

Nicholas — the naan is almost the size of the table. The sauces and the food are amazing as well.

Mi Mero Mole — great Mexican food without the line at Por Que No. Great happy hour too. Vegan and vegetarian friendly as well as satisfying the meat lovers.

Las Primas — great for lunch or dinner. They have little bites or full plates of delicious food from Peru.

Xico — they have a corn grinder in back so they make all their corn products from scratch. Amazing Mexican food and drinks!

Pok-Pok — world famous for excellent Thai street food and drinking vinegars. Yum! When you are waiting in line you can head over to their sister bar Whiskey Soda Lounge. Great drinks and bites there too.

Las Primas Veggie Plate @rouxroamer

Food carts:

PB&J’s Grilled — I’m not a huge bread fan but I make an exception for this place. It’s the PB&J for grown ups. Not the stuff you had as a kid. It’s better!

Cultured Caveman — if you are Paleo this is the cart for you. Great meat and side options without meat. Plus, they now have a brick and mortar location.

Pizza Box — great wood fired pizza from a cart. It might even be my favorite pizza within city limits!

Dessert:

Ruby Jewel — if you want to skip the line at Salt and Straw try this place. It’s just as good, if not better. Interesting and fun flavors to satisfy your tastebuds.

Lauretta Jeans — fruit pie with booze in it. What more could you ask for? Ok, they have cream pies too, coffee and a bar.

Cupcake Jones — best german chocolate cupcake. That’s my favorite anyway. They offer many other flavors and I’m sure they are all wonderful!

Cupcake Jones delicious cakes @rouxroamer

My favorite restaurant of all time is home. I love my husbands cooking more than anything else but I do enjoy all my Portland food adventures out and about. I’m salivating just thinking of all the places on this list.

2013 in review

16 Feb

Wow! 2014 is underway and already so much is happening.

Let me pause for a moment of review before going any further into this awesome new year…

2013 roundup:

  1. Finished sampling my way into the Elysian Whiskey Club. It took me a few years but I did it!
  2. Ran my first half marathon! Otherwise known as the hilliest, longest run of my life.
  3. Gave up my birthday for charity water and raised over $1,000, surpassing my goal.
  4. Visited my friend in Cambodia…again. This time taking my husband. We also went to Laos, Philippines and South Korea all for the total flight price of $160 for two.
  5. Quit my job of 10 years to pursue my passions and do more things that align with my values.
  6. Took the first three week vacation of my life to rejuvenate my soul and get back to me. I was able to visit London, Madrid, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Oslo, Gothenburg, Brussels, Gent, Brugge, Luxembourg and Amsterdam. It seems like a lot but I am not one to sit around in the hotel room, I am constantly exploring.
  7. Took the first long road trip of my life. I visited family in California then ventured into new territory in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (more specifically Austin), Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and finished in my home state of Oregon.
  8. Attended the World Domination Summit in Portland. Another great year of meeting people and reconnecting with those I met the year before.
  9. Moved. Gave up my small city for the big city. No regrets!
  10. Began focusing on my own business.
  11. Framed and displayed my own photography. It’s been years since I’ve had anything in a show.
  12. Started an Etsy store to continue selling my framed photos and prints when they are not hanging in a show.
  13. Came in third in my fantasy football league.
  14. Went to my first NFL game. Go Seahawks!
  15. Rode a mechanical bull, twice! I don’t know why this was on my bucket list but it was.

This was a year to refocus and I think I did a pretty good job of that. I wanted to let go of some things and people that just weren’t me anymore. I wanted to turn in and find out more about what makes me tick and follow those passions. I’m still working on that but I think I took some huge leaps and so far I don’t have any regrets. I just have a lot more room to grow.

Thanks so much to the World Domination Summit and Chris Guillibeau for helping me take one of the scariest leaps in 2013. If it wasn’t for the End of the World party in Oslo and knowing my work wouldn’t let me go, I may have convinced myself once again that I could put my desires on hold.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. —Douglas Adams

My themes for 2014: Prosperity and Collaboration.

Cheers to a great year and an even better one ahead!

 Jump!

Foodie

9 Sep

I love food! I want to share some of my favorites from my last three months in Portland. As any big city, eating and drinking adventures are a must… at least for a foodie like me.

Dishcrawl is a fun, social way to find four new restaurants or revisit some that you may have been to before in one night with 20 or so new friends. Of my two events I loved Cafe Nell. Great service with delicious seafood and sauce pairings. I also enjoyed Peruvian food at Las Primas and Ethiopian just down the way in a non descript building. They offered an excellent veggie beet wrap.

Another fun way to discover new places is join a meet up group or five. They meet all around town at places I may not have discovered on my own. It satisfies my social and food adventure needs. I’ve met some really great people and discovered some hidden restaurant gems. Don’t judge a book by its cover. At least read a page first.

I’ve enjoyed Produce Row and Pope House, the two Bourbon places mentioned in an article of the top 55 places to drink Bourbon in the U.S.. Besides the Bourbon they both have pretty great food. Fried cauliflower with red rooster sauce at Produce Row…I’m drooling. Not on the list but also with an extensive whiskey collection, Circa 33.

I can’t write about Portland food without mentioning the food carts. There are so many pods around the city. PB&J grill gives an excellent twist on those childhood favorites. A little sweet and a little spicy. Cultured Caveman has excellent tasting paleo food and it’s not all meat, they have veggie options too.

I’m still on the hunt for the best Pad See Ew. So far Chiang Mai is winning, but I have many more places to try. Did I mention this is a city for foodies?

Brunch! Such a Portland thing to do on the weekends (or any day, really) and breakfast has always been one of the top three favorite meals of the day. It’s no wonder that I have a long list of favorites: Screen Door, Gravy, Pine State Biscuits, Tasty and Sons and Jam on Hawthorne.

I’ve even tried sushi with a cricket on it. Sushi Mazi says it’s one of the 101 things to eat before you die so of course I had to try it. And why not, have two! It’s just that good. Now to find out what’s on the rest of the list…

I think I could eat somewhere new every night this year and not run out. If only budget would allow. And there’s only so much running I can do in a day to make up for all those calories.

Here’s some instagram pictures to capture the goodness of all this great Portland fare. Cheers to the next great meal. Because they are all great in some way!

Cumin Maple Glazed Yams

Cafe Nell bites

Bourbon!

Scramble at Jam

Follow my picture adventures @rouxroamer

2012

31 Dec

Highlights from this year (in no particular order):

  1. Running my first 5 mile race on a beautiful Florida key.
  2. Running my first 10k in less time than I expected.
  3. Visiting Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado and Arizona for the first time.
  4. Visiting the #1 beach in the US with a good friend and some red wine.
  5. Going to many bourbon/whiskey distilleries: 4 spirits, House Spirits, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace, Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Heaven Hill, Canadian Club.
  6. Going to my third province in Canada: Ontario.
  7. Attending the World Domination Summit in Portland. And meeting Chris Guillibeau among other greats!
  8. Going to Bali, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Ayutthaya.
  9. Visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time and walking on the sky walk.
  10. Visiting Hawaii in the winter to catch up with a childhood friend.
  11. Putting personal hygiene aside and doing two mud runs: Dirty Dash and the hellish Warrior Dash.
  12. Finally submitting my children’s book idea to Chronicle. Hoping for the best…
  13. Having straight teeth for the first time in my life. Why did I resist for so long?!
  14. Went sailing for the first time.
  15. Saw my first Frank Lloyd Wright house: The Gordon House in Salem, OR.

What a year! I didn’t achieve all my goals but I checked off many bucket list items. Looking forward to doing more things I’m passionate about in 2013 and letting go of some of the things that are holding me back.

I hope to find more great opportunities for adventure and growth. Now, time to get serious and make a plan.

Cheers to a great year and an even better one next year!

Bourbon

28 Sep Jim Beam Distillery

What better way to spend your anniversary than tasting your way through Kentucky and the Bourbon trail?!

My least favorite part of the trip started and ended in the Knoxville airport. Upon arrival we were locked in with no one in sight as the airport was shut down for the evening. Fifteen minutes later a security guard comes to the rescue to force open the broken rotating door. Fast forward 5 days later and I was harassed about the liquids in my bag and the fact that I went to Kentucky. I’ve never had this much trouble going through security and being threatened to have my “legal” liquids taken away because I didn’t put them in the bin.

Now, that we have the bad out of the way let’s focus on the good. The Bourbon trail consists of six distilleries and 70 miles of driving. The first day we made it to Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey and Four Roses. We even added Buffalo Trace which wasn’t on the trail but equally exciting. Did you know Buffalo Trace makes organic Vodka? Also, you should plan for a ghost tour of the distillery at night. I found out too late to plan for it. You can also do a more in depth behind the scenes tour at a lot of the distilleries if you book ahead of time.

Day 2 consisted of Maker’s Mark, Heaven Hill and Jim Beam. I had not even heard of Heaven Hill before looking into the trail and I certainly didn’t know how many products come out of their distillery. What a fun leaning adventure we had on the trail. It was great driving around the countryside of Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s beautiful, very green with rolling hills and tons of trees.

In Tennessee we found a couple wonderful restaurants. Nashville even felt a little like home with Portland Brew coffee. The service even reminded us of some places in Portland. Calypso Cafe served up some great carribean bbq and cornbread. And Jeni’s ice cream is amazing! It’s what every dairy eating adult should eat for dessert. I mean, who doesn’t like pad thai, avocado or spicy chocolate ice cream?! In the pouring rain we discovered the Sunpot in Knoxville. It was just that! Great service, food and presentation! We couldn’t have asked for a better escape from the rain.

When in Kentucky you must visit the bourbon trail. If you dont like bourbon it’s still very fun and historic! If you do love bourbon, like I do, you’ll like it even more!

Our visit to Tennessee was not complete without enjoying the music scene, Parthenon, Opryland hotel, waffle house and the naked people statute. Yes, you heard that right. Go ahead and google it.

Looking forward to my next sunny destinations even if I’ve already been there. I enjoy sunny escapes from the Oregon grey, not to be confused with Christian Grey.

19 states and counting…

Cheers!

WTbarrelroomSM