The chefs at Branch Whiskey Bar make everything from scratch—including butchering their own steak, curing their own bacon, and smoking their own poultry—to put their distinctive stamp on traditional dishes. Classic comfort foods take on inventive transformations to result in such unusual plates as Maine lobster dumplings and macaroni 'n' cheese gratin with Oregon black-truffle oil. On their side of the establishment, the bartenders take the same artisanal approach by infusing their bourbon with fresh local fruit and concocting their own whiskey liqueurs. The full bar features an extensive whiskey list with more than 150 whiskeys from around the world available in single glasses, tasting flights, or directly from Sam Elliot’s mustache.
When Jeremy Brown's wife was expecting her second child, the couple realized their small house wasn't going to fit a family of four. Upon moving to a 5-acre fixer upper outside Battle Ground, the pair raised their kids as Jeremy nurtured another project: using those acres to create his own winery.
Since starting with his quaint, Tuscan-inspired tasting room, Jeremy has expanded his grounds to include several large patios and a wood-fired oven in the kitchen, where chefs prepare pizzas and small plates. Live musicians grace Rusty Grape Vineyard's stage Wednesday–Saturday, adding soothing tunes that complement the tasting room's draft beers and rotating selection of wine by the glass and bottle. Available pours might include a 2011 riesling or a complex red wine whose hints of cranberry give way to an oatmeal-cookie finish.
Recently lauded by the Portland Mercury, Record Room invites the vinyl-obsessed and tape-enthused to lounge in its store and peruse the eclectic selection of new and used records and cassettes. Music-lovers can be paired with their favorite efficient producers of eight notes, such as Super Wild Horses, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Mars, Nathaniel Merriweather, and more. Prices range from $1 for used vinyl to $50 for special collectible records, with most records falling into the $10–$20 range, unless they’re signed by all four members of Jimmy Carter’s famed prog-Viking-metal band. Melody mavens can take spins at different listening stations and email poetic music reviews via Record Room's free WiFi.
The cozy interior of the lounge provides an inviting backdrop for tossing back classics and discovering new favorites. Peruse the creative menu, or ask a friendly bartender for a suggestion that suits the mood. Soothe a sore throat by gargling an Ambassador—a boozy blend of absinthe, St. Germain, grapefruit bitters, and soda with grapefruit ($9)—or quench a dry mouth with a Corpse Reviver ($7.50), featuring brandy, Menta Branca, Fernet Branca, anise tincture, and a lemon twist. Those who would say something like "Give it to me straight, doc" can slam back The Local ($4), an unadulterated sip of Olympia beer plus a shot of house whiskey. Soak up potency with clever eats that include grilled flatbread sandwiches ($7–$9); spiced nuts ($2); and a green-apple, roasted-garlic, queso-fresco, and blue-cheese pizzeta ($6), among others.
Seeking a home for her one-of-a-kind mixed drinks—including lollipop-rimmed martinis—nationally recognized mixologist Lucy opened Mint restaurant in the spring of 2001. Her acclaimed cocktails’ popularity grew so quickly that in 2003, she opened an adjacent lounge where patrons could focus on drinks such as avocado daiquiris and jalapeño-and-pineapple margaritas. Along with its selection of 40 signature cocktails, the bistro has been luring patrons in with chef Brian McElmeel’s Pan-American-style dishes, which are composed predominantly of local and organic ingredients and influences from the Pacific Northwest, Mediterranean, and Latin America.
Gather Food & Drink boasts the bounty of the seasons with dishes that incorporate fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Eyeball the northwest-inspired seasonal menu items specifically engineered to cool down tepid summer tongues. Lunchmongers can begin with the basil-infused tomato bisque ($4 for a cup, $6 for a bowl), and those with a penchant for pork can bury their incisors into the porter barbecue-pulled-pork sandwich topped with Mt. Townsend jack cheese ($11). Dinner diners can sink a line into the seared halibut served with a potato cake and a hearty lobster-and-shellfish bouillabaisse ($21), and communal eaters can opt for several shareable small plates, which can also be prepared as larger, entree-sized portions. Dabble in the smoked-bacon-enveloped dates served with blue cheese au gratin ($12 for a small plate, $22 for a large plate) or the grilled asparagus injected with truffle oil to ward off ol' timey bouts of chlorophyll lip ($9 for a small plate, $16 for a large plate).