For the chefs and mixologists at Pink Rose, inspiration is all around. Regional ingredients dominate the menu, which features Carlton Farms pork, Painted Hills beef, Draper Valley chicken, Tillamook cheddar, and Rogue Creamery blue and swiss cheeses alongside other local delicacies. These lend freshness and local character to comforting dishes such as buttermilk fried chicken served atop a malted waffle, mushrooms stuffed with manchego cheese and house-made beef chorizo, and the Rose Burger: a Painted Hills beef patty loaded with bacon, tobacco onions, and dijon aioli, sandwiched by a Fleur de Lis potato bun.
There's a loungey vibe in Pink Rose's dimly glowing, subterranean dining room. Dangling Edison bulbs act as guide stars in a wood- and mirror-clad space lined with banquets that invite long evenings?although the large street-level patio might have more pull when the weather's good. Bartenders spend their evenings pouring drafts of Oregon and Washington beers and mixing specialty cocktails. The occasional entertainment is as locally sourced as the food, including sets from popular DJs and dramatic readings of the area's municipal codes.
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.
Four nights a week, the notes from live local jazz artists resonate off the high copper ceilings and bronze chandeliers of Wilfs Restaurant & Bar, which has served upscale cuisine within Portland's restored Union Station building since 1975. Head chef Deb Serkoian complements the serenade by crafting seasonal dishes with organic ingredients culled from local and regional farmers, including fresh seafood and meat from sources such as Double 'R' Ranch, Draper Valley, and Carlton Farms. At the bar, mixologists pour classic cocktails and new signature concoctions inspired by the seasons, recalling the annual beauty of a violet bud as it blooms into a glass of cabernet.
The chefs at Branch 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 or tasting flights.
There are plenty of windows throughout Rae’s Lakeview Lounge, but not a single one has views of the lake. That’s because there is no lake. Not anymore, anyway. The shoreline of Guild’s Lake used to run down below where Rae’s stands today, but the flood-prone area was filled in after the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. Though it’s a bit of a misnomer, the lounge's name aligns with Rae’s goal for the business; though it’s newer, it can make guests feel as though it’s been there their whole lives, much like the doll you woke up to staring at you this morning.
The lounge certainly feels like it has an old soul. Inside the rehabbed 1946 building, there are vintage photos on the walls (including one of Guild’s Lake, of course) that evoke a bygone Portland. At the dark bar top, pendant lights glint off an impressive lineup of liquors; sip on a Rae's manhattan or a blackberry cosmo. The food menu has many classic, homestyle dishes— including house-recipe meatloaf and potpie du jour—but it also integrates some finer dining selections such as Dungeness crab cakes and pork tenderloin. Many entrees pair well with the wines, which includes local barrel wines on tap as well as internationals available by the bottle, half-carafe, or glass.