I hope all you Vikings had a delightfully relaxing and fulfilling holiday weekend! I was definitely thankful for the mini-vacation. But I suspect that if, like me, you spent most of Thanksgiving Day in the kitchen, you may have also had a few holiday-stress-induced breakdowns. At my house, we rarely have the dinner table feuds you see on TV – but I was still tearing my hair out over putting together one meal that met everybody’s dietary needs.
You see, in my extended family, we have strict vegans and die-hard carnivores, pescatarians and picky children, diabetics and dieters, as well as a gluten-free baker. Some of us like to try new recipes for the holidays; others are strict Thanksgiving traditionalists. Even when we do it potluck-style, it takes some very careful menu planning to make sure everyone sits down to a satisfying meal.
The week before the holiday, my phone was constantly buzzing with text messages from my mom and my grandma: “How many people are eating meat this year?” “Is chocolate vegan?” “Should we make all the stuffing gluten-free?” “Is anybody bringing veggies???”
Everything worked out perfectly in the end, but it got me thinking about all of the holiday entertaining that’s still to come this season. How do you deal with different diets at your holiday gatherings? Do you make something for everyone, or do you let those vegans and paleo-diet devotees fend for themselves?
If you’re like me, you aren’t old enough to experience the night life of Portland. It seems that everything after-hours requires an ID. So what’s there to do when you’re itching to get out, but you can’t get in to 21+ places? I prefer the following places which have excellent food and foster friendly and relaxing environments.
- Le Bistro Montage: (301 SE Morrison) located underneath the Morrison Bridge on the east side. Once you enter, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself in the dimly lit room with music blasting and shared community tables. And trust me, if you’re craving mac-n-cheese, this is the place to go. Everything they serve is delicious, and they always give away the most creative to-go packages.
- The Roxy: (1121 SW Stark) This 24hr joint has basically everything that you’d crave at 2 or 3am, minus alcohol and ice cream. It’s 15 minutes from campus, and you don’t ever have to worry about a lack of conversation since the interior is decorated with so many pictures of drag queens and the aftermath of the surrounding gay clubs that it’ll be impossible for dead conversation.
- The Hotcake House: (1002 SE Powell) Also open 24hr, and as you may have guessed, they serve pancakes here among other breakfast foods and burgers as well. You’ll need a car to get there, but the Journey blasting on the jukebox and the 70s feel is worth it.
- SE Grind: (1223 SE Powell) This is a block away from the Hotcake House. It’s a 24hr internet café featuring a multitude of comfy couches and tables. I find it a great place for those all-nighters. You can get your constant fill of coffee, tea, or kombucha and stay as long as you need to finish research papers.
- Rimsky Korsakoffee: (707 SE 12th) This coffeehouse isn’t open too late during the week, but it’s open until 1 am on weekends. It’s an experience. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that there are special characteristics that give Rimsky’s a kind of haunted feel to it. Their food is always especially delectable and sometimes they have live musicians who play the piano or guitar.
There are a few other places, but these have proven to provide an excellent non-21 experience every time I go. What are your favorite places?