A flood of Portland entries for BRINKguide this week has got me very pumped! Our four new editors are uncovering so many great places, so I decided I’d give you a sneak peek into their entries with a Valentine’s date.
This week, we are planning a night out for Portlanders with the edge you’ll need to impress a lucky someone on Feb. 14th. Grab your umbrella and follow these instructions.
FIRST, HEAD TO>>>
Sammy’s Floral Shop/2280 NW Gilsan St./sammysflowers.com
Portlanders might be a bit scruffy but your date would still be pleased with a bouquet, terrarium or single rose from the local farmers market. They do custom stuff and they have a quick turn-around but check into it now, Valentine’s Day is obviously a busy time for the shop given the title “Best Florist in Portland” from multiple magazines.
Sweets Etc./7828 SW Capitol Hwy/sweetsetc.com
If your date is more keen on something edible, Sweets Etc. will have any sweet you need. They really have a lot of unique treats from around the world. Our editor recommends the fresh fudge or chocolate dipped cheesecake but show your sweetheart you really get him/her and slyly pry their favorite kind of delicacy out of them before heading in. If Sweets Etc. doesn’t have something, the employees will know where you can find it.
TO START OFF THE AFTERNOON>>>
Glowing Greens Miniature Golf/509 SW Taylor Street/glowinggreens.com
If you and your date are adventurous (and it isn’t too crappy outside) head to this pirate-themed indoor 3D black light miniature golf course. The course itself is a little “rinky dink”, but the decor and overall wackiness is charming. And it captures the city of Portland, which tends to lean a little towards a laid-back eccentricity.
THEN FOR DINNER>>>
Toro Bravo/120 NE Russell Street/torobravopdx.com
This is on one editor’s “short list of the city’s finest restaurant’s” so it’ll be fitting for a special night out. Foodie’s praise the tapas-style dishes especially, the brussel sprouts with bacon sherry cream, pork and almond empanadas and signature Paella Toro. The wine list is huge and the cocktails are creative (and great), so it is a good first stop to unwind after some mini-golf and get the rest of the night started. Get out of their by 7:30pm so you can make it to this next bit in time.
CATCH THE ROMANTIC FLICK WILD AT HEART>>>
The Bagdad Theater/3702 SE Hawthorne/mcmenamins.com/219-bagdad-theater-pub-home
Who doesn’t love watching a young Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern in the off-kilter romantic movie Wild at Heart. And you can see the 35mm David Lynch cult classic in the perfect venue this Valentine’s day starting at 8:30pm. Tickets are only five bucks, so if you spent too much at dinner, rest assured you can impress your date for a lot less. The Bagdad Theater has been a Portland landmark since 1927, its Vaudeville days have passed, but it is still one of the best spots in town to take in a show and you can drink a delicious IPA or a cocktail from the full bar while you do it.
AFTERWARDS FOR DRINKS>>>
Silk by Pho Van/1012 NW Glisan/phovanrestaurant.com
You certainly could have chose this for your dinner spot, the authentic Vietnamese cuisine is modern and unique, but we are more keen on their upscale bar. It is appropriately elegant for Valentine’s Day and infused with a bit of exoticism to make the night not so run-of-the-mill. That’s why it’s a great spot for an after-the-movie sip. Try the Thai Chili-infused Tuk Tuk martini to get the full experience of the place.
IF YOU’RE STILL GOING >>>
Aalto Lounge/3356 SE Belmont St./aaltolounge.com
This bar masters the hip bar triumvirate: a well-priced and interesting drink selection, hilarious bartenders and a colorful environment. If you prefer to enjoy your date in a quiet space, take your libations to the couches near the front of the bar. But the back patio is great to socialize and smoke, if you care for that sort of thing.
AND THE NEXT MORNING>>>
Gold Rush Coffee Bar/2601 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd/goldrushcoffeebar.wordpress.com
Whether the night went so great that you spent the night together or you dropped them at their door with a smooch, it’s not a bad idea for you to enjoy some more time with your Valentine’s day over a really great cup of coffee. You could almost walk across Portland on the roofs of coffee shops – they are everywhere. But Gold Rush sticks out because in addition to their good brew, they have friendly, long-time employees (low turnover is always a clue to a great place), Wild West decor and stellar breakfast options (they are inexpensive AND tasty, novel).