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Where to Find the Best Soups in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: January 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Take home a soup-y souvenir with a vintage bowl from Rose City Modern.

Take home a soup-y souvenir with a vintage bowl from Rose City Modern.

On a blustery day, nothing fills the stomach and soul quite like a piping hot bowl of soup. In honor of January’s claim to National Soup Month, we are diving into the greater Portland region’s soup scene. Get a ladle and dip into our soup roundup!

Café Classics & New Creations
When Banks Café says it has fresh soup, it means it. Freshly-cut herbs from the café’s garden prove it. The über crisp ingredients take soup mainstays—like broccoli-cheddar and roasted red pepper—to the next level.

South Store Café is the quintessential lunch spot, offering daily soup specials. One favorite is the chicken and artichoke, which offers familiar flavors in a new and tasty way.

Old Deli Style
East Coasters revel in the Jewish deli standards at Sherwood’s Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery. Of course, no Jewish Deli would be complete without a piping hot bowl of chicken soup with a fluffy matzo ball plopped in it.

Asian Spice
Portlanders are known to break-away from their urban streets for Beaverton’s authentic Korean food. The Oregonian even dubbed Nak Won as the best spot for kalguksu, with knife-cut noodles floating delicately alongside thin ribbons of zucchini and tofu. For a truly special dish, the Duk Man Doo Gook cooks dumplings to perfection in savory broth.

Got a cold? Pho will kick it. Vivi’s Vietnamese Noodle House simmers fresh beef bones, ginger, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon into a replenishing broth. Vegetarians can enjoy the flavorful tamarind soup.

More is More
Can’t decide which soup to have first? Start with a three cup sampler at Fresh Thyme Soup Company. The soup shop has old-time favorite, as well as specialties on rotation: chicken, peaches, and cream; chicken and pear; and mulligatawny topped with raisins and coconut.

Speaking of soul-satisfying food, put gourmand tendencies to a good cause at this weekend’s Meals on Wheels Crab Feed in Beaverton and North Plains. A $35 surf-n-turf meal will go toward millions of nutritious meals in the greater Portland area. Detox from the feast with soup!

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Taprooms and Growler-Fill Stations in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: January 14th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
A super sleek set-up of taps at Portland's new Wine & Growl in

A super sleek set-up of taps at Portland’s new Wine & Growl in

Beer connoisseurs are privy to the thought that draft beer is better than bottled beer. While we’re not knocking bottled beer, there is some science to explain the often superiority of beer from the tap versus the bottle:

  • Kegged beer requires less pasteurization because it’s kept cool throughout its storage. With fewer pasteurization ingredients meddling with a beer’s flavor, draft beer is more aromatic than its bottled counterparts. 
  • Much like wine and other spirits, beer is often negatively affected by light and oxidization. A keg keeps beer in a darker environment with less air, resulting in suds that tastes exactly as the brewmaster intended.
  • The spout of a tap or keg has better aerodynamics for pouring that delicious, carefully rationed foam.

Now that we’ve sold you on the merits of beer from the tap, it’s time to plan a beer getaway! Explore the ever-growing list of taprooms and growler-fill stations in the Tualatin Valley. Oregon’s beer crowd is enthusiastically trying locally crafted beers—straight from the tap! Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite places for a pint or growler-fill:

Garden Home Growlers- The beer and cider options rotate on a weekly basis. So, there’s always something new to try.

Growler House- This cozy spot is dedicated to bringing a welcoming watering hole that fits in with the surrounding, adorable small-town vibe.

McNally’s Taproom- It’s Oktoberfest year-round at this German-inspired beer hall, complete with pretzels and frankfurters.

NW Growlers- This taproom stays true to its name with 30 taps of beer from, you guessed it, the great Northwest.

Orenco Taphouse- With easy access via the Orenco MAX station, you can try beer, cider and even wine from one of the 20 rotating taps.

Tapphoria- Experience beer bliss with a tap lineup that will make any beer-lover proud.

The Growlerie- With communal tables and a friendly vibe, grab a tasting flight after a movie at the nearby Cinetopia Theater.

Wine & Growl- A sleek mid-century modern lounge serves up today’s best brews.

Make this bar crawl even better by booking a Brewery Hotel Package!

Warm Up with these Hot Teas in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: January 12th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Teapots for all your new tea at Uwajimaya.

Teapots for all your new tea at Uwajimaya.

The kettle is whistling in the Tualatin Valley! In Oregon, you know that we like our brews, ranging from beer to coffee to even the lesser celebrated tea. For National Hot Tea Month (who comes up with this stuff?), we want to take a moment to simmer on the places that are making our tea game so strong.

Oregon’s Best Home-Brewed Teas
We’re not sure how Stash Tea earned its namesake, but our guess is that it has something to do with the fact that we always have packs of their individual tea bags stashed in corners of our homes, offices and bags. To stock up from more than 250 options of tasty teas, head to the Stash Tea Store.  While so much tea under one roof might seem overwhelming, the Stash team is there to help with tea tastings and tea making equipment. We suggest grabbing a mini milk frother for decadent, yet homemade tea latte!

Traditional Tea Time
Whether it’s a family trip or a girl’s getaway, your visit to the Tualatin Valley deserves a fancy flair. We suggest a reservation for high tea at Tea’s Me for an elegant affair. Here, the premium teas are matched with a rotating themed menu, including the kid-oriented Teddy Bear Tea. The quaint tearoom—with its ornate drapery and table settings—will having you sitting up straight, sticking your pinky finger out and giddy with the scene’s old-school charm.  

Oregon’s Washington County is rich in ethnic diversity, which shows in our food—and tea!—offerings. When it comes to Asian teas, we’re partial to matcha, which is a powdered green tea chockfull of minerals and vitamins. At the esteemed Japanese restaurant, Syun Izakaya, end your meal with some light matcha pudding.

Find multiple matcha options, as well as hundreds of other international teas, at the international store, Uwajimaya. After ogling at the tea aisle, head to the Beard Papa counter for the cult-following cream puffs with matcha filling.

P.S. It’s National Oatmeal Month, too!

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The Life Cycle of an Oregon Hazelnut

Posted on: January 9th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments

We have just reached the end of Oregon’s hazelnut season, which also means that the life cycle of a hazelnut tree has begun again at the hazelnut tree farms of the Tualatin Valley. The Willamette Valley (of which the Tualatin Valley is proudly a part) grows 99% of all of the hazelnuts in not just Oregon, but the United States; so the start of the New Year and the hazelnut life cycle is pretty darn exciting for us. Yup, our beloved perennial shrub has dropped the last of its delicious filberts and it already using Oregon’s temperate and cool weather to prepare for next season.

The four seasons of a hazelnut tree in the Tualatin Valley.

The four seasons of a hazelnut tree in the Tualatin Valley.

The Hazelnut Growers of Oregon has created a mecca for true hazelnut aficionados at Oregon Orchard Hazelnuts. Here, get your hands on a wide variety of hazelnuts with a roast worth a boast, including salty and sweet varieties. Even out of the prime hazelnut season, you can still connect with farmers of your favorite filbert at the Beaverton Farmers Market, which returns with its winter series in February (complete with white chocolate covered hazelnuts at the Ken & June vendor)

Hazelnuts are not only delicious, but healthy, too. While the roasted nut is often used in confectionery delights, it also provides healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Has all this nutty talk gotten you “hangry” for some hazelnuts? Never fear! While waiting for the next crop of filberts to bloom in the spring and summer, you can try one of our hazelnut recipes to hold you over:

Hostess with the Mostess Granola
Nutty Berry Torte
Berry Baked Oatmeal
Chocolate, Cherry & Hazelnut Cookies

P.S. Learn even more about Oregon hazelnuts here.

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The Four B’s of Brand New Bars

Posted on: January 7th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

BBW-polaroidBodacious boozes of beer, brandy and bourbon. Say that three times fast! The letter “B” had a banner year in the Tualatin Valley—specifically in Beaverton and the Bethany area (more B’s! Go figure!). In the tail end of 2014, three great new drinking holes emerged onto the scene. Read on for the scoop on each.

Bethany Public House is part of the growing number of upscale taphouses in Oregon’s Washington County. Of the 25 craft beers on tap, five are the public house’s own brews. Staying true to its northwest roots, the Thinker IPA boasts a variety of hops into one easy-drinking ale. On the other end of the spectrum is the Camel Brown oatmeal porter, flavored with notes of Irish steel cut oats and malted chocolate. Mix and match the craft beer alongside tasty American bites with an Italian twist.

Big Bottom Whiskey isn’t new and it isn’t a bar, but it certainly still deserves a spot in this roundup. The independent bottler of high quality whiskey has been gaining some major fandom from all other the United States. Gear Patrol even named the bottler’s 111-proof bourbon one of the best bourbons not from Kentucky. Visit the tasting room on Saturdays to find out for yourself!

Bootleggers Whiskey Bar’s historical nod to all things booze fits right into its spot in historical downtown Beaverton’s lineup of cozy-cool spots. Taking cues from the 1920s and ’30s prohibition era, the romantic and dark bar serves us old-timey cocktails and an all-star lineup of whiskey, as well as moonshine for good measure.

Brannon’s Pub & Brewery is the newest kid on the block, bringing even more freshly crafted Oregon beer to Beaverton. With nine of its own new brews on hand, you can make a night of trying their inventive takes on IPAs and other styles. Be intrigued and delighted by the Benzonator Black IPA, which infuses strong flavors of pine, lemon and roasted malt into the usually milder IPA. Don’t just come to the pub thirsty, but hungry, too. Pair the great brews with locally sourced grub from the Neapolitan pizza oven. Sports lovers will rejoice with the sheer volume of high quality viewing options here, as well, including individual screens for certain tables.

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What Others Are Saying about the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: January 2nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
See the diversity of things to eat, see and do in the Tualatin Valley.

Enjoy the diversity of things to eat, see and do in the Tualatin Valley.

As much as we love sharing our favorite tips and attractions to the Tualatin Valley, we get giddy when we come across others—visitors, travel writers and locals alike—feeling compelled to share their experiences in Oregon’s Washington County. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite links from the past few months. Happy internet surfing!

Food & Booze

Outdoor Adventures

Explore Our Towns & Farms

  • The writers at Willamette Week are urban-dwellers to the core, but even they can’t resist Beaverton’s charm! They detail their favorite spots for Korean food, espresso ribs, and newt-tastic hikes in the “Happy Beaverton Day” article.
  • The blog Urban Fringe Living celebrates the corners of the world—like the Tualatin Valley—that are the crux between urban and country living. We love the photo essay of Smith Berry Barn!

If you come across some great writing about the Tualatin Valley (or if you’ve written your own!), then we want to hear about it! Share a link to the content in the comments section.

Post-Holiday Detox

Posted on: December 31st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

holiday detox collage
Confession: I ate a five day old Christmas cookie for breakfast. Like so many of us, I’m going to keep munching on sweet treats and sipping bubbly until the clock strikes midnight. Even if eating healthy isn’t part of your 2015 agenda, you might at least be ready for a break for all the decadent holiday spreads. See below for tips on a post-holiday detox in the Tualatin Valley; but it’s really more a refuel. You won’t be deprived of anything—simply replacing the junk with the utterly good.

Joyous Juice
La Vida Veggie has got some Life Force, literally, as that’s the name of their favorite made-to-order juice. The blend includes orange, kale, cucumber and celery. This Latin-inspired vegetarian spot also has chewable menu items, as well, like the savory walnut meat tacos or “kale obsession” salad. Hey, the restaurant’s motto isn’t “peace, love and kale” for nothing!

Voracious Vegan
Sweet Lemon Vegan Bistro was founded by lifelong vegans ready to share their love of healthy fusion cuisine at this Bethany area restaurant. Think wholesome soups packed with nutrient-rich vegetables and ultra-satisfying noodle dishes.

Magnificent Massage
If you ask us, a massage is a crucial part of any “detox.” Visit Ruby’s Spa at the McMenamins Grand Lodge for a massage and allow your body to release all the tension from the previous year, followed by a dip in the mineral soaking pool. You’ll feel like a new person for the New Year. Of course, there are a plethora of other spa options in the Tualatin Valley to choose from, as well.

Welcome Well-being
RoseSpring Center for the Healing Arts thinks big picture when it comes to physical and mental health, relaxation and general well-being. The holistic care practitioners can guide you through a rejuvenating day of massages, dance and even energy healing!

P.S. Take a look at our New Year’s resolutions you can keep.

The Naughty or Nice Guide to the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

naughty nice collage

It’s a little late to change your status on Santa’s “Naughty and Nice List.” As you travel to the Tualatin Valley in the New Year, however, your adventures can fall in either the naughty or nice camp. Truthfully, we don’t care either way because your getaway should be as healthy or gluttonous as you’d like! Below, find our own Naughty and Nice List:



Eat Syun Izakaya offers premier sushi and Japanese fare to those who appreciate creative, clean tastes. Not only is the food outstanding, but the heavy dose of Omega-3 makes it healthy, too. Cruise In Country Diner has all the classics you love in an old school setting: burgers, fries and shakes. Though—gotcha!—this spot isn’t all naughty with its focus on organic ingredients and healthy oils.

Stash Tea has a flagship store filled with hundreds of delightful tea options. It’s near impossible to go overboard with tea and its health benefits put it firmly on the “Nice List.”


Bootleggers Whiskey Bar will have you feeling like a rule-breaker with its prohibition themed cocktails and décor. Feel like a bad boy as you order moonshine to sip in a dark, romantic corner.

Be Merry ME SPA will melt stress away with its premium spa services. The spa is conveniently located in Bridgeport Village, making time for both pampering and tax-free shopping. Glowing Greens is a 3-D miniature golf course with neon extraterrestrials lurking around every hole. The alien vibe will have you feeling like you’re in a scene of MIB. Don’t worry, we’re pretty sure the aliens don’t bite.

Wine, wine and more wine! Why not when you can be nice to your wallet and skip hefty baggage fees with the “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion from Alaska Air?


Cabela’s has all those outdoor toys that you really want, but also really do not need. Go ahead—be bad—and get that sporty gadget from a leading outdoor retailer (tax-free, too!).

We wanted to include places to sleep in our Naughty and Nice list, but all of our hotels truly make the Nice List. So, book a hot deal for a luxurious getaway.


New Year’s Eve Itinerary

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year's Eve dancing.

The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year’s Eve dancing.

Let the countdown begin—we’re mere days away from saying hello to 2015. With all the holiday hullabaloo going on, it’s easy to let New Year’s Eve plans fall through the cracks. But not this year, friends! We’ve taken the busy work out of the equation—you can simply use our New Year’s itinerary for a sure-fire good time and good New Year.

First, check into a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge or one of our other standout hotel options. Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time!

Afternoon Bubbly Excursion
Before the sun sets, hop in the car to search for some sparkling wine to pop open come midnight. Though, you won’t have to search very hard—simply head to Shafer Vineyard Cellars for the Shafer Cuveé. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the winery produces its sparkling wine in the traditional French champagne method, Methode Champenoise. Very classy, indeed.

Dinner: Small Plates on a Big Night
We’re looking into your future—near future that is—and we see dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. So make dinner light, yet delicious at small plates at 1910 Main. As the name would suggest, you and your dinner companions can share delicious morsels of creative cuisine. It’s a celebratory meal that doesn’t require a post-feast nap!

Party Time!
Back at the McMenamins Grand Lodge, a night of good music and revelry will kick off at 9 p.m. with  New Year’s Eve at the Grand Lodge. Boogie to live music from three different bands. Choose from Americana, rock or Motown beats.

Welcome to 2015!
Start the year off on the right foot, literally, with the ranger-led America’s State Parks First Day Hike at beautiful Stub Stewart State Park. Here, you’ll find fresh air and a fresh perspective.

Now that you’ve properly worked up an appetite from your hike, chow down at the Ironwork Grill. Using seasonal ingredients from local growers, your meal will fill you with meaningful sustenance for the first day of the New Year.

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Holiday Wine Pairings

Posted on: December 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

The holidays are all about excess. And hey—we’re not complaining. With all the decadent cheese plates, buffet spreads, and candy-cane treats, you’re going to need a plethora of drinking options to pair with the best holiday grub. Below, see our suggested beer, wine and cider pairings for each course of your most extravagant holiday meal.

During this time of year, the appetizer course can linger for hours as something delicious slowly roasts in the oven. So drink something smooth, easy and of which you can have a few. Enter, Two Kilts Brewing Company’s Belgian Brune. The Oregon craft brew taste good with just about anything (especially stinky cheeses) and it’s hard to tire of it.

Additionally, amp up your bread and olive oil game by adding Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ 12-year barrel-aged balsamic vinegar to the mix. The vinegar is made from the winery’s organic and biodynamic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and, point blank, it’s fantastic.

Cin! Cin! Cheers to family and the coming new year with Kramer Vineyards’ 2013 Celebrate Müller-Thurgau. The tropical notes of hibiscus, banana and kiwi will bring a little summer pep into your winter grumbles. Kramer Vineyard’s Celebrate Rosé of Pinot Noir is a cheery choice, too.

Main Course
Let’s switch it up this year. Why not try cider with your honey baked ham? A nice, crisp one like Bull Run Cider’s Powerhouse Dry Cider can also be used in the cooking liquid for a truly tasty dish.

We recently re-discovered the greatness of port after dinner. The rich digestif is the perfect send-off to a great meal. Try one of David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s two delicious ports. Sweet lovers sip on the 2008 Estate Muscat Port, while those who prefer a bit more spice will enjoy the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir Port.

Next Day Brunch
After a night of merriment via food and booze, you may need a little hair of the dog in the morning. For a great Bellini, mix a bit of bubbly Provincial Vineyards 2013 Estate Nova Sparkling Pinot Gris with peach purée.

Happy holidays! Drink well and responsibly during this festive season. Cheers!

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