Stop In: Milwaukie Cafe and Bottle Shop

Milwaukie Cafe Bottle ShopThe central Ardenwald Neighborhood once again has a coffee shop! Milwaukie Cafe and Bottle Shop, the Italian-inspired cafe opened on Monday for business on the corner of SE 32nd Ave. and SE Olsen St. I visited the cafe Monday night as part of the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association meeting and was treated to peanut butter cookies, a lemon bar, some red wine, and some toasted sourdough appetizer (sorry, I was a bit focused on the meeting duties at the time to gather all the details). I met the owners, Shea Pirtle and Chauncey Roach.

This morning I treated myself to a sausage, egg, cheddar cheese on sourdough toast breakfast sandwich and a mocha. It was magnificently delicious.Their menu has a limited selection of breakfast and Italian lunch and dinner items. They also serve wine, craft beer, and tap beer, an essential in my book.

Milwaukie Cafe Bottle ShopThe atmosphere was very open and relaxing with cool and neutral colors illuminated with a mix of natural, halogen, and antique incandescent lamps and minimal art on the walls. The cafe is set up for adult enjoyment, however, there are some toys and activities in a small corner for children to enjoy. The exterior’s mural originally created for Liz’s Creative Cafe was updated by the original artist, Jerry Schmidt, with the new name and some art modifications to reflect the new business (I saw him update the art one day).

Milwaukie Cafe and Bottle Shop is, I believe a welcoming treat for our neighborhood. I’m happy that they are here and I hope to make many more visits. They are open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and accept cash or debit/credit cards.

Veritable Quandary

I have a thing for quaint historical little buildings. Veritable Quandary is one such building. The early 1900’s-built brick-and-mortar shoebox-like building snugs up on the Jefferson Station Building on the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. The exterior is beautiful and the interior is just amazing. The bar, the dining room with the “glass wall,” the wine cellar, and the patio with gorgeous plants makes VQ so charming.

The burger with white cheddar cheese, lettuce, pickled veggies, and hand-cut fries was prepared to my satisfaction and it was delicious. The meal was moderately priced, $17 not counting the tip. The service from the wait staff was stellar.

I definitely would return.

Sadly, time is running out for VQ. VQ is closing September 30, 2016. Business was supposedly doing well, but the owner had sold his building to Multnomah County. Multnomah County is building a new 18-story courthouse on the adjacent site. Multnomah County says the restaurant will be “taken down.”

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GarbageGarbage brought a fine performance Sunday night at the packed Roseland Theater in Portland. Very well done tonight. I’m very happy and it was well worth every penny to see the concert. Singer Shirley Manson has some disapproving comment about Donald Trump early in the show.

The opener band, Cigarettes After Sex, performed very well with their slow lounge-singing style. The tempo was a bit slow for my liking, though.

Chik-fil-A Tenders and Waffle Fries Noms

Chik-fil-aEver since Oregon’s first Chik-fil-A opened on March 31, 2016, I have wanted to stop in for a bite. The only thing stopping me from going in around grand opening time was the line of cars and people trying to stop in for a bite. The restaurant sits on the corner of NW 185th Ave. and the U.S. 26 eastbound on-ramp at the former Newport Bay Restaurant site. Cars snaked from the drive-thru window, wrapped past Umpqua Bank, then south along Target and onto Evergreen Parkway, sometimes blocking NW 185th Ave. northbound traffic. I never understood why this place was a big deal for so many people.

Today, the drive-thru queue is much smaller. The restaurant tonight was a little busy, but with a short queue. A few empty parking spaces remained in the lot. I had to wait about two minutes in the queue before being helped.

My meal tonight: a three-piece chicken tender with garlic herb ranch sauce, waffle fries, and a medium Diet Coke. The service was fast. The food arrived as I was sitting down after grabbing some napkins and a straw.

The chicken tender was prepared perfectly. It was not super crispy to bust my teeth or soggy. It was quite delicious.The tenders were comparable to the tenders at another locally-owned fast-food chain in the Portland area. The waffle fries were prepared perfectly with right amount of crisp. I chomped down on other chicken tenders that were overly crispy like chomping down on a Jaw Breaker. The meal combo base price for the three-piece is about $7.

Chik-fil-A in Beaverton is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. They are closed Sundays. There is another location in Clackamas at Sunnyside Drive near I-205.

Museum of Flight: The New Aviation Pavilion

I have posted photos from the Museum of Flight before here. On a return trip today, I turned much of my interest to the new Aviation Pavilion that opened in June.

The Museum of Flight new Aviation Pavilion in Seattle features fifteen aircraft, ranging from World War II era bombers Boeing B-17 and B-29 to the latest Boeing aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner. Other aircrafts in the galley include the prototype Boeing 747 and Boeing 737, and the retired Concorde. The Boeing 747 and 787, and the Concorde are open for tours. Unfortunately, the Boeing 747 upper deck is now closed off.

The Boeing 707 “Air Force One,” the Boeing 247D and the first Boeing 727 remain on the apron across East Marginal Way. According to Museum of Flight, these aircrafts will likely be moved in during fall of 2016.

As for visitor becoming hungry during the tour, a second cafe has been added at the pavilion in addition to the Wings Cafe in the main museum.

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Providence Bridge Pedal 2016

Providence Bridge Pedal 2016It was a glorious 24-mile bicycle ride over eight bridges in the 2016 Providence Bridge Pedal on Sunday, August 14.  The morning sun was shining and the air temperature was comfortable. This year’s event didn’t seem crowded and proven that the event wasn’t sold out when I registered online the night before.

The 8-Bridge ride takes riders over the Hawthorne, Ross Island, Marquam, Burnside, Broadway, Fremont, St. Johns, and Steel bridges. Sellwood and Morrison bridges are on the 10-Bridge. Most bridges except Marquam and Fremont are open to bicycles and pedestrians daily. 8-Bridge riders can unofficially cross the Morrison Bridge at the finish line.

TriMet did not allow the Tilikum Crossing to participate this year’s Bridge Pedal like they did in 2015 prior to the Orange Line MAX opening. The bridge is open for bicycle and pedestrian use all year.

This year also marks the inaugural ride over the new Sellwood Bridge span that opened up in March. The old 1925 span is now gone.

My only complaint is the carpet over the steel grating on the Hawthorne Bridge. The carpet would curl and bunch, sometimes making handling my bicycle more difficult. This practice started with the 2015 Bridge Pedal, replacing the plywood used in previous years.

Baldwin Saloon

Baldwin SaloonSometimes, I like to travel back into the past. Baldwin Saloon in The Dalles, Oregon, is one of those places where you do feel like you went back into the past. The 1870’s-built brick building I see standing aside from I-84 had me curious. Baldwin’s website tells the history of this saloon, dating back to 1876 with its founders James and John Baldwin.

Today, pasta, seafood, sandwiches, and burgers are served along with a good selection of wine, beer, and liquor. I ordered the 1/3-pound burger with cheddar cheese and fries. The burger was well prepared and satisfying, and the fries were very decent and not salty.

Baldwin Saloon

The price range is around the $10-20 per person, but the food and atmosphere were well worth the visit. Baldwin Saloon is open Monday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (closed Sundays).

The Last Breakfast at Liz’s

In 2014, Liz Martin bought the former Milwaukie Grind coffee shop. The little coffee shop opened in August 2014 as Liz’s Creative Café. Today, July 31, 2016, the little coffee shop has closed for good instead of a passing of the torch.

Sunday morning, I headed to Liz’s Creative Cafe for one last breakfast and mocha. I live a few blocks from Liz’s, so it’s a short and easy walk.

I ordered my favorite breakfast: the egg and sausage breakfast burrito with cheese and onions, and sour cream and salsa on the side on a plate. I also ordered a 12-ounce mocha with whipped cream, which was served in a Tiki-style ceramic coffee mug.

I sat at the counter at the window, facing SE 32nd Ave. and Eric’s Market, also known by long time locals as Low Beer Open.

To the left of the window, small drawings by many artists are tacked to the wall. One drawing, a blue and bronze anthropomorphic wolf slurping coffee, with the signature by Shutterwolf and the date “7/3/16,” tacked at the bottom right was prominently in my face. Another drawing, a head sketch of a dog with “Dolly waiting in the car” and no name or signature hung at the bottom left. The Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive” blasted through the café’s stereo.

While eating my burrito, I reflected on all the visits for breakfast and mochas, and sometimes the cherry Italian sodas with cream and whipped cream. I became misty-eyed. Quickly, I finished my breakfast and mocha.

No sketch pads were available, so I drew my empty plate and mocha on a white napkin, with “Thank You, Liz’s. I will miss you. Bryan Dorr, 7/31.”

There is no hurry to leave. I might try to take some last-time photographs of the cafe. One photograph I shot was the calendar board, showing the events of July, and the calendar board on the right had scrawled, “Closing July 31. We will miss you. Thank you for everything.”

It was time for me to leave. I waved, but I could hardly say “thank you.” I was a little choked up.

The woman clerk waved back, “Thank you for your patronage.”

I replied in a broken choking voice, “Thank you and wish you best of luck,” then turning to another employee and telling her “thank you.”

I opened the door, stepped out, then closed the door behind me.

Liz’s Creative Café will be missed.

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Liz’s Creative Cafe is Closing at End of July

Well, this is a real bummer. My local coffee shop has announced they will be closing at the end of the month.

Liz’s Creative Cafe in the heart of Ardenwald neighborhood in Milwaukie, announced their final day in business is July 31, 2016, after two years in operation.

Inside the old yellow and brown building on the corner of SE 32nd Ave. and SE Olsen St., coffee and delicious foods were served. Hand-crafted art pieces hung from the wall. One half of the room was for sitting, reading, or working on art. The other half of the room was a toddler play area. The cafe catered to both artists and children.

A mural on the north exterior, recently completed earlier this week, depicts the active social life inside the cafe.

I personally enjoyed Liz’s food and coffee. The artwork makes the atmosphere more enjoyable. Offering wine and beer is a bonus. I found it almost therapeutic doodling or typing away while sipping on a mocha, assuming the children in the play area are quiet and well-behaved.

Thank you for all you have done, Liz. I certainly will miss you.