Posts Tagged ‘eugene’

Sports Power Weekend Destination: Portland

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

March 25-27 Friday
  • Spurs at Trail Blazers

A Rose Garden by any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

For the weekend of March 25-27 we are headed out west to Portland, Oregon to spend some time in what is fast becoming a top food and art destination in the United States.  “Oregonians have long known the pleasures of their favorite city, but as word spreads of Portland’s innovative restaurants and flourishing arts scene, the rest of the world is moving in,” says Tara Bahrampour of Travel+Leisure.  To go along with it’s budding food and arts scene Portland – considered one of the “greenest” cities in the country – also is home to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the brand new MLS team the Portland Timbers.


  • Le Pigeon
  • Downtown Portland
  • Rose Garden Arena

Photo courtesy of

Once you get to Portland and get settled in you should check out Le Pigeon in downtown Portland for an early dinner. The restaurant is made up of a large open kitchen, about seven farmhouse style tables, and a chef’s counter where you can watch the action. On nice days, there are a couple of tables outside. Some old chandeliers provide plenty of light, and with the matching vintage chairs, this is a quaint, charming spot. Le Pigeon is a place you’ll be equally comfortable taking a few friends, or a romantic date. Everything on the menu is made from local, organic, free-range ingredients, and it is only a 5-minute drive or 20-minute walk to the Rose Garden Arena.

After dinner on Friday night the Portland Trail Blazers play host to the first place San Antonio Spurs at The Rose Garden.  The Rose Garden has been the home of the Trail Blazers since 1995.  The Garden has a capacity of 20.630 and is equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics intended to recreate the roar of noise that made the old Memorial Coliseum, one of the loudest buildings in the NBA.  Portland fans have brought this place back to the intensity and noise level of 1999 and 2000, when the Blazers were in the Western Conference Finals each year. This should be a great match up as Tim Duncan looks to keep the Spurs in first place while LaMarcus Aldridge and the Trail Blazers look to take a game from the best team in the NBA.


  • Pine State Biscuits
  • Forrest Park
  • Claudia’s Sports Pub & Grill
  • Portland Timbers at Toronto FC
  • Voodoo Doughnuts
  • Bridgeport Brewing Company

There is no better way to start off a Saturday on a Sports Power Weekend than with a hearty breakfast. And in Portland, that means heading to Pine State Biscuits.  This place was featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives where host Guy Fieri went in the kitchen and got himself what looked to be some of the best biscuits in the world.  The Reggie is Pine State’s most popular sandwich, consisting of a homemade biscuit topped with a piece of hand battered fried chicken, cheese and local bacon (see for yourself here). There are other biscuit sandwiches on the menu; this is definitely not a place for those with weak stomachs.

Since you just stuffed yourself with some of the best food in Portland why not go work off some of those calories by visiting Forest Park, a 10-minute drive from downtown Portland.  The 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park is part of the region’s 40-Mile Loop system that links Forest Park to pedestrian and trail routes along the Columbia River to Gresham, through southeast Portland, along the Willamette Greenway, and back to the Marquam Trail in southwest Portland. A landmark on the trail is the Stone House, a structure built in the mid-1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a public restroom. The infamous Columbus Day storm on October 12, 1962, took out the water line, which combined with heavy vandalism over the years, led park officials to gut rather than repair the damage. It remains as a favorite spot to rest along the trail.

After your daily activities head over to Claudia’s Sports Pub & Grill. Claudia’s offers a diverse menu, featuring quality food in plentiful portions.  They also have a large selection of imported, micro, and domestic beers.  For your sports viewing, they currently offer high definition big screen, a number of high definition LCD screens, ten satellite receivers, as well as numerous monitors. Claudia’s prides itself in continuing to provide the best.  They are always willing to find your game on the television.  So when you get in ask the staff to put on the Portland Timbers match at 2 PM.  The Timbers are away in Toronto to play against Toronto FC.  The beauty of being in a sports bar is that during and after the Timbers match you will also be able to catch games from the Elite Eight.

Voodoo Dougnut photo courtesy of

If you have had enough of Claudia’s and want to check out a different bar head over to the Bridgeport Brewing Company. Bridgeport Brewing Company is one of the top specialty brewers in the state of Oregon. As Bridgeport Brewing grew in popularity, it also grew in its brewing capacity from its 600-barrel beginnings to over 100,000 barrels per year. Distribution has grown from Portland to 18 states, and the brewery’s emphasis on producing quality, innovative ales has provided it with an international following and numerous awards.

Next in the line of famous Portland eateries is Voodoo Doughnuts. Located right in downtown Portland Voodoo Doughnuts offers some of the most unique doughnuts you will ever see.  Many of their creations combine handmade doughnuts with cereal and candy, just take a look at their menu.  Two of the most famous doughnuts here are the Voodoo Doll and the Bacon Maple Bar.  The Voodoo doll is a doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake.  The Bacon maple bar is a bar shaped doughnut covered with maple frosting and then topped with bacon.  Yes you read that correctly, bacon.


  • Stepping Stone Café
  • Mt. Hood
  • University of Oregon

If your feeling adventurous on Sunday you can drive out to Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort and hit the slopes. Timberline, one of Mt. Hood’s six ski areas, offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America, so it is worth a visit even at the end of March as winter turns to spring.  Additionally, at the peak of Mt. Hood you can look over and see the summit of Mt. St Helen’s. It is quite a scene when you are up there.

Before making the trip load up at Stepping Stone Café on one of their wide variety of omelets or their house made banana nut bread French toast. Stepping Stone is one of the best breakfast spots in Portland, which is an hour and a half west of Mt. Hood National Forest.

Other than some of the best skiing in the United States, Mt. Hood also is home to one of the most memorable buildings in film history.  In the 1980 movie The Shining, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the Timberline Lodge was used as the exterior for the fictional Overlook Hotel.

If you forgot your skis or board at home you can still experience a city that is eminently Oregon by taking a drive out to Eugene.  Eugene, home of the University of Oregon, is about a 2-hour drive south from Portland right in the heart of Nike country. While in town you can walk around the beautiful campus or even check out some of their sports facilities, including Hayward Field, the centerpiece of ‘Track Town, USA’. It was on this track that Bill Bowerman was inspired to create the iconic running shoe that would become a top-seller for the company he co-founded: Nike.

A new fixture on the Oregon campus is the newly opened Mathew Knight Arena.  The floor of the arena has been fitted with a one of a kind design.  The wood flooring features a trippy, inverse perspective that makes it appear as if you’re looking up through a grove of fir trees. And of course any discussion of sports venues in Eugene must include Autzen Stadium, annually ranked as one the best and loudest places to watch a college football game in America.

While this weekend didn’t afford you the opportunity to check out Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers, in a game environment or Autzen during a college football Saturday, that is just all the more reason to come back to the Pacific Northwest in the fall. There is still plenty to do and see in the Portland area; it is definitely worth a return trip.