March in Portland is turning out to be a pretty fabulous month.
Not only have we been having some really lovely spring weather, but it's also Portland Dining Month!
Over 90 restaurants around the city are offering special menus for only $29 per person, which is a significant savings at many of the participating places. There are so many fantastic restaurants on the list and it's the perfect excuse to go out and discover a new favorite spot!
I was graciously awarded a gift certificate to try out a new-to-me restaurant for Portland Dining Month thanks to Portland Bloggers and Watershed Communications, which I was super excited about! (And although I did get a complimentary dinner for two, I assure you that all opinions expressed in this post are my own!) I received a gift certificate to Gracie's Restaurant, which is located inside Hotel DeLuxe. Even though it's only about a 20 minute walk from our apartment, I had actually never been by this place before so I was excited for Cameron and I to have a date night here this past weekend!
A photo was obviously required :)
It's so nice that the weather is warm enough to walk places in only ballet flats!
Going in to the restaurant, I really had no idea what to expect and so I was very pleasantly surprised by the glamorous old-Hollywood vibe at Gracie's. I loved all the chandeliers and gorgeous gilded molding, and I also really appreciated that some people were actually somewhat dressed up. There are so many restaurants in Portland that are super hipster/casual and this was pretty much the opposite of that, so it was definitely a fun change of pace that I enjoyed!
I was also pleasantly surprised by how extensive Gracie's Portland Dining menu was! They offered multiple options for each course, and there was quite a bit of variety on the menu. I actually had a hard time making up my mind because so many of the choices for each course sounded really good.
Drinks are not included as part of the $29 prix fixe Portland Dining Month menu, however, we decided to order them anyway. I tried one of their signature cocktails, the Rose City Drop - it featured rose syrup and a sugared rim - it was delish!
For my first course, I ordered the crab and bay shrimp cakes with mixed baby greens and remoulade.
The crab cake was really tasty and it was nice to have a little salad to start the meal.
For Cam's first course, he ordered the gorgonzola cheesecake with whole-roasted garlic, fruit chutney, balsamic glaze and bread. We both thought this was a really unique appetizer and it's definitely something I would order again
if when we come back!
For his second course, Cam ordered the pork medallions with herb and mustard crust, spicy red cabbage, pear and apple chutney. He seemed to really like it and said it was really flavorful.
For my second course, I ordered the prosciutto chicken breast with goat cheese, wild rice, squash and root vegetables, and chanterelle mushroom sauce - I'll admit, the rice wasn't my favorite (but then again, I'm not a huge rice person) however, I really loved the chicken!
For dessert, Cameron ordered the crispy bread pudding, which smelled and tasted sort of like a grown-up funnel cake aka amazing.
For my dessert, I ordered the chocolate stout cake; I am a big chocolate person and desserts are rarely every too rich for me. However, this cake was super dark and fudge-y that even I started to get really full after a few bites. I totally mean that as a compliment though because usually my complaint with desserts are they are too small, so I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved this!
Overall, I really enjoyed our dinner at Gracie's! I liked the classy atmosphere, and it seems like it would be a fun place to go if you want a little bit more of a special night out. It looks like most of the items from the Portland Dining Month menu are available on their normal dinner menu, however, I'd highly recommend checking this place out before March ends!
And to show you that I'm not just posting about Portland Dining Month is because I received a gift certificate, I thought I'd also share another restaurant I dined at recently where I paid my own $29 to eat! Last week, I had dinner with a friend at The Parish, a cute restaurant located in the Pearl District.
I had been wanting to try this place for awhile, so Portland Dining Month seemed like the perfect opportunity to check it out. The interior is warm and inviting, and overall, I liked the ambiance.
The Portland Dining Month menu at The Parish was a little more limited with only two options for the first course, two options for the second course, and one choice for dessert. It also seemed like the options weren't necessarily quite as reflective of the items on their normal menu from what I could tell.
My friend started out with the salad, which looked really great! I opted to order the mushroom soup...and the color did not really photograph well...ha! But, the soup was actually delicious!
For our second course, we both ordered the seasonal market fresh fish, which I believe was a rockfish? (I can't remember for sure...whoops!) When the waitress described it, I was a little hesitant because she said it was fish on a bed of cannellini beans...which doesn't sound too appetizing. However, she said it was really good and so we decided to give it a try. I'm so glad we did because it was actually awesome! The beans were prepared with a bacon consommé (which is essentially bacon broth) and it gave the whole dish a really wonderful heartiness. I was very pleasantly surprised!
And finally, for the dessert course we received three housemade marshmallows, which I thought was a really creative idea. Having just recently made marshmallows myself, I'm pretty obsessed with them and it actually inspired me to start thinking about what flavor I want to make at home next!
Here in Portland, it sort of feels like every month is "dining month" in a way because we're fortunate to have such an abundance of amazing restaurants. However, what I think is really awesome about "Portland Dining Month" is that it's a great opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and try out somewhere new! I really enjoyed both places I visited, and looking through the menus offered by the participating restaurants, I really don't see how you could go wrong dining anywhere on the list. I hope to try out another new restaurant or two before the month is over! :)