Keep Me Weird, Portland – Part 2 [Seattle Edition]

Thursday Chris and I went up to Seattle. Again, Chris had never been in the area before, and I had only been for a weekend… And that was before I could drink.

We first hit the Museum of Pop Culture, which was pretty cool. Things we saw included: a guitar history exhibit, Indie Game exhibit, Fantasy exhibit, Star Trek exhibit (Chris geeked out) and they had a Jim Henson exhibit. I think that one was probably my favorite. I had no idea how big of a deal Jim Henson was; not only did he create the Muppets, he was also along for the ride of Sesame Street and created a ton of commercials for different companies using his puppets. He even created two movies: The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Both which I haven’t seen, but now know I need to thanks to several “I can’t believe you haven’t seen them!” remarks.

I got two treats for lunch that day. First, I got ramen, which I haven’t had authentic ramen for some time. Two, I got to see Chris use chopsticks. Oh the memories.

Next we hit the Pike Market, because tourism. We spent some time looking around there and checking out the ocean and beautiful views.

Afterwards we went to Seattle Brewing where we were picked up by the Road Dogs for a brewery tour. I love brewery tours; you get to go try different beers at different places and hang out with others who share the same passion as you. The guys we actually went out with had JUST got done climbing Mount Rainier. Impressive stuff.

Road Dogs took us out to the Fremont area to three different stops: Hale’s Ales, Outlander Brewery & Pub and Fremont Brewery. Not only was our tour guide a great guy, we had WAY more tasters than we’ve ever had on a brewery tour. It was pretty much a “Oh you want to try that one? One sec, let me get you that.”

Hale’s Ales and Fremont were both pretty good, but my favorite had to be Outlander Brewery, by far. Their outdoor porch area to chill was super nice, and you had hop vines hanging right above you. They also had an electric harp player. What.

I also got to meet the guy who brewed the beer. Before we went in, our tour guide said Outlander’s brewer looked like a viking. He wasn’t kidding. Super tall, but super cool guy who made REALLY good beer.

My favorite was a tie the Tiramasu Brown; slightly sweeter beer, but not too sweet and the Imperial Peanut Butter Stout; because peanut butter. They also had a very interesting Holy Basil Pale and Ancho Amber. Basil is interesting to drink.. But thankfully it wasn’t too strong of a basil taste. Ancho Amber is what it sounds like; slightly spicy start, but a smooth finish thanks to the amber ale.

To complete our Seattle tour, we got to see the troll under the bridge. I even got to do the Seattle thing to do when you get your picture taken with him. Fun fact: Did you know there is actually a real car buried underneath his hand?

Our third stop, Fremont Brewing & the Troll Under the Bridge

Keep Me Weird, Portland – Part 1

Chris and I went out to Portland, Oregon to visit my brother, sister-in-law and my adorable, just over one year old nephew, Trent. It’s safe to say plenty of good times were had.

We arrived late Tuesday afternoon. After getting through the airport to get our bags, taking a Lyft to pick up our car, and then driving through after work traffic to get to my brother’s, it was… Dinner time.

Thankfully my brother and sister-face (inside joke) know pleeeeeenty of good spots. We ended up actually going to Pour Craft House, where you can order food from nearby restaurants. We also had picked up some Japanese pastries from Oyatsupan next door, so Chris and I settled on sharing nachos while enjoying some awesome craft brews. Definitely check out Pour Craft House if you’re in the area – Well worth the visit.

The pastry is known as Mt. Hood, named after Portland’s neighbor mountain. On the tray is Everybody’s Brewing Sprinkles, Thunder Island Brewing’s Covfefe, Ancestry Brewing’s NW Red, and Saint Archer Brewing’s Blonde Ale. My favorite was Oats and Hoes by 54°40′ Brewing Company (not in photo); a delicious, well made oatmeal stout.

After this, we ended up heading back to my brother’s to ultimately hit the hay – Trent was up past his bedtime and we too were pretty sleepy (still running on Central time).

Wednesday was my first Portland run in a while and boy did I miss it. (FYI – I lived out in Portland for a year while attending culinary school. There’s your fun fact of the day.) It is so much cooler and less humid there, so even hitting the hills didn’t seem so bad.

Afterwards, we WERE going to hit the Japanese Gardens… However, apparently that day was one of the first days of nice dry weather in Portland. ALL of the parking was taken up – So we moved onto Plan B: We hit a public parking garage, got on the MET transit and heading downtown.

Since this was Chris’ first time in the area ever, we had to show him all of the tourist-y things. First: Powell’s Books. If you haven’t been, Powell’s Books is known as one of the largest book stores out there. Downtown’s location has AT LEAST six floors worth of books. I ended up picking up the fourth copy of Stumptown (had to happen) and Chris got another Star Wars graphic novel he needed.

Afterwards was lunch time. We ended up stopping at Deschutes Brewery. Funny story: We were all looking at the lunch specials, and someone brought up the grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup side. You’ll never guess what ALL of us got. So good, especially with that Tillamook cheese… (Yes, we’re all secretly kids.) While we were there, I had the Smash Berry Toast: very good pale ale with a slight berry kick at the end. Yum.

Afterwards we took the Streetcar to NW 21st and 23rd street to check out all of the small shops and to walk off the so good, but so big grilled cheese sandwiches. The full stomach didn’t stop us from hitting up Salt & Straw for some fun ice cream flavors. I ended up with Amaretto Cherry, once again, REALLY good (and vegan!).

It’s hard to go to Portland and have bad food/beer. They know how it’s done.

Peoria & the Steamboat Classic 2017

It’s crazy how time flies. One moment you’re being proposed to, you say yes, the next blink of the eye, you’re married and half way through your first year of being a Mrs.

Our wedding day is one I’ll never forget; the weather was perfect for our outdoor ceremony and the reception was a ton of fun thanks to our family and friends. (Obviously Chris was extra pumped because his Cubs clinched their World Series spot. And we all know how that one ended.)

Now here we are in the middle of June. Life is slowly getting back to normal. Races have been run, travel is coming, and nerd-ing out has happened on a regular basis.


This past weekend we headed over to Peoria to run the Steamboat Classic. We traveled Friday night, because who wants to get up at 4am and drive the same day to and from a race? Our pre-race dinner always consists of pizza and beer.. Carbs and protein. Right??

I searched out several places, and eventually we decided on Old Chicago. Yes, it’s a chain, but a chain we’ve never been to and it had hand tossed pizza.

Hand tossed pizza of awesomeness. And a pretty good selection of craft beer; several of the choices were from around the area. The pizza crust even supposedly had ‘ale’ in it. We were impressed with that along with the delicious toppings.

I tried Cathedral Square Brewery’s Heavenly Honey Razz and it. Was. Heavenly. It’s a great summer beer – light in feel and has a nice sweet taste at the end. Not candy sweet, but more of a raspberry, fruity sweet.

I also tried Bell’s Brewery Oarsman Ale and wasn’t as impressed. Pretty bland, but it wasn’t the worst either.

We stayed at our first AirBnB that evening and had an awesome hostess. We actually never got to meet her, but got to meet her pup. Cassie was a big ol’ teddy bear who loved to hand out kisses. There was also much cuddling.

The next morning we went downtown for the race. It was packed; I knew it was pretty big due to how fast the finishers were from the previous year, but it was still an eye opener when we got there. The weather was great at the start; the clouds hid the sun, there was no humidity and a slight breeze.

I was slightly nervous since I forgot my GPS watch at home. I know people say they run their best races without a watch, but I like to be able to look every once and awhile to make sure I’m not being stupid and running something I feel good now in but hate myself halfway in and half-dead jogging the rest of the way. I knew they were going to have a clock at every mile mark, but still.

We runners have our tendencies we like to keep. I tend to not like to mix it up on race day.

Despite that, we both had a great run. The race course was fun. Not much in the way of uphills… Until you get to the halfway point. We decided to do the 4 miler; the 15K-ers split off in the middle of our run to go do their thing. I looked over to where they were heading and was very happy we made the choice we did. The 15K-ers were sent straight to a pretty steep uphill. Good luck to them, I thought.

However at that point, the weather did start to change. The humidity started to raise it’s ugly head and the sweating commenced. I thanked God for the half-way water stop where I chugged down some water and kept going. At mile three there was a water mister you could run through… And I most definitely made it a point to run through that glorious tunnel of water.

We got to run flat until the last half mile, where there was a nice downhill to the finish.

My favorite kind of finish.

I finished Steamboat Classic’s 4 mile race in 32:46, finished in the top 10 of my age group, and impressed myself by keeping around a 8:12 minute pace without my trusty GPS watch. Am I impressed with my mental status to keep myself in check throughout the race? Yes.

Am I still going to race with a GPS watch? Without a doubt, hell yes.