Monday marked the day where things slowed back down to a regular pace. I punched the clock at 6am and Robin had the day off. I was kind of in a haze at work with nothing on my mind but getting to see her and have the night off together.
We had made plans with Heather and Lairen to go out for dinner and drinks at a new brewery here on our side of town. The girls and I made our way down Capitol Highway to meet Heather. Upon arriving at the overgrown, busted-up parking lot at the brewery, we realized that it was closed for the night. The excitement of finding a new brewery to call our own made us forget the fact we should have checked their hours of operation. Bummed, I called Heather as she was pulling into the parking lot.
We all decided on heading into the Northwest, around 23rd and Hoyt. Neither Robin or I have ever really spent much time there and it was destined to be an adventure. With no plans as to where we were actually going to wind up, we flew by the seat of our pants and followed Heather through the city. We took a roundabout way, avoiding highways for the most part and wound through parts of the city we had never seen before.
Speed limits were changing constantly, and curves became extremely sharp. We were traveling the hills and attempting to take in all of the night-time scenery. Gentrification was not present in those parts of town. The houses were extravagant but not too over the top. They stood like soldiers in the dark, proud and strong. They were houses we might not ever be able to afford, but they had a beauty about them that made them seem less like rich hideaways than a throwback to a simpler time.
Finally passing through dense tree-cover and sharp turns, we came upon the skyline from the opposite direction we normally would. Painted against the star-littered sky, the city was burning bright, glistening in the water. The three of us were speechless. It was profoundly gorgeous and new and breathtaking. It was something none of us had never witnessed before. And, to be honest, it was a better view than the cityscape via I-5.
After dealing with the shithead drivers on the street, and after looping the block a couple of times, we finally found parking. The four of us converged, bathed in the glow of the city. Trees strung up with white Christmas lights illuminated the entire block like an airport runway. With no plan of action, we just began wandering. Peering into warm windows of diners, neon buzzing, we were looking for that perfect place to satiate our cravings for a hot meal and cold drinks.
After walking only a block or two, we spotted an old house that had been converted into a restaurant. PUBLIC HOUSE was plastered across the side in big, painted letters. Seeing those two words anywhere in Portland is usually a good sign.
We walked up the creaky, wooden porch and walked inside. It was obviously a house someone used to reside in. We were greeted immediately and got a table. Happy hour ran for all of Monday. Another win for the four of us. We drooled over the food menu while deciding on that perfect pint.
We ordered our drinks and our thirst was quenched within minutes. Crappy beers we had drank before were improved drastically by being served with a nitro tap. We all decided on our meals and waited patiently to be served. Our talk spilled out and bubbled and sloshed just like the drinks in our glasses; the rhythm of the night permeating the entire experience.
We left the building that night completely satisfied. Smiles on our faces and our bellies full of food and beer. The manic pace from earlier in the night was replaced with a calm, all-encompassing warmth. We piled back into our cars and made our way back to our side of the city, eating the skyline with our eyes.