Plus: A new cocktail bar opening next month.
 
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Today’s Forecast

49º | Showers | 84% chance of rain | Sunrise 7:50 a.m. | Sunset 4:40 p.m.

 
🎶 Puttin’ On the Ritz
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Between the lights and unique features like the weather beacon perched atop the Standard Insurance building, it’s easy to spend long minutes just taking it all in. | Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday
One of Portland’s best new spots to city-gaze is the 20th floor of The Ritz-Carlton. The 35-story tower in downtown opened its doors to guests (and permanent residents) this fall, making waves in the local economy and dishing out new options for local diners. Higher up than trendy rooftop restaurant Departure (but not quite as lofty as Portland City Grill), the hotel’s swanky signature restaurant Bellpine is a prime spot for a date night — or just to admire sweeping views of the Rose City.

Here’s a breakdown of our dining experience.

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A cozy lounge area on the first floor, near the elevators.

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Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday

🛎️ The vibe

As a synonym for “fancy,” The Ritz-Carlton is a brand that needs little introduction. Through the tall double doors on Southwest Washington Street, we entered an open, opulent-yet-inviting lobby. A short elevator ride brought us to our destination: a long space anchored by an oval bar on one side and an open kitchen on the other. Diners ranged from small groups celebrating birthdays to polished retirees.

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Earthy mushroom meets rich chocolate mousse in the “Forest” dessert.

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Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday

🍄 The food

Most of the dishes are served tapas-style. Our server explained the menu’s highlights — like the two “grand dishes” (read: $$$) of sockeye salmon and an aged ribeye — and recommendations based on any dietary restrictions. We ended up with four shareable plates and a dessert, all of which showcased various elements of Oregon, from butternut squash topped with local hazelnuts to the Instagrammable “Forest” dessert of porcini-infused ice cream and delicate “moss.” The latter was our favorite item of the night.
 
 
Events
 
Wednesday, Nov. 29
  • Lagers for Lloyd: Holiday Happy Hour | Wednesday, Nov. 29-Wednesday, Dec. 20 | 4-6 p.m. | Upright Brewing, 240 N. Broadway, Portland | Free | Make a Give!Guide donation to Lloyd EcoDistrict and enjoy a free beer while you decorate a holiday ornament and listen to festive tunes.
  • “Home for the Holidays” | Wednesday, Nov. 29-Saturday, Dec. 23 | 7:30-9 p.m. | Broadway Rose Theatre Company, 12850 SW Grant Ave., Tigard | $20-$52 | Contemporary and classic tunes carry this lighthearted musical about a group of people trying to get home for the holidays when a blizzard strands them at a bus station.
Thursday, Nov. 30
  • Brett Goldstein: The Second Best Night of Your Life | Thursday, Nov. 30-Saturday, Dec. 2 | Times vary | Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., Portland | $79-$159 | Roy Kent of “Ted Lasso” is crossing the pond to make us Yanks laugh with his stand-up comedy talent.
  • “Black Nativity” | Thursday, Nov. 30-Sunday, Dec. 10 | Times vary | Portland 5 Centers for the Arts, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland | $27-$40 | Scripture, poetry, dance, and song come together to tell the Nativity story from an African American perspective.
  • The Holiday Express | Thursday, Nov. 30-Sunday, Dec. 17 | Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 SE Water Ave., Portland | $25-$99 | Join Santa and his elves for a magical ride along the Willamette River in vintage rail cars pulled by a historic steam locomotive.
Friday, Dec. 1
  • Troutdale Windy Wonderland | Friday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 3 | Times vary | Downtown Troutdale, 411 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy., Troutdale | Free | Shop at a holiday market featuring dozens of local vendors selling handcrafted gifts, activities for kids, and seasonal treats and drinks; Santa will stop by on Saturday + Sunday.
  • The 1975 Still ... at their very best | Friday, Dec. 1 | 7:30 p.m. | Moda Center, 1 N. Center Court St., Portland | $49-$90 | If you’re a fan of this English pop-rock band, then don’t let “Somebody Else” take your place at their show.
  • Christmas Ships Parade | Friday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 17 | Various locations on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, Portland | Free | Brightly lit, colorful flotillas will set sail for the 69th year, drawing thousands of onlookers to the river banks.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Travel
  • A picturesque route along the northern Oregon Coast has reopened after nearly 11 years. A landslide closed part of the Cape Meares Loop in January 2013, leaving the town of Oceanside with just one way out via OR 131. Now, visitors can complete the entire 40-mile Three Capes Scenic Loop. (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
Coming Soon
  • Sneaker-shod servers, R&B music, game-night TV, and a black marble bartop will set the stage at Kaya, a new cocktail bar opening next month in the Alberta Alley building. The space, described by owner Katya Suh as stylish but open to all, will showcase inventive drinks and “elevated bar food.” (Eater Portland)
Outdoors
  • Spending more time exploring the great outdoors in 2024 just got a little bit easier. During December, you can buy an Oregon State Parks 12-month parking permit for $25. The annual pass, which is normally $30, covers all 25 parks that charge day-use fees. Buy one online or in person.
Eat
  • ōkta has a new 10-course tasting menu celebrating the Willamette Valley’s bounty. The McMinnville restaurant, which was named one of The New York Times’ 50 Best Restaurants of 2023, will offer the Cloud + Forest menu — think: foraged mushrooms and produce from ōkta’s farm — through January at $285 per person.
Plan Ahead
  • Dropkick Murphys are shipping up to Portland in early 2024. Hear the millennial generation’s unofficial Celtic punk anthem and rock out with special guests Pennywise and The Scratch from Dublin during the “St. Patrick’s Day Tour” on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Moda Center.
Closed
  • It seems the curtain has fallen on another of Aaron Barnes’ ventures. The owner of The 1905, a North Portland jazz bar that closed earlier this month, appears to have also shuttered his Italian restaurant, Scholar. But we’re still awaiting an official announcement from the Northeast Broadway eatery. (Eater Portland)
Wellness
  • Finding a therapist who understands how both different sexual and gender identities and alternate relationship structures impact a relationship can be challenging. Bryce Cohan, MA at the Couples of Clinic of Portland, can help.*
Finance
  • We aren’t given many 21-month grace periods. Oil checks, doctor appointments, Tax Day... time speeds by between them. But The Ascent found a credit card offering 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months — among the longest we’ve seen to avoid interest charges. Learn more.*

Wellness
  • Did you know some foods contribute to unwanted pounds, especially around your midsection? Three common breakfast foods can act like glue and attract fat — this video explains how.*
Shop
  • Which ugly Christmas sweater would you choose? We’re liking: the Santa hat-topped wine glass or the “Home Alone” print featuring Catherine O’Hara.*
 
 
Seasonal
 
🎄 Spruce up your living room
Rows of Christmas trees at a tree farm in Ridgefield, Washington
Fun fact: Oregon is the largest producer of holiday trees in the West. | Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday
From U-pick tree farms to handy urban lots, the Portland area has no shortage of places to buy fresh Christmas trees. We put together a list of locations to choose from — and included a bonus option for anyone pining for an adventure.

Cut your own tree at a local farm

Plumper Pumpkin Patch and Tree Farm, 11435 NW Old Cornelius Pass Rd.
Choose your own tree, take home a wreath with a custom bow, make a s’more at the fire pit, feed the farm animals, and watch pumpkin donuts being made (then try one — or several, no one’s judging).

Keep it simple + buy from a lot

Nob Hill Christmas Trees, 2034 NW 26th Ave.
Order online, then pick up your tree in person at one of two locations. Or for an extra $25, have your tree delivered to your home in the Nob Hill, Pearl District, PSU, or South Waterfront areas.
 
The Buy
 
Anything off of this year’s Oprah’s Favorite Things list. We’re seeing: luxury flaky sea salt, all-weather boots, fleece robes, and a baked brie board.
 
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The Wrap
 
Cambrie Juarez headshot Today’s edition by:
Cambrie
From the editor
Bellpine offers pretty spectacular views of the city skyline, but guests who look directly down may notice an open green space near the foot of The Ritz-Carlton. It’s the soon-to-be renovated Darcelle XV Plaza.
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