McMenamins Edgefield

Even though they don't make the greatest beer in the area, the McMenamins are an essential and vital part of Portland beer culture. Almost universally, they make good beer and decent food available to lots of people in unique, comfortable settings. They certainly have their formula, but they're the only ones that do it and they do it exceedingly well.

For our anniversary, my wife and I decided to spend a night away from the kids at McMenamins Edgefield out in Troutdale. While I'd spend many a dollar in their pubs, I'd never had the pleasure of staying overnight in a McMens hotel before. Now that I've had such pleasure, I would recommend it to anyone, even locals. Especially locals! It's close, affordable, and a whole lot of fun.

We started the night with dinner at the pub. The food was nothing typical McMens; simple, inoffensive, and not quite great. Our gardenburgers were tasty and on excellent bread, but my wife's fries were soggy. My tater tots were cooked well, but they somehow got smashed on the way to my plate. My meal was accompanied by Sunflower IPA, which was much better than I remembered it. Maybe they make it better at the on-site brewery? Who knows.

After dinner, with lots of time on our hands, we wandered over to the wine bar for a tasting. I honestly wasn't expecting much when I walked in. What does an average brewery know about making great wine, right? However, I left very impressed with what they were offering. I found a zin, a cab, and a fantastic port in a flight of seven that I wouldn't hesitate to buy. The rest were enjoyable, but not memorable.

With still more time on our hands, we made our way to the pool hall. I won't tell you who won the majority of the games we played though, in order to preserve my dignity. The glasses of Hammerhead I enjoyed helped to assuage my shame. Following pool, we headed to the Black Rabbit restaurant for desert. Again, nothing memorable. The best part was the Fireside port I ordered along with my nut torte, which I had tasted earlier. A couple more drinks from the pub, including my first foray in single-malt scotch (don't ask, because I can't remember what it was), and we were off to bed.

Our room was well furnished, but didn't have a thermostat. As such, it got very cold. Thankfully, the front desk had a bunch of space heaters, one of which we were able to use. Hopefully they crank the central heat in the winter or hand out the heaters on check-in. Bathrooms were detached and shared, but also private. Registering, I had visions of dorm showers and toilet stalls, but it's nothing like that. Everything one needs is behind a locking door, just like at home.

Breakfast at the Black Rabbit was phenomenal. I don't say this lightly, either. Breakfast is easily my favorite meal. I'm a huge fan of simple food done exactly right. While there were flaws, I couldn't find many. My mushroom and white cheddar omelet was cooked perfectly. The red roasted potatoes that accompanied it were a little soft, but well seasoned with whole cloves of roasted garlic. The wheat bread used to make my toast was fresh, soft, and incredible when slathered with their fresh blackberry jam. My wife had "crunchy" french toast, which is essentially battered and deep-fried bread. I thought it was a little overdone, but it's such a goddamned good idea (deep fried bread!) I have to give them points for just putting it on the menu.

It was hard to leave and get back to real life, but the proximity and affordability mean we'll definitely be visiting the McMens again. Maybe not the Edgefield right away (I've heard great things about the Kennedy School), but definitely some time in the not-too-distant future.

Beau Burke
September 17, 2007, 9:13 pm
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