All posts by scottmcnamara

Scott is a wedding photographer based in Portland, Oregon. He focused primarily on wildlife & nature photography, before shooting his first wedding in Alaska, in 2003. His work has been featured in many publications and he has traveled the World in pursuit of unique and fun weddings.

Restaurant Review: Blackwater Bar [Portland]

Today we ventured down Broadway in Portland, looking for a spot for some lunch goodness.  The only problem?  I wanted something new.  I remembered hearing about Blackwater Bar in Portland, an all-vegan bar.

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Blackwater is a punk-rock themed bar, that teeters on the edge of dive status for me.  Once you walk in, the space is on the dark side (not sure if deliberate for the punk theme) and has a good mix of booths and chairs with tables.  The place is pretty good size, with a full sized stage for live music shows, a bar in the back, a couple of pinball machines, and ample seating.

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Today a screen was showing Discovery Channel documentaries so we all watched lions take down Giraffes and other nature shows.  We rooted for the giraffes.

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Once we sat down we were really excited about the menu.

It was all what I call traditional bar food. Which is probably higher on the unhealthy scale, and also higher on the good taste scale.

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We saw items like Mozzarella bites, burgers, chili cheese fries, pretzels, nachos and wings.  There were salads but they were at the bottom, and clearly not the prime focus of the place.

The service was really friendly and punctual.  I ordered an IPA on tap (from Breakside), and Kristin wanted a greyhound.

I decided on the traditional burger which included a house made patty (I heard great things about their burgers), Chao cheese, burger sauce, lettuce, and tomato.  I also ordered some mozzarella bites to try.  These also featured a house made mozzarella.

Kristin ended up with the Western Burger which included BBQ sauce, the same patty, burger sauce, fried onions, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

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The mozz bites came out first and looked really good. They came with a small cup of marinara sauce.  I was really excited to try these as I have a lot of respect for a place that makes their own vegan mozzarella.  However I think fans of the cheesy sticks may feel a little bummed about these.  The cheese was a little “gritty” and lacked substance in my opinion.  They fell apart in the marinara.  I do think though they are on the right track and will perfect these little fried balls soon.

The burgers soon followed.

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Mine was a perfect specimen of a vegan pub burger. The house made patty was amazing and it had a little crunch on the outside which was great.  They seemed to have also cracked the code on how to get Chao to melt onto a patty.  The burger sauce lent a great flavor to the burger also.

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The Western was beautiful as well.   The patty was basted in BBQ sauce and had a ton of flavor.  The fries were crispy and some of the best I have had from a vegan joint.

In the end, our food was really good.  We weren’t able to finish our meals and most of them came home.

Minors are also allowed in the bar but not past the clearly marked zones near the actual bar.

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While Blackwater Bar is not a place you’ll be taking Grandma (unless she is a punk rocker), we will definitely be going back and spending more time there!

835 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232

 

Product Install: Genright Lock and Load Tub Rail Tie Down System

As far as installs go, this was certainly one of the easiest.  I even considered not doing an install writeup at all.  But in the end, the final product is really awesome, and I hope more people will consider this system for their JKs!

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Restaurant Review: Fatsquatch [Portland]

It’s always exciting when you hear about a new vegan place in Portland.  Especially with what seems like so many deciding to close their doors.

So yesterday, on a whim I ended up pointing the truck toward SE Belmont, and dropping in on Fatsquatch PDX.

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The cart is nestled in a small pod on Belmont (Belmont Street Eats), and if you didn’t know it was there, you could possibly walk right past it.  But once in the narrow little alleyway it opens up, with Fatsquatch lurking in the back like its namesake.  Don’t expect covered eating at this pod, however. I had to eat in the truck.

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Is Oregon Really Being Invaded?

It seems like everyone is hating on the Californians right now.

Portland is growing literally exponentially, with what seems like boundless growth. Condos ate growing like weeds in popular areas like Williams, Division, and Belmont. Many of these areas are almost unrecognizable.  And that, I think, is the biggest fear with that growth – people that moved to Portland (and Oregon as a whole) for the quirky, small-city vibe, know it is losing that very characteristic.

Rents are skyrocketing, and the influx of cash offers on homes is raising real estate prices outside the capability of many that helped shape and build this very city.

I, too am just as guilty as we play the “Count the California plates” along streets like Alberta, Hawthorne, and Kenton.

So I decided to lean on the data.

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Should Vegans Have Kids?

This question, oddly, seems to have been bubbling among vegan Facebook discussion groups and pages lately.  And I am not sure why.

From what I have seen, most people surprisingly say “no,” with their primary argument being that more people = more consumption and more pollution.  There is more to it, but that is the basic gist.

A few years ago, I too would have probably answered with something similar.  I was pretty anti-child, and vegan (not anti-child, really, just not into it for me).

But a few years ago I was blessed with a little boy and he has changed my life and my view on things.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: 49TH STATE BREWING [ANCHORAGE]

Traveling to Alaska as a vegan can be pretty daunting.  There is hope though, in the sparsely populated vegan options on menus at places like Bear’s Tooth, Middleway Cafe and others.  But you can also get sick of them pretty quickly.

So I decided to join some friends recently on a downtown crawl.

We started the night at 49th State Brewing Company.

The brewery is located in the old Snow Goose space, and they have done an amazing job with the design.  I would have taken more photos, but it was Iditarod weekend and the place was absolutely PACKED.  To the gills.  So apologies for that (you can find some photos on their website).

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Are Vegans Ready?

As the man handed me the Uzi, I slid the magazine into the well, charged the handle, raised the weapon and took it off safe.  I aimed at the target and slowly pulled the trigger. I fired.  Again.  And again. And again.

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Me firing said Uzi. Photo (c) Zachary Hill.

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Restaurant Review: No Bones Beach Club PDX

Trigger warning:  This post contains more superlatives than a Donald Trump speech. 

It is often said in religious circles that “When God closes a door, he opens a window.”  The vegan scene has had a few doors closing as of late, with Portland staples like Portobello shutting their doors.   But, the vegan heavens soon burst open a giant window upon us all. And it is tremendous.

Bigly tremendous.

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Recipe: Mountain Corn Chowder

Not sure if you heard, but this past week our corner of the World got slammed with a pretty good winter storm.  We wanted to make something super hearty and easy to reheat in the event we lost power.  We never did (fortunately) but now we have a huge pot (not kidding, this recipe will feed 10+ people) of this amazing chowder!

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Restaurant Review: FoMu Ice Cream [Boston]

When you think of a cold, New England city like Boston, the image of ice cream probably isn’t the first thing in your mind.  When you realize it is a 100% vegan ice cream shop, it seems even further from reality.  But I am not complaining!  FoMu ice cream is an amazing little shop with multiple locations around Boston.

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FoMu is located in the little vegan paradise of Allston, right at the craziness that is Union Square. Many vegan establishments have come and gone here, so I am happy to see FoMu sticking around for a while.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: FoMu Ice Cream [Boston]