Off to Puddletown!

Hey everybody. I’m flying off to Portland, Oregon tomorrow. Despite the fact that Portland has more strip clubs than any city in the US, I’m not going there to interview exotic dancers. After visiting Las Vegas I’m all “strippered out.” Never thought I’d ever say those words – but it’s true.

I have my interview itinerary mapped out, but if anyone who lives in Portland thinks they have some interesting tipping stories, please drop me an email. Who knows? Maybe we’ll meet for coffee. I will also be swinging by Powell’s Books to sign some stock. It’s not a book signing event, but if you want to get an autographed copy of Waiter Rant, stop by the store after Friday.

I’m looking forward to walking around the “The Pearl” and checking out the local scene. A friend of mine said Portland’s kind of like Willamsburg, Brooklyn writ large. Is that true? At least they’re civilized out there and don’t make you pump your own gas – just like Jersey!

In any case, I’ll be sure to bring an umbrella. If I get time I’ll send dispatches from the road. Wish me a safe flight!

53 thoughts on “Off to Puddletown!”

  1. Carroll says:

    Safe flight, Waiter — and stay dry!

  2. Wavemancali says:

    Perhaps you could e-mail Trixie from This Fare City. She works out of Portland and I think she’s awesome. Her e-mail is in her blogger profile. Here’s the link:

  3. John says:

    There are quite a few tattoo artists in Portland, and I know they get tips as well. You should track down some of the artists there. I got my first tattoo in Portland. If you want the name/location of the guy that did it, drop me an email. He’s a great guy, and a retired Latin professor to boot! He has some great stories and is well spoken.

  4. Rachel 2 says:

    Stop in Vancouver on your way home! Lots of great Canadian tipping stories here!

    Safe travels an fruitful interviews.

  5. Suzanne says:

    I was in Portland last year and it is green and gorgeous.

  6. Dan says:

    Coffee houses and brewpubs abound here. Plenty of tipping stories to be had. But don’t spend all your time in the Pearl. The grit of Portland is on the east side of the Willamette. Streets you want to hit: Hawthorne, Division, Belmont, Alberta, Killingsworth, Williams/Vancouver. There are lots of local bars/cafes/coffee shops/brewpubs to be found in these old Portland neighborhoods.

    Enjoy our wonderful city!

  7. Chef Green says:

    Safe travels, Waiter!!

    Attention Waiter Fans: visit my blog to learn way more than you’d ever thought possible about your chefs and SIN professionals. Sometimes we even have to betray our industries–just read my post “Stripper.”

  8. Heather says:

    Don’t bring an umbrella – they’ll know you’re a tourist! Locals don’t use them so you’ll stick out like a sore thumb! Good luck!

  9. oldewave says:

    Heather you must be a local too! Waiter enjoy our fair city! BTW we are supposed to have sun on Saturday.

  10. Allana says:

    Nice time to visit! The green leaves are starting to pop out and the cherry trees are blooming – come enjoy the city! I can’t wait to see what you have to say about us. 😉

  11. PDX Native says:

    Long time reader, first time writer.

    Give the PDX strip clubs a try. Specifically go to Devil’s Point, and Sassy’s at a minimum. They are really the crown jewels of PDX strip clubs, and I guarantee that you will have a different experience in Vegas. The girls here are intelligent, outgoing, and very much in touch with their own sexuality. You will find far less stories of abuse, and really just awesome women.

    My two cents, don’t pass up this opportunity.

  12. Leah says:

    I second going to Devil’s Point! I left Portland a few months ago and still miss it! Go there Monday for the fire show, or go to Dante’s Sunday night for Sinferno Cabaret.

    Follow Tony Bourdain’s words and hit up Voodoo Doughnuts for the maple bacon bar…mmm….

  13. paul says:

    if you get the chance, a visit to the University of Portland is pleasant. It’s a beautiful campus with a spectacular view of downtown Portland an Mount Hood from “The Bluff”. Be sure to visit the bookstor there too.

  14. billp salem oregon says:

    Welcome to Portland. in a lot of cases its New York without the crappy crowds!

  15. not supergirl says:

    I’ve never had someone else pump my gas for me. How much do you tip for that?

  16. Kelsey says:

    Hahaha, if you use your umbrella people automatically know you aren’t from around here! Enjoy Portland, it is a beautiful city.

  17. oregoncoastgirl says:

    Actually, you don’t tip for gas pumping here in Oregon… I’d never even considered the possibility!

    Lots of good recommendations above, depending on what you’re looking for. Pearl is a lil bourgie, but if that’s what you want to see, go for it!

    And don’t refer to it as Puddletown while you’re here… that would give you away as a tourist faster than an unmbrella.

  18. faddah says:

    2 issues —

    a) “the pearl” is not, repeat, not our local scene. unless it’s the first thursday art walk. every other night, it’s sink&dink desparate 20-something poseurs trying to live the life they watch on “entourage.” you want local scene? try east side grand/mlk, buckman, hawthorne/belmont, really good restaurants like navarre along s.e. to n.e. 28th, no’ po’ habitats like the alibi, n.e. along broadway or alberta (especially on last thursday walk), or even far s.s.e in sellwood. not “the pearl.”

    b) if you’re seen with an umbrella, we’ll kick you to the curb. wear a large oil skin rain hat or columbia sportswear clothes. an umbrella marks you clearly not only as a non-oregonian, but an idiot.

  19. PDX Native says:

    Get a cabbie hat – you will blend in immediately, and stay dry.

    Don’t have one? Go here:

  20. dave says:

    “Despite the fact that Portland has more strip clubs than any city in the US…”

    I would like to see something to back this up. Almost every city I’ve been to makes this claim. I live in Houston and I’ve heard out-of-towners and DJs say this for a long time about Houston. I’ll take the decadence of my hometown of 4 or 5 some-odd million over any other. I live in a very good, affluent, and safe part of town (NASA) and I know of 5 strip clubs that I can be at within 10-15 minutes. (If I were the type to go to such clubs.)

  21. admin says:

    I’m not bringing my umbrella!

  22. Angry Brit says:

    I’ve never been to Portland and it’s my list of places to visit. Living in Southern California means that I miss the rain desperately. Hope you have a great time. Stay safe.

  23. LL says:

    I highly recomend bar tender Ellyn Groves or Shelley Jarmen- they are two of Portland’s best.

    When last I lived there they were both doing shifts at Tony’s Tavern & the Matador (bars next to each other) on NW20th & Burnside.

    It’s totally like Williamsburg- say hi to all the white people between the ages and 20 – 35 for me!

  24. pilotgirl210 says:

    Whooohoooooo. Waiter’s coming to my native Oregon. Pity I’m 300 miles away and just 11 miles north of the Oregon-California border or I’d be there in a heartbeat. It’s pushing 70 here today, Waiter, so maybe you won’t need that umbrella. But you know how it is here…if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. Also, Oregonians don’t tan…we rust.

  25. Amber says:

    I second the no umbrella comment. I can always spot a “transplant” or tourist by an umbrella because locals don’t use them.

    If you want something different from the normal waiter/bar tipping stories I’d recommend a piercing or tattoo place. Straight to the Point downtown on SW 3rd is a good spot.

    And you absolutely HAVE to check out Voodoo donuts. Best donuts in Oregon. Also on SW 3rd 🙂

  26. DogsDontPurr says:

    Dang! I wish I’d known that you were going to be in Oregon. I would have loved to meet up with you. I own some property up there, but right now I’m in Vegas for a convention.

    If you have the time, I would highly recommend a drive out to Astoria, OR. It’s a cute little town on the Columbia river…about an hour and a half from Portland. (The fastest way to get there is to take I-5 to Longview, WA, then cut over to Highway 30)

    If you go, you must stop at Annie’s Uppertown Tavern. It’s a teeny little strip club (I know you’re tired of strip clubs, but this is the absolute best place to go….wayyyy better than Vegas.) On certain nights, probably the weekend nights, they have this one dancer that is unbelievable with the gymnastics she does with the pole. They serve alcohol there, and the dancers get totally nude. And there’s no cover charge.

    There are also a lot of great brew pubs and pizza places in town. The Voodoo, The Wet Dog, The Fort George are all great places. If you google them, I’m sure you’ll find where exactly they are.

    Have a great trip!

  27. Booply says:

    Too bad you didn’t come last week. Last Thursday on Alberta is something people from all over Portland come to see and be a part of. All in all, there are tons of good brew pubs and restaurants. If you stay at the DT hotel Lloyd Center, make sure you order room-service, we just might meet. And Heather & Amber, I’ve lived in Oregon all my life. When I’m walking/waiting to catch a bus in the rain, I sure as hell am going to use an umbrella. It’s like a hippie thing to say only tourists use umbrellas.

  28. John says:

    Waiter, good luck and safe travels;

  29. Carolyn says:

    You should come to California. You’ll get all sorts of stories about tipping from us. I used to work at a family owned coffee shop that was directly across the street from City Hall, which is also in the downtown area of the city. I’d get council members, city officials, college students, and homeless people. It was screams.

  30. Moshizzle says:

    I love Portland! I wish it was part of Canadia so that I could move there and still afford health care. If you have time, have a drink (pear cider?) at McMinneman’s – I apologize to all the Oregonians offended by my poor spelling – some of them have dog friendly patios!

  31. Mike says:

    Portland native here! Tons of great happy
    hours in the city. Try City Grill, Bartini,
    1001 and Jake’s to name a few.

    The Pearl is upscale, industrial and hip.
    Bluehour is the premier restaurant there.

    Just enjoy walking around downtown, the
    Max train is free. 23rd street is nearby,
    upscale and very cool.

    I work in the spa industry, so contact me
    for tipping info. Cheers! Mike

  32. Leah says:

    another voice saying “don’t bring an umbrella!” that is definitely too touristy. the rain isn’t hard there, so make sure that you have a rain jacket and you’ll be fine.

    I recommend visiting a few places. Mostly, brewpubs. Deschutes Brewery, Full Sail, and McMennamin’s are all good places in Portland. The first two are must-visits, and McMennamin’s is a local chain that is still pretty good.

    enjoy Portland! I don’t live there anymore, but I wish I did.

  33. Brandon says:

    Gotta have some Terminator Stout while you are there! One of the best beers ever made…

    And check out Sauvie Island!

    F’in wonderful place, Portland…the Farmer’s Market downtown (obviously, AFTER the growing season has started) is also fantastic.


  34. Sami-Ann says:

    Come to Cleveland so I can meet you and tell you MY tipping stories. I got some good ones!

  35. fsd says:

    Portland. The first two are must-visits, and McMennamin’s is a local chain that is still pretty good.

    enjoy Portland! I don’t live there

  36. Snoopy says:

    Are you coming to Seattle soon?

  37. Andy says:

    Safe flight, Waiter!

  38. Artie says:

    I spent 3 days at a conference in Portland a few years ago…completely skipped out on the conference in order to properly explore a wonderful city.

    Only negative is the ridiculous number of homeless. I always wondered what Giuliani did with NYC’s homeless…now I know.

  39. Purple Dino Type says:

    Portland’s a great city, have fun. You should get some great interviews, the people are very friendly.

  40. Larry R says:

    Last time we were there, we tried to buy a veal roast but were told by several butcher shops that it was “controversial”. The clerk at the bookstore looked at my wife like she was a Nazi when she asked for a plastic bag to carry her purchase in the rain.

    Its a real pretty place (and I actually like it quite a bit), but if you’re not a tree-hugger, keep your head down.

  41. Anonymous says:

    If you’re in the pearl, have dinner at Fratelli’s Cucina and order their house gelato and the bruschetta.

  42. Anton says:

    You’re lucky you won’t be in Seattle today, where you’d need your SKI PARKA instead of an umbrella. Yes, they got snow today.

    The Pearl is overrated. Try seeing Hollywood or NoPo like on Art on Alberta Booply mentioned above.

  43. OhioWaitress says:

    I just wanted to stop in and say that I LOVE your book. I haven’t been able to put it down! 🙂 Great work!

  44. Spain says:

    Hey there… Love your site and looking forward to reading your book soon. Just wanted to suggest that while you are in pdx you sample an amazing local stout – The Terminator. Tasty, tasty stuff!
    Take care.

  45. John F. MacMichael says:

    If you are looking for a really good breakfast, here are a couple of recommendations: The Bijou at 132 SW 3rd (downtown) and Byways Cafe at 1212 NW Glisan (in the Pearl District).

    Both places have outstanding food and excellent service. Byways also has an amazing collection of 1950’s and ’60s travel souvenirs from all over America.

  46. Edge of America says:

    I live in Oregon (Eugene) and I have never have of heard of Portland referred to as “Puddletown”. Where did you get that from? Yes, a long time ago Eugene was often referred to derogatorily as Skinner’s Mud Hole, a reference to the copious rain and to Eugene Skinner, the founder of Eugene, Oregon, the second largest city in Oregon. I have only heard of Portland being referred to as Stumptown. For Portland, Stumptown, yes! Puddletown, no! Two legs good! Four legs bad! George Orwell really had it right in his satirical book Animal Farm. While in Portland try some Stumptown coffee. I am going up to Portland tomorrow (April 2, 2009) which is a fabulous city, and I really hope I might catch you at Powell’s City of Books and get you to autograph my copy of Waiter’s Rant.
    A Rabid Fan Who Doesn’t Bite

  47. amisare waswerebeen says:

    There are still places that pump your gas for you?

  48. Chris R says:

    When Portland builds the first strip club /micro brewery / coffee house, I am there.

  49. brina says:

    the Belmont Inn for the best bloody mary of your life!!

  50. Nael says:

    Portland doesn’t have the most strip clubs, it has the most strip clubs per capita. And I’d just like to toss out a friendly fuck “the Pearl”.

  51. Murray Conley says:



  52. Даниил Попов says:

    Я вот подумал, а где Вы материал взяли для этой статьи? Неужели из Вашей головы? 🙂

  53. Rashas W. says:

    BS about natives not using umbrellas. I was born in North Bend, Oregon, and have lived all but seven years of my life here (I’m in my 40s). It’s just that some of us are smart enough not to get wetter then we need to be. I prefer not to show up drenched when I’m going somewhere other than hiking or grocery-shopping. I swear I’m going to put out a line of umbrellas with a “I was born here. Deal with it.”

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