Hundreds of families push strollers through downtown Beaverton, Oregon while middle aged couples line up at each food station waiting their turn to buy everything, from organic fruit popsicles to Falafel burgers, and gourmet grilled cheese. Nearby, in a green space, families spread out impromptu picnics on the lawn. Some stroll hand in hand browsing bright coloured Indian scarves, Korean jewelry, crafty bookmarks and holiday decorations made from old tattered, repurposed, maps.
Across the tracks, a cable car periodically splits the crowd in two, while police stand by watching and guarding barricades. The streets are cordoned off in a radius around this event. Many families, grandparents included, sit in a semicircle facing a stage where a Hawaiian man deftly executes a traditional dance. Beside me, a millennial couple and their new baby girl, pose for photographs with another couple, breaking periodically to discuss Jeff Bezos, the tech sector, their jobs, recent travels, local restaurants and the stock market.
Beaverton Night Market in Tualatin Valley is a feast, a deliberate celebration of the diversity of this area of Oregon. On a late summer evening that marks one of the last occasions of the year for the outdoor open air market, children dance on a sliver of dance floor while giant helium balloon characters bob above attached by ribbons to their wrists.
I am here on the first night of a five-day adventure through Tualatin Valley Oregon. I’ve heard many things about the diverse culture in the area but the night market is physical proof.
Tualatin Valley’s diversity is also its strength. Not only is the area stunning with ample opportunities to get outside, and explore, but world class innovative wineries and creative craft beers are easy to find while the restaurant scene is memorable.
Here are My Favourite Places to Wine and Dine in Tualatin Valley
Start with Beaverton Valley Night Market above. Take the entire family and sample something amazing. You never know what you are going to get when you go, but there’s definitely more than enough here to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Make note of when the dates are for the night market next summer, then be sure to add to your calendar.
After an afternoon spent cycling the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, I was ravenous. I arrived to find the world’s tiniest and cutest parade happening on the Main Street in Banks and then I borrowed a bike from Banks Bicycle Repair and Rental and tackled a section of the trail. On a hot August day, water and hydration were my main concern, but when I spied numerous grandparents cycling with their grandchildren along the trail, well I knew I had to push myself to keep going, finishing around the 7 mile marker and back (14 miles total for me – a new personal record)
Hop Cycle Brewing Company
Since the only other restaurant in Banks was closed I landed at Hop Cycle Brewing Company. I sampled a few local beers and was about to order something that sounded great off the menu when the owner advised me the brisket was also an option. WELL, I am the world’s biggest brisket lover, so if brisket is ever on the menu I am all in. So succulent, moist brisket won the day. Take my advice and get the brisket, plus a flight of craft beers.
After I finished up and left Banks, I was off to the very quirky McMenamin’s Grand Lodge, where I stayed for two nights while exploring more of the region via the Quilt Barn Tour, visiting the wineries, and touring America’s first premium Sake bar, SakeOne.
Great service. I only popped in for a moment, because I needed directions and something to drink before I cycled the Banks Vernonia Trail. This new restaurant is welcoming to cyclists and specializes in breakfast and lunch.
McMenamin’s Grand Lodge
You never know what you will get when you dine on site at a resort or hotel. But Ironwork Grill was fresh and delicious. Definitely a hit if you are searching for where to wine and dine in Tualatin Valley. I had dinner and breakfast there over the course of two days and was pleasantly surprised. The chef pulls a lot of the ingredients from a huge fresh garden on site and the combinations are rich and unique as a result.
The special the night I was there was a Mahi steak with a hint of Szechuan sauce that had a kick and a side of fresh kale salad with so many unexpected flavours. If I could duplicate that side dish I would in a heartbeat. It was that good. Don’t miss the live music at McMenamin’s Lodge and there are many beers on tap, so pick a couple to sample. Grand Lodge Theatre is a live first run movie theatre. Plan accordingly so you can go see a movie while staying there. They serve food and alcohol in the theatre.
Where Should I Eat in Forest Grove, Oregon?
After zip lining at Tree to Tree Adventure Park, I headed over to nearby Forest Grove for lunch in the Public House at Ridgewalker Brewing. Where to begin? This is one I won’t soon forget. Service was great and the environment was relaxed, casual with a hint of industrial chic inside the restaurant.
What to Order?
The taco salad with pulled pork was insane. I honestly want to hop back on a plane every time I look at this picture of my lunch in Forest Grove. Hands down, this was the best taco salad I have ever had and coupled with the flight of beer I frankly would have stayed here all day, but other restaurants and activities were on the agenda so on I continued.
The Public House at Ridgewalker Brewing features Pacific Northwest style beers all brewed on site. I sampled a Meyer Lemon flavour beer which was love at first taste and there was also a Blueberry flavour craft beer that was pure gold. Now why can’t I get these at home?
SakéOne is the first American owned premium saké brewery. After doing a tour of the brewery here, I had a new appreciation for saké, the traditional Japanese beverage. SakéOne has a subscription club, which is extremely popular and there are also numerous events throughout the year here, from painting parties to tours and they have a tasting room that’s a hit.
So why Oregon and Saké? Well, as noted, the area is diverse and also the water is extremely soft in Tualatin Valley, making it ideal for brewing saké. This brewery started as a business venture between some American business people who saw a market that was untapped. SakéOne takes a traditional Japanese beverage and Americanizes it.
Did you know that all saké is gluten free and vegan friendly? Out off the sun and unopened, saké can last up to one year. It brews like beer, drinks like wine and mixes like a spirit. Saké can also be subbed in for spirits in cocktails.
Forest Grove has so much going for it and BITES, located in the heart of the downtown, is high on my list because of its fun, bright, atmosphere and clever appetizers too. Loved the fried avocado and tempura cheese sticks. Tempura cheese sticks? Well, that’s fresh! Don’t miss Bites, but be warned also that they get pretty busy so don’t wait too late.
Also in Forest Grove, Oregon you will find Kafé, cute coffee shop in the downtown area, also owned by the same people who run BITES. On Pacific Avenue, Kafé features a toast bar and also a Boba Bar. Try the Lava Bar if you are not concerned about calories. I mean it’s a one of a kind treat.
Kafè only serves fair trade products, USDA organic and kosher. There are no artificial powders or dyes used here.
Looking for Wineries in Tualatin Valley?
Montinore Vineyards Estate
Established in 1982, Montinore Estate is a 210 acre Demeter certified Biodynamic and Stellar Certified Organic vineyard estate. Until I visited Montinore I’d never actually heard of biodynamic wines. The biodynamic wine process is similar to organic, but also relies heavily on lunar phases to determine when to harvest and where to grow the best grapes. It is organic amplified.
I sampled numerous wines from Montinore while there and found each distinctive, fresh and rich. Montinore grows seven different grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer, Reisling, Muller-Thurgau, Teroldego and Lagrein. I flew home with a bottle of Pinot Rosé. The reds were some of the best reds I tasted in Oregon.
David Hill Vineyards and Winery
Some of the best views of Oregon’s coast range are right here. Take your tasting menu and sample a variety or two before heading out with a glass to sit in an Adirondack chair, relaxing while drinking it all in. This spot is clearly pet friendly as I saw a few wine lovers with their well behaved dogs relaxing under the gorgeous trees at David Hill Vineyards and Winery.
Take a walk or a tour and enjoy the atmosphere while also sipping some Pinot Noir. David Hill Vineyeards and Winery boasts some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in the Tualatin Valley. Add this winery to your list of must visit spots when you travel to Oregon. They also do weddings. Just imagine the photos!
Heading Back towards Portland
Hillsboro Night Market
If you love night markets and are in the area you might also go see the Hillsboro Tuesday Night Market from 5 to 8:30 every Tuesday night in the summer.
This spot is tucked away in a strip mall, but don’t let that fool you. Brooklyn Trattoria is spectacular. The atmosphere is upscale, neighbourhood restaurant. Also very family friendly. We had a spot tucked away behind a partition closer to the bar area which provided a bit more privacy for conversation. Families seemed to be mostly on the other side of the restaurant.
The menu here is creative and so worthy of checking out. We ordered a bruschetta which I didn’t think much about when ordering. But when it arrived plated with balsamic pearls on top I was wide awake and let’s just say that caught my attention. I think that was the most creative and savoury bruschetta I’ve ever had. My shrimp pasta dinner was perfectly cooked. Magical meal combination.
Wondering where to wine and dine in Tualatin Valley? Are you a beer connoisseur? Then I have a couple of recommendations for you. One also comes with the most impressive pizza!
Stickmen Brewing Company
After a morning start at Brown’s Ferry Park with Alder Creek and Canoe, I was good and hungry. The morning canoe down the Tualatin River was lovely and I paddled so hard for a bit that I earned blisters on my hand. Then it was time for lunch and a sample of what’s on tap at Stickmen.
Try the Combo wood over pizza with sausage, red onion, tomato, mozzarella and a perfect, light crispy crust. Then I sampled a small taste of Mosaingo, with its fruity, citrus flavour, which was lovely on a warm afternoon. Tried Kissed by Melons, a sour with a hint of melon, too and loved it.
Ancestry Brewing Company
Ancestry’s brewing facility is attached to its tasting room. In stark contrast to Stickmen, these beers here were no nonsense, nothing fruity at all about them, but there were some extremely creative options. The Bourbon barrel aged oat stout was unforgettable. You can definitely taste the bourbon. Also Gastropub food selections available.
Vertigo Brewing Company
Vertigo Brewing is one of Oregon’s most beloved breweries. They call it a nano-brewery and they use a seven barrel system, designed by a Portland company.
Unique Belgian-inspired ales, each made with locally sourced ingredients.
From Savoury to Fruity, You’ll Find it All in Tualatin Valley
There are so many great places to wine and dine in Tualatin Valley Oregon, that you can do all the outdoor things, then cap the day off with a rewarding meal. The wineries and the craft beer scene are distinctive and you definitely won’t leave Tualatin Valley hungry.