In mid-November the state of Oregon announced a "two week pause" which halted events and reduced the capacity of in-door dining. Then that "pause" became a "four-week freeze" which banned in-door and out-door dining and closed spas, gyms, and other "non-essential" businesses. In this state of Oregon this also means no bars will open because we can't have cocktails to-go.
At least this time we knew what was coming, so the week before we scrambled to visit some of our favorite places while we still could.
First on the list was Eem. Coincidentally, this is also one of the last restaurants we ate at right before the first lockdown in March. It is a small restaurants and I remember we sat so close to other patrons I could smell the food at their table. I leaned over and asked my partner "Should we really be here?" The food was great but we both felt kind of weird for eating out during a looming pandemic. That was March 13th. The first lockdown because March 17th, and Eem, which had never offered to-go options, wouldn't start offering takeout and delivery until August.
We had eaten Eem's food a few times at home during the lockdown, but once the initial restrictions were lifted we were excited to try the heated private cabanas we had heard so much about. They were every bit as wonderful as we imagined.
Inside the cabana was a personal fireplace that felt so intimate and cozy. I ordered a cocktail because I knew it would be my last chance, and I indulged on curry, papaya salad, and braised pork belly.
The second place on our hit-list was Tropicale. I had been there before in August with a friend as a first-pandemic dining experience, and it was magical. I hoped to relive some of that magic, but unfortunately I was too late. Though they had an amazing outdoor cabana, they were already done with dine-in and not serving any cocktails.
So my partner and I ordered a virgin Pina Colada to go and had their fantastic food on our porch at home. I will be back for a real cocktail once the restrictions are lifted.