After running the Hot Chocolate 15k in and around the famous Golden Gate Park, my wife and I decided to leave confines of San Francisco and find a brunch spot that rivals those found in the growing exclusiveness of San Francisco without the 1+ hour wait. After a lengthy Google search, we discovered Portal in Oakland, shortly off the Lake Merritt BART station. And we were glad that we did!
There wasn’t a lot of parking right around there, but there’s a Lucky store nearby that has a large parking lot, in addition to street parking off of East 18th.
The Portal Restaurant
Although the restaurant isn’t very large, the menu is quite expansive, capturing all of the sweet or savory taste buds that command you culinary decisions. Take a look at the brunch menu below, I challenge you to find something that you won’t want to eat or drink….especially with bottomless mimosas and an expansive beer selection.
The Portal Restaurant Menu
The view of Lake Merritt from the back patio
Looking back towards the restaurant on the back patio.
The Iron Springs Casey Jones Imperial IPA $6 and Portal Restaurant Menu
The “Corned Beer and Hash” Two eggs any style, $12. Washed down with a Fieldwork Moraine Brett IPA $8.
“The Cowboy” two eggs (Any Style) over grilled polenta, drenched in tomato chili sauce $11 with a side of bottomless mimosas $18.
From the great beer selection, like the Iron Springs BreweryCasey Jones Imperial IPA to the salty, beefy goodness of the Corned Beef. All paths lead to a fantastic brunch. So kick the concern about your calorie and sodium intake and indulge. After all, you only live once.
The West End of London is comparable to New York’s Broadway, filled with world class theaters hosting the latest plays and musicals and an array of restaurants and bars covering all culinary and liquid preferences. A night out in the West End is always a memorable experience, one that should be on your short list of things to do if in London.
While on a weekend getaway in London back in July, 2011, there was one play that I had to see, Love Never Dies. A new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera that could only be seen in London at the time. So, we made an evening of it.
Looking for a a nice dinner near the theaters, we made reservations at the historic Savoy Grill located in the world famous Savoy Hotel. This is a Gordon Ramsay Group restaurant, not as prestigious as his three Michelin-stars Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, but a convenient fine dining alternative that serves amazingly delicious, high quality steaks and seafood.
We indulged in a smooth bottle of 2005 Chateau Noaillac Medoc Bordeaux wine and the Chateaubriand for two, cooked rare. Didn’t even need a knife for that blood free, beefy morsel of deliciousness. To this day, the best steak I have ever had.
Our Bordeaux Wine, 2005 Chateau Noaillac Medoc
Our amazing Chateaubriand for two, 22oz of delicious, perfectly cooked beef.
Then onto our play, Love Never Dies, at the Adelphi Theatre. After a short walk down Strand, we were at the theatre and promptly seated. The play was good, but not near as good as Phantom. Reading reviews, I wasn’t alone with this takeaway. As it turns out, the play evolved while showing in London at the Adelphi, tweaked a little here and there to improve it and bring it together more. Having seen the changes in their Melbourne production, I can say that it is better now. The music though was always very good.
409-412 Strand, London WC2R 0NS
With the enjoyable play over, we headed out the side door of the Adelphi Theatre and straight into The Porterhouse bar next door that we conveniently stumbled upon. Ironically we frequented the Dublin Porterhouse when we were there last, so it was reminiscent of that trip when we walked in. Other than the name though, that was the only similarity. The beer selection was far more limited at this location. Being the weekend, the place was packed with people enjoying the music and cold beverages. Service wasn’t great, but that’s to be expected in London. It did have a pretty good beer selection though, so I wasn’t complaining.
London is one of my favorite places to visit and enjoying its West End is part of the reason why I love it so. There are a ton of fantastic shows to see, restaurants to feast at and bars to wet your palette there. So, you can’t go wrong with any of the options there. This just happened to be my amazing evening out in London’s West End.