It’s a new year and for the Yelp Elites that means more opportunities for foodie fun. From putt putt to pinot noir, there have been plenty of opportunities for Portland’s Elite Squad to discover and connect. Here’s what we’ve been up to this month:
Yelp Shines a National Spotlight on PDX
Though the Portland food scene is no stranger to good press, two stories this month highlighted lesser-known destinations that should surely be household names. We kicked off the new year by naming America’s Top 100 Places to eat in 2020. Two Portland restaurants made the cut: creole food cart Mumbo Gumbo PDX and Zaap Thai, which Yelpers regularly call out for outstanding curries. Then our data scientists crunched some numbers to determine the top U.S. foodie destinations for 2020, and Portland came up as #2! What local biz did we bring with us to Good Morning America to represent PDX? Doe Donuts, the vegan hot spot known for fresh flavors like pb&j, spicy hot chocolate, and pumpkin smores!
Elites Swing into 2020 at Birdie Time Pub
The first big holiday of the year for the Yelp Elite Squad? Badge Day! Landing this year on January 6th, this is the day when the previous year’s squad learn who gets renewed to rep Yelp PDX into the new year. This was also the day they got their invites to the year’s first Elite Event of the year: Yelp2020 at Birdie Time Pub!
Part sports bar, part mini golf course, and part event space, Birdie Time Pub is all good times. This Buckman destination welcomed 150 Yelp Elites to see the fun for themselves. After bites provided by Flying Elephants Catering and drinks from Backwoods Brewing Company and Rogue Ales, guests were soon ready for some friendly competition. The putt putt was particularly PDX, with holes designed after the Fremont Bridge and unofficial PacNW hero, Sasquatch! At the indoor driving range, people played a virtual Pebble Beach. The Elite who hit the ball closest to the hole even won a night at the Portland Trail Blazers, directly from the owner’s personal stash of season tickets! It was a swingin’ good time and a perfect way to launch the new year.
Meat & Greet Returns
January also saw the return of a longtime favorite tradition of the Portland Elites: Meat & Greet, hosted by Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse! This semi-regular happening has introduced hundreds of Yelp Elites to the churrasco, a centuries-old fire roasting technique from Southern Brazil.
After a trip through the bountiful Market Table of fresh cheeses, salads, and vegetables, the Yelpers returned to the communal table and let the meat come to them! Gauchos paraded perfectly-cooked cuts of beef, lamb, chicken and pork. Elites drank authentic caipirinhas and shared stories of their favorite Yelp discoveries. The lead server then brought out massive trays of chocolate cake, cheesecake, and coconut cream pie. The Elites may have struggled to finish their sweet treats, but they all now knew firsthand why this event – and the restaurant – are Yelper favorites.
Battle Creek Hosts Gold Elites
The first month of 2020 concluded with the first Black & Gold Elite Event of the year! More intimate than a traditional Elite Event, these parties are reserved for Elites with gold or black badges representing 5 or 10 years of membership in the community. And we couldn’t of found a more perfect host than Battle Creek Cellars.
Known for outstanding pinot noirs, this renowned oregon winery welcomed the Elites into their new Pearl District tasting room for Yelp’s Grape Expectations. As the guests filed in they were greeted with a glass of bubbly and then encouraged to take in the luxe but cozy space. Many made a beeline for the buffet, featuring selections from the tasting room’s menu. Traditional meats and cheeses were paired with caprese salad, baked foraged mushrooms, pheasant & duck paté and more! It takes a lot for a spread to stand out next to Battle Creek’s wines, but this was one spread up to the task!
Once all had arrived, the plan for the evening was announced: guests would enjoy a tasting flight hand-curated by winemaker Sarah Cabot. As the guests worked their way through the rosé and pinots, they were encouraged to flex both their taste buds and their creative muscles, writing custom tasting notes for each pour. Then Cabot and tasting room manager Michael Jaggers personally selected their favorites, the winners collecting prizes ranging from bottles of wine to private tasting parties. There were six prize winners in all, but really wasn’t everybody who attended such a luxe event a winner? We sure think so.
All in all, it was a busy start to the year, and one that has inspired Portland’s Elites to spend more time exploring their communities and sharing their discoveries on Yelp. With a whole eleven more months in the year, there’s sure to be plenty of more fun to be found.