Oh the weather outside may be frightful, but that didn't stop 60 of Portland's elites from heating things up at Yelp's Holiday Ice Cream Social at Alberta's top ice cream spot – Salt & Straw! With such a cozy, intimate space, we decided to roll 'elites-only' (sorry +1's – you'll have to read along in envy) to this event which, as Kari M notes, "took it to another level. Adding booze to some of the best ice cream in town?" That's a win-win.
The event was split into two hours, the first starting at 4:30 and the second at 5:30. At both the smiling, sweater-bedecked elites were met with single-origin Cacao drinking chocolate spiked with locally-made Lavishmint Vodka from NW Distilling. As Melvin T can attest: it "was really comforting and heated my soul." Once warmed up it was on to chocolate-Lavishmint milkshakes and Ninkasi Otis Oatmeal Stout beer floats. No, not root-beer floats. Actual BEER floats. In fact, party-goers even got to sample Salt & Straw's soon-to-be-released Ninkasi Otis & Fudge ice cream. Aaron W considers it "the best of their beer ice creams so far. The stout is present but not overpowering, and the sweet fudge stays controlled for a pleasing experience." And if floats and shakes and cocoa were not enough, Yelpers were welcome to sample their way through S&S' long list of unique flavors (think balsamic and strawberry, maple and blueberry, etc).
Of course Festivus got the best of us with holiday gift-exchanges and food-drive raffles! For each item of food brought to the event, Yelpers got a raffle ticket to win prizes like 22oz Ninkasi Stout bottles, light-up rotating nativity regalia and fun kitchy craziness. Sweet surprises from the blind gift exchange included a spatula (much needed, claims the giftee), crafty wares, booze, a five-pack of beer and more! All told we donated over 140 lb of food to the Oregon Food Bank which, as Don D describes, "made the gluttony feel a little less gluttonous!" Hear hear!
A sleigh full of thanks and holiday wishes to Kim and her insanely welcoming team at Salt & Straw; Meghan and the fine folks from NW Distilling/Lavishment Vodka; Morgan and the team from Ninkasi Brewing; Hilary B (no Matt, she's not the new intern); to Ron, Melvin, Michael, Roman (these boys each brought multiple bags!) and all of the folks who brought such an incredible amount of food for the Oregon Food Bank; and of course to the Yelp Portland Elite Squad – the best Elite Squad ever!
The Don B. – PDXYelp Community Director