Weekend Guide

Your Guide to a Socially Distanced Weekend in Portland: National Croissant Day, McMenamins Day Passes, and More

January 29–31 Edition
January 29, 2021
Saturday is National Croissant Day, and Baker & Spice will have special flavors for the occasion, like this dreamy cherry-filled, pistachio-topped number. (Baker and Spice)

If you're out of ideas for ways to stay entertained in these activity-restricted times, read on for our latest batch of suggestions, from new January book releases to check out (including the late Cicely Tyson's memoir) to the return of the 99W Drive-In Add to a List , and from Rose City Rollers' Winter Skate Add to a List Pop-Up Add to a List to places to McMenamins day passes. For even more options, read our guides to the best online events this week Add to a List  and the best movies to watch this week Add to a List .

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Catch up on January book releases. As the month winds down and at-home activities continue to reign supreme, this weekend is an excellent time to pore over this month's biggest book releases—or at least pick them up from local bookstores and put them on your to-do list. Nadia Owusu (a recipient of the 2019 Whiting Award) released her debut memoir, Aftershocks, to much acclaim, zeroing in on two events that changed her life as a seven-year-old living in Rome with her father, stepmother, and younger sister—one of which was the sudden reappearance of her birth mother. Living legend Joan Didion flexes her greatest talent in this week's new release Let Me Tell You What I Mean, a new collection of old essays, half of which appeared during the '60s in the Saturday Evening Post. George Saunders (who won a Booker Prize for his historical fiction novel Lincoln in the Bardo) released A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, a book of essays (or a "masterclass," as he calls it) that offers a version of an MFA class he taught at Syracuse University on the Russian short story. André Aciman, the author of Call Me By Your Name, also returns to the essay in Homo Irrealis, in which he parses through his thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works. And Robert Jones, Jr.'s veritable epic of a debut, The Prophets, contains "a dazzling gallery of unforgettable portraits," according to the Los Angeles Times. If you're an audiobook person, head to indie bookstore-supporting Libro.fm to download a copy of Cicely Tyson's memoir Just As I Am, released this week just two days before the Hollywood icon died at the age of 96—it's narrated in part by Tyson herself, as well as the Oscar-winning Viola Davis and Robin Miles, who narrated Isabel Wilkerson's CasteHidden Figures, and other prominent books by Black authors.

Take in a drive-in movie. The 99W Drive-In in Newberg is back Add to a List after a winter hiatus, just in time to screen the existential Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day in honor of the holiday itself next Tuesday. After an intermission, they'll also show the new video game movie Monster Hunter. "Good Oregon outdoor footwear" is recommended!

Subscribe to a local snail mail service. Unless you only associate with Luddites (no judgment), it's easy to check in with your loved ones via social media or texting. But anyone who's ever received a letter from a long-distance pen pal knows there's no better feeling than opening your (IRL) mailbox to find a handwritten note tucked between health insurance statements and internet bills. If the only thing stopping you from exchanging hard-copy missives with your friends is a lack of materials, opt for Portland-based snail mail subscriptions. Sign up for Tender Loving Empire's Snail Mail Subscription or Oblation Papers & Press Add to a List ' Letterpress Express subscription to secure a monthly supply of everything you need, from handmade cards to stamps.


Celebrate National Croissant Day. Saturday is National Croissant Day, as good an excuse as any to get your hands on a buttery, crescent-shaped pastry. For flaky delights that will shed a trail of crispy shards down your shirt (as any good croissant should), check out St. Beatrix Add to a List (which will have special flavors for the occasion), JinJu Patisserie Add to a List , Baker & Spice Add to a List , Bakeshop Add to a List , Ken's Artisan Bakery Add to a List , or Trifecta Add to a List .

Or National Hot Chocolate Day. The day after Croissant Day is National Hot Chocolate Day, so there's practically no excuse not to have an indulgent weekend. We've rounded up Add to a List some remarkable ways to get your hot chocolate fix around town, from toasted marshmallow versions at 1927 S'mores Company Add to a List  to the TikTok-trendy hot cocoa bombs at DB Dessert CompanyIce Queen Add to a List , and Sisters Gourmet Deli Add to a List .

Keep warm with a bowl of gumbo. In her latest Takeout Club column, Suzette Smith writes, "Ordering gumbo-for-one can be a strange situation since the dish is traditionally a stone soup endeavor—made with whatever's on hand or in season, in a big pot, to feed a large gathering. But we're all still quarantining and it's cold as biscuits. So bless up these New Orleans and Southern spots that serve up a hot bowl to go!" She recommends Northeast hole-in-the-wall/New Orleans bistro Acadia Add to a List and the Build Your Own Gumbo at the Mumbo Gumbo food cart.

Send sweet care packages to friends and people you miss. Feel like showering your loved ones with confections? The whimsical bakery Unicorn Bakeshop Add to a List has cookie assortments and a "love and care box" with three mini chocolate chip cookies, three mini molasses ginger cookies, a cupcake of your choice, an optional ten dollar gift card to Portland Wine Company, and a custom note. The local bakery Sweetheart St. John's Add to a List also has two special packages available for nationwide shipping for Valentine's Day: a "box o' Valentines" cookie box with an assortment of heart-shaped cookies and an "XO Box" Valentine's Day pastry selection with black forest cupcakes, a "galaxy tart" (bittersweet chocolate tart with salted honey caramel, roasted hazelnuts, chocolate ganache, rosemary, and sea salt), chestnut honey Paris-Brest, citrus pavlova, chocolate Pinot Noir pots de crème, and chocolate French kiss cookies. Both boxes come with lovely herbs and edible flowers from baker Anna Henrie Henricks' own organic garden and a botanical card for your Valentine. Check out more Valentine's Day takeout options (many of which require advance preorders) here Add to a List .

Check out a pop-up. The popular Chinese food cart Mama Chow's Kitchen Add to a List is usually closed on the weekends but, this Saturday, they'll serve their beloved dumplings, noodles, wings, and other dishes as part of a special pop-up. Plus, mark your calendars for next week, when two new vegan pop-ups will open, making plant-based ensaymadas Add to a List  and Philly cheesesteaks Add to a List  a reality. 


Reserve a McMenamins Day Pass. Want to indulge in a mini-getaway without packing an overnight bag? McMenamins' Edgefield (Troutdale) and Grand Lodge (Forest Grove) locations offer passes for the daytime (10 am-3 pm) and evening hours (5-10 pm) that get you a hotel room, pool access, and food and drink credit to use at onsite restaurants. Passes for each day are limited, so call ahead within seven days of your desired visit. 

Go roller-skating. The Rose City Rollers' open-air Winter Skate Add to a List Pop-Up Add to a List  is going strong at Lloyd Center. Their Skatemobile will be onsite if you need to rent gear.

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