Well, this topic has been a long time coming. We’ve been to a lot of patio bars, had a few too many punch bowls, and we might have tried to drink our nocino way too early. So what can you do with your heavy, nauseated sack of a body when you’re hung over? Your choices are to sit quietly and hope to die or ingest something. We think that doing the latter—really taking charge of one’s self-imposed state—is the way to go! (That being said, no one here will judge you for opting to remain immobile and prostrate on your couch, floor, whatever.)
Below are a few options for going out, a few things you can make yourself, and our personal favorite, the all-American combo you’ll find listed near the end. We’re all in this together, so let us know your own cures, recipes, and favorite darkened, greasy-fooded hangouts in the comments!
If You’re Able to Dress Yourself and Go Somewhere
Not to be confused with the wine-based fruit punch, because dear Lord, that is not what you want to be drinking for your hair of the dog. (Or maybe you do? Tell us about that below, we’d be intrigued.) So sangrita, fellow party recoverists, is a spicy shot of a non-alcoholic concoction that is served alongside one of tequila. You’re meant to sip on both. We recommend some lovely añejo, the aged tequila that is a far cry from the rail stuff you definitely didn’t order a round of at last call.
Don’t be daunted by the first few sips, because between the spice and the liquor, you’ll be a lot happier by the time your huevos arrive. Trebol’s upscale vibe will mean you barely need to think for yourself—water and assistance are never far away—and by the time you finish stuffing yourself with drunken beans (frijoles chilaquiles), you’ll be game to try a few of those bloody marias your server’s been recommending.
Trebol, 4835 N Albina Avenue, 503.517.9347, Sunday brunch served 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Straightforward Breakfast
Forget your local greasy-spoon diner and go instead to Joe’s, which is attached to the eponymous bar you probably stumbled out of five or six hours prior. When the diner opens at 7 a.m., you’ll be in the company of longshoremen and retired couples with a handful of neighborhood randoms thrown in. So in other words, the noise level is well-suited to a pounding headache.
Clamber onto a bar stool, exchange pleasantries with the fisherman next to you who just finished work, and gesture a trembling hand at the biscuits and gravy when the waitress takes your order. (The elderly woman cooking in the back does not mess around when it comes to biscuits and gravy.) You only have a few other options besides that one—two eggs, an omelette, a scramble—but wash any of them down with their strong black coffee and experience some relief from the pain. If it doesn’t work, well, there’s a full bar at your disposal.
Joe's Cellar Café & Lounge, 1332 NW 21st Avenue, 503.223.2851
Who can say no to a rich, comforting, salty beef soup with slurpable noodles when they’re hung over? Or ever, really, but pho has some remarkable healing properties for those recovering from consuming a hefty bar tab.
Not long after you order, a massive bowl will be placed in front of you at Pho Hung, by now well-known on the Portland pho circuit. Put everything available to you, from the condiments on the table to the entirety of the plate of bean curd and basil, into it. You’ll understand the relative silence that pervades the restaurant once you start to eat. It’s a reassuringly straightforward experience, and it’s completely affordable. So when you open your wallet to find that it has become 60 dollars lighter since the last time you remember doing so, no big deal.
Pho Hung, 4717 SE Powell Boulevard, 503.775.3170
Chicken Curry Noodle Dish
Let’s say spice is not your thing on mornings following drinking sessions. Curry dishes with coconut milk are an excellent antidote to a queasy stomach with the added benefit of the heavy noodles and rich, fatty meat. The khao soi gai at Mee Sen involves a good hunk of chicken on the bone served in a bowl of gravy and finished with satisfyingly crunchy egg noodles on top.
Dump the accompanying plate of additions in with everything, stir, and enjoy. (Spice fans, you’ll be done right by Mee Sen’s roasted chili paste.) Good thing you got dressed out of your laundry bin this afternoon—we get it, fumbling around for things at this point is no one’s strong suit—because this sauce will be magically turning up on pretty much every piece of clothing you’re wearing.
Mee Sen Thai Eatery, 3924 N Mississippi Avenue, 971.285.6927
For Those Who Think Ahead: Eating Before You Pass Out
Original Hotcake House
Ah, the venerated 24-hour Hotcake House. It’s one of a few institutions that’s never needed to sell a drop of alcohol to stay in business, as most of their patrons between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. are soaked in enough of it already. You’ll have plenty of time in line to debate whether to get the hotcake, steak, or hash browns, but just get them all. Throw in some extra maple syrup and extra tip for the man behind the register who has to deal with your drunken self (and the hour of songs you’ll be putting on the jukebox later). And it will be good. Drink a mug or four of self-serve black coffee, too. Caffeine will be no match for your alcohol-sodden self, and it’s some delicious stuff to complement the six plates of food on your table. Strangely, you’ll feel hungry again in the morning.
Original Hotcake House, 1002 SE Powell Boulevard, 503.236.7402
Tried, But Just Can’t Leave the House
This one is straight out of the Eastern European cure-all handbook with a bit of Thai and Mexican flair. Just hand this recipe to someone near you who’s less miserable than you are and hope they pursue the soup-making. If there’s no one readily available, know that it’s pretty hard to flub, even when you have the bleary-eyed vision of a craft cocktail overenthusiast.
You’ll need a large pot or pan. Start by caramelizing tons of onion, garlic, and celery in butter. Add vegetable broth and simmer the mixture for fifteen minutes. Throw in a generous amount of chopped red cabbage, spinach, and cilantro, and keep simmering away. Finish with sriracha, chili flakes, and add salt and pepper to taste (if you still can!). The result will be savory, spicy, and crunchy—the cabbage acts as a protein and fills you up, while the aggressive flavoring essentially bullies your stomach into calming down. Eat, nap, repeat.
Chinese Food Leftovers
Hopefully you cut those three-foot-long noodles at Shandong when you were provided a pair of scissors for it, because wielding one now isn't recommended for your shaking hands. We assume you still have some of those leftovers in your fridge, so we’re just here to remind you to finish them. Now’s a really good time to crumple into an oversized sweater and sit just beyond the refrigerator door eating out of one or more greasy Chinese food boxes. The remains of your globby General Tso’s have been waiting for this day.
Good Chinese food in Portland? Yes, it does exist.
Beer and Aspirin*
Sure, this is another Old World approach, but it’s also the good old American way. Aspirin for the headache, beer for the regret, as they (we) say. Forget PBR—a light beer will just remind you that you’re dehydrated, and that thing you’re drinking is not water. Grab the last lonely bottle of microbrewed summer ale instead—hopefully, from the fridge—and pair with a couple aspirin.
Consider it a postponing move: your inevitable headache will be a thing of four hours from now. So it’s best to choose this route when you can either organize or attend a beer-and friend-filled barbecue immediately following the last sip of your drink.
You’ve tried eating, you’ve tried drinking, you might be drunk again, and nothing has worked. Drag yourself to your pickle jar and engage in a practice as old as the pickling method itself: drinking the brine. Hopefully it’s less vinegar and more spice and garlic, but either way, a quick shot will be of service. Whether your nausea and rolling stomach are subdued or encouraged, the end result will be a sense of relief just in time to meet your friends for a game of pool. Where you’ll have one beer. Really, just one.
* Veteran and amateur drinkers alike, please be aware that this is actually not recommended by the labels on any and all headache medicine. So combine at your own risk.