I grew up with an Italian-American family on the east coast, on my mother’s side. We occasionally played Bocce at family reunions, but that was the extent of our “lawn bowling”. You can imagine my surprise when I moved to Portland, Oregon and found a pretty serious bocce sub-culture here. There are a number of cool places to meet up with friends and duke it out over whose bocce ball is closest to the pallino. My favorite spot is at the North Park Blocks, right in front of one of Portland’s best restaurants, Park Kitchen (422 NW 8th). You can play a round on a lovely evening and then enjoy some savory small plates at the copper-topped bar in Park Kitchen accompanied by one of their signature cocktails or a glass of rosé. Another fun place to catch a game is on the back patio at Vita Cafe (3024 NE Alberta), a perfect location for sport after a satisfying Sunday brunch. Oregon wine country, just minutes outside of Portland, boasts some great bocce courts, as well. Cana’s Feast in Carlton, OR is an Italian styled winery with bocce courts lined with Cypress trees. There’s something about being outside in the beautiful and temperate northwest summer weather, gathering with good friends, sipping on wine and contemplating your next move on the bocce court. Ponzi Vineyards, near Beaverton, OR, also has bocce on the lawn on Sunday evenings. When in Rome, live as the Romans do!