Kalaisha Watrous, scooterist and friend, was in a very serious accident on her Vespa Wednesday March 22. She is currently in Intensive Care with multiple injuries: a broken left leg, shattered right knee cap, broken left arm, dislocated right elbow, and several facial fractures.
Recovery from an accident of this severity will be long, painful, and expensive. Twist & Play Scooter Club has set up a donation fund through US Bank.
If you'd like to give a donation, you can do so at any US Bank—just say you would like to make a donation to the Kalaisha Watrous fund.
My point is to show the qualities of Portland's public artwork.
1. There's a lot of public artwork. And it's all over the place.
2. Though most of our public artwork gets inaugurated with a huzzah, much is quickly forgotten. Some of it vanishes (the "Columbia" figures which matched the doorways of the Pioneer Courthouse Post Office, the large multimedia piece which dominated the third floor of the Central Library prior to remodel).
3. Much of our public art has been acquired by corporate or governmental "welfare for the arts" programs. Some pieces clearly were bought to promote a political or aesthetic agenda.
5. On reflection, much of this art turns out to be crap: some is curious, some is incomprehensible, some is evocative, provocative, or tells a story. Some bridges the gap between art and decoration (Portlandia), some is wild seed flying (graffiti tunnel), some is profound and challenging (Coe's Lincoln in the Park Blocks – our great treasure). But as for the crap we've paid for it and often the work is heavy and public and regardless of its quality some folks would never dispose of anything. So it persists. Sometimes for decades. Then a new visitor arrives and says, "what the hell is that!" And you, as an ambassador of this great city, have some explaining to do. Start with 190 ton piece of crap in front of the Standard Insurance Building.
This piece is called Agent Mischief (of the Sprockettes, natch) and it's just one of the bike oriented pieces of art done by Tiago Denczuk (aka Tiago DeJerk) from the show "The Most Ridiculous People I know".
This Thursday from 6pm till close, a group of artist wranglers will be here with supplies to lure as many as possible into a GROUP ART PROJECT. All participants will be responsible for a 4"x6" panel of a great collage to be displayed at Stumptown next month.
*If you can't make it on Thursday, August 23rd, you can stop by another time throughout the week, gather supplies and drop the piece off by Saturday.
*Remember, the deal is that you can visit the Waypost this week to produce a submission which will almost certainly be accepted. Thursday night from 6pm 'til close is the time of the official art party for this project.
You might want to be here Thursday because that's the same night as Castle Danz' LIVE JOURNALISM & EXPERTS presentation on "DIY Bookbinding"(8pm). You may just walk out of here with an empty book of your own making.
With several collections of shorts and 6 films over 40 minutes, and 8 programs, there is lots to see here. Kids on bikes, Brazil’s freestyle underground, fixed gear alleycat, Ines Brunn's Artistic Cycling, tall bikes, biking in the bible belt, messengers, freakbikes, re-enactments of 70s movies, bike thieves, donated bikes in Ghana, mountain bikes, BMX, bike cars, hillbombing, and bike factories.
The Bicycle Film Festival celebrates the bicycle. We are into all styles of bikes and biking. If you can name it-Tall Bike Jousting, Track Bikes, BMX, Alleycats, Critical Mass, Bike Polo, Cycling to Recumbents- we've probably either ridden or screened it. What better way to celebrate these lifestyles than through art, film, music and performance? We bring together all aspects of bicycling together to advocate its ability to transport us in many ways. Ultimately the Fest is about having a good time.
We have been fortunate enough to include works of established artists such as Jorgen Leth, Mike Mills, Jonas Mekas, Blonde Redhead, Swoon and Michel Gondry among others as part of our programming. Many of the artists who have participated in the Bike Film Fest such as Nick Golebiewski, the Neistat Brothers and Lucas Brunelle are gaining more and more recognition for their work.
There is so very much going on this weekend. Let's begin, shall we?
Friday-Saturday: The Bicycle Film Festival at Cinema 21 more details here or below
Friday-Sunday: Muddy Boots Organic Festival at St. Philip Neri Church (18th & Division).
Dave knows and tells all
Saturday: the KBOO book & record sale at the Musician's Union Hall, 325 NE 20th Avenue (1 block south of Sandy Blvd.) from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. KBOO has more details
Regular readers know that I don't really ever write about fashion, and people who know me know I don't have a clue about it. But I love graphic design, and I've long been a fan of the Portland Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA). And I really love Queen Bee Creations. You've seen them: their stylish bags hang off the shoulders of about half of the trend-aware women around town.
So when AIGA and Queen Bee come together, what's not to love?
Here's the deal. In April, 2007, 50 local designers produced banners that hung in downtown Portland promoting the Urban Forest Project, with the goal of better awareness of green design. The banners have now been cut up and recycled as really great-looking designer handbags by local artisans at Queen Bee Creations. And Socio XV will have the bags for sale, and offer people a chance to meet the artists in person.
Mind you, I don't know what Socio XV is supposed to mean, but I gotta get my hands on one of the bags. At least one...
It's free for AIGA members, $5 for non-members. The event will include music, snacks, and a cash bar. 21+. The bag sale proceeds will benefit Portland's Friends of Trees.
As you can see, Carfree Day will be a whole weekend long this year. We'll be turning this downtown street into a car-less plaza, and will be providing entertainment and education at various points during the
Saturday the 23rd will be the big night, featuring the 20 Foot Man (who is everything you could imagine) and other exciting, danceable local acts.
Friday night will feature food and community. Saturday and Sunday during the day, we'll provide a mellow place to hang out on pillows and chairs and listen to acoustic music and sound experiments.
This weekend will be the first step in permanently shutting that segment of SW Ankeny to car traffic!
10pm, Monday, January 15
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Pacific NW
the Travel Channel (basic cable)
Cable channel 65 or C413 or Directv 277 or Dish 215
Hey, we might look like freaks but we're Portland freaks, right? Or some such. Anthony Bourdain comes to town, eats at Apizza Scholls, looks for tattooed cooks, and if you believe the promo, all hell breaks loose. I hope at least he had a good time. And that we look crazy-scary, not crazy-cool.
I'm always curious how Portland gets portrayed in the media, and food television tends to give us this crazy hippy vibe—more than the hippy vibe that we have really have. I mean, the Best of and Old Wives Tales? Rachel Ray and Old Town Pizza? Please.
The promo shows someone riding the Dropout Bike Club's spinner, which gives me a bit of hope. If they can show some of our bike fun culture, I think they have a half a chance to get it right.
Anyways: Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation. Seattle and Portland. At least he didn't have to toss fish here.
Two great interviews are at ExtraMSG's site here and here.
The Pacific Northwest is filled with everything - history, coffee, fresh produce, trees and obsession. Chef Anthony Bourdain is setting-off to visit the land introduced to us by Lewis and Clark, to rediscover it
Beloved Portland blogger, Frykitty, has an up-to-date, no-fun-barred calendar of spooky events and the like. If you're looking for something appropriately scary (or fun), this is a great resource to check out!
I read about the Japanese Garden being free tomorrow, Friday, the observed Veterans Day, and I got all excited. I love the Japanese Garden, of course, but I thought, maybe, there was a cavalcade of free cultural events that those of us who get Veterans Day off could take advantage of.
No such luck. It appears that it's just the Japanese Garden. Still, it's the Japanese Garden!
FREE ADMISSION DAY
The Japanese Garden of Portland
Friday, November 10, 2006
Come see the Japanese Garden in all its fall colors! Friday, November 10, 2006 is FREE ADMISSION DAY at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Everyone is welcome.
Take a free Garden tour at 10:45am, 1:00pm or 2:30pm
See Autumn Leaves—the world-renowned Weyerhaeuser Pacific Rim Bonsai Exhibit
Visit the Garden Gift Store's fall sale with books, holiday gift ideas, and Japanese cultural and art pieces
Enjoy this magical place of tranquility and beauty
Come and experience the Japanese Garden again or for the first time for free on November 10, 2006.
The Japanese Garden is located on the west side of Washington Park, directly above the International Rose Test Gardens. A free shuttle bus is available to take passengers from the Garden parking lot to the admission gate.
This is the sort of nightmare I lay awake worrying about.
In June, 35-year old Chad Schild, a Portland restaurant worker, went to ER with a bunch of unusual but seemingly routine health complaints. He came out with a stunning diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, an uncommonly aggressive form of cancer.
He is currently receiving as much chemotherapy as his body will tolerate in an attempt to force this disease into remission. Chad has worked at Papa Haydn and Jo Bar on NW 23rd for the past 5 years. Anyone who lives, eats or drinks in this neighborhood would recognize Chad's sandy blonde beard and remember his never-ending wisecracks.
That is just a nightmare in and of itself, but, wait, this only gets worse.
Like 46 million other Americans, and like so many of our fellow Portland restaurant workers, Chad does not have health insurance. While the Oregon Health Plan and Medicare may step up to cover some part of his medical expenses, he is still unable to work, and his monthly bills are piling up. This combination of medical bills and debt threatens to derail Chad's life even if he does make a full recovery from his current condition.
Meanwhile, Chad's family is rearranging their lives to travel to Portland during this battle, stretching everybody's budget to the limit. Chad's story is the ultimate "what if" tale for restaurant workers. As we all know, it is not economically feasible for most restaurants to offer health insurance to all their employees. But we can band together to support a member of our service industry family during this tragedy.
So, of course, there are ways to contribute. There's a paypal general fund for Chad. You can buy a t-shirt ($20 at Jo Bar, talk to the bartender or manager on duty for details). And/or, you can go to Supportland.
This is a benefit concert organized by an amazing core group of Chad’s friends. It promises to be an evening of music, food, drink, and friends. Some big name Portland bands, like Floater, Go Fever, Caves, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, and Federale, will be playing. The space, AudioCinema, is super-cool, with good food and beer on tap. And, it's for a really good cause.
Tickets are on sale now at Trade Up Music (4701 SE Division St., 1834 NE Alberta St.), Clinton Street Video (2501 SE Clinton St), Old Town Music (40 SW 3rd Ave), and Jo Bar (715 NW 23rd Ave).
I just read about this in Metroblogging this morning. Orycon, the Portland scifi and fantasy convention, is coming right up.
Now, if you've never been to a Con before, yes, some folks dress up. Yes, there is filking. Really, there is a full spectrum of geeking. Here's what they have to say:
Orycon 28 will have strong literary and science programming in the tradition of past Orycons.
Additionally in the tradition of Orycon's past, we plan to have a lot of fun, with activities and special interest programming to reflect the diverse range of interests that are integral to or closely associated with science fiction fandom. These include media, art, anime, fanzines, writing, costuming, gaming, and filking, with a smattering of fannish panels as well. We will also have children's programming and some educators programming focused on using Science Fiction in the classroom.
What this quote from their web site don't mention is Cory Doctorow is coming. He's the Writer Guest of Honor. If you aren't familiar with him, he's an author (duh!), internet activist, and a contributor to Wired and BoingBoing. I am so there.
Just a friendly reminder that I would love to see all your beautiful faces at BikeCraft this Thursday night. I've got 20 fantastic vendors lined up...selling all sorts of wonderfully bikey arts and crafts. There will be hot cider and plenty holiday cheer for all, and live music by the Trash Mountain Boys.
Come see and be seen at City Hall (1221 SW 4th) this Thursday night from 4-8pm. We've got the entire first floor atrium all to ourselves and upstairs Commissioner Adams is having a craft fair of his own so it'll be an amazing gathering of great, locally made gifts!
Please tell your friends to join us...the more the merrier...
Support local artists and spread Portland's bike love to the friends and family on your list (or just buy cool stuff for yourself)!
Join us at SCRAP's fifth annual Holiday Bazaar and Bakesale on Saturday, December 9th from 11am to 6pm at SCRAP’s retail location. This unique and cozy holiday bazaar features 15 local artisans that transform normally unwanted materials into cool, creative gifts perfect for your friends and loved ones! All items are made from a minimum of 75% reused materials.
Meet and support local artists working with found objects and be inspired.
* April Alden - Rosewebs
* Doni Barzoloski
* Christine Claringbold - Eye Pop Art
* Ruby Colette - Second Hand Saints
* Liz Dickey
* Sarah Gilbert and Larissa Brown
* Jenn Hill - Robot Candy
* Janet Julian
* Suzannne Keolker - Mugwump
* Megan Klepp
* Sam MacKenzie
* Heather Maharry
* Adrienne McKeehan
* Beth Myrick
* Marc Wilwerth - Perfect Children
The SCRAP Bazaar is combined with a traditional Bake Sale offering homemade goodies to tempt the tummy.
Guaranteed to be more fun and cheaper than the mall!
Canby Asparagus Farm is proud to announce it's (sic) 1st Annual Tamale Festival at Clackamas County Fairgrounds December 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2006 Hours will be from 11:00 am until 8 pm.
Come sample and purchase 50 varieties of home-style tamales. Choose from basic Chicken or Pork to the more exotic Crab Tamale featuring Oregon Dungeness Crab, the Greek Tamale with Alsea Acre goat cheese and don't forget the Asparagus Tamale.
Chef Victor Martinez from Oazaca, and tamale experts Martha Avilez and Edie Guzman will be demonstrating the art of tamale making daily. Another demonstration will be the making of corn tortillas.
This will be a fun-filled 3 day event with entertainment for the whole family.
A donation of a can of food per person is requested for entry to the festival.
Don't miss the 3rd Annual OSC Holiday lights ride led by the notorious poster boy Mark Trail.
Join us for a fun-filled evening of scooter riding, light viewing and social fun!
Put on by the Oregon Scooter Club and sponsored by The Lucky Bastards Scooter Club and the Cute Bunnies And Kitties Scooter Club.
Ride leaves at 7:00pm from the Urban Grind Coffee shop at 2214 NE Oregon St. (NE 22nd Ave & NE Oregon St.)
We will head out for an urban adventure in search of the most glorious and silly holiday light displays we can find, taking in short stops on one of Portland's many volcanoes, a well-lit Victorian Mansion, and we will search for the ever popular Columbia River X-Mas Ships!
So, dress up in your warmest riding gear and come on out for the best winter ride of the season.
Late comers can still join in on the fun...
If you can't make the ride departure time, we will be meeting up at the Sextant Bar & Galley for a mid-ride warm up in hopes to see the ships. Expect to find us there around 7:45 - 8:15pm . The Sextant Bar & Galley is located at 4035 NE Marine Dr. (Just east of where NE 33rd Ave intersects with Marine Dr. next to Salty's restaurant)
Okay, so I love me a Russian Imperial Stout, and of the Russian Imperial Stouts made locally.... oh yeah, Laurelwood's is the only one made locally, but it compares favorably to nationally known RISs. And, it's only available after Winter Solstice until it runs out. Last year that happened pretty quick. It's worth braving the children for this.
Chad at Laurelwood writes, via the Brew Crew:
Our Russian Imperial Stout will be available on Friday the 22nd not tomorrow. While Mr. Foyston is correct in his article that solstice starts on Jan 21 we're saving our celebration for the first full day of winter.
Laurelwood rolls out Moose & Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout (into the Wayback Machine, Rocky & Bullwinkle fans) on the solstice, and the pub will also serve the regular porter and stout, Old Reliable barleywine and Vinter Varmer, the pub's much loved strong ale.
Yeah, the Vinter Varmer's good. But Moose & Squirrel? Dude!
The gallery 12x16, near Genies and Modified/Motokitty at 12th & SE Division, is losing their space. The current show is Betty Dodson, and they are planning to mount a Farewell Group show and throw a big party for their last weekend... which is February 1-4 (my kind of weekend, the type that starts on Thursday!).
On Feb 15th I'm putting on a screening of movies/talkumentaries from my DVD "Cantankerous Titles & Obscure Ephemera, Vol 1" for "Thirsty Third Thursday". Many of them have not played in Portland before. They may not again. That's not a hook - merely the honest truth.
Thursday, 15 February, 7:30 pm: The Sounds of Jumptown with Robert Dietsche
Jumptown, Bob Dietsche's wonderful history of the jazz scene that flowered in North Portland 50 years ago, has been our #2 bestseller two years running! When we learned that Bob had finally assembled a companion CD for the book, we were delighted beyond words. On the eve of the Portland Jazz Festival, join us to celebrate the launch of this collection of archival performance recordings from Portland's jazz heyday. A portion of Bob's proceeds from the CD will be donated to the Leroy Vinegar Foundation's music education fund.
Filmed by Bike Headquarters is going on vacation until the end of the month so we've decided to extend the deadline for submissions.
You now officially have SEVEN extra days to make your superfuckingawesomemovie.
Deadline: March 8.
We can't wait to see them!
Ayleen + The Esteemed Jury
// Filmed by Bike
April 13-15, 2007
Clinton Street Theater
BIKE-THEMED FILM SUBMISSIONS WANTED
>>> ABOUT THE CALL FOR ENTRIES
The Fifth Annual Filmed by Bike is open for entries of bike-themed film shorts (8 minutes or under). Deadline is March 1st, 2007. Selected films will be screened on April 2007 in Portland, Oregon.
>>> SUBMISSION DETAILS
...format: DVD only
...length: 8 minutes or under
...deadline: March 1st, 2007
...submit to: Filmed by Bike, 1158 NE Morton, Portland OR 97211 by mail only
Please join us on Thursday, March 15th, at 6pm to Walk Waud Bluff!
Gather to start the walk at N Harvard and N Willamette Blvd at 6:00 pm PDT*
Walk Waud Bluff! and explore a FUNDED TRAIL LINK, to the future Willamette Greenway with members of npGREENWAY (Friends of the North Portland Willamette Greenway Trail). While on the walk, explore the location of the planned bridge across the railroad tracks. This new bridge will enable people to safely traverse the bluff between the University Park Neighborhood above and Swan Island below.
Dress for the weather; wear good walking shoes; expect a steep hill down and up the bluff on an unpaved trail; children are welcome; sorry, no wheel chair or stroller accessibility at this time. If you are arriving by automobile, please be considerate of neighbors when you choose your parking spot.
Snacks will be provided for you after the climb back up the hill. ;-)
Christian, Paul and I will be at Concordia Ale House pouring a few special beers for your enjoyment. As it now stands they'll have our UberAltus, Cask Strong Pale (aka Bunny Hop), and the last keg of Green Elephant (this was the lineup as of this morning). The last two beers aren't even available at the brewery so I hope to see you there. I believe the festivities start at 6 or 7.
Longbaugh HQ in 2006 is the Laurelhurst Theater. We'll also have programming at Cinema 21, Clinton Street Theater, McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub, McMenamins Kennedy School, McMenamins Mission Theater and the Whitsell Auditorium.
Even as we're having gorgeous sunny weather now, nothing says Spring like a farmers market. And unless you go to Peoples Organic Market, you may well be jonesing for opening day.
Well, opening day for the Portland Farmers Market at PSU is Saturday, like two days from now!
Ah, but what's going to be at the Farmers Market? You know, other than meat, eggs, cheese, breads, plants, prepared foods, and the like?
Well, April is garden month. Every Saturday at 10am, "local gardening gurus will share tips and demonstrations. Dozens of local nursery vendors add to the inspiration with beautiful plant, herb and veggie starts, ready-made container gardens, hanging baskets and summer bulbs. Take advantage of on-site potting stations staffed by volunteers from the local gardening community ready to help shoppers transform flowers, herbs and plants purchased from market growers in container gardens to go."
And this Saturday, 4/07, Heather Flores, author of Food not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community will be sharing the tips and demos.
And should you want to buy fresh produce (and fish), here's what to expect: Abalone, arugula, asian greens, asparagus, basil, bee pollen, beeswax, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chickweed, chives, cider, cilantro, clams, collards, crab, cresses, morels, mushrooms, dill, dried fruits, endive, escarole, fava beans, fennel, nuts, flaxseed, garlic, honey, hubbards, kale, kohlrabi, lavender, leeks, lemongrass, lettuce, maches, maitake, marjoram, mesculun mix, mint, mizuna, mustard greens, oninons, oregano, oysters & oyster mushrooms, parsley, pea shoots, pears, peas, potatoes, prunes, radicchio, radishes, rhubarb, romaine, rosemary, rutabagas, sage, salad mix, salmon, shallots, shell beans, shiitake, shrimp, snow peas, spinach, swiss chard, tarragon, tatsoi, thyme, tomatoes, truffles, tuna, and turnips.
And what do you do with chickweed anyways? Maybe you have to go to the market to find out?
You are invited to Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering's annual spring Seed and Plant Swap.
Gardeners and farmers the world over have freely shared their seeds and plants since agriculture began over 12,000 years ago. In a world of genetic engineering and the corporate patenting of the commons we invite you to continue this age-old tradition by sharing your seeds, and plants with your community.
Come meet our special guest: Heather Flores, author of the recently published Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community.
Who: you, gardeners, farmers, seed savers and breeders, et, al.
What: Seed and Plant swap. Please bring empty seed packets and plastic bags or pots for plants.
When: Sunday April 8th from 1-3 pm
Location: Proper Eats Market and Café in St. Johns 8638 N. Lombard St. (phone: 503.445.2007)
Hosted by Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering
Portland, OR 97293
6:30-8pm, Monday 4/10
McMenamin's Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Ave
I am not sure if they are speaking, or just schmoozing. More info when I have it.
Monday night, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong (lefty mega-bloggers from DailyKos.com and MyDD.com) will be in Portland - and you're invited to join them in support of Rob Brading, the Democrat who is taking on Speaker Karen Minnis -- campaigning to defeat her in her own district.
For Oregon progressives, the most important task in 2006 is toppling the Republican majority in the Oregon Legislature. Speaker Karen Minnis and her right-wing cronies have been in control for sixteen years - and they've frustrated just about every progressive reform. They've wiped out school funding, defunded the Oregon Health Plan, destabilized our tax system, and used their power to enrich themselves, their friends, and out-of-state corporations.
The fight against Karen Minnis is critical. I hope you'll come meet these two blogfathers of the progressive blogosphere, and come join us Monday night in support of Rob Brading's campaign.
It's a $20 suggested donation -- either at the door, or online at Rob Brading for State Representative. There's more info at the Oregon House Democrats website.
Filmed by Bike is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is a fundraiser for the Multnomah County Bike Fair, Shift's all-out blowout bike fair in June.
Please note, there are no showings at 9:00 on Sat and Sun due to the theater making a last-minute schedule change.
Friday - OPENING NIGHT THROWDOWN - April 13, 7:00 and 9:00 pm, 21+
Saturday, April 14, 5:00 (all ages), 7:00 pm (21+)
Sunday, April 15, 7:00 pm (21+)
==> GOOD TO KNOW!
Friday will sell out. There are no advance ticket sales. The line rocks, it's filled with some of the coolest bike people in Portland. Meet a new friend, discover a riding/drinking (or riding+drinking) buddy.
==> WIN AN ELECTRA AMSTERDAM
We've got an online raffle to win an Electra Amsterdam. All raffle tickets purchased on Friday night and all raffle tickets purchased online will go into the drawing for this super hot Euro bike.
Winner will be chosen on Sunday and you don't need to even attend the festival to win.
We have 40 different breweries on hand for this years festival, which means over 80 different beers to sample.
This event is all about educating your taste buds by sampling and comparing a variety of drink from hand-crafted beer, wine, cider, mead, and distilled spirits.
We encourage responsible drinking by featuring live music suitable for dancing or listening, food courts with gourmet items, and from the cooking stage renowned Chefs demonstrating cuisine using the "spirits" offered at the festival.
Our venue provides areas for sitting, strolling, and purchasing unique items offered by exhibitors and arts & crafts vendors. We have an attached heated outdoor smoker's tent offering a comfortable area where a cigar vendor offers additional beer and fine tobacco items.
Today most record collectors are in their 20s or 30s. They are DJs, producers, musicians, rockers and jazz fans. They are looking for; jazz from the 50s, easy listening from the 60s, funk from the 70s, hip hop from the 80s and alternate rock from the 90s.
Their problem has been that record shows have been very unfriendly to them. The Sunday morning start time, the blaring of oldies from the sound system and the emphasis on classic rock, have left today's collectors out in the cold.
Portland's Nightowl Record Show is here to save the day! Starting in the evening, providing cheap eats and drinks, DJs and 10s of thousands of the best records in the world, the Nightowl provides what today's record collector is looking for.
Portland has so many great, old theaters! For some reason, this city still has a number of cinemas and vaudeville houses from the 'classic era'--1910's to 30's--still standing, some of which still are active theaters today. This bicycle ride will explore various neighborhood theaters on the east side of the Willamette--some still standing, some only a memory. The entire ride will cover approximately 6 miles in about 3+ hours of time. After the full ride, we hope to take in a movie at one of Portland's classic movie palaces; bring appropriate cash if you would like to join us!
The "Pierogi Extravaganza" last week was a success, then we will repeat it this Sunday. Grandpa's Cafe is serving different kinds of pierogi - potato and cheese, sweet cheese, cabbage and mushrooms - this Sunday from 12PM to 2PM.
Which is your favorite? Mine are the sweet cheese pierogi.
A serving of pierogi is for $5.
Join us for Portland's Annual Festival of the Book, taking place over three days April 21-23, 2006.
This year's festival will include featured readings by bestselling authors, poets and NW writing legends, panels on every conceivable subject, workshops for teachers of writing, dinners with your favorite authors, a two day book fair with hundreds of exhibitors, two days of children's readings and activities, food, music, cooking demonstrations and more!
There's a book fair. A children's festival. Over 250 authors, 11 stages, over 100 publishers, booksellers and writing organizations, a Workshop for Writers and Teachers, even Ira Glass.
I'm confused about the cooking demonstrations, though.
Saturday April 22, from 10am to 4pm, Hair of the Dog Brewing Company will be hosting their first Earth Day Sale. The postcard I received promises Blue Dot Double IPA in bottles! If that's not enough to get you there I'm sure Alan will have some other surprises up his sleeve. Last I heard, there was still some Rose Cassis, a special recipe Rose featuring black currants, which was brewed and bottled last fall.
(If you drive there, the googlemap will give you a good idea where it is, but it makes it look like SE 23rd actually goes through to Holgate. It doesn't! Hair of the Dog's How to get there will help you a lot if you are driving or bicycling.)
It's not everyday you have a potato holiday, is it?
here's what the flyer says:
$5.00 for serving of 4 potato pancakes with choice of
-sour cream sauce
Come join us for this potato holiday, Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 12pm-5pm, 3832 N Interstate (at the Portland Polish Hall and Library Association)
Roux's 1st Annual
& Street Party
Sunday, April 29th
11:30 to 5:00
All-you-can-eat boiled crawfish, andouille sausage po'boys, salads & more, with Louisiana's own Abita Turbo Dog and local micro brews on tap + classic hurricane cocktails.
(must be 21+ and carrying valid identification)
Music and dancing with zydeco band THE NEW IBERIANS and blues artists MARY FLOWER & STEVE CHEESEBOROUGH.
$25.00 Adults ($30.00 Same Day)
$12.00 Children 6 to 12
Free for Children Under 6
This is a tented event held rain or shine with partial proceeds benefiting Self Enhancement Inc., a local organization dedicated to guiding underserved youth to realize their full potential.
While I feel really, really frustrated with the direction that the Cinco de Mayo fiesta is headed (very few artisans and lots of chinese-made jewelery, and a lot of corndogs, elephant ears and gyros sold outside of the rides area), it's still a great place to get a smattering of some good traditional Mexican street foods. Especially when you consider that a lot of the good stuff is unavailable at the restaurants or taco trucks themselves, and there's free entry on Friday before 2pm.
We went on Thursday, and here's what we had and liked.
I'm a big fan of La Flor de Michoacan (Hillsboro), so I always start there with a gordita filled with meat or cheese. It's like a tostada, at least toppings wise, but imminently less messy. Since you're eating a fried masa disk, there's also no crunch, but it is yummy and filling.
I saw several spits with pork al pastor, pork meat marinated and cooked with pineapple. You're looking for pork that looks cooked, but still looks like individual pieces of pork, with pineapple at the top. That can be delicious. Keep sharp for that.
Salvador's Bakery makes churros. Ask for a hot one fresh from frying.
Richi's Tacos is always a hit. Their chicken dishes are delish, and be sure to get a tamale or three - they're moist and luscious, and unavailable at Richi's taco truck.
Yesenia's Market has a number of treats. First, they have these curious fried tortilla things that are puffy and crunchy, and you can get them hot. They have mango on a stick, and they have elote, corn on the cob, Mexican style. You have to at least try it with mayonnaise and fresh Mexican cheese, a sprinkle of chili pepper, and a squeeze or two of lime. It would be even better if it were elote en vaso, elote in a glass, but hey.
Mister Taco is a consistent favorite. Yes, their sign is hand scrawled, but the food is great. Try the pupusas, masa surrounding a filling, generally beans and cheese, but sometimes also pork, from El Salvador -- it's not available at Mister Taco's carts. The huaraches look promising as well. And, they serve the best horchata that we tried... and we tried a few.
Grande Foods of Cornelius have a nice selection of pops and desserts. We tried a pudding variant of the Tres Leches Cake, which was pretty darn good.
There are really two different ways to experience the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
First, is as just another waterfront festival that involves expensive carny food, rides, and goofy entertainment.
But I'd like to suggest if you appreciate Mexican culture, to take another tack. Seek out the good food, and the great entertainment—it's there, you just have to look. First of all, burritos are not Mexican—they're great, but they are an American intrepretation of Mexican. Don't bother with them at Cinco.
They haven't published the restaurant list yet (sigh), but we had some great grub at La Flor de Michoacan and Mr. Taco. Look for less usual foods, like homemade tortillas, sopes, elote.
The entertainment can be stellar too: lots of Ballet Folklorico, Mariachi, and the Naturalization Ceremony, where new citizens get sworn in (which is really quite touching. Really.)
Interesting bands include
Los Enemigos Del Silencio (what a great name!!), a Woodburn based Mexican Pop band
Los Texmaniacs from San Antonio playing Conjunto, Country-Rock & Cumbias
Las 3 Divas (Cumbia, Tejano & Pop)
Paco Padilla from Guadalajara
Rogelio Martinez from California (Norteno & Banda)
DO JUMP! proudly premieres And then... a new work inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall. This visually stunning work of aerial dance, circus arts, video and live music, draws inspiration from Chagall, taking the audience on a playful journey celebrating life, love, color, shape and spirit. Chagall said, "the dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world." Do Jump! concurs with this belief, striving to inspire people with pedestrian images that evoke memory, illuminate the mysterious, and breakdown barriers to time and place.
This show is the 30th new work Robin Lane has created for DO JUMP! After nearly three decades, Do Jump! remains a pioneer in aerial dance, touring throughout North America, including performances on Broadway at the New Victory, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and the Performing Arts Center in Cerritos, CA.
If you aren't familiar with Do Jump, they combine dance, acrobatics and trapeze. Cool. But even cooler that it's unpretentious and the prices for performances are affordable.
8 am, Saturday 5/6
PDX Brewers Big Brew
900 se columbia ridge drive, Vancouver
-beerisgoodfood-at=gmail=dot=com- pdxbrewers.com googlemap
WHAT IS BIG BREW? The Big Brew: National Home Brew Day is Saturday, May 6 th.
Each year on the first Saturday in May, homebrewers unite non-brewing and brewing friends and family to celebrate National Homebrew Day, joining with thousands of homebrewers from around the world in brewing the same recipes and sharing a simultaneous toast at noon Central Time.
You may be wondering, what's happening with everyone's favorite scooterist, Kalaisha.
Well, she's outta the hospital, she's recovering, and she's mad as hell, and there ain't nothing you can do about it.
Except come to her benefit which will help offset the massive medical expenses. There'll be bands (the Cha Cha Club, Straitjacket, Rezistor) and a raffle and the warm cozy feeling of knowing you're helping. While you're rockin'.
PORTLAND, Ore. - What started last year as a surprise 80th birthday party for world-renowned beer writer Fred Eckhardt is coming back around this year as a fundraiser to assist a longtime friend and supporter of the state's craft-beer community.
At least a dozen rare and unusual beers created by Oregon breweries will be featured at FredFest 2007. The event will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at Hair of the Dog Brewing, 4509 SE 23rd Avenue in Portland.
The beer menu is still being firmed up, but organizer and beer wrangler Preston Weesner says he has been asking Oregon brewers to pony up something special for the event -- and many already have answered the call.
"I've just been telling them to share something that Fred would like," Weesner says.
Attendees will be treated not only to a selection of hand-selected beers, but also light fare including barbecue and snacks -- and a birthday cake for Eckhardt. Cheeses, chocolate, and even cereal will be on hand so attendees can experience some of Eckhardt's famed beer-and-food pairings.
Cost for the event is $20 in advance or $25 at the door and includes a souvenir glass. To get on the list for advance-purchase tickets, e-mail email@example.com.
Eckhardt requested that proceeds from the event go to help longtime craft-beer supporter Merle Gilmore, who has been battling leukemia and faces astronomical medical and prescription bills. Gilmore has been an inexhaustible volunteer at beer fests and often assisted Hair of the Dog owner Alan Sprints in bottling and other duties around the brewery. He is well known for providing his specially made hot-pepper fudge for Eckhardt's beer-and-chocolate tastings, and hopes to have a couple of batches available for FredFest 2007.
When asked to choose a charity for this year's FredFest, Eckhardt suggested that the proceeds go to Gilmore. "Let's keep it in the family," Eckhardt said.
The beers scheduled:
1- BridgePort Brewing. Cask Old Knucklehead
2- Deschutes. Coffee infused 20K Imperial Bourbon Porter
3- Full Sail TBA
4- Hair Of The Dog. Cask Fred
5- Laurelwood TBA.
6- Lucky Lab. Russian Imperial Stout
7- New Old Lompoc. Oak aged LSD
8- Max's Fanno Creek. Belgian Dubbel
9- Pelican Brewing. Gran Cru
10- Racoon Lodge. Sour Wild Blackberry aged in oak
11- Rock Bottom. Ned Flanders Red. ( the original!)
12- Rogue. Dad's Little Helper Malt liquor
13- Roots Organic. Pinot-barrel aged Epic
14- Widmer. Collaborator Continuum Brown
Celebrate your commute with breakfast in Pioneer Courthouse Square
It's all downhill to downtown!
The City of Portland Office of Transportation is hosting a Bike to Work Day party in honor of National Bike Month.
WHAT: Bike to Work Day Party
City Transportation staff will serve free breakfast and coffee for bike commuters and will provide musical entertainment.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 16, 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Pioneer Courthouse Square
WHO: Bike commuters
WHY: Join other bicycle commuters to honor National Bike Month and celebrate Portland as the best bicycling city in the United States! Or try bike commuting for the first time with the support of veteran commuters.
The City of Portland Office of Transportation is urging residents to take the stress and hassle out of their commute, put some healthy fun in the mix, and join other bicycle commuters at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Wednesday, May 16, for a Bike to Work Day party.
The Bike to Work Day event, organized by the City's Transportation Options Division, will be held from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square in honor of National Bike Month and in honor of all bicyclists who have helped make Portland a top city for cycling in the United States.
Portland's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) was designed to hold the bursting metropolitan area in check while protecting Willamette Valley orchards and fields from sprawling suburbia. While the boundary has contributed to making Portland one of the nation's most successful and distinctive cities, it has also come under fire from developers, property-rights advocates, and other critics. Over the course of two years, David Oates walked and kayaked the 260-mile boundary that defines Portland to discover how the UGB has contributed both to success and frustration for Portlanders.
Join us to hear more about his engaging and thought-provoking record of the journey. The author will be joined for this event by some of the collaborators—planners, developers, farmers, and others—who joined him on his walks around the edge of town and contributed their perspectives to his understanding of our boundary.
Two-plus weeks of bike fun in and around Portland, Oregon
Over 121 events, starting with Birding by Bike, a Tall Bikes Workshop and the Kickoff Parade, and ending with the Multnomah County Bike Fair. There's an event for just about everyone, and if there isn't an event for you, add yours to the calendar.
Food oriented rides include several pastry patrols, a potluck picnic, gelato, chocolate, conveyor belt sushi, tacos, pizza, and, of course, donuts. There are also dance parties, with or without water and/or minibikes, bar and tavern crawls, chances to up your mad cyclin' skills, bike commuting workshops, graffiti rides, it just goes on and on.
There is so much going on, that, sheesh, I could spend two-plus weeks just doing the data entry on it.
Pedalpalooza is two-plus weeks of bike fun. Wanna do a long ride and learn about transportation policy? Check. Do you need three donut crawl rides or several taco-burrito rides, or even some pub crawls? A parade? Moonlight rides? Another breakfast, this time on an overpass? A bike fair? Opportunities to speak Spanish while riding? To not ride but watch films about riding—or ride in for an outdoor movie? Find the best thai noodles via bike? Ride through public water displays? Go on an Urban Adventure Ride (like the Dead Freeways ride or the Sullivan Gulch Tour)? Do a century on a kid's bike, zoobomber stylee? Explore Portland's Architecture and Urban Design?
Sorry, I got carried away. But I didn't even scratch the surface. There's an awful lot of fun to be had. Don't miss it.
Bicycling Magazine calls Portland the number one bicycling city in all of North America - The League of American Bicyclists rates Portland "Gold" along with four other U.S. cities. Commissioner Sam Adams and the bicycling community want to Go Platinum! No large city has the highest "Platinum" status. You can help get us there.
On Saturday, June 17 from 8:30 to 1:30 pm, you are invited to join neighborhood and bicycling advocates to learn how we got to be the best in the U.S. and find out about all the exciting and fun ways you can get involved to make Portland a world-class bicycling city.
Workshop topics include:
Portland's I Share the Road campaign
Innovations in Bikeways Here and Abroad
Who Put the Fun in Bike Fun? From Breakfast on the Bridges to Pedalpalooza
New Laws for Bikes - What Strategies are on the Horizon
Why Do People Not Ride - Really (or How to Get My Next Door Neighbor/Co-worker/Friend on a Bike)
Just a quick note to let you know about this Sunday's tasting. It does fall on Father's Day, but we will be doing the tasting anyway. Fortunately, it is something Dad might just love. Belgian beer! If you've spent any time at the shop here, you probably know that we view Belgian beer to be one of the finest products made on God's Green Earth. We will be showing the entire lineup of the Van Steenberge brewery — six different brews in all! They make a very diverse line of ales, including a few that are considered to be among the greatest beers made in the world. So come on down and taste the rainbow (is that a Skittles reference? — I'm not quite sure).
Time, as per usual, will be from 3-6pm. Cost will be $8 and will include the mandatory AmberSnacks. Every week she simply outdoes herself. I expect more of the same.
HOT DAMN, WE'RE HAVING A FAIR!
And you're going to want to be there! The Multnomah County Bike Fair brings 2,000 people together to celebrate, in bicycle mayhem-fashion, the close of Shift's Pedalpalooza.
Come to visit fun booths, vendors, and bicycle crafts. And do partake in the competitions because competing is free and it's about the fun, not the winning you know.
LIVE MUSIC STAGE
Featuring local bands like,
No competing skills are required. There may or may not be awards, yet it's really all about the spectacle anyway. You will get a race number, and that's pretty cool, right?
Fun opportunities for participation:
3 bikes, 2 people, 1 moving entity
Figure 8 Foot-down Derby
Tall Bike Jousting
Bike craft vendors
Stickers + T-shirts
Marry your Bike Booth
And many other activities!
Featuring delicious beer
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED ! !
Yes! Over 50 volunteers are needed. Volunteers receive cool stuff like arm bands and bragging rights. Help is needed in advance and on the day of. Sign up by contacting MCBF's Volunteer Coordinator - VJ, vickijean -at- gmail -dot- com
COST? The Multnomah County Bike Fair is FREE. Totally Free!
We have room in every shift, however, we especially need folks for the 3:30-6:00 and 5:30-8:00 shifts.
Other shifts include 9-1 and 1:30 to 4. Volunteers will be in the heart of the action, setting up the fair, greeting folks entering the midway, helping with t-shirt sales, beer garden, music stage, smoothie
booth, keeping the fair awesome and more. We'll have sunscreen and some snacky bits for volunteers, and folks on the last shift will get pizza, as well as getting the 411 on the afterparty.
The Puddle Cutters, a local moped club, are putting on a moped rally.
In a scooter mecca, the Puddle Cutters prefer the mighty moped. Its small engine and big wheels draw us in. Pedals insure we will never have to push home. Zipping in and out of traffic, at a blistering 25 mph, our love for the slow ride is strong.
LIVE Tour de France Viewing at the Hollywood Bike Gallery!
There's nothing like exciting live coverage of the Tour de France to get your heart pumping in the morning especially when enhanced with a flavorful cup of Nossa Familia Coffee.
You can enjoy both for free at the Hollywood Bike Gallery July 1- July 23. The store will open it's doors at 6:00 am for Tour fanatics wanting to watch the day's events unfold on live television. We'll have hot coffee brewed and some light breakfast treats available. During the final 10 days of the tour (July 13-July 20), those that brave the early morning hours are also rewarded with a chance to win a free pound of Nossa Familia coffee in a daily drawing.
King Cycle Group, whose headsets will adorn some Tour favorites, just announced their plans... This year they're moving the party to the new Lucky Lab in Northwest (they've got indoor bike racks) where they'll show replays of the coverage from 5-7PM every day of the Tour (except rest days of course).
St. Honoré has some Tour coverage as well, however, let's just say their web site is not explicit about when the Tour will be shown. Live? Maybe.
In coordination with Commissioner Sam Adams' office I'm organizing, Made in Portland: Bicycle Show and Art Exhibition. It's a night to celebrate our city's rich artisan bicycle culture.
In the beautiful City Hall atrium, nine local independent bicycle builders will display their creations. Ranging from world-renowned Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles to lesser known start-ups like Natalie Ramsland and her Sweetpea Bicycles.
In addition to builders, I have also gathered some fantastics bike-inspired artists whose art will hang for the entire month in three commissioners offices. The artists range from our very own Shawn Granton (of Pedalpalooza and Earth Day event poster fame) to the fun chalk drawings of Bike Matt Cardinal and the vibrant acrylic paintings of Tiago Denczuk.
And a late-breaking development is the addition of a Freak Bike Show outside City Hall (4th street entrance) organized by a representative of the Zoobombers.
The event is from 5-8PM next Thursday July 6th. It's free entry so come and enjoy free Hotlips Pizza and Widmer Beer and get to know some of our local bicycle artisans.
A scooter rally is what you make of it: rides, bar hopping, long rides, scavenger hunts, BBQs, short rides, dance parties, midnight rides, watching the Rose City Rollers, and scenic rides. Eight of Portland's scooter clubs (Twist and Play, the Miss Demeanors, Oregon Scooter Club, Cute Bunnies and Kitties, Displaced Scooterists, Drunken Pirates, the Orphans, and Loose Slots) have gotten together to put on a show, er, rally of mammoth proportions.
It all starts Friday, 5:30 pm, at the Black Cat Pub in Sellwood. Grab some food and drink, buy a patch and raffle tickets, pick up your itinerary, and meet up with your host(s) if you are from out of town.
Nighttime riding in Portland just got a little more interesting! Come over to the dark ride and take a moon-lit urban bicycle adventure through Portland on The Night Ride, a 2,000 person benefit bicycle ride on Saturday, July 8th, 2006 starting at 8:00 pm from the train station. The mostly flat, 15-mile street ride takes you past hootin' and hollerin' night life and fire jugglers, through a disco party rest stop and along spectacular cityscape views to an all-you-can-eat midnight doughnut finish line feast. The ride is sponsored by The Bike Gallery and is a benefit for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
A new surprise and mystery awaits you at every turn on The Night Ride. The well-marked course will guide you through the city on a riding adventure like no other. You're in the nighttime club, and recommended attire includes costumes and pajamas. There will be prizes for the best getup, so come dressed to impress. Free glow-necklaces for all riders.
This ride is perfect for new riders or longtime road warriors. Fire jugglers, bagpipes and drums - oh my! Daytime rides are for chumps, it's time for The Night Ride. Saddle up, you're going for a ride.
Last Regiment Syncopated drums
Midnight donut feed
Those are just a few of the FUN details. Do not miss this once-a-year opportunity to howl at the moon by bike.
Mark your Portland Oregon Beer Festival Summer calendar! PIB is an over-the-top beer festival celebrating the world's most legendary brewing styles and the nations that made them famous. Come taste over 100 world-class beers from more than 15 countries.
Taste the greatest beers you've never heard of! Rarest of the rare: The beers of PIB represent all that's possible in the world of brewing. Many are quite obscure yet hold their own place in world history as the birth of a new brewing style.
It is almost upon us! Geek Fair is Free Geek's annual street party. This year's version will include great bands like Alan Singley and Pants Machine, Johnny Punchclock, a comedy troupe, the ever-lovely and lively Sprockettes dancing minibike troupe, and an awesome kids' area.
Also look forward to a rockin' computer gaming LAN party, classic video games, storytelling, puppet shows, printer smashing, a great silent auction, clowns on tall bikes, the magical t-bike, and water games. Of course, we'll have great food and drink available as well.
Geek Fair at Free Geek
Saturday, July 15
1731 SE 10th Ave, Portland
FREE, all ages
Hundreds of cyclists will brave the heat on a soaking, cycling, sundae, Sunday ride in support of the Community Cycling Center. The mostly flat, 15-mile loop route starts and ends at the Lucky Lab Brew Hall, NW 19th and Quimby and features a finish line sundae making party, BBQ and the West's largest water fight (squirt guns provided).
The meandering 15-mile course is flat and perfect for new or experienced riders. A water and snack-stocked rest stop will provide shade and respite along the way. There is also a 40-mile option for hardcore riders who want more of a challenge.
Greens, water make Oregon foreign to us
By VALERIE SCHULTZ, contributing columnist
Friday, Aug 3 2007, The Bakersfield Californian
There is an abundance of water in and around Portland. Bridges span several rivers that form natural boundaries. As our gracious relatives apologized for the wet weather that greeted us, we turned our parched faces to the rain and laughed. What could be more unusual for us central Californians than summer rain? It is so wet in Portland that moss grows on the tree trunks. Later in the week, my sister and brother-in-law took us on a hike through a lush forest next to a rushing river, where blackberries grew like weeds. On our last day, my best childhood friend, who now lives in Portland, took us on a tour of the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls. We walked among smooth stones and greenery and mist, as water poured from the cliffs above us. We ended at the famous Multnomah Falls, which cascades and then cascades again, a two-part waterfall that plunges for 620 feet. So much water! I was again amazed, but, to my friend, the falls seemed a bit meager. "You should see them in the winter," she said.
So what do you do when you have friends or family coming in from out of town, or a colleague in another city is coming? Always, there is the dreaded question, where should they stay? Which hotel or motel is going to be the right combination of price, location, interestingness, and cleanliness?
The Seattle Times asked their readers for recommendations for hotels in Portland recently, so we can all benefit from their advice. They recommend:
Inn @ Northrup Station
The Mark Spencer Hotel
The Benson Hotel
5th Avenue Suites
A second articlelet has even more suggestions:
72nd Avenue Studios
The Edgefield Manor (I'm not sure I've ever heard it referred to as a manor!)
Let me sing the praises of my local food co-op, Alberta Cooperative Grocery (1500 NE Alberta St, (503) 287-4333; googlemap; get there via trimet). I love my co-op: good beer selection, good snack selection, beautiful produce. And, they stock my favorite high-end cheaper tuna, Bela-Olhao Portugal.
If you want to make a tuna salad where the taste of the tuna is important, like a nicoise or an Italian tuna-bean salad, it's best with a good-quality tuna in extra virgin olive oil. Or at least, that's the way I do it, and while Cook's Illustrated likes the Spanish brand Ortiz, I love Bela-Ohao's Skipjack from Portugal. I'm sure the Ortiz is incredible—and with prices ranging from $4-$7 per tin, I'll stay ignorant. But with Bela-Ohao ringing in around $3, it's a luxury, but seemingly more reasonable. New Seasons used to stock it—but no more. This last weekend, we went on an expedition, checking Zupan's, Elephant's Deli, the NW Freddies, and Whole Foods, and no one had it! So imagine my surprise and joy to see it at Alberta!
This article appeared in the Miami Herald July 1, 2007, and is based on one of David Schargel's (founder of Portland Walking Tours), walking tours called ''Epicurean Excursions''. While the article gets our coffee connections dead wrong, the rest is quite amusing.
Give your taste buds a tour of Portland
BY CAROL PUCCI
The Seattle Times
Besides wine, beer and coffee, the city is known for tea. Oregon Chai, Stash Tea and Tazo Tea are all homegrown, and at least a half-dozen cafés around town specialize in exotic Asian blends. One is the Tea Zone, opened seven years ago in the Pearl District by husband-and-wife team Jhanne Jasmine and Grant Cull.
The weather was nice so we gathered at one of the sidewalk tables. Schargel passed out lemon cookies (acid to clear the palate from the mustard), and poured cups of a fragrant jasmine pearl, smoky oolong and a sweet black tea flavored with lychee fruit.
I was beginning to see that there was logical order to the foods we were sampling.
Last month, the economics professor (Stacey Jones) and her business-statistics class at Seattle University compared prices for organic produce at the Broadway Farmers Market with that sold at the local QFC supermarket and Madison Market, one of several cooperatively owned grocery stores in the region.
To their surprise, the farmers market was slightly less expensive pound for pound, on average, for 15 items that included Fuji apples, red potatoes, baby carrots, spinach and salad mix.
"There's sort of a common perception that the farmers market is more expensive. A lot of people feel they're doing the farmers a favor," Jones said.
"I always assumed you pay a premium," said Daniel Robins, one of Jones' students, who regularly shops the West Seattle Farmers Market with his parents.
Blegh. They've discontinued this service. Where is the love?? Can I tell you how much this sucks, exactly, Amazon?
Here's what I said in June of 2006:
I just learned about this and had to share...
A9.com developed new technology to very efficiently capture photographs of places along public streets using trucks equipped with digital cameras, global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and proprietary software and hardware. To view which streets have BlockViewTM images, click on the checkbox next to “Mark Streets Containing BlockViewTM Images” located above the map on your left. Streets with images available will be highlighted in light blue. Click on any street or intersection to see images in the Block View image display area on the lower right.
In many areas you can see images on both sides of the street and virtually walk up and down the street by using the left and right “Go≵ buttons next to the filmstrips. If you place your mouse over any of the thumbnails in the strip of images, the larger image changes to reflect your selection. Clicking on the large or small images pops a new window with an even larger image.
The images are provided to help you find or recognize a place, business, house, public park, or to get a feel for the neighborhood. Block View image coverage is currently more than 30 million images in 20 major cities and metropolitan areas.
I go by AJA frequently, and it never seems full. Sometimes, it seems empty. Not a good advertisement. Yet, it's been at this location for over a year, so there must be something good going on, right? Asian fusion can't be too bad, can it?
We went for Sunday breakfast, at about 11am. There were two other tables in the place. We start by ordering coffee ($2) and iced tea ($1.50). The coffee was diner coffee; the iced tea, some sort of fruit tea, rather than the black tea we were expecting.
The menu only lists breakfast items: half a melon or grapefruit ($3), granola or oatmeal ($5), pancakes or french toast ($7), an egg-meat-starch plate ($8), 3 omelets ($8-$9), a scramble ($7), a hash ($9), 3 benedicts ($8-$9), and a traditional japanese breakfast with miso, koda rice, and fried egg ($6). So we order the Vanilla Crusted French Toast with Real Maple Syrup and the Chinese Sausage and Mustard Greens Omelet with House Potatoes.
Maybe five minutes after we order, the waitress comes back: they don't have any french toast. Huh? She has a new, different menu which has more and different breakfasts (6 different benedicts, 5 different omelets, 5 different egg dishes), plus a couple salads, soup, and sandwiches. So we order a Three Cheese Omelet with chedder (sic), swiss and manchego.
My partner starts to grouse; he would have liked to have ordered a sandwich, like the kobe beef burger, but wasn't given the opportunity. But his scone arrives: 'dry like the desert' he claims.
Then our omelets come. The chinese sausage omelet, with the contrast of the sweet slightly spicy sausage and the bitter greens, should be good, but we realize that in fact it's the chinese sausage, sauteed spinach and manchego omelet listed on the second menu. These things don't taste bad together, but there's no real zing to them, and the melted mess of sausage chunks, spinach and cheese lie beneath a puffy layer of eggs, rather than sandwiched lovely between two layers of eggs.
I'm not really a fan of puffy omelets, but hey. My cheese omelet is okay, just underseasoned. I wonder if the egg even saw any salt or pepper in the kitchen? The potatoes are chunks of yellow potatoes boiled through, then fried, but they don't show much browning from the frying. They too could use a little bit of seasoning. And the toast is like bruschetta. I love bruschetta when there's a contrasting topping, but there's no contrast here.
While everything was okay, nothing about the experience makes me want to go back again.
Every now and again, I go to a place that I really want to recommend, and really want to love. But it'll have a fatal flaw. You know where I'm going...
luncheon platters ($6.50-$8)
shish kebab (lamb)
My experience: I'm greeted by the owner who tells me to sit anywhere. All the two-tops are dirty, so I sit at one in the main room. After ten minutes, his wife notices me, and asks if she can help me. He immediately appears, apologizes, and brings hummus, pita, and a glass of water. He says the hummus is gratis.
The hummus is fairly standard Lebanese restaurant hummus, which is to say, perfectly fine. The pita has been reheated, and has the taste and texture of cardboard.
My shawerma with baba ghanooj arrives: the beef is yummy, though thoroughly covered in onions. The baba is smokey and richly eggplanty, which I love.
Too bad about the pita, I think. The owners are nice enough, the atmosphere is a combination of cloth table cloths and the acropolis meets star wars mural—I love that. The lunch prices are great, and the dinner prices just a bit higher. And, they make good on a mistake.
But the problem is, there are now a plethora of Lebanese places that make pita on demand, and it arrives to your table as a pillow of glory. Now, pita that might have been made earlier in the day, or came in a bag, just doesn't cut it.
And then, I get the bill. I can't read the writing (maybe it's arabic?) so I'm not sure what I was charged for, but the $8 meal I was expecting was actually $11. Looks like I was charged for the hummus. At this point, I'm late to be back to work, and I've lost patience—I don't want to argue with them, I just want to get out. So I pay and call it good.
If it weren't for the pita, I'd give them another chance.
We won a school auction of a Acadia gift certificate, so it was time for a splurge.
We were last at Acadia maybe 5 years ago. It was expensive and underwhelming. But, they had donated this gift certificate to a friend's elementary school, and it was time to give them another chance. After all, it's for the kids!
We ordered a decent bottle of wine which didn't seem exorbitantly marked up off the short but sweet wine list, and settled in to try a number of things. We started with the Barbeque Shrimp ($10.95).
Barbeque Shrimp is four large Louisana Gulf head-on shrimp in a butter, worcestershire, garlic, white wine, lemon and pepper sauce. It was terrific, and the sauce was decadent and lovely sopped up with Pearl bakery baguette.
Next was salads. I had the Bleu Note ($8.95), with fourme d'ambert (bleu) cheese, toasted pecans, and pears aside salad greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. My companion had the House Salad ($6.50), salad greens tossed in a creole mustard vinaigrette topped with crumbled egg. They both were gorgeously presented, perfectly dressed, and really really good.
My companion chose to do the 3-course $25 dinner. You get your choice of the house salad or a caesar, one of the starred entrees (which is everything but the barbecue shrimp, filet mignon, pork chop, or the taste of new orleans [crawfish etouffee and soft-shell crab]) and dessert. What a deal! It's available all night on Tuesday through Thursday, and before 6 and after 9 on Friday and Saturday.
So he had the Shrimp Acadian ($18.50), which was jumbo shrimp with shrimp and crawfish stuffing atop slices of crispy luscious eggplant. Oh, and there was a tomato beurre blanc sauce. Really really good.
I went for broke and had the Royal Street Filet Mignon ($29.95) atop grits. The grits were wedges of crispy-fried goodness, crunchy on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside. The filet: well, that was incredible.
We finished with a slice of the gooey lemon cake which was really one of the most lovely desserts I've had in a dogs year. Wow.
Now, this wasn't inexpensive. Our bill was $119 for two, including a bottle of wine and a bottle of Abita Turbodog. Was it worth it? I think so. It was a really great meal, and for a special occasion, yum.
Now, if you want a cheaper experience, stay away from the sauce, go for the 3 for $25 deal, or better yet, go on Mondays when they offer 8 entrees for $10 each (as well as the regular menu).
First, I'd like to begin with the reasons why you won't want to eat here. One, they close at 8pm. Two, they are way north in NE Portland, far away from anything trendy. Three, they have a limited Lebanese menu—no fancy names you aren't sure how to pronounce. Four, there is no atmosphere, and in cold weather, the dining room is cold. Five, they have some american food items which encourage people to bring children. Six, they have no liquor license. Seven, small dining room. Eight, location is hard to find.
So, that's the downside. The upside is that the food is so good, you won't want to tell anyone about it. It's so reasonable, that, well, you might feel guilty that you're not elbow to elbow with punk rockers. They've applied for the liquor licence, and they take credit cards.
The pita is heads and shoulders above anything in town. It's so flakey and delicate that it melts in your mouth. Pita arrives hot from the kitchen soon after you sit down. Oh! The mezza goodies (falafel, homous, baba ghanouj, grape leaves, labneh, and foul) are each under $5, with a mazza combo for $8.50. The roasted eggplant in the baba is coursely ground, not at all bitter, vibrant with the peppery olive oil that marks all of the dishes. The homous is creamy and smooth and wonderful.
The rest of the menu is sandwiches, soups and salads, safeehas (pita dough with toppings), and grilled things. Nothing fancy, but everything done at a reasonable price. Lentil soup is not soupy lentils as at many restaurants—it's pureed almost smooth, a nice lemony note, and quite possibly addictive. Cheese safeeha—yummy cheesy goodness without falling into cheeziness. The meats—oh! Lamb is tender, chicken is incredibly good, covered in spice and flavor, and the rice is unlike any I've had before, and that's in a good way.
We finished our meal ($26) with a baklava and a turkish coffee, both less cloyingly sweet than usual. This is worth going out of your way for!
Remember Jellyfish? It's gone, and now Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill is in its place. Not that anyone would confuse the two.
I know nada from oysters, so I brought someone who does. She was impressed with the oyster selection, and the fact that you could order a half dozen and get one of each type. She started her meal with the Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter with fresh grated horseradish, which was well received.
ASOBG has a good selection of wines and drinks, and they have beer on tap as well. Out of a halfdozen or so taps, I recall Laurelwood's Motherlode Golden, Alameda's Porter, and Rogue Dead Guy. There is also a bar happy hour menu which I've been assured kicks ass. The atmosphere is lovely and darkish, and the service some of the best in the city.
First and second courses looked much more intriguing than entrees, so she decided to get the steamed mussels, pan-fried veal sweetbreads, and fries. These were all very good. The mussels came in a tomato-saffron-chorizo broth. The sweetbreads came in a raisin sauce with chestnuts. I had never had sweetbreads before, but they were tasty, I have to admit. And the fries were quite good.
I ordered the Dungeness Crab Napoleon with Spicy Black Bean Puree, Avocado and Blood Orange Reduction. It was the highlight of the evening for me: huge chunks of crab, avocado, and the intriguing blood orange sauce—sublime! I can't wait to make an excuse to have that again. That was followed with a burger on ciabatta with bleu cheese and bacon, which should have been great, but wasn't. It was cooked to order, and all the components were good, but together, it didn't gel. There was too much ciabatta, the cheese and bacon were lost in the taste of the hamburger, and I lost interest quickly.
Dessert failed to stand up to the first course either. The apple upsidedown cake was good, but its spotlight was stolen by the ginger ice cream, redolent of Ting Ting Jahe. I almost didn't order the donut holes with coffee pot de creme and vanilla froth because of the word froth—am I the only foodie who irritated by turning food into foam?? The donut holes were really disappointing, with the coffee pot de creme the best part.
It would be easy—really easy—to drop a lot of money here. Our total, with a shooter and a beer, was $59.
For those of us in inner NE and inner N Portland, there is always something new. Here's what I've noticed in my travels.
- The BBQ joint with the world's longest name (... Something to Talk About ...) on MLK Jr near Shaver appears to be no more. It's the location, or to be more exact, the building to blame. Please, budding restauranteurs: don't rent it!
- Spice, formerly known as Billy Reeds, is now Venue. Has anyone been?
- Da Rib Shack is now open on Mississippi, next to the Rebuilding Center.
- Toro Bravo, the new tapas joint from John Gorham, formerly of Simpatica, is now open for dinner. Closed Monday nights (of course). 120 NE Russell Street (a block from MLK Jr, next to the Wonder Ballroom).
St Johns also seems to be a hotbed of activity
- Ladybug Coffee is now open on Lombard, and reports are good
- Christie's has new management. I'm curious if the prices have dropped, or?
We went in a while back, while it was owned by someone else, and it was one of those tragic things: someone who obviously didn't have restaurant experience, opening a restaurant, trying to be too many things to too many people. Its claim to fame was a $5 Oregon Country Beef hamburger. It was simply too tragic to write about.
But I heard that they had new owners, and so, back I went, and for breakfast, the meal that is probably hardest to screw up. But they did.
Quick overview: they're open Wednesday-Sunday. They serve breakfast til 2pm, as well as sandwiches, salads, and after 4pm, small plates. The menu does not look overambitious, which is a good sign. They have three beers on tap (one micro) and about a dozen bottled beers, most micros. They also do mixed drinks.
The place is filled with album rock memorabilia, posters, and most notably, album covers: hanging from the ceiling, and covering the menu. I should have seen getting a Grateful Dead album as a bad sign.
Breakfast is eggs+carbs, french toast, and some omelets. We ordered an egg-sausage-toast and cheesy hashbrowns, and a breakfast burrito without sour cream. In a reasonable amount of time, our breakfast came. It wasn't clear if the eggs+carbs had cheese on the hashbrowns, and the waiter wasn't sure either, but the waiter did know that the burrito, served enchilada style but with no sauce, didn't have eggs in it. But they were coming.
The overeasy eggs were overmedium, and the cheesy hashbrowns were just odd. They were browned, but soggy. Surely, adding ricotta, asiago & parmesan didn't help. The eggs had little puddles of grease, as did the burrito. And the eggs for the burrito arrived, scrambled very hard.
The breakfast was inexpensive, at least: $15 before tip. But it will be a while before I give them another chance.
We've had some good Amnesia beer on tap at some other taverns, and decided it was time to revisit the mothership. Amnesia Brewing is a smallish building filled with picnic tables, but most of the seating area is outside under the heated tent where dogs and smoking are welcome. Like the rest of Mississippi, there's wifi. There's not a lot of bike parking, but most folks chain theirs up to the railing around the tent.
Looking out upon Mississippi Street, there's some good people watching. It's an unpretentious place to sit and have a beer. They have seven taps plus cider, with their Desolation IPA, Dusty Trail Pale, Slow Train Porter, and the ESB usually on. When we visited, they also had two seasonals (Copacetic IPA and Belgian Dubbel Whammy), and Caldera Pils filling out the beer menu. Pints are generally $3.50, with 50 cents off during happy hour (4-6 Monday-Friday).
They also have some food, which is pricey and underwhelming. But they do all their cooking on the grill under the tent; in fact, the smoke and charcoal-starter fumes was so thick that I couldn't even drink my beer—which is pretty darn thick. Obviously, the tent is wheelchair accessible, but I'm not sure about the pub itself. And, there is table service, but it's a bit 420 affected.
If you are into the Portland food scene, or you just like a good fight, you could do much worse than Portland Food and Drink. Food Dude's site is just a year old, but it has attracted a lot of attention. And rightfully so. The authors and commenters, foodies all, are passionate. Not a bad thing. And Food Dude and his crew are diligent about reviewing both high-end and lower-end places, and giving them the full 3 chances they deserve.
Looking for a restaurant review? I hope you find what you need here, but if you want the full story, and multiple opinions, check with Food Dude.
Subtitled: Throwing myself on the grenade of bad food to save you, this foodie blog reviews restaurants. And people comment, oh yes they do. If you're thinking about a splurge, or trying to win friends and influence people by judicious restaurant choices, you may want to check in with Food Dude and see what he (and everyone else) have to say.
Portland photographer Andrew Hall has created another excellent resource for Portlandophiles—this time, a guide to Portland neighborhoods.
He doesn't touch on every neighborhood, but he does touch on all the significant ones:
Downtown, Goose Hollow and King's Hill, Northwest Portland, Riverplace and South Waterfront, The Pearl District, Alberta, Irvington, Mississippi, St. Johns, University Park, Hawthorne District, Ladd's Addition, Laurelhurst, Sellwood, Woodstock, Lake Oswego, Orenco Station, Tanasbourne, Tualatin Town Center, Vancouver, WA, Johns Landing and Multnomah Village.
He also touches on the questions that folks have when moving to Portland: Where in Portland should I live?, Random Facts and Portland Trivia, Living in Portland Without A Car, Portland Frequently Asked Questions, Navigating Portland, and Finding an Apartment or Rental in Portland.
In Portland, the zen, and zany happily co-exist
By BETSA MARSH The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/27/07
Like a glacial breeze off Oregon's Mount Hood, Portland blows away the cobwebs of same-old travel.
Instead of dutifully slogging through museums, how about pulling up a chair at a sidewalk cafe, sipping chai or a microbrew and asking your server where he'd go? Or renting a bike and seeing how many neighborhoods you could breeze through before happy hour? And you have to love a city that embraces not one, but two, happy hours — from about 5 to 7 each evening and then a second-wind version from about 10 p.m. to midnight.
There's so much to do in this city of dual happy hours that it's easy to stay up most of the night, fueled by hard-core Stumptown coffee and Voodoo Doughnuts' best seller, the Bacon Maple Bar. The circumstances are totally different, of course, but Elizabeth Wood, a pioneer on the Oregon Trail in 1851, summed up the whirlwind of a modern Portland trip.
"A lazy person," she wrote, "should never think of going to Oregon."
Anzen has been around forever (or since 1905, and at this location for more than 30 years), and when it was announced that the eastside, store was closing in 1999, people were shocked. The Japanese Consulate General even issued a statement, calling the closure "a pity" . Then one of the brothers decided that he couldn't part with the store, and so it was that he, and it, stayed. Thank heavens! If you're looking for Japanese ingredients, including fresh fish and shellfish, in an unoverwhelming store, this is your place. Though I don't often cook Japanese, shopping at Anzen is a real treat.
They offer hot bento Monday -Saturday, fresh sushi Tuesday-Saturday, Japanese style baked goods on Wednesday and fresh mochi on Saturdays.
Okay, full disclosure: I know the owners socially. I met them after eating at their place several times and being wowed. That said, oh... my... g-d! This place, for me, is like dying and going to heaven! There's Anchor beers on tap, and wines by the bottle or glass—not cheap, but nothing outta line expensive. Bring a couple friends so you can order lots. Begin with a meat or veggie or combo plate. I haven't tried the veggie plate, but man, it looks good. And the meat plate is good. Salami (from Salumi, I believe) to die for. Next, the caesar salad. Garlicky, beautiful, and adorned with anchovy if you wish it. This is one of the three best caesars in town. And the plate is huge, an abundance of riches.
Hope you didn't fill up on appetizers cuz it's time for the 'za. Now, there are lots of arguments about what style pizza this is—is it Italian, is it Connecticut, or New York? I don't know from pizza, I just know that it doesn't get much better than this. Certainly not in Portland, at least. Thin crust that is perfection, crispy and wonderful, baked hot-hot-hot, topped with sparing amounts of exquisite ingredients.
Everytime we go, we order one pie (for two of us—it's good sized) and wish we had ordered a second. Because it tastes so good!
Drawbacks: parking can be a problem. And this place is popular—forget about going during restaurant prime time unless you don't mind waiting in line. The service is sassy and casual (which I appreciate). It's a small place, and it's easy to spend a lot of money because, gosh, you gotta get the caesar, and the meat plate is so good...
Arleta Library is my new favorite place for breakfast. Here's why.
It's a tiny place, and as the name suggests, it is a bakery, and the baked goods shine. Be sure to grab some cookies or a muffin or coffeecake to take home with you, because you won't have room after their mondo breakfasts.
They serve Stumptown coffee, apparently french-pressed. Be still my heart!
The brunch menu on the weekends is short: just 10 items: a hash, biscuits-n-gravy, a fritatta, three scrambles, pancakes, french toast, quiche, and some roasted veggies. And really, I'd rather see a short menu of stuff that is really good, rather than a long menu with a few (or more) duds.
The menus are available online via PDF, so you can follow along at home. Prices range from $7-$9.50.
Sicilian Hash is their signature dish, and the only thing one of my breakfast companions orders. It's made up of slow-braised high-end beef (Painted Hills) sauteed with peppers, onions, and potatoes and topped with a lovely scrambled egg.
Portland’s Best Biscuits-n-Gravy actually probably is. It's an exercise in excess, to be sure, but both the gravy and the biscuits are consistently good. Sweet potato biscuits (! - it works!) are doused in sausage gravy with pork loin. The pork loin is completely gratuitous and unnecessary, but wonderful. These, like most entrees, come with library fries, wedges of delicious pan-cooked potatoes, crusty and seasoned and actually done.
I haven't tried the The Grand Torino, a salmon fritatta, but boy, it sure looks impressive. Nor have I tried the Florentine (a scramble with spicy greens, basil, ricotta, parmesan, and breadcrumbs) or the Portland (a scramble with wild mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar, and crumbled bacon), the Hawthorne (roasted seasonal veggies sauteed with potatoes and cheddar), Pane Dolce (batter dipped and griddle-fried brioche with seasonal fruit), or the Quiche of the Day, but it's just a matter of time.
But I have had the Tuscan (a scramble with roasted red peppers, Italian sausage, and romano cheese). The flavor was incredible, though it was infested with onions. But my pals who love onions love it too, and I bet I could just ask for it without the onions.
The masterstroke may well be the buttermilk semolina griddlecakes which don't sound so special, do they? But add berries and crumbled bacon (!) to the batter, and you might have one of the best combos of sweet, savory and salty that you can find for under 10 bucks. And even without bacon or berries, these are some great pancakes.
They serve Grand Central bread, and make some of the coolest jams imaginable; recently peach/rosemary was one weekend's option, another roasted nectarine.
The staff here is friendly, and if you come in a couple times, you're greeted as a regular: sweet! They also have a couple tables out front, and on a tiny back patio.
Of the 10 entrees for brunch, four are vegetarian. I haven't tried ordering vegan here.
Of all the places to have breakfast in Portland, two of the best are here in this neglected area of Foster-Powell/Mt Scott. And one of those is definitely Arleta Library.
Autentica has been around now for over a year, and for those of us who are fans, it's been a particularly luscious, delicious year.
Not that there haven't been complaints, particularly about service there. I've ordered drinks and had them appear in a flash, and ordered drinks, and waited about twenty minutes for them to appear. That's frustrating, when the food is so damn good.
Let's begin by talking about dinner. The last time we were there, we had great service. Our waiter was congenial and quick, and had the liberty to really serve us in a subtle, excellent way.
The menu (thanks, Food Dude!) is divided into seafood cocktails, soups, small plates, salads, and large plates. Thursday night is pasole blanco night, a more subtle pork pasole than what you might be accoustomed to.
If you're a fan of ceviche or octopus, you have to try them here, because they are among the best in the city—Taqueria Neuve and D.F. have nothing on Autentica. Seafood cocktails range from $7-$9.
There are three soups ($7-8) which come in a good-sized bowl, and three salads ($7-8). The cream of corn soup is vegetarian, as is two of the salads, and another one each features shrimp. I tried the tortilla soup which was delicious and well-worth ordering.
Small plates range from $2 for a taco, to $7 for the queso fundido, a fondue of oaxacan cheese and chorizo, served with fresh corn tortillas, which is just plain wrong, it's so good. I tried the tostada con tinga de pollo ($5) which was really lovely. The tinga, or shredded meat (it can be chicken or pork, traditionally), is cooked with chipotles and guajillo peppers, and it has a really lively pepper taste without being too hot. Add the crispy tortilla beneath, and the lettuce, tomato chunks, queso fresco, and radish on top, and you have a really lovely combination of textures and flavors.
I also tried the vegetarian tamale with poblano peppers ($3.50), which was quite possibly the best tamal I have ever had. It was tender and moist, but tremendously flavorful. The poblano is also subtle, not hot, but mostly I was aware of how delicious the corn masa was.
The large plates range from $12-$17, with two vegetarian options and three seafood options. The shrimp in mojo de ajo (garlic sauce) were also gorgeous, subtle and garlicy, and accompanied by rice ($16). So good! The whole roasted fish ($17) came, and it was gorgeous as well as humongous. It was delicate and sweet, its skin so beautifully brown, and its flesh so pearly white, marinated with dried chili paste. I'm not a fan of fish, but I'm ordering that next time.
But even the less expensive plates are excellent. Take the platillo mexicano ($13), two enchiladas, in red and green moles, with a chile relleno. It sounds like your regular combo plate at your corner mexican joint, right? Wrong. If you're a fan of mole, you have to try this! The green mole is made from pumpkin seeds, tomatillos and serrano peppers, really rich and complex, over a simple chicken in tortilla. The red mole is made from 8 kinds of dried chiles and nuts, and is better than any I've tasted anywhere. And the chile relleno is stuffed with cotija cheese, in a rich tomato sauce. We were glad to have some extra, handmade, fresh corn tortillas to sop up all the extra sauce!
Now, for brunch.
The menu (thanks again, FD) ranges in prices from $2-$13, and ranges from little antojitos like tacos ($2) and sopes ($3), three salads ($7-$8) (two vegetarian), and a pile of delicious brunchy goodies ($7-$13), 5 of them vegetarian.
Brunch begins, first of all, decent coffee and fresh orange juice. Our waitress brings out molletes to try while we were mulling over the menu: soft bolillo rolls with refried beans and fresh housemade mexican cheese. Over time, we've tried just about everything: huevos rancheros con jamon, frijoles y salsa, chilaquiles con salsa picante y bisteck, fish soup, shrimp in spicy broth, quezadilla, menudo, potato omelet, eggs or chicken in red broth, eggs as you like them, enchiladas caseras, pork in chile sauce, and a flat iron steak. Huevos rancheros (eggs ranchero style with ham, beans, and salsa) was pretty darn traditional, with a good ranchero sauce, eggs done right and thin grilled ham. Chilaquiles, fried tortillas in a spicy sauce, served with a little steak and refried beans, was also traditional, lovely, and the steak was small but buttery and good. Really, everything has been so good. I was less than crazy about the fish soup, but fish fans loved it.
We managed to hit Autentica for brunch on the first day of a new menu. As usual, the brunch is quiet, particularly in the morning. If you are on a budget, or are just not crazy about the packedness of the evenings, brunch is a great time to visit Autentica.
I was disappointed to not get fresh, hot molletes (soft bolillo rolls with refried beans and fresh housemade mexican cheese) right off the bat. But we did start with fresh, good coffee.
The menu reflects some of the strong points of dinner—the cocktel con pulpo y camaron, for example, but it also reflects the owner, Oswaldo, listening to his customers. Folks wanted more vegetarian options, and now there are quite a few.
The menu is made up of appetizers and antojitos like ensalada con pacotilla aquacate pepinos y lima (bay shrimp with avocado, cukes and lime, $8); ensalada de berros con queso panela (watercress salad with panela cheese and spicy peanuts, $8); fruit salad ($7); the aforementioned cocktel ($8); sopes ($3 each), a couple different tacos ($2 each), quezadilla ($7), menudo, and several types of soup ($8-$10).
Entrees range from an omelet, eggs in a dried chili broth, huevos rancheros, huevos al gusto (eggs any way you'd like them), chilaquiles, enchiladas caseras, bisteak ranchero, and carne enchilada ($8-$13).
While the menu may have changed, the food is still incredible. We started with the ensalada de frutas: papaya, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and pineapple, with a wedge of lime and a monkey dish of chili powder—everything totally fresh and with vibrant flavors. Next came the sopes: you can order them with chicken or chorizo, I always get chorizo. The handmade grilled corn disk is topped with a hash of diced potatoes and your meat, topped with fresh cheese and crema, and slices of avocado & radish. These are just addictively delicious.
Then came our main dishes. The omelet con papas is indeed an omelet with oaxacan cheese and diced potatoes, with pico de gallo on top. It comes with refried vegetarian black beans topped with fresh cheese, and the beans are as runny, rich and comforting as any of the best mexican refrieds, even without the lard. And, the omelet came with blistering hot homemade corn tortillas. Huevos rancheros (eggs ranchero style with ham, beans, and salsa) was pretty darn traditional, with a good ranchero sauce, eggs done right and thin grilled ham.
Other yummy things include chilaquiles con salsa roja, bisteck o heuvos. Now you can order them vegetarian, with eggs, or with a little steak. This is just fried tortillas in red sauce, and it is some supreme comfort food. The eggs in dried red chili broth is soft poached eggs and nopales (brined cactus paddles) floating in a spicy and intensely flavorful broth that begs to be sopped up with tortillas. The enchiladas caseras are homemade enchiladas with chicken or cheese, a red or green sauce, and casera cheese and crema—it's not the cheeseball production you usually get with enchiladas, but a light and delicious (though filling) version.
Our waitress was having the pollo en consome rojo, chicken in a dried chili broth, which I got a good look at and whiff of. Yum. I'll be ordering that next time.
The food is amazing. And the price: two entrees, an antojito and an ensalada, and two cups of coffee for $30 before tip: also amazing.
Got kids? Picky eaters? Folks who won't set foot into a tienda/taqueria, or who like Chevy's? Need a drink? Or WiFi? Here you go.
Nobody would claim this is great food. But it's very edible, and you get lots of food.
Here's the set-up. Walk in and order from the giant board of burritos, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, taco salads, nachos and combo plates. Choose from 4 types of chicken (chile verde, mole, asado & chile colorado), chile verde pork or carnitas, carne asada or ground beef. Then there's beans: black, pinto, refried (all vegetarian). There's grilled veggies, and the option to swap in spicy garlic prawns or mahi mahi.
Prices range from $3.50-$9.50, most in the more expensive range.
Just like in a Mission taqueria, you follow your food down the line, so you can specify none of this or more of that, as you wish. (Unfortunately, that's where the resemblance to a Mission taqueria ends) Pay up, and take it back to your table. That's it.
In spite of having a small play area, this is not overrun by children, so it's quite pleasant for the child-averse.
They have maybe a half dozen beers on tap, and, of course, many margarita options. It's non-smoking until 9:30 pm.
Of course, there are downsides. If you want a beer or a drink, you'll need to go into the bar and purchase it, separate from your food. Getting a seat on the sidewalk is hard during good weather—it's popular. There is exactly one table salsa, and it's nothing to write home about.
This is a friendly, smoky tavern, dripping with diy cred. There's the peeling paint, the mismatched bar stools, lights with x-ray screens, tables made from doors, and lights made from drum kits. There are a couple of pinball machines, and a centipede table, as well as a jukebox stocked with Angry Samoans, Mission of Burma, and the Buzzcocks.
A craftbeer on tap is $3.50, and the taps include:
A few weeks ago, the BBC posted a story about Portland called Where the car is not king. The article talks primarily about the role of public transportation in the Portland transportation mix.
Among other things, I found it very interesting that it was written by Sayeeda Warsi, the Vice Chair of Britain's Conservative Party.
The camera crews were also here filming a segment, again hosted by Warsi. It features Sarah Gilbert, a very prolific Portland blogger, as well as shots of Sam Adams explaining the tram, and that most Portlandish event, a bike move.
In the former Russian Food Restaurant space is a pleasant cafe with lots of windows that overlook the gentrifying spector of Foster. You know it's gentrifying when suddenly, there's a Filipeno restaurant, there's a comics book store, there's a Taqueria Urapan, and now, Bar Carlo.
This is the place to get breakfast. Now. Because soon, everyone will know, and there will be lines. So go now, so you can appreciate it, appreciate the casual, pleasant atmosphere, the best Stumptown coffee outside of a Stumptown cafe, and really, some of the best breakfast food in town.
The menu is short, one page. Weekends are fully devoted to yummy breakfasts involving eggs and cheese, for the most part. Vegans will be hard pressed to find anything here they can eat, but there are about 10 options (out of 16) for vegetarians. The menu is made up of about 5 scrambles, 4 omelets, and a handful of house specials like french toast, sweet and savory crepes, and several breakfast sandwiches ($4-$8).
Weekday menus have an abbreviated list of scrambles, omelets, and brekkie sammies, as well as lunch sandwiches.
Start with a cup of Stumptown Coffee. It's self-service, take your cup up to the bar and refill, and lordy, is it good!
We've had Carlo's Scramble, a nice combo of italian sausage, red pepper relish and mozzarella, which is lovely and really tasty. Surprise, Natalie You're in Peppersville! Sandwich gets the award for the longest name, and quite possibly the best breakfast sandwich in town: eggs, roasted red peppers and jalapenos, onions, cotija cheese and avocado spread. In competition for the best breakfast sandwich is Carlo's King Melt: eggs, bacon, mild peppers, mascarpone and tomato-basil relish, yum. And the Omelette del Sur, a baked omelette full of roasted jalapenos, cotija, salsa fresca and either mushrooms or bacon is also filling and delicious.
Most items are accompanied by fruit (a couple small pieces), Grand Central toast, and roast potatoes that are among the best in town. They are easily on the level of Genies or Simpatica.
Of course, everything is not perfect in paradise. Our most recent visit was punctuated by loudish Nu Shoes (80s disco-pop) on the stereo. The buns used for the sandwiches are soft and don't have a lot of integrity. And, it's on Foster, fer heavens sakes, far from my beaten path.
But, in spite of these things, this is my new favorite breakfast spot. Thanks to Chris from Belmont Station who shared the wealth!
Join us for our annual Barleywine & Big Beer Tasting/Festival March 10 & March 11 (Friday and Saturday) from noon to 10 p.m. There is no entry fee, and drink tickets will be $1.50 each (good for a 4 oz. taste). Tickets can be purchased at the bar during the festival.
When it comes to taking visitors out to dinner, there are just a couple places I consider. Cafe Castagna, Ken's Place, and Bastas. These are my special occasion places, places where the atmosphere is good, the service is good, and the food, of course, is good.
Bastas is my favorite Italian. In a former Tasty-Freez. Yeah!
Though once you step foot inside, you might never know it. You enter into the sophisticated bar, and unless you're doing their excellent happy hour, you eat in either the garden room or the other room (I'm sure it has a name). They offer, of course, lots of wine, including by the glass, and a couple beers on tap.
Our downfall is the appetizers. There are quite a few, and they all appear to be yummy. The carpaccio is a full plate of raw thin-sliced beef dressed in olive oil and parmesan, with lemon on the side. The caesar is not as garlicky as I generally like but is still one of the best in town.
Entrees. Yum. The pasta is a little less spectacular than other dishes sometimes, however, it's good. But there is so much to love amongst the entrees. The $19 steak is the best $19 steak in town, cooked to order, nested with the most decadent mashed potatoes around. The crispy fried chicken (is that Italian?) is also so very good, crispy and moist and delicious. Their version of cioppin is a delight, with lots of broth to soak up. And the lamb chops cause my partner to go into fits of pleasure.
Desserts also are good, though a little bit of a let down for me after the whirlwind beauty of the appetizers and entrees. But the fact that you can park in their lot, right there around the restaurant, is pretty darn good.
Downsides: it's a former Tasty-Freez, so when it gets full, it's like a bus station. The chairs are fine if you don't spend too much time in them, but they're torture in a long formal dinner. And, I tend to spend too much money there.
The Beaterville's mix of kooky hipness, decent coffee, and eggs, eggs, eggs ensure that it is always crazy on weekends, but certainly worth a visit. The place still drips atmosphere, what with the automotive decor and the fridge full of newspapers and oddball books. With a cup of decent coffee or one of their espresso drinks, it's quite pleasant to while away some time.
Breakfast entrees are the usual cafe entrees, waffles, scrambles, and omelets, ranging from $3-$10. The Green Eggs and Ham, a frittata-style scramble with pesto, green onions and feta, and served with chunky seasoned red potatoes and toast or croissant, while devastating on the arteries, is a personal fave. Biscuits and gravy features one of the better sausage gravies in town. And huevos, a layering of tortilla, black beans, eggs, sour cream, salsa and green onions, is lacking the ranchero sauce, but it is really addictive all the same.
You can substitute tofu or 2nd Nature eggs, too—nice!
Lunches are the big triple S: soups, salads, and sandwiches, not a huge menu, ranging from $3.25 to $7.
I love this neighborhood market. Sure, prices are more than at the bigger groceries, but they have a full selection of fruit and veg, fresh baked breads from Grand Central and others, frozen foods, packaged goods, fresh pasta, dairy, and meats. Perhaps their best features hides in a walk in beer cooler—an excellent beer supply.
There is nothing better than a beer cooler on a hot day. Well, a dip in a pool or a lake is close, but still. A beer cooler is hard to beat. And especially a beer cooler with some real taste! They have a shelving unit of belgians, a rack of appropriate glassware, and rows and rows of special regionals and imports. They have sixes of all your favorites. And they have a great, though small, collection of lawn mower beers, say if your father-in-law is coming by.
I love being cold when it's 100 degrees outside. And I love having a dilemma when picking out beer.
Belmont Station has the most beer, and the most interesting beer, on the eastside. They claim 750 beers, while Liquid Solutions claims 660 and John's Marketplace has 800. But Belmont Station is still the premier beer store to my mind on either side of the river.
First of all, there's the Horse Brass connection. Belmont Station usedta be next door and used to be somehow connected to the HB, so a visit to the Horse Brass meant a visit to Belmont Station to bring some goodies home.
There's the fact that this is a store that is all about beer geeks. While the new location has self-serve coolers, they're self-serve coolers with UV protection on the cooler lights. And they rotate their beer. And, given that most of it seems to sell fairly fast, the chances of ending up with a skunky beer is close to nil.
But now there's more space for glasswear and t-shirts and memorabilia. And they have a non-smoking, 4 tap biercafé in one portion.
We've made a couple visits now. The bartender is just as knowledgeable as the staff on the cooler side. The tap selection focuses on things that you can't get in a bottle. The cafe is a comfortable place to enjoy a beer, and you can get a sandwich if you need to (around $8). But the great thing is that you can get yourself a pint from the cafe, and then go shopping. Dude!
The Berlin Inn is one of those places that I remember on the way to some place else, and think, I made the wrong decision. It's not terribly close to home, and I don't eat german all that often, so it's just not on my radar. Which is silly, because it's quite good.
This small place, stuffed to the brim with germanica, is popular with many, though it might be a bit much if you're claustrophobic. Stairs, small rooms, and tight turns make this definitely not wheelchair accessible.
The weekend (or should I say, wockenende) frühstück is a relatively small menu. There are several veggie items, including buttermilk and German pancakes, and blintzes, several meaty dishes like pork chops, chicken schnitzel, or leberkäse with eggs, 3 omelettes, and 3 benedicts. Everything but the pancake/blintze/North Sea Toast comes with your choice of bratkartoffeln (think, German home fries) or potato pancakes.
They offer three German beers on tap: today's selection was Allgaüer Hefeweizen, Spaten Premium Bock, and Salvator Paulaner. If you're interested at all in the local beer scene or German beer, be sure to chat with Marty—he's a wealth of knowledge and loves to share.
Prices range from $6-$12.50 a plate, and portions, as you might imagine, are huge. We got the Best of the Wurst omelet, and the leberkäse plate. Each was a gut bomb of food. Our potato pancakes were unlike any I've ever had: throughly, pan-fried until they were like crocquettes, but the omelet and leberkäse were both good. I needed a nap afterwards.
I love the banh mi at Binh Minh. I love it. But it closes at 5pm everyday of the week, which for me makes it not a very viable option outside the weekends.
Unfortunately, I love banh mi 7 days a week. What's a girl to do?
Well, Best Baguette offers the answer. They appear to be a chain (at least, the place is designed down to the seams) that offers fast food banh mi, sandwiches, vietnamese appetizers, dim sum, gelato, and asian drinks, including bubble and milk teas. But wait, it gets better: they have a drive thru window!
Interestingly, the menu is entirely in english. They offer 15 types of banh mi which include all the typical ones, plus a Saigon Bacon sandwich, a Vegetable sandwich (greens and pickled veg), pork roll and egg (Saigon style), and the one untranslated sandwich, nem nuong (which is a char-broiled pork paste). The prices range from $2.25 to $3.50, and the sandwiches are foot-longs. They also have french sandwiches ($3.75-$5) and croissant sandwiches ($2.50$4.75).
They bake the bread on premises so your sandwich is all warm and freshly made. That said, the ficelles they bake appear to be commercial par-baked ones, like the kind you find that Safeway uses. It makes a very soft bread, and one with no tooth to the crust. Vietnamese baguettes and ficelles do tend to have a softer crust, but usually not this soft. The picked veggies come in a little baggie so you can add as much or as little as you'd like. They were stingy with the jalapeno.
Not realizing they were foot-longs, we ordered a half-dozen, including a parisian ham and cheese (ugh), a pate, a grilled beef, grilled chicken, and bbq pork. As noted, I hated the parisian ham & cheese. It used american cheese— that is so wrong! The pate had an unidentified white lump in it that might have been cheese, so while the pate itself was fine (a little thin, but hey), I shyed away from the white lump. But the grilled meats and bbq pork were fine. They weren't Binh Minh, that's for sure, but in a pinch, it's a banh mi, and it doesn't come wrapped in cellophane.
So, we ordered a half-dozen sandwiches, a couple viet coffees, and the total came to $18. I think they comped us a coffee and threw in an extra baguette.
They have a good selection of gelato, and a huge selection of drinks. Not just the avocado, jackfruit, and durian shakes, but a huge selection of Asian (and not Asian) sodas and the like. Jarritos, for example.
Anyways, this is a great option if you're jonesing for a banh mi after 5pm.
I don't know how it is for you, but for me, there are some Fridays where I'm so exhausted by the week that I can't even think about what fun stuff might be happening on the weekend. However, I've caught a second (or fifth?) wind, and I am psyched about this weekend.
There is so much good stuff this weekend.
If you want to make an event out of getting a pumpkin, make a trip to out to Sauvie Island to pick your own, or just have the farm experience. There are several corn mazes as well!
Beulahland is a great hangout. It's funky, it's dusty, at times it's almost cranky, in the way you're allowed to be with those you're close to. They've got good beer on tap, sandwiches and soup, a mess of veggie options, a friendly funky place with a pool table, a jukebox, some pinball, a giant dictionary, and a computer with internet access.
I used to fetishize their grilled cheeses. They were made with whatever Grand Central bread they had in the kitchen, so every now and again you'd get a phenomenal one made with yeasted corn. But even the unphenomenal ones were really tasty.
The sad thing is, they do have food, and lots of veggie options, but outside of breakfast, I haven't had anything there that was noteworthy in a month of sundays. Which isn't to say it's bad—it just is. That said, hot and cold sandwiches range from $2.75-$8 and come with chips. They also have burgers ($6-$8), and plates that come with a green salad ($7-$7.75).
But let's talk about the interesting stuff. They have special drinks that are $4.50-$5. Beer on tap is $3.75 a pint. When I was there, they had:
-a rotator (when I was there, it was New Belgium Skinny Dip)
-Rogue Dead Guy
-Mt Hood Cascadian Pale Ale
-Skagit Valley Scullers IPA
-Elysian the Wise ESB
-Anderson Valley Boont Amber
Bottled beers range from Session to imports, from ($2.50-$6)
In the last couple years of beer enjoyment, I've really become a stout fan, and particularly, the imperials.
So last night, at Concordia, when I heard that they had The Abyss Imperial Stout, Deschutes Brewery's Reserve Ale, aged in oak, on tap, I had to get a taster. Wow! A nose you could drink. It was slightly sweet, and complex, with waves of different flavor rolling around your mouth, and unlike many high-alcohol beers, no overwhelming alcohol flavor. The stout is dark in the glass, with a caramel-colored head, leaving beautiful lacing on the glass.
So I ordered a glass with dinner. 11% alcohol. It knocked me out!
In the middle of the night, I awoke to the worst hangover in memory. The Abyss was trying to kill me! So I did the only reasonable thing: I drank a glass of water and went back to bed.
This morning, I'm no worse for the wear, but: beer lovers, you must try this. And you must be respectful! Because this stuff can kick your ass!
Sure, it's easy to get to the Convention Center on your bike or via public transport; the MAX line runs right by, multiple bus lines go within blocks, and you have the bike paths off the Broadway and Steel Bridges, the Eastplace Esplanade, and the entire eastside working for you. The problem becomes actually parking the bicycle nearby.
Exterior Bike Racks at the Oregon Convention Center
There are three exterior bike racks outside the Convention Center. Yes, that's right, three.
On the Holladay Street side, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
On the MLK side, between Pacific and Oregon
On the MLK side, at Hoyt
If an event at the OCC attracts any sort of real crowd, you'll find bicycles locked down to just about anything permanent. So what's a conscientious bicyclist to do?
Luckily, there is also some super-secret bicycle parking.
Bicycle Parking in the OCC parking garage
Like many places, there is bike parking in the OCC parking garage. The benefits are obvious: no weather, racks designed to be locked to, and umm, no weather.
If you enter on level 1 (the south entrance between MLK and 1st on Lloyd Ave) just go by the tollbooth, and there's hanging parking immediately to your right, right in sightline of the parking attendant. Just past that, on the righthand side, some more hanging parking. And by the door to the Convention Center, there are U racks on each side of the door.
On Level 2 below it, there is far less parking—just a couple of the U racks by the OCC door, and in the SW corner of the garage.
His bicycle built for two comes with a tiny covered trailer and his green safety vest is emblazoned with the words "Powered by Potatoes". He's young and lean and bearded and not what you might imagine as a typical Loaves & Fishes Centers volunteer. But Vlad Ionis is making a difference in the lives of homebound seniors in the Hollywood neighborhood by delivering Meals-On-Wheels using his bike.
Ah, Biddy's. In spite of owner changes and venue changes, they've never forgot what makes them tick. It's a modest place, wood and smoke, covered with political posters and beer geegaws, but mostly political posters, some in Gaelic, most in English.
But probably what you're interested in is the beer, irish whiskey, and a smidge of food. We ate, it was nothing really to write home about, everything between $3-$8. They do offer cheese fries, served with steak fries with not quite enough cheese. But the fries were good.
They offer music every night of the week, a quite a bit of it free. Given that this is a reasonably small place, you'll probably actually want to like the music, but they keep the events calendar on the web site up to date.
Now beer, that's something. They serve imperial pints of
-Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
-Deschutes Black Butte Porter
-New Belgium Fat Tire
-Full Sail Amber
on a beer engine.
The beer we had was good, and as we were there early, it wasn't too smoky. With a Irish jam session happening in the middle of the room, it was tremendously pleasant.
Attention BIG CITY PRODUCE CUSTOMERS:
It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of Big City Produce number one at 722 N, Sumner Ave on September 30, 2007. We have been here for eleven years and can no longer operate due to unforeseen economic conditions. ... We want to thank you all for your great support over the years it has been heartwarming. We really need your support at the New Columbia location (4632 N. Trenton, at Newman) to continue in business and hope you will all come on out and support us.
Rain or shine, the big orange dog that advertises a doggy daycare is out, working his beat. He never slacks, never calls in sick... reliable in a way that only an inanimate object can be. He is so damn... cheerful!
And like those poor folks around tax time who wear statue of liberty costumes while waving a sign on the side of the road, the big orange dog dresses up for halloween. Which he clearly enjoys. Except when it rains.
SHIFT works to express Portland's creative bike culture and highlight the positive contributions of bicycling to the community. We are a loose-knit and informal bunch of bike-loving folks from all walks of life. There is no membership list, fee, nor dues. We share a passion for the bicycle in all its glory: as toy, as transportation, as tool for social and environmental change! SHIFT is open to everyone sharing in this passion.
The Community Cycling Center was founded in 1994 with a mission of building skills and fostering the personal growth of youth through community-oriented recreational and educational bicycle programs and services. It's the largest non-profit organization that uses the bicycle as a tool for teaching positive life skills to youth. Children in our programs learn bicycle safety and maintenance and earn their own bicycles, locks and helmets. We use the bicycle as a tool for learning because no child can resist the draw of a bicycle.
Donate a kids or adults bike. It makes a big difference, and it's tax-deductable. (503-288-8864 for directions)
dedicated to increasing the number of cyclists at PSU, promoting the bicycle both as recreation and as a superior mode of transportation, and empowering all cyclists with the ability to understand and repair their own bicycle(s). We focus on supplying PSU cyclists affordable, quality, replacement parts and will happily do whatever is in our power to assist you in repairing your own bike!
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is a non-profit organization working to promote bicycle use and to improve bicycling conditions throughout the state of Oregon. Since 1990, the BTA has worked in partnership with citizens, businesses, community groups, government agencies and elected officials to create healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safer, more convenient and more accessible.
When it comes to banh mi, or the addictive little vietnamese sandwiches on french bread, Binh Minh is the name to beat. As of yet, I haven't found anyone who has. And lucky for us, there is now a second location, located in the former Nam's Deli.
If you aren't familiar with banh mi, they are sandwiches with some sort of meat on a french roll, like a hoagie. They all contain mayo, pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, and a couple slices of jalapeno. Meat fillings include cold cuts, pate, BBQ pork, steamed meatball, fried egg, and lemongrass grilled chicken.
The menu board at the SE Binh Minh is more abbreviated than the one in NE, but you can still get all the sandwiches there. Just ask.
On our recent visit, we got 2 BBQ Pork (Banh Mi Xa Xiu) and a Lemongrass Chicken (Banh Mi Ga Nuong), a pate chaud, and an egg roll (cha gio) with a couple of pops (less than $11). The bread at Binh Minh is baked right there, and is excellent: warm, crusty, with the tug of the mildly crunchy crust and the yielding (but not too yielding) bread.
Our BBQ pork was excellent, of course. Just a fine example of Vietnamese BBQ pork. But, even better was the lemongrass chicken, which was moist and really flavorful. The pate chaud was warm, the crust was flakey and got everywhere (as it should), and the combo of the crust with the pate was a rich, lovely treat. And the egg roll, while very small, was a nice representation of a Vietnamese egg roll.
Unlike the NE Binh Minh, the lighting and surroundings are pleasant and not at all cramped; there are plenty of tables to sit down at and enjoy your sandwich(es), though I'm told that they are packed at lunch.
The really bad news about Binh Minh is that they are only open til 5pm everyday. But the good news is that they are open everyday.
Banh Mi! Banh mi are Vietnamese sandwiches made with crispy but tender baguettes. The fillings include pickled carrots and other veggies, spreads, cilantro, jalapeno (sometimes) and traditionally some type of pork. They're typically cheap and addictive.
Like any other type of sandwich, banh mi benefit hugely from being made fresh in front of you. You can frequently get banh mi at Vietnamese groceries and some restaurants as a grab-and-go, wrapped in cellophane, and they just are no where near as good as a fresh sandwich.
Bread makes a difference too—if you can find a place that bakes the bread fresh, you can bet the banh mi is going to be good. And Binh Minh is a bakery as well as a banh mi shop.
Binh Minh is a phone booth of a place around the corner from the Pacific Super Market. They have a couple tables indoors that aren't really designed to be sat at for more than a couple American-sized people, and a couple tables outside. You go to the coolers and pick up your beverage, a gelatin dessert, shrimp flavored chips, etc, and then step over a step and order from the sign board on the wall.
Foodwise, I'm told it's pretty traditional. There are eight sandwiches, most $2.50: the Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi cha thit nguoi, $2), meat ball (banh mi xiu mai), barbeque pork (banh mi xa xiu), lemongrass chicken (banh mi thit ga nuong), Vietnamese pork (banh mi cha lua), fish (banh mi ca), pate (banh mi pate), and shredded pork (banh mi bi).
There are five soups and stews: fish soup (chao ca, tom, $5), Vietnamese rice noodle with pork (bahn cahn tom, xa xiu, $5), egg noodle with beef (mi bo kho, $5), beef stew with french bread (banh mi bo kho, $3.95), and french bread with round egg (banh mi op-la, $3.25). You can add extra meat or vegetables for 50 cents more.
I haven't tried any of the soups or stews, but I've had all of the sandwiches, and, wow, there's not a bad one in the bunch. I particularly enjoy the pate, but the lemongrass chicken is also great, and an option you don't always find elsewhere.
In addition, they always have some stuff in the hot case: steamed pork buns, and spring rolls for sure.
The sandwiches, let's face it, aren't huge: they're about the size of a skinny hoagy, so plan on getting two or supplementing it somehow.
The staff aren't terrifically friendly, but they know english well, and they're really speedy.
Stopping in to Binh Minh is always a treat—I think their banh mi are the ones to beat.
Biwa is a relative rarity in Portland: a Japanese restaurant that doesn't feature sushi. In reality, there is no sushi on the menu at all. Biwa is all about Izakaya food, the simple food that accompanies alcohol in Japanese bars.
Star amongst these is yakimono, or grilled things on sticks, and it is where Biwa really shines. Yakimono ranges from $3-$8, and ranges from miso-grilled scallops, chicken thigh (classic yakitori), lamb genghis kahn, beef hanger steak, to shitake mushrooms, shishito peppers, corn in shoyu and tofu with miso. There is not a loser in the bunch.
Biwa is also the only place in Portland to make their own ramen and udon noodles. Housemade noodles make a big difference, and Biwa has the best ramen and udon in town($7-$16). And of the four different udon variants, you can get all of them vegetarian or vegan. Just short of half the menu can be served vegetarian or vegan.
Rounding out the menu are a number of salads include sunomono (cucumber salad, $7-$9), chijimi, a korean style griddle cake with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce ($7), yakionigiri ($2, grilled rice ball!), and gyoza ($6). Most dumplings around town, whether they are chinese, korean or japanese, are a mixture of meat and cabbage, kind of like a meatball. But Biwa's gyoza are all about the pork, and man, are they ever good.
They serve sake in the traditional way, and they have 8 of the 9 sakes on the menu available by the glass ($6-$19). They also have sake flights, beer, wine, and some nonalcoholic selections.
It's easy, really easy, to run up a big tab here. Dinner for two usually costs about $60, whereas lunch runs $30 and some change for two.
The lunch menu is a bit more limited, same prices but not a lot of yakimono.
Monday is nabe night (hot pot). They set up a hot pot on a burner right on your table. When we were there, it was $20 per person and you got seafood, a huge platter of crablegs and shrimp and salmon and god only knows what else, with vegetables and cellophane noodles. The broth, the meat and the noodles change every week. I can't wait to try that.
Hey! Biwa, the Japanese bar snack place with the best meat and veg on a stick anywhere in Portland, now offers a happy hour. And there's lot to be happy about.
A 20 ouncer of Sapporo is just $3. A six ounce Yuri Masamune sake is just $4,
Yakitori/yakimoni, like chicken breast or thigh, beef hangar steak, pork belly, garlic (which I'm told is really yummy), and corn are just $2 each. Collect them all and save!
And from the izakaya menu, they have buta kani kimchi chahan (which involves pork belly and kimchi and I'm not sure what else), vegetable chijimi (a pancake with a dipping sauce), and onigiri (addictive grilled rice ball) for $3.
These are all small plates, but it's still a substantial savings, so come by early and save...
Okay, I've been totally charmed by the Black Cat Tavern. It's so old Sellwood! It looks like a dive from the outside, and it is a bit of one. It's smoky even in mid-afternoon, and there's this crusty, cranky aura, which seems both friendly and irritable at the same time. When we walked up to the bar, we were warned not to try the stock ale on tap. So of course, we had to ask for a taste... and it was awful. Thanks, bartender!
So, of course there's beer (Terminal Gravity IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale, Widmer Hefeweizen, Fat Tire, and Guinness, among other things). Pints are $3.50 (Guinness, natch, is more). They offer free WiFi, video games, video crack, pool, and shuffleboard(!), as well as a spacious and excellent beergarden, open noon to dusk. I mean, I wish my backyard looked this good. And, you can reserve it for your party, and/or bring your own grillables, which is great since the food there is limited to snacks.
Oh, and need to take away some beer? They're licensed to sell beer to go.
i don't mean to put too fine a point on it. I know lots of folks like Chipotle, and I myself have been lured into repeatedly eating lunch there (my defense: ye Gods, I work downtown!). But has anyone had a good experience at Bleu?
The Blue Monk is a jazz club. Run by a beer fanatic. Okay? There is food, and it's okay, arguably even better during happy hour (5-7 everyday) where a bakers dozen options are all $5. The menu leans heavily on pasta. But really, if you're not a jazz fan, or even if you are, the reason to go there is the beer. 11 taps feature Stella Artois, and 10 not-so-usual American craft brews and European standards (the web site doesn't keep current with what's on now, but it's bound to have several Belgians). They stock an interesting selection of bottled beers, too. They serve food until 1am, and they're open all week long.
Blue Moon is a dangerous store for camera lovers, the epicenter for artsy film photographers. They do occassionally stock digital cameras, but overwhelming, they emphasize film. Whether you're looking for a reliable 35mm, a super-8, a holga, or a handsome handmade wooden pinhole camera, they have it, generally at great prices. They also have accessories, bags, chemicals, and old refurbished typewriters (swoon). Film, of course, including "120mm film modified for your 620 shooting pleasure." And, they do processing, both by hand and by machine, including optical enlargements rather than digital.
They also create a community, both with the friendly and free way the staff exchanges names with customers, and in throwing a customer show annually, which for opening night packs the streets of St Johns as if it were a happening big city.
The Blue Moose has been in the old Leaf & Bean location now for over a year. Like Leaf & Bean, they concentrate on sandwiches, salads, soup and breakfasts. Unlike Leaf & Bean, they're fully vegetarian -- no meat, no eggs. These are the same folks who did the Dogs Dig Deli, vegetarian, natch, in Old Town.
I had read about the Blue Moose in Food Fight's description of Portland's veggie & vegan restaurants. I recall the review saying something along the lines of, "they really like cheese". And it's true, cheese does appear frequently in the menu, but if you don't care for cheese, you can sub in avocado. If you don't like sour cream, you can swap in yougurt, or tofu sauce.
We walked in, and the place looks much more restauranty than it did as Leaf & Bean. It smelled good too. We sat down, and our server immediately brought over glasses of water, and little ramekins of the two soups. I loved that gesture!
They have 8 different sandwiches, including a grilled PB & banana sandwich. They are mostly $8 and come with a mixed green salad, but you can sub a cup of soup for a dollar more. They're made with healthy breads as well: rye, grains galore, spelt, whole wheat double bran, and naturebake organic.
They offer a small and big mixed green salad with a number of options: cruciferous, beans & corn, soylent (hehe, baked tofu with red onion & sunflower seeds), mediterranean, and five others. These are $4-$7 depending on if you go small or large and with or without options.
Burrito and burrito in a bowl is yet another option. Swap out the brown rice for red potatoes. Or polenta. And spinach. $5-$8.
And finally, there are long plates: 4 different large plates, $9. My partner in crime selected the Puebla Long Plate: mixed greens, brown rice, pintos, jack cheese, corn & sour cream with a grilled cheese and salsa quesadilla. It was a platter, really.
I got the Children of the Corn burrito bowl, vegan-stylee: polenta, pintos, corn, sunflower seeds, tofu sauce, hot sauce and avocado.
I have to say that I enjoyed the meal a lot. The beans were well spiced, and nothing was overly salty or oily. It was like home cooking: except, neither of us had to cook, and neither of us had to clean up. It was exciting to have vegan options, and to have some choices that didn't make me feel like I was cheating.
My favorite lunch spot these days is BluePlate. I end up there at least once a week, quite frequently more, because it seems to be all of my friends favorite downtown lunch as well.
And good news: they also serve an early dinner (closing at 8:30) Tuesday-Friday!
This is a tiny place: with six tables (3 four tops) and six stools at the counter. While I love sitting at the counter, this one desperately needs a foot rest for those of us with short legs. If you're on the mailing list, be sure to get there early or late on a day that Jeff sends out an email...
Every now and again, a meal or a part of a meal will miss the mark. But there is something so entirely honest about this place, where food is made from real food. The food items are made to order when that makes sense, and you can really taste that. You can watch the chef/owner Jeff Reiter put together your plate, going from the griddle, slicing fresh lettuce and tomato, ladling out lumping wonderful mashed potatoes. The meats are high-end: Cascade Natural, Draper Valley. It all happens quite fast, but it's quite gratifying to see him take such care. And the results, natch, are quite good.
The drink menu: huge. House sodas, ice cream floats, fountain classics, milkshakes, malteds, and sundaes. But this is no sloach in the soda fountain department. They have three types of ice teas (including a Georgia Sweet and a Hibiscus). Egg creams, brown cows, and black cows. And have you ever had sodas made with hibiscus, allspice, star anise, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, lemongrass, and/or kefir lime leaf? Well, have you? I know it's all the rage to put this stuff into vodka...
To me, the drinks are overkill: a little too intense. But more for you, yes?
The dinner menu changes from week to week. There are three or four entrees; this recent week saw a teriyaki steak with pineapple chutney over rice ($14), a roast chicken over spoon bread, a flank steak sandwich with grilled Walla Walla onions and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes ($12), and Shrimp Louie Louie ($10). I haven't made it there yet, but soon.
The lunch menu is short, but quite reasonable. The everyday menu consists of NW Sliders (2 white castle-sized oniony cheeseburgers) with potatoes, a grilled cheese with tomato soup, a classic caesar (with or without chicken), and a BLT salad.
I've never had homemade tomato soup, but this is what I'd imagine it would taste like: creamy, but with small nuggets of flavorful tomato. The grilled cheese is like your mom would make when you were a kid and didn't eat artisan bread or expensive cheese. No fouffy bread is involved, and probably only a single slice of cheddar. So it really is kinda perfect in its own way.
In addition to the regulars, there is always a $9 blueplate (most recently, a very simple, so yummy, roast chicken with mashed taters and mushroom gravy), and generally two $7 sandwiches which come with some sort of starch. Meatloaf is a favorite sandwich, as is the pulled pork which is really tasty.
The blueplate can be Meatloaf and Gravy with mashed potatoes, but there's also been BBQ Spare Ribs with Corn Bread, Spaghetti and Meatball, Monster Potato (baked potato topped with house Sloppy Joe and cheddar cheese), Shepard's Pie (rich meat stew topped with mashed potatoes), Tamale Pie (slow cooked pork and beef, baked with a cornbread top), Brisket Pot Roast and Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese with a corn bread gratin.
Recent sandwich specials include BBQ Pulled Pork, Pot Roast Sandwich, Meatloaf Sandwich, Chicken BLT, Italian Chicken Sandwich, Chicken or Pork Tacos, and Sloppy Joe, most frequently served with wonderfully lumpy mashed potatoes.
The chicken BLT, for example is really stellar. It's just a damn good sandwich, with bacon that tastes like bacon and chicken that tastes like chicken and tomato that tastes like tomato, rather than cardboard.
We had heard that breakfast at Bob's was good, so we headed out there one Saturday. Their info isn't kidding: it is only about 15 minutes from Portland by car.
You go into the Whole Grain Store, and the counter to order food is back and to the left. Don't be surprised if there's a line and you have to slowly inch by the breads. Sooner or later, you'll get to the front and you can order.
After you order, you take your number and claim a table, either on the first floor, on the patio, on the second floor. Water, coffee, and pop are self-serve, and the stations also include maple syrup, butter and honey. Someone will deliver your food and make sure you have everything you need.
The breakfast menu is rather sparse: 16 items, omelettes ($7-$8), breakfast eggs ($4.75-$7), cereals ($2.50-$4), a fruit bowl ($6) and a kids plate ($3.50). There is also a vegetarian menu of 10 items ($4-$7), most vegan. All the menus are online.
So where are the carby things that you think of when you think of stone-ground whole grain goodness? It seems they are relegated as sides (or on the veg menu). After all, they offer vegan and non-vegan flapjacks made from buttermilk, 10 grain, or buckwheat, as well as buttermilk waffles, and vegan and non-vegan french toast. I would have liked to have a multiple carb breakfast, but building your own plate is expensive, or so it seemed at the time. We ended up having eggs and cheese grits with scratch biscuits. The grits were excellent, and the whole-grain biscuits were yummy, flakey, and a little messy.
The next time I go back, I'm definitely going to try the flapjacks. Maybe with a side of cheese grits...
The downsides are definitely that Milwaukie isn't so close for those of us who live in town, and it doesn't look like you have a lot of public transit options on Saturdays. And Saturday morning probably means a wait in line. The meat products are turkey based. And everyone from Clackamas County is there on Saturday. Including Bob and Charlee Moore whose grandparently visages appear everywhere, and they eat there too!
This is definitely worth the trip, especially during the week, for Bob's Red Mill fans, vegans, and whole grain enthusiasts.
A specialty health food store featuring, not surprisingly, Bob's Red Mill whole-grain and organic products in their huge depth and breadth. The store features
flours and meals
grains, beans & seeds
herbs & spices
as well as breakfast, lunch, and cooking classes. Many of the more popular products are available in bulk, and they have lots of fact sheets on hand if you are trying to figure out how to cook with something. They have a huge selection of products for celiacs and vegans. If you like BRM products, or whole grains in general, this is definitely worth a visit.
I was attending an event at the Oregon Convention Center, and the "restaurants" in the OCC were closed. I couldn't bare the thought of going to Burgerville or Big Town Hero, nor could I stand the thought of seeing if American Cowgirls served lunch. The OCC was kind enough to provide a restaurant list, and of the three non-chains listed, I picked Bogarts.
Bogarts is a neighborhood bar, and it appears to have been here long before Metro and the State of Oregon built their buildings. It's tiny and dingy and redolent of stale smoke and the desperation of people playing video crack. I sat myself in the small non-smoking section (what a joke), looking over the giant grill that makes up the heart of the business.
It became immediately clear that its a family business: the daughter got me a beer, her mother cooked my burger, her aunt was doing something else. Micros on tap included Black Butte Porter, Fat Tire, Widmer Hefeweizen and Drop Top Amber.
Everything on the menu ranges from $6.50-$8: 1/3# burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads. Sandwiches come with chips, potato salad or cottage cheese. And while my burger was nothing to write home about, it wasn't bad—and I loved the option of cottage cheese!
I really appreciated the human touch there: the staff calling me honey, watching them interact, and give directions to someone who wandered in off the street. And in the end, I liked the quiet, the feeling I wouldn't be rushed out, the chance to sit and think and embellish my notes.
The other day, Ayleen told me that her favorite breakfast spot was on Alberta, but it was cheap, good and there was never a line. I made a few guesses, but never guessed La Bonita—until she told me. Damn!
Of course, she wasn't kidding. La Bonita is great for breakfast.
You basically have 5 options: 4 entrees for $6, and a breakfast burrito for $4.50. But what options these are! The egg dishes are heuvos rancheros, heuvos con chorizo, and heuvos a la mexicana, served with beans, rice, and warm tortillas. Chilaquiles round out the entrees, the luscious stale tortilla chips cooked in sauce, yum, yum, yum.
But for me, the breakfast burrito, while being atraditional, is the highlight. You have a large burrito filled with eggs, beans, hashbrowns and cheese. Add chorizo for a buck if you're a meat eater—you'll be glad you did. Talk about good. Add a little red or green salsa, and you have a tasty, filling meal.
But of course, La Bonita is not a slouch when it comes to other meals, either. If you haven't been there in a while, the interior has been updated with custom wooden booths and tables. Big upgrade from the orange fastfood booths! And as you might expect from Alberta St., they have bilingual staff cashiering.
They have menudo and pozole ($5-$7) every day!
Tacos are either $1.50 or $1.95 depending on the choice of meat (chicken, beef and pork carnitas are cheap; carne asada, tongue, fish, shrimp, machaca and al pastor are more pricey).
Of course, there are also quesadillas ($4-$6 depending on the filling), tostada ($3-$5), tortas ($5-$6), chimichangas (?)($6-$7), and tamales ($2: pollo, vegan, carnitas, and chile verde).
Meat burritos are $4.50 or $5 (with a chile relleno & meat sneaking in at $5 and fajita burrito sneaking in at $6), and meatless burritos ranging from $2.50-$5 for bean & cheese, bean & cheese & rice, chile relleno, veggie and fajita veggie. Get it enchilado (or a La Bonita) for another $2.
Platters include the three taco ($8 or $9), tamales ($8 or$9), carne asada ($10), chile relleno ($8), Mole (Friday-Sunday, $9 or $11), enchiladas ($8 or $9), and finally, a sampler with enchilada, chile relleno, and a tamale ($11).
Did I mention breakfast is all day?
I need to eat something other than breakfast there, but damn, I do love their breakfasts.
Interesting blurb on our 82nd Ave, and the role that ungentrified, unplanned spaces play in cities.
Portland's real Chinatown is growing around 82nd, not in Old Town, where the Portland Development Commission's streetscape project hopes curb extensions and exotic trees will substitute for a lively, growing community.
Numbers confirm the impressions rolling past our windshields. According to the 2000 census, Multnomah County has 18 census tracts (out of nearly 200) where at least 20 percent of the residents are foreign-born. Half of these tracts border 82nd Avenue.
Portland Food Group member Veronica has created this brilliant google map listing of places to get brekkie in Portland. The map contains a capsule review, address, and, breakfast hours. She's been to well over half of the places listed. It's a great resource.
Itchin' for eggs? Jonesin' for java? Here's a nigh-comprehensive list of breakfast joints in Portland. I skipped over chains (with the exception of the Original Pancake House since it's, you know, original) and mandated that these places must serve hot breakfast (i.e., no muffin peddlers). Green means I've been there, yellow means I have not and red means, "Please don't go here -- I want it all for myself!" Hours listed are hours that the establishments serve breakfast. They may be open additional non-breakfast hours.
There are so many things to love about Portland, and our bike culture is certainly one of them. Shift, an informal social bike fun group, is responsible or affliated with an awful lot of bike fun in this town, and perhaps the most visible of their events is the monthly Breakfast on the Bridges.
The last Friday of every month, Shift volunteers serve breakfast to bicyclists on the Broadway and Hawthorne bridges. Many bike commuters have come to look forward to hot coffee and delicious pastries on their way to work once a month - and you can't beat the view!
Coffee is provided by Red Wing Cafe, a local fair-trade coffee roaster; and pastries are donated by local bakeries including Red Wing, Grand Central Baking Company and others.
We generally arrive on the bridges around 7:00 a.m. and stay till 9:00.
Join us for this fun, community-building event. Stop by on your way to work, school, shopping, or whereever you and your bike are going. Just stop on by.
It's incredibly humane. Drink coffee or tea from a porcelain cup! Nibble on some good carbs! And chat with someone you don't know about anything you want.
The Bridgeport Brew Pub in NW has been closed since Christmas 2004, leaving only the (yuppie-esque) Bridgeport Ale House on Hawthorne. And so for a certain sort of craftbrew drinker, there hasn't been a significant argument to go to Hawthorne. Not that I'm going to make one now. But the original Brew Pub will reopen in February (hopefully, without total and complete yuppification).
I know that a lot of people look at Bridgeport, and Widmer, with some derision because of corporate funding. Yes, Gambrinus Co, owner of Corona, Pete's Wicked, Shiner and Moosehead, also owns Bridgeport (and Anheuser-Busch owns a minority share of Widmer). So do they suck? It doesn't appear so. I miss the funky old Brew Pub, but their beer, in bottle and on tap, is still good. In fact, last week there was an article lauding Bridgeport's ESB... in (of all places) the Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram:
With lashings of creamy head, this English-style bitter pours a warm, deep amber and delivers a beautiful balance of hops and malted barley with hints of fruit and caramel. It leaves a pleasant lacing about the glass.
It also sang the praises of the India Pale Ale, and the Black Strap Stout.
Bridgeport makes Blue Heron Pale Ale, Ropewalk Amber, Pintail Copper, Old Knucklehead (a barley wine), and Ebenezer (winter) Ale as well.
I hate to damn Bridges with faint praise, but it's a neighborhood joint. Mind you, they're reasonably friendly, generous with the food, relatively popular, so much so that there's frequently a wait, and their food is consistently not bad. It's just inconsistent about being great.
Bridges is a sunny little corner breakfast joint. There are a couple booths, and quite a few tables, but it's crowded enough that wheelchair access would be a hassle.
It's smoke-free inside, and they have an awning hanging over some picnic tables on the Russell Street side if you prefer the company of your dog, or want to people-watch the folks going in and out of the Nike Outlet store. There is some exposed bike parking, and a gravel parking lot behind for the motor vehicles.
The menu is split into Benedicts ($9.50-$10.25), Omelettes ($8-$9), and Specialties ($7.25-$9.25). There's a dazzling selection of food items: burritos, french toast, fruit plates. You can also get cocktails and mimosas ($4.50-$6.50), bottled beer ($2.75-$3.25, selection varies, though usually it's some Wolaver's Organic Pale, Deschutes ales, Fat Tire, and Henry's), and wine by the glass.
Most non-carboload dishes come with potatoes. These are garden variety roasted potatoes, and like most places in town that serve them, they're not very good. They tend towards mushy.
This morning, we ordered a classic Benedict, and the Eggs Fiesta. The latter seems like it should have an exclamation point—whadda name! But sadly, the Fiesta, while its individual components were okay, there was nothing about the combination to write home about.
The benedict was fine. No complaints. Local canadian bacon, nice sauce, eggs just right. If only the potatoes were better.
filled under hair of the dog, breakfast, brekkie, benedict, omelette, omellette, omelet, Bridges, Eliot
June 7, 2006 |
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You know, there are some addresses where you just think, oh g-d, what rubbish is here now? You know, addresses that are cursed? The former location of Epicure, La Prima Pizzeria, Irvington Corner Table, Rustica, and probably a half-dozen other places whose names I've blocked out because it was such an underwhelming experience, is now the locale for an underwhelming brewpub. Or it will be a brewpub once they get the brewery properly licensed.
If you are familiar with Old Market Pub, and/or like their beer and food, well, there you go. I'm told that the menu is the same at Broadway. I'm not surprised at all that places like Old Market Pub survive on the west side; the west side is so underserved for any type of edible inexpensive food that places that have no excuse for surviving hang on for years.
The space is dotted by big screen TVs and has the ambiance of a bus station; except in this bus station, there's lots of unfinished wood.
Let us begin with the menu. Appetizers and the beer list make up the front page. There is an artichoke-spinach-cheese dip, onion rings, 2 types of fries, 3 quesadillas, hot wings, and nachos. Prices range from $3.95 to $9.95, with most things, including the corn chips and salsa, ringing in at $6.95-$7.95.
We didn't order the $6.95 corn chips and salsa. There's TOFTT and then there's sheer stupidity.
Soups & Salads range from $3.95-$9.95, that lowest price being a cup of pub-made soup, the latter being an entree caesar with a 1/4 pound of shrimp. Are they cocktail style or deepfried, prawns or bay shrimp? Who knows?
Entrees vary widely. There's a pasta ($12.95-$13.95), gyros ($8.95-$10.95), chicken fingers ($9.50), 10 inch pizzas ($9.95), fish-n-chips ($9.95-$12.95), burgers ($6.95-$9.45), and sandwiches ($8.60-$9.90. Vegetarian options (a garden burger, 3 veggie pizzas, and the gyros) are few and far between. Just about everything comes with potato chips, and there are up-charges galore: to sub in fries, to get dipping sauce, to add salsa (!) to your nachos.
Broadway Grill has about a dozen taps of Old Market Pub beers. We asked our teenage waitress for her recommendation, and that worked about as well as you might expect. We ended up with a couple of lackluster beers. Then we ordered food.
Now, honestly, I hadn't heard anything good about this place, but I was hoping in the way that I always do, that this would be a good place to get dinner. So with that inherent, unproven optimistism...
I had the "1/2-pound beer-battered fish & chips", halibut with the shoestring fries. The fries were okay, but the fish, yikes. It was an awful grade of halibut, if it was halibut; it had no taste, and a distinctly wrong texture. Halibut is a firm white meat fish with a fine texture. It should flake into chunks when you cut it, or put it in your mouth, and it should have a sweet mild flavor. The deep-frying and beer batter were adequate. Wait a minute, scratch that. At 12.95 for a half-pound, what a rip off!
My companion got a "big corned beef reuben" ($8.95), which he described as the worst reuben he had ever had. For one thing, it wasn't big. The sandwich had too little corned beef, and what little corned beef it had wasn't very good. It wasn't bad, it was just something you'd expect in a Denny's reuben, if they served reubens (do they? I have no idea). The overall sandwich was greasy. Well, at least we had our fries.
What I don't get is that when we were there, the joint was jumping. Lots of folks there, eating and drinking. Is NE Broadway this starved for pub grub? I guess so.
Let's face facts—into every life a little fast food must fall. Even those of us who have read Fast Food Nation find the need for a quickie drivethru meal every now and again. And you really could do worse than eating at Burgerville. They're local, they tend to use good ingredients (like Oregon Country Beef and Tillamook Cheese), and they offer seasonal goodies like Walla Walla Onion Rings, Berry Shakes, and Sweet Potato fries. That said, they vary in cooking quality from store to store—but any of them are better than the other fastfood nearby
First, I'd like to thank each and everyone for dining with us for 16 long years. But the sad news is, we are being forced to close our business due to the owner of the building. He wants us to vacate the premises by July 31, 2007. We hate to close the doors to you at this location. But you may visit us at 3126 N.E. 82nd Ave. across from Madison High School (503-252-1343). We would appreciate it if you would not dine here in honor of El Burrito Loco. I feel we were robbed of our business and you continuing to dine here would support the building owner if he try's to open here with our same food recipes. Thank You once again. Hope to see you soon!!!
The Original El Burrito Loco owner's
I stopped by this evening to try to pick up a burrito, and saw the place emptied out, with the owners hanging out at the door. It appears, according to the owners, that they've been forced out by their landlord. They're asking folks to please:
1. Do buy food at the Burrito Loco on 82nd, across from Marshall High
2. Don't buy food at whatever goes into their new space.
The Bus Project and Demos are pleased to bring author Tamara Draut to town to talk about why it's harder than ever for America's 20- and 30-somethings to get ahead. Her new book, Strapped, is out in stores now.
One in three 18 to 34 year olds doesn't have health insurance. We youngsters average $9000 in credit card debt. And the maximum Pell Grant award, the nation's premier program for helping poor kids pay for college, covers about one-third of the costs of a four-year college today. It covered three-quarters in the 1970s. What's the deal? Has our political apathy shot us in our collective Converse-bedecked foot?
It's been disheartening to see Music Millennium reduced to its original store, to see the great record store triangle winnowed to one store, and to see yarn shops bite the dust. Likewise, it's sad to see the independent booksellers who aren't Powells packing up and moving out of downtown (or out of business).
So, why am I writing this? Just to remind you to buy where you shop. If you like the bricks and mortar experience, then support it.
Sure, it's fun to order online -- one click and you know there'll be a present brought to you at work by the hunky UPS guy. But if you like the experience of browsing, picking up the merchandise and feeling it, and having that lucky discovery of something new, then do the right thing.
Here's something that Tim O'Reilly wrote a couple years back that sums it up nicely (emphasis is mine, natch):
If you value the bookstore experience, my advice is this: buy where you shop. I buy lots of books online. I read about them on a blog or a mailing list, and buy with one click. But when I shop for books in bookstores, I buy them there, and so should you. Don't just look for the best price. Look for the best value. And if that value, for you, includes the ability to page through a book, support your local bookseller.
Byways is, by all appearances, a kitschy diner. But it's a really good kitschy diner. It's been in the Pearl since before the Pearl was called the Pearl.
First, let's look at breakfast, which runs til 11am on weekdays and all day on the weekends. The coffee is good, and hot. The menu looks like the usual greasy spoon fare: eggs & protein, omelettes, pancakes, hash. In fact they serve four different types of hash which look beautiful and taste even better. Griddle fare includes buttermilk pancakes, but also amaretto french toast, and super fabulous blue corn hotcakes with pecan butter. Eggs are treated respectfully and are always tasty. Potatoes are well-cooked home fries—not my fav, but hey. And, I don't know that this is the best bacon in town, but it's sure the best bacon I've had in town for quite a while.
Lunch is more of the same, stuff that sounds unassuming and unexciting until it's in front of you. They have malts, brown cows (coke with vanilla ice cream), rootbeer floats, stewarts sodas and arnold palmers (lemonade & iced tea). The lunch menu is the three Ss: soup, salads, sandwiches. The prices range from $3-$9, and the salads range from tuna salad, chef, cobb, greek, back to chicken salad. French fries accompany all the sandwiches, and they're thick on one side, thin on the other!
The counter makes great seating if you're there by yourself, and the booths, by the display case of vintage travel souvenirs are great if it's quiet or you're in a small group.
This is a small place and popular, so on the weekends, bring the paper and plan on a wait.
Almost a year after they opened, we thought it was time to revisit Cafe Wonder, in the daylight basement of the Wonder Ballroom. I'm happy to say that while there have been some shifts in the menu, it's still good, and still reasonable.
On the bar side (and realistically, the entire place is in sight of the bar) they have 4 beers on tap (Lagunitas IPA, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Fat TIre Amber, and Miller High Life). Luckily, they also have good selection of bottled beers, wine, and cocktails, including an afterschool special for welldrinks, $2, 5-6:30 pm, which packs the place.
The menu is short and simple: the east side's cheapest steakfrites (steak and fries, $14.50), mac-n-cheese, fish-n-chips, fried chicken, veggie risotto, caesar salad, a chicken sandwich and a hamburger, with a range of prices starting at $7.
We ordered the caesar, which was tasty and huge. It's not the city's best caesar, but it's quite edible all the same. We also ordered the fried chicken. According to the menu, it's a quarter chicken, so we were a little surprised to have it come as a breast and a leg. Still, I suppose those are probably the favorite parts of chicken. The chicken was fine, but the real standout was the tiny serving of greens, which may well be the best in town. Rich with pork, complex and slightly bitter, these are what greens are supposed to be.
Servings are generous and there is none of this well-intentioned but badly executed fusion cuisine one sees in other parts of Albina. And, the fries are great.
We also had great service: a waitress who seemed to have a degree in mindreading, always at the ready to get us more alcohol or more napkins. The room is quite lovely as well. Oh, smoke-free and free wifi, too. Now, if only it was also child-free...
I wasn't expecting much with this cute space just outside of Hillsdale. You can eat downstairs, or in the more bistro-like upstairs. They offer a weekend brunch, of about 12 breakfasty things and 11 lunchy things, as well as champagne, coffee nudge, bloody marys, and mimosas.
So it all started well: greeted at the door, immediately brought menus, coffee and water. The coffee, eh, okay, nothing to write home about. We order, and as we wait to eat, the upstairs fills. And still, one waitress. So, I wasn't terribly surprised when my meal came to the table cold, or that I never got a coffee refill. I watched as the folks behind us waited to get the tab, then waited for the waitress to pick up their credit card, then waited for it to come back—all in all, about 20 minutes!
Unfortunately, the food was similarly lackluster. My cold ham and cheese omellette was very overdone. It was accompanied by potatoes (a handful of smushy pan fried potatoes) and "fresh fruit" (three very thin, very dry slices of melon, one of starfruit). The Hillsdale Heap (potatoes with veggies, egg, and cheese) had eggplant mixed in with the veggies—just not the most harmonious combination. To add insult to injury, I was still hungry afterwards!
Happy Hour or France on the Cheap
If a Paris café seems too far to travel for your evening repast, Carafe offers food and drink specials during happy hour —Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pair a Slow-roasted Pork Sandwich ($3) or Goat Cheese Spread on walnut crostini ($3) with a French Martini with vodka, crème de Framboise and pineapple juice or a Jupa Gin with gin, fresh squeezed lime juice, sugar syrup and tonic. Carafe's Happy Hour menu also offers beer, wine and aperitifs...and of course, pommes frites ($3).
Think of a Parisian sidewalk cafe. It might be just like Carafe. There are drinks, and beer (I believe), but the emphasis is on wine by the carafe. This place is not cheap, but it's pretty reasonable, all things considered. The lunch menu is quite a bit cheaper than dinner, with most of the same entrees. I have yet to have something that didn't thrill me to my toes here—mussels, charcuterie, confit, salad, sandwiches, entrees, dessert—yum!
I was there most recently on a romantic lunch, so I didn't get a chance to take notes on prices (though the two of us ate to bursting, sans alcool, for $26). It's got great ambience, and good service, and lunch entree prices top out around $13 (for the bifsteak/frites), with dinner entrees are a bit more (like $20ish for the bifsteak/frites). I keep coming back for the hamburger and the steak, both with great fries. And no one will hold your bad high school French against you.
The downside here is that it's small, so if you really want to get in, make reservations. When it's full, it's noisy. And, like so many French bistros in France, the bathrooms are an adventure. Ask for the key at the hostess stand, and you'll find the washrooms in the parking structure. Hey, but if you've been in a Turkish toilet, you know you've got nothing to complain about.
One of the joys of long-distance walking, running or cycling is carboloading. If you need that important prerace meal, go to Justa Pasta (http://www.justapasta.com/, (503) 229-0646, 1336 NW 19th Ave). Really cheap, really good, and Roland, the owner, will be running this year's Portland Marathon, so you know he feels for you. Their super-garlicy caesar is one of the best in the city.
If you're looking for fancier carboloading, try Mama Mia's (http://www.mamamiatrattoria.com/, (503) 295-6464, SW 2nd & Washington) for the east coast/NJ style Italian-American cheese fest. The caesar here is nothing to write home about, but the pasta servings are quite generous. They serve a good stiff foofy drink too.
Basta's (http://bastastrattoria.citysearch.com/, (503) 274-1572, NW 21st and Flanders) also makes a good drink, has an excellent wine selection, and is higher-end than Mama Mias and also higher quality for a more authentic tuscan meal. They offer—gasp!—free parking in their lot. And, another excellent caesar.
There is a Catalina, Virginia, and she, with her son, Eddie, oversee the goings on at Catalina's. Come in a couple times, and even if you speak lousy spanish, you'll be part of the extended family. When the Catalina's cooks are on, this is some of the best homestyle tex-mex in town. Other times, you feel like you're eating right in some one's kitchen. What they serve is solid tex-mex, with an emphasis on seafood. The pollo and carne asada are both strong, but if you really want good, go for shrimp. The prices are reasonable -- $6-9 for the non-seafood entries, $9-11 for seafood; portions are generous, and most important, everything is good.
The prices are similar to those at La Sirenita, but Catalina's offers table service, chips and (piquant, homemade, cilantro-y, not onion-y,) salsa, beer, and mixed drinks. Oh, and it's clean. A covered porch offers a nice place to eat in good weather and the takeaway window features $1.50 tacos, $5 tortas, and tamales, which aren't on the menu but are worth a visit. Which is enough to sway me. On the downside, there's video crack, which can make the parade of the poker-addicted an interesting feature of dining there.
Well, it's getting to be that time of year. Time that our electric and gas bills will go skyhigh, time that there will be a thousand obligations and parties, etc. Time that your neighbors will have their christmas trees up before Thanksgiving. Friends, that's just wrong.
There are a couple of great things about this time of year. I have a weakness for homemade christmas light displays which can be found all over the central city. There is of course the holiday beers, winter warmers, and such, that are so yummy.
But for me, this time of year brings up the trinity of winter holidays: Thanksgiving, Dec. 25, and New Years Day. These are wonderful days on their own, made even better with dim sum. Dim sum!
Yes, Wong's King is exquisite, but if your table is fully non-asian, you might have a hard time getting all the carts to come by. Legin is supposed to be very good, but again, the level of service and food is variable. So I stick to downtown. House of Louie is your place if you're into atmosphere and funky jello desserts. But Fong Chong, with its diner like atmosphere and total lack of jello desserts, is my fav. Last year saw the entrance of a new dim sum chef, and it was lovely and cheap. It's hard to spend more than $12 a person. Try getting a holiday meal anywhere else in town for that price.
Had enough Celebration? Thought not. There's a vertical tasting on Celebration at Woodstock Wine & Deli on Saturday, featuring Sierra Nevada Founder, executive brewmaster and owner, Ken Grossman, a keg from 2001, as well as a new one. Starts at 1pm, til about 6.
A friend mentioned Cha! Cha! Cha! the other day, that she and her vegetarian husband loved it. I hadn't gone because I just haven't been that excited about Cha! Cha! Cha! in the past, but I decided I needed to see for myself.
And after going there, I'm still not very excited. The Fremont store has table service, and it's quite pleasant inside, in spite of a lot of 2-top tables that are very close together and easily tip, and fiesta-colored plastic chairs that are very uncomfortable, and the very loud music. Okay, so maybe it wasn't that pleasant. The menu seemed promising: not much over $10, beer, wine and margaritas, and the place seemed good for both young families and grumpy DINKs.
I was there with my pal who can't bear sour cream. The menu mentioned sour cream only briefly, so we ordered taquitos with mashed potatoes, mama (an enchilada), tamales, and two tacos. I ordered mine without onions or pico de gallo, he mentioned that any sour cream should be on the side.
So, I'm drinking my excellent margarita, feeling very optimistic when the taquitos arrive... covered with raw onions and sour cream. My companion makes the best of it. I make the best of it. They're taquitos, dang it!
Our entrees come covered in a salsa verde, topped with sour cream and raw onions. So we sent them back. And they come back to us, obviously scraped. That's fine, I don't care, until I realized that no one had bothered to scrape the raw onions off the bottom of mine. Sigh!
Our tacos ($1.50 each) are good. The pastor is sweet, maybe a little too sweet, but tasty. The chorizo is full of onions, but the meat is good, spicy, not greasy. There was a lot of meat in those tacos.
I had ordered the mama, a tortilla covered with chopped carne asada and mexican rice. This was topped enchilada style with the salsa verde, which didn't have any strong flavor, but was very rich. The mama was fine, particularly for $5.50. The tamales were okay too. Nothing to write home about necessarily, just okay.
Service, however, was awful. I'm not sure about the whole onion or sour cream thing: was there a language issue? The ticket was written in english. But why didn't our server check for these things, before she brought them to the table? A request to turn down the music brought a similar rolling of the eyes, like she just didn't want to deal with it. But you know, I didn't want to deal with acoustic guitar that was so loud that I'd have to shout at my companion.
Within ten minutes of leaving the restaurant, both my companion and I had some fierce heartburn. I can only blame the salsa verde which (like it was made with a lot of cream or pepitas) had flowed around all of the food save the tacos that we had eaten.
So. It is really cheap, and if you don't need to make any special requests, you'll probably be fine. But if you're expecting any level of service, or you do need to make a special request, forget it.
Wallbangers (915 SW 2nd Ave), the bar with dueling pianos, appears to be no more. At least, there's paper over the windows, and not a lot left in the building.
And in Pho Van news, the Pho Van on Hawthorne (3404 SE Hawthorne Blvd) is now open as of lunch today (Wednesday, March 1, 2006). They're open everyday (but Monday!) for lunch and dinner, with the same menu as Pho Van on 82nd's lunch menu (eg, no Bo bay mon, or whole catfish).
Pho Van Bistro (1012 NW Glisan St) in the Pearl might be closing for remodeling. When? Hmm, not entirely sure. It may not even close. Who knows? Anyhow, the rumor is that they want to incorporate the popular dishes into a new menu for a new high-end restaurant called Silk.
Mama Mia Trattoria (439 SW 2nd at Washington, 503/295-6464) is no longer open for lunch
Buckman Grill is no longer open at all
La Buca now has only one location: 40 NE 28th (at Couch, 503/238-1058). They lost their lease on their NW 23rd location.
There are now two Chipotles open downtown: one at 2nd & Yamhill, and the other by PSU at 1948 SW Broadway. And yes, they are majority owned by McDonalds. Baja Fresh is majority owned by Wendy's. That's just how it is.
A chilango is someone from Mexico City. And Chilango's is a taqueria at 15th & Prescott.
We ordered a couple of gorditas and a chile relleno burrito on a recent visit. Prices here are pretty reasonable as long as you stay away from the soup and meals. Burritos range from $3.75-$4.75, tacos from $1.50-$1.75, tortas in the $4 range (except the Cubana, $7), tostadas, sopes and gorditas from $2.50-$3.
They offer some meats that are a little out of the ordinary for most innercity taquerias: suadero, the tender beef from the lower-part of a rib; buche, pork stomach cooked in lard; and tripas, the tube that connects the two stomachs in beef cattle. They also make their tortillas for tacos by hand, which is always a good sign.
The telenovella was on the TV, so we enjoyed our Jarritos while waiting for the food. And then, out it came, along with some red and green salsas.
The chile relleno burrito was good. It has pinto beans, rice, cheese, lettuce and the chile relleno, and it's a filling meal.
The gorditas were a little disappointing. I like to pick my gorditas up and eat them, which I couldn't do with these, because the structural integrity wasn't there. They were a little crispy, but to my mind, gorditas should be just a little more gorda than these were. I had tinga in one, which is pork or chicken stewed in chipotle in adobado sauce. Chilango's uses chicken in their tinga, and while you usually find it shredded, Chilango's serves chunks of stewed chicken. It was tasty, but if I hadn't ordered tinga, I might just think it was pollo; it wasn't terribly very spicy or flavorful.
I had carne asada in the other gordita, which had very good flavor, but wasn't completely cut up, and was very chewy. Still, I appreciated the slice of fresh avocado in each gordita—a really nice touch.
So. I was less than wowed, but everything was okay really.
When you see the sign for Chinese Delicacy, you might notice that it includes chinese logograms and korean hangul. You might notice that all the Asians have kim-chi with their meals, and that they do a brisk walk-in and carry-out business. The recipes seem typically chinese, so what's going on, exactly?
ExtraMSG has noted that they serve the food of the ethnic Koreans in China. The thing is, you don't see that much reflected in the menu. I'm told once you're trusted, or once you're persistent enough, you get some pretty damn incredible stuff that isn't on the menu.
This was our first time, so we ordered off the menu. We ordered BBQ pork, a good-sized serving with dipping sauce for $5, and potstickers. The potstickers were crunchy and thoroughly steaming hot when they came to the table—we inhaled them, in spite of the temperature.
The atmosphere is post-fast food. A couple of fridges are in the dining room, and everything is clean, but not showy. Signs in chinese and korean advertise specials, while crabs scuttle around their tank.
I had the seafood & bean curd in clay pot, which was excellent and very mild: a lovely flavorful sauce, fresh seafood perfectly cooked, lots of veg and tofu which had absorbed the sauce. My copilot ordered the seafood noodles with gravy, a new-to-us concoction of broth, egg noodles, more perfectly cooked, perfectly fresh seafood, egg, and of course, a moo goo gai pan-like sauce—very mild, curious, and quite good.
They offer two free refills on sodas as well as beer, wine and sake.
At the end of the meal, I offered that the kim-chi really looked good, and it was like I had said the magic words. Oh! Just ask for it next time, the waitress said, clearly pleased that I had some lick of sense. Next time I will ask about the signs, oh yes...
Sometimes, you see the over-the-top neon, and you just gotta go there. That's me, at least. Latest in my tour of Chinese-American dives is Chinese Village. From the outside, other than the neon, it doesn't look all that interesting. Walk into the dining room and try to get used to the odd blueish light from the translucent koi and dragon ceiling tiles. While this place is a little down about the heels, it's nowhere as bad (or as baroque) as the Pagoda. And while I wasn't expecting a lot, we were pleasantly surprised by the food. Mar far chicken wings had great presentation (and were tasty), and the shrimp we had in several dishes was fresh. Crispy chicken was just that, with delightful skin and tender meat. And the Singapore Fried Rice Noodles were stocked with good mushrooms. The menu features something for everyone: combo plates, chow mein, foo yung, even American food. Go next door to the lounge if you can't take the blue ambiance—it's loud and smokey, but they have booths under little fake rooves that are too goofy. Would I go out of my way for this? No.
Since I had such a lackluster experience at a Viet-Chinese restaurant the other day, I'm not sure what inspired me to want to go to another one. But we had just gotten home from a cartrip, and just wanted something quick and easy in the neighborhood.
Chino Sai-Gon was formerly Saigon Kitchen, and like the old inhabitant, Chino serves from a Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai menu. When we were there, the place was fairly quiet: a couple of families, us, a latina who ordered five or six entrees (they looked good, too), a parking garage attendent eating white rice and drinking hot water.
We ordered pot stickers (6 for $4.95), charcoal chicken ($7.50), a bowl of wonton soup (large, $5.95) and wonton egg noodle soup ($5.95).
The charcoal chicken came first. It's a classic play-with-your-food handroll experience, and one of my favorite things from the old Saigon Kitchen menu. This included a large oval plate of sweet and spicy grilled chicken covered in sesame seeds, a large salad plate with lettuce, cilantro, diced carrot & daikon, mung bean sprouts, and thin rice noodles, and of course, the rice paper circles to wrap everything in.
While some places (Pho Van pops to mind) have elegant hot water sleeves to soften your rice paper, Chino gives you a giant plastic bowl of steaming water. It works fine, it just takes up a lot of space... especially when you consider that the handrolls take up the whole table by itself.
So, you dip the rice paper until it's pliable, you fill it with stuff, and then roll it up like a salad roll (or a burrito), and dip it in the accompanying peanut sauce. Yum. If you like playing with your food, I definitely recommend this: it's generous and tasty.
Pot stickers were another big success. These came straight from the pan, toasty brown on several sides, and really rather big, stuffed full of some unidentified meat, probably pork. They were the best pot stickers I've had in recent memory.
So, of course, we hadn't even finished our appetizers and the soup comes, and at this point, I'm almost full. Our table is completely full of dishes.
Now you might be wondering, what is the difference between wonton soup and wonton egg noodle soup? Well, the former has a spicier broth, and a lot of iceberg lettuce. Both have the wonton and the bbq pork and the occasional shrimp. The wonton egg noodle had a nice chickeny broth and thin egg noodles, and it came with its own small salad plate of cilantro, leaf lettuce, sliced jalapeno and quartered lime.
The soup in the end was fine, just nothing to write home about. It really could be a meal in itself.
So. The menu is huge, with over 150 items on the Chinese-Vietnamese menu, with just about everything under $10. The thai menu has an additional 17 items. Menu items are in English, overwhelmingly, so don't bother looking for pho or bun, look for beef noodle soup or vermicelli noodles. Still, some things are unclear: hot & sour soup: Vietnamese or Chinese?
We will definitely return, especially for those potstickers and charcoal chicken. But the rest of the menu is a crap shoot. I'll update this entry as we try new things.
Looks like an updated coffee shop, like Denny's might be if it's were a little nicer. But I dare say that you're likely to have a better dining experience at Denny's: it'll be faster, cheaper, and the food will taste better. And you won't have to stir your coffee with a knife.
True, you won't be able to order espresso at Denny's (or can you?).
Where should I begin? We saw the Under new Management sign, and came in. There was one other table; otherwise, the large restaurant was empty. We were seated at a table that had some maple syrup smeared on it, probably from the day before.
Prices range from $4-$15 for breakfast (they also offer lunch and dinner), and the menu seemed pretty typical: omelets, french toast, pancakes. We ordered chicken fried steak & a green-chili/cheese omelet, with coffee.
The coffee was okay, nothing worth seeking out. The cream came in darigold half-n-half tubs. And while the table was pre-set with napkins and flatware, there are no spoons, which explains why everyone who used cream used their knife to stir it in.
And so began our long wait for food. Perhaps the waitress didn't put the order in? Perhaps the cook went out to buy ingredients? No explanation was offered, but we managed to drink several cups of coffee slowly while we waited.
Finally, our food came out. The omelet was not over or undercooked, though it was made in a very small pan which made the egg very thick. There were a lot of green chilis in the omelet. It was served with a sea of home fries and two halved pieces of toast.
The home fries were actually pretty good. Not crisp, but done in the middle. The toast was typical sliced bread, served with a variety of tubs of jams and marmalades.
The chicken fried steak was very good, and good sized, but it was covered with some non-descript gravy studded with largish chunks of sausage, ham and bacon. Somehow, all of the flavor of the meat had somehow been removed, but still, the gravy was better than a lot of sausage gravy in town, just not a lot of flavor or umph there.
It's the little things that make the experience, though. The waitresses who all talked loudly as if the restaurant was empty. The overly sweet ketchup that comes in ramekins. The sprinkled parsley that is not only all over the food, but also on the toast and orange slices.
As we were finishing our meals, people started to come in. One couple asked the waitress directly about the management change. It has the same owner... but the old manager quit. So now they have a new manager.
We chatted with them for a couple of minutes. A transformer had blown, knocking out power in a lot of North Portland, and it apparently had fried their new big screen TV. There were a number of smaller calamities as well, and they were clearly going out to eat to change their fortunes. I didn't want to tell them to run, run far away, and I also didn't want to be there when their food came.
This is a charming full-service film and digital photo center. It's located in one of the City's Water Offices, and you enter through heavy wooden doors. Your first view in is over beautiful old blond wood cabinetry, which houses new and used cameras and camera supplies.
While it's not as huge as Pro Photo Supply, it's also less crowded, and more charming. You can get the smallest, coolest digital, or a wide variety of film cameras, new and used. They have all the chemicals to set up your own dark room, and they do photo processing as well. You can get prints of your digital photos while you wait on weekdays too. Honestly, I was kinda overwhelmed by the level of service, by adult men who had worked in photography for a good portion of their adult lives.
They have a nice collection of new and used camera bags. Perhaps best of all is the collection of student cameras.
If you're a fan of old film cameras, you have to visit here.
Filmmaker (and New Yorker) Clarence Eckerson (featured at the Transportation Film Festival) loves Portland. No, he hasn't told me so, but it's obvious in his short films about the Portland bike and transportation scene.
Eckerson's work has been featured in BikePortland.org and Portland Transport, and this week, it's also being featured in NYC's StreetsBlog. That's right. Each day, there's a new filmlet about Portland posted. So far, there's been one about our new Festival Streets in Chinatown, and one on Bike Boulevards.
Clays is a little place, with a couple picnic tables out front, and a number of tables and booths built for people who tend to routinely overeat. It's not fancy, and everything is nicely mismatched and vaguely, humanly, kitschy.
The menu is impressive: smoked BBQ hot wings as a starter ($8), chowder/chili/gumbo ($3.75-$4.75), salads ($3.75-$10.25), sandwiches ($7.75-$9.75), BBQ platters ($10.75-$14.75), and even veggie delights (their words, $7.75-$9.75). BBQ purists will freak: there's catfish and salmon, and that's wrong. But I'm not a purist—I don't care unless someone makes me eat it.
When I was there, they had a bunch of beers on tap:
I ordered the brisket platter, and my companion the BBQ sparerib platter, and naturally, these are huge portions, piles of meat smothered in a sweet, not terribly hot sauce, with chunks of potatoes in ranch sauce (aka, home fries with garlic sauce), a vinegary slaw, and not-quite Texas toast.
My brisket seemed a bit lean, and the sauce bugged me, but it was nicely cooked. It just blanches before fattier, crustier briskets like Campbells or LOW. The pork ribs, however, were sweet, juicy, and moist, very tasty ribs. The slaw was sharp and complex. The potatoes—eh. Value for the meal, though, was very good.
Our service was incredible. Our server was the sort who was there when you needed him, and if he was there when you didn't, you sure didn't know. It was the sort of effortless seeming service that you should get with a very good meal, and here in Portland, frequently don't. So that was a tremendous pleasure.
I'm curious about the wings, and I've heard great things about the cold smoked seafood platter (like a lox platter, just not), and the turkey in the garden salad.
The highlight for me was the dessert. We got the apple crisp ($4.75), topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, and wow! It was just a modest crisp, nothing fancy, but so very good, a combination of soft and crunchy and creamy. Next time, I'm gonna leave more room for that!
It's a tiny theatre, the longest running theatre in Oregon, and the state's smallest brewpub. And, of course, the Clinton Street Theater has been showing the Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night (except for foul weather, holidays, etc.) since April 1978, which makes it the longest running in the world!
A landmark of Portland cinema history, The Clinton Street Theater is one of the oldest operating moviehouses in the United States.
Opening in 1915 as the Clinton, the theater became the 26th Avenue Theatre in 1945 and the Encore in 1969. In 1976 it reverted to its original name.
Famous for its long-standing exhibition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the theater is currently a magnet for independent / revival films.
It's a tiny theatre, the longest running theatre in Oregon, and the state's smallest brewpub. It's also very cold during the winter... and be careful where you put your feet. I ended up with the tops of my new shoes covered in a nice layer of green bubble gum.
cash only -- beer theatre with a couple of taps (most guest)
Close Knit is a phenomena. It's a gorgeous little store, stuffed full of gorgeous yarns. And I do mean stuffed: Yarn is everywhere, in baskets on the couch, baskets on the floor, yarn on the kitchen table. And even in the cubbies, different yarns are enticingly, beautifully thrown together. Knit things are everywhere as well, if you're looking for inspiration, or what a yarn might look like knit up.
And yet, things are easy enough to find. Lamb's Pride and Cascade 220 are right by the door; Manos del Uruguay, by the emergency exit; sock yarns, in the top of the china cabinet, or in one of the baskets along the floor; Noro has its own bookcase, right by the sales desk.
They seem to be finding all sorts of lesser known yarns. Last night, they had the most deliciously handpainted Uruguan wool from a brand I had never heard of. It took a lot of resilience to only buy what I had come in for, some Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb, a 50/50 wool silk blend.
And every time I go in, it's full of people. I mean, full. Claustrophobes, beware. Luckily, the sales people know their stuff and are tremendously helpful.
Okay, so, the comments should be working again. I hope you'll give them a workout, as they really need to be tested by someone other than myself.
Why not consider this an open thread to talk amongst yourselves? What's on your mind?
My favorite mega-tapped tavern is the Concordia Ale House. However you've got to get there, it's worth it. They have 22 taps, and they have a really interesting selection of regional and international beers that you're not likely to have had on tap before. They also have the best pub grub in the city. It's nonsmoking, the wait staff know their beer and are free with the tasters.
They have 20some taps—and they have nothing commonplace on those taps. You know, the stuff that's on tap consistently around town - Widmer, Full Sail, Deschutes - you won't find it at Concordia. But there is this constantly turning over selection of really interesting things. They almost always have a double IPA, a cream ale, a weizen, a couple strong beers - really interesting stuff! There have been times when there hasn't been anything on the menu that I've tried before!
Another great thing is that they give you a draft list, which gives you the name, the style, the brewery, the country. The wait staff seem really into the beer, so they can give you a good description but it's nice not to have to guess from the name. They are also very free with the tasters.
In the cooler, they have over 100 bottled beers, also described in some detail in the bottled beer menu.
Their prices are really pretty reasonable for what you're getting, and you can choose a glass, pint, imperial pint... I love that you can specifically order an imperial pint.
They also have pool tables! It's kinda noisy at times, but gosh, it's awfully good.
Do you like fish? Or are you celiac (gluten-allergic to you, bud)? Or pining for the northern midwest? Need to feel that Green Bay Packers spirit? Get thee to Corbett Fish House. If you don't like fish, you could have chicken, a gardenburger or a salad. But if you like fish, well, you could sure do a lot worse than here.
The menu online isn't up to date, sadly. Appetizers include a number of seafood you'd expect, plus sweet potato fries, packer fries and deep fried cheese curd. Now, the latter is just plain wrong, which explains why it disappeared off our table as soon as it arrived. Packer Fries are their great french fries covered in melted cheddar and pickled jalapeno. The jalapeno is easy to pick off, for those who chose to. Prices range from $2.50-$12.
They offer soups, salads, sandwiches, which I'm sure are great ($3.75-$13). But the fish and chips are the thing ($10-$18). For those of you who care, they follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium guidelines. They have:
served with the World's Greatest Fries (and they really are some of the best in town). They have combos, too, if you can't decide.
They also have fish tacos, three different types made with halibut and chile-fried catfish, which are yummy, huge and filling.
Everything that is gluten-free is clearly marked, and that is most of the menu, so celiacs have lots of choices here. It's also wheelchair accessible (though there is a lip at the front door).
Of course, fish and chips requires beer, and Corbett offers a full bar. When we were there, they had on tap:
Fish Mudshark Porter
Terminal Gravity ESG
Walking Man IPA
They pour 20 oz-ers here, $2.50 for macros, $4.50 for craft brews and $5 for imports. No gluten-free beers, sadly, though they do offer a hard cider.
Happy hour is 3-5 daily; no drink specials, but they do offer 8 items for $3.95:
We went by County Cork the other night, and happened upon their happy hour (4-6pm). The menu is all about food, ranging from $2-$4.50. The HH menu includes a burger, BLT, scotch egg, banger and mash, fish-n-chips, plain ole chips, wraps, and a fish sandwich. Be forewarned, the tables are sticky—it used to be that the tables were covered by plexiglass, but now the tables and their sticky paint is exposed, and well, sticky. The food was by and large good, not exceptional, with the exception of the scotch egg which had the life cooked out of it (I guess that'll learn me about ordering a scotch egg at an Irish tavern). And a hamburger, banger & mash, scotch egg, and two pints were $17.50—pretty exceptional, really.
And if you're going for beer, particularly Irish beer, the County Cork can be pretty good. Compare Beamish, Guinness & Murphy's for example. Of their 20 taps and several cask engines, there's most always a cider, a couple lagers (Harp & Miller), and generally a broad selection of beers, some familiar, some less so.
"Welcome! The DIY Lounge is your place in Portland, Oregon to meet new people and learn new skills, whether it be voice lessons, tacky crafts or hip crochet. Check out the class list to see what we have to offer. And if you’re interested in teaching a class of your own, the “Want to Teach” page will tell you what you need to know."
Upcoming classes include Embroidery Samplers, Beginning Poker - Just for fun!, Valentine Pasties!!, and Small Business Series:Session 3 – Stores & Sales.
We used to go to Daddy Mojos pretty frequently. It wasn't that it had the best breakfast, or the nicest surroundings, or the best prices. Rather, it was in the neighborhood, there was always a table open, and the breakfast was reliable. And, you could have a breakfast beer, always a nice thing.
So we went back after maybe a year and a half away. Dear g-d! First of all, new owners. What was the restaurant side is now the bar side. You walk in, into the bar (because the restaurant door is locked), and the louvered doors to the restaurant are shut. Hmmm, looks like you can't eat in the restaurant, right? No, you can, if you don't mind being in an oddly unfinished room with no heat.
That said, I would have prefered that to sitting in the bar. Three TVs, with three different channels, compete with neon and the video crack addicts for your attention. And, it's smokey. Really smokey.
They of course have a full bar, a wall of wine, and maybe 6 taps of unexceptional stuff. Maybe half of those are micros you can get anywhere (Widmer, Redhook, New Belgium). The wonderful Widmer KGB imperial stout is no longer there.
Breakfast was reasonable and okay, which is to say, nowhere as decent as it used to be, and not recommended. The "sausage and pepper bacon" gravy tasted of neither (but there was a lot of it). The ragin' cajun omelette was completely overdone, with icky so-called andouille, lackluster overdone home fries, and not really toasted english muffin. Coffee—Denny's stylee. Service was friendly, however.
But sometimes, you just want to know what's happening today. And that's where Jonathan's BikePortland comes in. Everyday of Pedalpalooza, he'll have a post about the day's events in an unthreatening yet come hither-sort of way. Check it out!!
Dalo's offers cheap & tasty ethiopian food every night but Sunday. Or, you can get a BLT.
Vegan friends of mine have been crazy about Dalo's since it was the San Rafael Cafe. For the longest time, I haven't been eating Ethiopian after having some severe stomach distress after eating (primarily incendiary dishes like kitfo), and recently, my doc has had me on a vegan plant-based regime of no oil, no salt, and no sugar. So if it sounds like I'm not totally myself, that's thoroughly true.
Anyhow, we ended up Dalo's on a rainy Monday night. The dining room is nothing to write home about: lineoleum floors, tables and chairs, tourism posters from Ethiopia taped up next to folk art. And when I was there, there were exactly two people working, in spite of having five full tables and a lot of regular walk-in pick-up business. So to say that service was relaxed and leisurely is quite possibly stretching it. One of the two rooms has a TV if you need to catch Larry King. We didn't, so we sat in the front half.
The clientele is very interesting. Being an African restaurant, I expect Reed students and lesbians, but there were also hipsters and white guys and African-Americans just coming in to pick up their dinner. I also noticed that the staff and some of the clientele recognized each other -- this is obviously a hang out for some.
The menu is simple: a couple of American sandwiches, a handful of meat dishes, and a handful of vegetarian dishes. They have several types of Ethiopian beer as well. We ordered the vegetarian platter ($8.99) with jalapeno paste. The meat dishes include my old favorite, kitfo ($6.99/$11.99), awaze tibbs (beef or chicken in a spicy sauce,
$5.99/$9.99), and tibbs (beef, chicken or lamb [+$2] in a mild sauce, $5.99/$9.99).
Now, the press hasn't been terribly kind to them when it comes to meat dishes, and chicken in particular. Just be warned. And online blogs warn that other places are tastier. But the combo of taste and price is pretty winning to me.
When our food arrived, it came on a huge platter. Ethiopian food is all about family style, and that's the case here as well. Two huge pieces of injera (flatbread made from fermented teff) lined the platter, and our vegetarian entrees came in small dishes: atkilt (stewed cabbage, carrot & potato), gomen (spinach sauteed with onions), kay misir (spicy lentils), and alicha misir (mild lentils). Now, I might have the names wrong as I didn't steal a menu! While the spicy lentils and the jalapeno paste were spicy, neither was insanely hot, so those of you aiming for a kitfo endorphin rush will want to ask for it spicy when you order.
The injera was room temperature, but the entrees were nice and warm, and very tasty. We were both swooning over the contrasts of tastes, the 180 degree difference between the two lentil dishes, the sweet soothing cabbage, the almost greens-like gomen. We ate until we were both groaning, and we still had food to take home. The staff were as attentive as they could be, refilling water, and offering additional injera and jalapeno paste. And when I went to pay up, our total was $13, for a vegetarian platter, a beer, and some extra injera and jalapeno paste. Whoa!
That's cheaper than food!
Now, I didn't ask the hard questions about butter. Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisines both value a clarified, berbered butter which can often be the basis of the cuisine. The Willamette Week, in an undated article online, claims that everything on the vegetarian platter is vegan, but they also list different dishes in vegetarian platter. I wanted to ask, but my sweetie wouldn't let me -- I'm sure so if I choose to stay vegan, that we can come back.
Mission: pool useful information for tourists and locals alike while minimizing personal economic damage in the process.
This opinionated, frequently-updated web site is great: full of information, succintly put, with a very human voice. An added bonus is the fact that it's easily printable because the site is one long page.
Among the areas explored: Avoid these tourist attractions, 17 Things: Portland in a couple days, Getting Around, Food (with an emphasis on items under $8!), Entertainment, Business Districts, Lodging (again, on the cheap), The Suburbs, Services, and Links.
Jessica Roberts of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is looking for employers with bike incentive programs
Congressman Blumenauer's office is championing national legislation to provide tax benefits for workplace bicycling incentive programs. They've asked us to help them find out more about current bike benefit programs and how they could be improved.
Does your employer offer any benefits for bicycling? That could be extra vacation days, credit at a bike shop, free tune-ups, tasty treats, a bonus in your paycheck, or other benefits.
If you participate in a program like this and if would be willing to chat with us about the details, please contact Jessica at -jessica- at -bta4bikes- dot -org-
It's easy to damn a small tienda to faint praise. Of course they aren't going to have everything a panaderia is going to have, or a supermarket like Grande. But Don Poncho is a small mercado, and as such, it's a great one.
The highlight is the carniceria, to be certain. Lots of cuts of meat, some of it prepped for fajitas, al pastor, and adovado. There is house-made chorizo. You can get queso fresco cut to order.
But they also have a fridge case full of mexican pops and beer. A produce and bulk section with excellent prices on produce (we got 4 limes for a buck, and a bunch of cilantro for a buck). Another fridge case with cheeses and yogurts. A good supply of mexican and american canned and packaged goods. A small selection of pan dulce. A big selection of tortillas. And mexican kitchen ware like tortillas presses and lime juicers are in attendence.
If you need saint or hoodoo candles or Powerful Indian floor wax, they also have a good supply.
For such a tiny place, they have just about everything you might possibly need. Including premade masa fina, and bacon or shrimp bouillon!
I mention to the barber that I'm hungry, and immediately, Du's is mentioned. Have I been to Du's? OMG, Du's is so good, blah blah blah. And I admit that I've smelled Du's when I've ridden my bicycle by. The aroma of grilled meats coming out of that place is incredible, the sort to make you hungry again when you've just eaten. And suddenly, Du's sounds like the best idea EVAR.
They claim they have the best grilled teriyaki in town. They may just be right. They have 9 menu items, not counting sides or drinks, each between $5.50 and $8. Mostly, it's chicken, beef or pork teriyaki, though they also have a tofu bowl and yakisoba. I didn't see anyone order the tofu bowl or the chicken teriyaki salad; the resounding favorite was the chicken & beef teriyaki.
In no time flat, and I mean, less than five minutes, I had a groaning container of salad, rice, and teriyaki. The salad is dressed with a poppyseed dressing that I had been warned about— it's good, though all iceberg lettuce. The rice was rice, and the teriyaki was steaming hot grilled meat, a little dry but really tasty with the rice and a bit of teriyaki sauce. You can also get hot sauce, or a side of kim chee ($2.25).
The dining room has nothing going aesthetically, but hey, do you need that really? Especially since it appears they stuff even more food on the plates, and two people can eat and drink pop for under $20? No beer, but hey, you don't come here to hang out. You come here to eat teriyaki.
A little girl glued herself to the counter, watching a woman cleaver chop up pieces of chicken with big eyes. "I've been coming here since before you were born", a business man said to her, obviously just having pulled himself away from work at 8 o'clock at night. And even at 8, there were a steady stream of customers.
You know, there are places that are charming, where the folks are nice, and the prices are okay, and then you eat the food and it's a deep disappointment. Sadly, for brunch, Echo is one of these places.
Let's start with the restaurant itself: with brick walls and an insanely high ceiling, a beautiful wood bar, and some nice wood accents. Wood booths line the floor to ceiling windows. The atmosphere is cozy. The outside eating area is in a space between two buildings, with bamboo at the end that faces MLK, heaters, and homemade lanterns and a fountain. It manages to be shady and breezy and thoroughly pleasant.
When we went for brunch, there were two folks working the front of the house: the bartender, and a waiter. This was fine initially, but as the patrons started streaming in, they were in the weeds.
The menu is varied and inexpensive: biscuits and gravy, french toast, pancakes, eggs & meat, frittata, as well as small plates, salads and sandwiches, most in the $5.50-$8 range. Some of these things seemed to be different just to be different, like the french toast, made from zucchini-carrot bread in an orange juice-rum batter. We ordered a cup of coffee (a bad idea: stick with espresso or alcohol), the dos heuvos (2 eggs, bacon, potatoes or grits and biscuit or bagel) with grits and biscuit, and the frittata with salad.
While we waited for food, the staff kept our coffee and water glasses full. The water carafes have slices of cucumber floating in the water—nice.
About a half hour later, out came the food. The frittata was overdone, browned, on the outside, and too thin. The crab filling tasted fishy, and the hollandaise that topped it was gelatinous and had a muddy flavor. The accompanying salad was almost dry, with very little sign of a dressing, nonetheless balsalmic vinagrette.
The dos heuvos were good, cooked to order, though the biscuit was drier than dry and didn't really taste like anything. I opted for grits, which were made with a white sharp cheddar and thyme: my dining partner thought they tasted weird, but for me, they were the highlight of the meal, and some of the best grits I've had in Portland.
In the end, I think the recommendation that I've heard for dinner at Echo also applies to brunch: keep it simple and you're likely to be happy.
Until recently, if you wanted to buy an earthfriendly car, you had to go down to Salem, or, to a conventional car dealer. But now we have an "earth-friendly new and pre-owned vehicles" dealer conveniently located in inner NE Portland. They have priuses, natch, and what appears to be the full line of Zap scooters and cars, as well as Myers Motors' NMG. Yes, they have an electric scooter. Dude!
I haven't driven any of these vehicles, or been there yet, or done business with them, but I'm very glad they're here.
Walking in the door of Edelweiss on a Saturday can be intimidating. You'd be forgiven for not trusting that there is a deli. You have to walk into the place, past the German speaking shopladies, through the tight aisleways, and squeeze past the hoards of people who are in getting their sausages and cold cuts for the weekend. The whole experience can be a bit overwhelming. And it doesn't help if the shop ladies laugh at you. Remember, it's nothing personal, they mean well, it's just German humor.
Make your life easier, and make an immediate right by the magazines. You'll see the fast food tables set up, as well as a cooler of beers and pop. You can grab something there but keep in mind that there are three beers on tap.
Now, head to the back of the shop, to the Northwest corner, and there's where you can buy lunch, and no, you don't need a number.
When we were there, the Russian or Ukrainian woman behind the counter treated us with soviet efficiency. She glared at us for not ordering something to drink, and then she glared when we changed our minds and went back to get some pilsner on tap. And yes, while it seems like a simple thing to put a sausage in a bun, and then put sauerkraut on top, she'll give you a number and someone will bring it out. Ten minutes later.
For $4, you can get a sausage with sauerkraut on a bun. They have three different kinds, but we were only offered mild or spicy, and honestly, I was afraid to ask for the weisswurst that I love. But our spicy sausages were good, with a nice snap.
You can also get sandwiches and 9 different salads, but I can't speak to that.
Supposably they offer the best reuben in town, and I suspect when it's less busy, they're probably happy to practice German with you. My pal Heather has lots of fond memories of going in and practicing Kinderdeutsch. We overheard someone haplessly telling the shoplady that he was from the Zoo (as in, he lived in the Zoo. No reports on if he looked like a monkey), and to their credit, they didn't laugh at him (though we did).
When my parents are in town (Portland, Oregon), I finally get around to seeing local areas of interest. Yesterday we checked out the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, which was full of Oregon Trail trivia. Here are some of my favorite bits.
1. Awesome hairstyles were par for the course ...
2. Emigrants didn't know how to handle their guns ...
3. Oregon City was a big deal ...
4. The first Oregonian woman to vote arrived via the Oregon Trail ...
5. The Oregon Boot was not something you wanted on your foot ...
There's lots more to learn at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, should you find yourself near Portland with an afternoon to kill!
I gotta say, this made me quite a bit more excited than looking at the official EotOTIC web site, which just seemed to be designed to frustrate and annoy. After way too long, I found this text which I think is supposed to sum up the Interpretive Center.
Beginning in the 1840's more than 300,000 people began their Oregon Trail journey, living and writing their stories, one day at a time.
Share in these stories with a visit to the dynamic End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Living history presentations, "Bound for Oregon", an experience in digital cinema, exhibits of artifacts and heirlooms from the trail and pioneer living activities provide a unique and one-of-a-kind experience.
Each visit to the Interpretive Center includes a time-specific living history presentation and "Bound for Oregon" show in a theater setting. Hands-on activites from pioneer life and exhibits complete the experience. Visitors spend an average of 2 hours at the Center.
That official web site, I hope, is not representative of the Interpretative Center itself.
If you've ever wondered about the Spanish voice-overs on the MAX, advising you to exit to your right or your left, and to give up your seat for handicappers, Enrique Andrade is that voice. This couple minute interview/MP3, done by the Oregonian, is, of course, conducted on the MAX.
Essence of China is one of those restaurants tucked inside a building—except for the sandwich board, and the stencil on the door glass, you'd never know it was there. When I hear combination plate, I think dive. And I love combination plates. But this place is quite pleasant and clean and definitely undivey, though they do have a full bar. Lunch there recently was pleasant and good—not the best Chinese food, but reasonable and fast.
I learned a few things while there. Fried wonton are what are more commonly known as Crab Rangoon. Shanghai wonton, however, are wonton, filled with shrimp and pork with a gingery dipping sauce, very tasty and quite a few of them. And, stay away from the combo plates! I got Plate B, aka egg foo yong, pork fried rice, and fried shrimp. The fried shrimp were great, but the pork fried rice neither tasted nor appeared to contain any pork. The egg foo yong was deep-fried and covered with a yellow gravy.
Everyone else at the table must have gotten the memo, because they all ordered off the Specials menu and did fine. An order of Tofu and Vegetables came to the table as Shrimp and Vegetables, but was otherwise fine: shrimp cooked appropriately with an interesting array of fresh veg in a white sauce. General Tso's Chicken was rated an 8.5 of 10, sweet and spicey as expected. The Sesame Chicken was lovely but not really very sesamey or similar to other dishes of the name. And Kung Pao Chicken was solid, filling and good, everything diced into cubes.
I wouldn't go out of my way for this, but 5 of us ate lunch for about $30, which is nothing to scoff at.
There is something so inherently dissatisfying about this fountain. Yes, you can play in it, and yes, it does appear lots of folks bring their kids there, but it's so... blegh. It taunts you. You want water, and it toys with you. Grrrrr!
Here's some official info that the Rose Garden Arena sends to potential clients:
Your guests can enjoy the sights and sounds of the elliptical water and fire feature, "Essential Forces"- a one-of-a-kind fountain composed of nearly 500 kinetic water jets. The two pillars of water and fire welcome guests to Rose Quarter events with its magnetic aura.
One of those timed, computer-controlled fountains beloved by casinos and some (but by no means all) small children (and by them only on hot days). Actively anxiety-inducing, which is really remarkable for something made entirely of running water. And that's even without the "fire feature" running, which only happens before big sports events at the arena.
The Failing Pedestrian Bridge is one of my favorite footbridges in North Portland. It provides easy access from the Interstate MAX Yellow Line Overlook Park stop to the glories of Mississippi Street. In just a flash, you can travel from Grand Central, say, to Grandpa's Cafe in St Stanislaus Polish Church. Both stairs and a ramp are provided, so bicyclists, wheelchair users, and pedestrians alike can cross the bridge.
Of course, there are two glorious aspects of the Failing footbridge. One is the name, named for Mayor Josiah Failing, an early proponent of public education in Portland. Failing lends his name to both the footbridge, and the street. The formal name, until recently, was the Failing Pedestrian Bridge. Recently, someone woke up and added the word Street. Uh-huh.
But the best thing about the Failing footbridge is crossing it during rush hour, and looking down at all the people stuck in gridlock in their cars.
It was only reopened in 2003, after neighborhood activists waged a fight to be able to access the Interstate MAX. It was closed in 1991 because it was felt that crimes were committed in Overlook (the west side of the bridge) by people of Boise (the east side of the bridge), who would evade police by fleeing across the footbridge.
It's not the first or last time that a footbridge has been considered an aid to or indicator of crime. Mistrust of pedestrians, perhaps?
Long ago and far away, we used to list farmers markets in the grocery section. And then, I took them down because it was winter. And, umm, I got distracted and they didn't go back up. My bad.
So. We've got a new, expanded, extra-spanky, nouveau Farmer's Market section. It lists all the markets in Portland. No, really, it does! And it lists some of the markets in the 'burbs.
It's the first new section in the Portland guide in a couple of years. I know, a couple of years too long. Not to worry, we're continuing to beef up existing sections, or redoing existing sections, and we're even working on some new stuff as well. Enjoy!
At Farmhouse, they're flying under the radar. The place seems small from the outside, but there are four good-sized rooms of non-stop yarn. They have huge collection of Anny Blatt and, supposeably the largest selection of Blue Moon Fiber Arts, as well lots of high-end to-die-for yarns. Interestingly, outside of the Anny Blatts and the sock yarn, yarns are arranged by color, which I admit I love and find frustrating at the same time. The place is tremendously comfortable, practically demanding that you sit and knit: by the fire, on the front porch, at the table, and the owner is very helpful.
This westmoreland haunt is a favorite, and for good reason. Like the name suggests, they don't hold back. So don't be surprised if you have a line ahead of you of Starbucks drinking hipster young families, hipster elderly people, and just hipsters, as well as runners and bicyclists who are rewarding themselves for their virtuousness. It generally isn't too long of a wait because the folks that work there are merciless about moving campers along.
I asked for a suggestion, and was told to order the Kim's Fav, an omelet with cheddar cheese, bacon, and avocado with sour cream and salsa. Which is how I ended up with a breakfast that should have quite rightly killed me. I felt like I should feel like I had participated in a Roman orgy while eating it, and truth be told, it was very good, but didn't feel very decadent (which I quess just tells you how low I've fallen).
Biscuits and gravy should have been better. The biscuits were fresh and huge, but the gravy was bland and barely tasted of sausage. I remember it being better, so maybe its just an off day.
The salad eater omelet, filled with veggies, comes sauteed on request, and man, that was good. The veggies were perfectly cooked, right on that line between raw and overdone. Hashbrowns are shreddy and nice, especially with the Special Aardvark Habanero sauce on all the tables. Coffee was good, not exceptional, and breads are from Grand Central. Oh! And, they have a housemade raspberry jam that is addictive.
All in all, a solid breakfast joint with some real care put into it. The downsides, of course, are how popular it is, how chock-a-block full of tables it is (while it probably is wheelchair accessible, I wouldn't try it during primetime on a weekend). But, once you get seated, the kitchen is fast, the staff sassy and constantly bringing coffee and water, and it's a fun funky place.
This is a great time of year to see movies, and lucky for us, we have a couple of film festivals happening.
PINE Festival January 27-February 5
Portland International Nature and Environmental is the name, and while the web site is maddening, there are some interesting things happening, like a Children's Program (Saturday noon-2pm [w/ breaks]), and a Bike and Adventure Film Festival tonight!
Reel Music January 6-February 12 I'm late with this, I know. But 7 films remain, including LOMAX THE SONGHUNTER, COLTRANE LEGACY, MY NAME IS ALBERT AYLER, and THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON.
Cascade Festival of African Films February 3-March 4 28 films from the African Diaspora, most from the last five years. They have a dynamite selection of films, including Darwin's Nightmare, Tasuma, The Fighter, From Florida To Coahuila, Coming to England (based on the book of the same name), and Ko-Falen / The Gift Exchange (which involves Jackson Middle School[!!!!])
And, unlike all the other festivals mentioned, these films are free.
Yes, it's a Grateful Dead reference, and a Mount St. Helens reference.
This place is unassuming from the street, except, for all the cars parked around it. It's small—you walk in and order at the counter. They offer chicken wings and all manner of other deepfried things, like french fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, tater tots, mushrooms, pickles, twinkies. They also offer 12 excellent sauces, including a couple that will blow the back of your head off (and I'm a hothead)—lucky for us, they provide celery matchsticks that you can try all the sauces for your favorite combination of hot, sweet, and flavor.
You can order wings by the half dozen, and that's how they do the saucing as well. Each order comes with blue cheese dressing or ranch—your choice.
There are tables, natch, and some reading material. Usually, the food arrives soonish. Of course, if you're eating spicy deep-fried food, you need something to wash it down, which is where the 7 taps of microbrews and Rainer come in handy. And, they even have "Portland Wings" (sheesh, it's tempeh) for vegetarians. Damn. While I can't speak to tempeh and pickles, the wings and fries—it's all good.
I admit, I was drawn in by the offer of free waffles. This last Saturday, they had a free waffle day.
I told a friend who lives in Arbor Lodge about it. "Oh, I've been there", she said. "It's good, but $3 is a lot for a waffle."
Hmmm. So I go early on Saturday morning and am pleased to see a clump of folks standing and sitting outside who are clearing enjoying their waffles. Neighborhood folks who are regulars, who have no idea that today is free waffle day, are ordering waffles and $1 coffee, or lattes, americanos, and mochas. The atmosphere is pure neighborhood.
So here's the deal: it's a waffle stand in a parking lot. You go up to the window and order. A few minutes later, you get your espresso drink, if you ordered one, and your steaming hot waffle. The waffles are folded in half and wrapped, its contents safely tucked inside, perfect for one-handed eating.
So, fresh baked waffles, made to order, range from $2 for the butter & powdered sugar to $4 for the ham & cheese or sausage & maple. The majority of waffles are $3.50: sweet cream & jam, peanut butter & jelly, s'mores, nut fluffer, peanut butter & nutella, nutella & raspberry jam, and lemon curd with whipped cream. You can also create your own waffle with one ($3) or two ($3.50) toppings.
We saw, and heard raves, about the ham & cheese, black forest ham with either cheddar or smoked gouda. We ordered the way-over-the-top sausage & maple, and the simple elegant butter & powdered sugar. Both were excellent.
The sausage & maple is just that: pork sausage patty and maple spread (100% organic—it appears that most things are groovy with obvious exceptions like nutella) tucked into a waffle, and it does taste like waffles with syrup and sausage, which is to say, one of the great joys of breakfast.
The butter & powdered sugar showcased the waffle itself—slightly sweet, crispy, lovely. A perfect carrier for all sorts of foodie delights.
You can call ahead to order, and, they take credit cards. They even have wifi. And, a $1 cup of coffee.
Now, of course, it's not without problems. There's limited seating, and no roof. And, presenting a waffle as a thing you gobble down like a hamburger means it doesn't seem like very much food. But, make no mistake—these are filling, even if they take a little time to register in the belly.
I've been trying to block out that the Rose Festival is in full swing. I've been avoiding the waterfront entirely. But Betsy from Metroblogging Portland reminded me of my most favoritest thing (not): fleet week.
Basically, if you need to cross the river when the fleet is coming in or going out, make your life a little easier. If you're driving or riding, take a southerly bridge like the Hawthorne, Ross Island or Sellwood, or a freeway bridge like the Fremont or Marquam. Or a fixed bridge like the St. Johns. If you're taking public transportation, don't be cutting it too close. Or adapt a zen attitude: you'll get there when you get there.
Another fun fact, according to Trimet: each bridge lift lasts about 20 minutes....
You can add Trimet to your twitter friends for updates if you're into that sort of thing.
Suddenly, potential bar owners are realizing that people right along the N/NE border are thirsty. They need alcohol. First it was the Crow Bar, then 5th Quadrant, then Vendetta, and now, the Florida Room.
The Florida Room is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It's a comfie little space with lots of old beer signs, with a full mirrored bar, beer on tap, and some food. As befits a place with that name, there are big windows looking out onto the front, and a cheerful back deck.
House cocktails range from $5-$7, with my favorite being the $5 pint slushie margarita. It's green, it's strong, and it came from the slushie machine—hurrah!
Beer on tap includes PBR ($2) and Bud Light ($2.50), as well as micros ($3.50) like Kona Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen, Terminal Gravy IPA, Lagunitas Sirus, and Fat Tire (not all of those are on the permanent list). They also have beer by the bottle or can, including Old German at $1.50.
The food isn't an afterthought but it's better if you've been drinking. It includes sandwiches, cheese fries with gravy, tots, nachos, and deviled eggs.
We ordered cheese fries, deviled eggs, the ybor city press (roasted pork, steak, pickles & mayo), and a corn dog with tots. The cheese fries—not very cheesy, not very seasoned, but good with the gravy. We couldn't figure out the seasonings in the deviled eggs: they were good. The ybor city press was tasty, but underseasoned, though it was great with the gravy. And the corn dog with tots: it is what it is, and you love it, or not.
Happy hour is every day from 4-7. Well drinks and tap beers get 50 cents off, and there are some cheap snacky bits for $2-$3.50.
The place has a wonderful, irreverent vibe and a sure sense of itself.
This little hole in the wall is part of the big high-end Elephants Deli in NW. With grab-n-go coolers, you can get salads, sandwiches, and take away meals, as well as yogurt, and every possible type of chi-chi pop, water, beer, wine, bubbly, etc. Baked goods and deserts wait at the center island. Hot sandwiches and soup can be ordered straightaway in the back. The cost for any of the food items tends to come in shortly before $7, so as long as you can restrain yourself at the drink cooler, it's not an expensive meal.
The drawbacks of the place is that it's popular, and the table situation is tight: like Paris-cafe-tight, not built for our supersized American bodies. Still, you can get lucky and score a table on the sidewalk and watch them tear up the parking lot right in front of you.
This neighborhood association's website is short and sweet. They provide a "quick-call list" (police, parking violations, etc), events, projects, volunteer opportunities, blogs, resources, contacts within the Association, and the Associations by-laws. There's also information about monthly meetings.
Microsoft and MetroFi say they will work together to build a free wireless Internet service for Portland, Oregon's largest city.
MetroFi announced late Tuesday that it would introduce the Wi-Fi service in Pioneer Courthouse Square, a popular gathering place in downtown Portland, by the end of the year and expand it to the rest of the city within two years.
Now, I agree, free is a very good price, but did they not notice that there's already free Wi-Fi there?? From Personal Telco?
I just found a very interesting blog this week, and I had to share. It's Around the Sun: Ideas for saving money in Portland, Oregon, and beyond
Around the Sun is about saving money in Portland, OR ... and beyond. I am not a financial expert; I'm just a regular girl trying to make the most of my money. This blog is a way for me to chronicle my financial choices, as well as share money-saving deals that Portland has to offer.
As you might expect, she writes about frugality and green living (this is Portland, after all), but she also writes about free and cheap events in Portland. And how cool is that?
When you pull into the Fubonn Shopping Center, it's seriously hard to believe that this used to be PCC Southeast. Walk inside, and you're in a Asian mini-mall of established restaurants, shops, and stalls... and of course, the Fubonn Grocery.
Fubonn is named for the Cantonese phrase for wealth and health, and they are a full service SE Asian grocery along the lines of Uwajimaya, just on a slightly smaller scale. They have a deli with $1.75 bánh mì sandwiches as well as hot and cold prepared foods; huge and beautiful produce and meat areas, and just about everything you'll need for Vietnamese or Chinese cooking. For example: fresh noodles. Fubonn stocks bánh canh, bánh bot loc, hu tieu xao, and bánh tam—and that's just the rice noodles. There's also yakisoba, udon, mì hoành thánh (egg wonton noodles) and mì trung gà (thin egg noodles). Need a stewing hen? Duck heads? Bung? They've got 'em.
The live seafood selection is better at Uwajimaya, but Fubonn is clearly still gearing up.
Ah, breakfast at Fuller's. It's served all day, 7 days a week.
Fuller's is an old school coffee shop, with a double horseshoe shaped counter. It's all counter. Everybody, except the folks that sit outside in good weather, sits at the counter.
The breakfast menu is short, with the general breakfast stuff: eggs and meat, omelets, pancakes, french toast. Prices range from $5.25 to $8.50.
But there are a couple interesting things. Heuvos rancheros at Fuller's is the most interesting and not even vaguely authentic interpretation of the dish. It's so wrong! A disk of egg is topped with cheese, then a mixture of stewed tomato, onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper. Refried beans with cheese, and salsa are served on the side. No tortilla! Georgia's Potatoes Deluxe takes hash browns and covers them with the stewed tomato mixture, plus spinach and cheese. And, german pancakes are an eggier version of the American ones.
How was the food? Good, simple, delicious. The coffee sucks, though they do have espresso. We had the pig in a blanket, which is a german pancake surrounding link sausage, and the aforementioned heuvos rancheros. Both were great.
The hash browns are absolute standard-bearers. Shredded potatoes (seemingly freshly cut, could that be?), are perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside.
Egg dishes have toast on the side, from bread I believe they make themselves.
As good as the food is, the people watching is also superb. It's easy to pick out the tourists with their Powells walking maps and Pearl shopping guides, as well as hungover locals.
Genies is one of the best breakfast places in town. Really. And that explains the crowds that descend upon it, ensuring a wait unless you are very early, or very late.
And, it's also a great lunch place. On weekdays, breakfast is served all day (which is to say, until 3pm), and you also have a selection of sandwiches and entrees like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese.
I had their excellent, unpretentious, burger. It's substantial, but not too much—maybe a third of a pound, cooked to order. The bun is squishy but not bad squishy, and the burger is dressed with the usual lettuce, tomato, onion, and.... whole-grain mustard aioli. I was a doubter, until I bit in. It's a good burger—one of the best in town.
It comes with fries or salad. I can't speak to the salad, but the fries were thin, double-fried, a slight hint of batter, perfect.
Another argument to come in on the weekdays is the Heuvos Rancheros. It's just an wonderful combination of eggs, tortilla, nicely-seasoned beans, and sauce, the sort of good meal that sticks in the corner of your mind for a long time.
Some people like the cocktails, ranging from $4-$6, including the EmergenC Elixir (orange vodka, EmergenC, muddled lemon, and a splash of cranberry juice). There are coffee and champagne cocktails too. Beer in bottles, and Caldera pale in cans, but no beer on tap.
I first fell in love with the roasted potatoes. Potatoes can be the most lovely food, but so often at breakfast they are lackluster, undercooked, underloved. Not these potatoes, oh no. Little wedgelets, crispy, tender, delightful, I could eat a bowl of these plain.
But no reason to do that with all the wonderful stuff on the menu. There are 19 different egg-variables, from the traditional eggs, potatoes and toast to omelettes to scrambles to benedicts, $5.50-$9.25. The basic ingredients are good, even free-range groovy, stuff, and it's all kept simple enough so there's some semblance of balance.
Take for example, the classic benedict. The hollandaise is lemony and luscious, topping the soft poached egg, the local canadian bacon (yumm!), the crispy english muffin, and begging to be draped over the potatoes.
Another example of being caught off-guard is the white chocolate chip & toasted hazelnut pancakes. One, you could feed several people well with one plate. Two, the white chocolate serves as the secret agent taste that makes the pancakes irresistable. Three, real maple syrup and a bowl of butter bricks wait on your table.
They also have some sandwiches, which I may never try. The menu is amazingly vegetarian friendly, with 14 different options, and you can sub in tofu for eggs for a buck. Oh, and they serve Stumptown coffee. No espresso.
The two dining rooms are a little cramped, with the back one like a basement bar, and the front like a bright and cheerful diner. The rooms have both booths and tables, and there are a couple of outside tables for good weather as well.
Just know, you'll probably be waiting a bit to get in, and you'll be waiting outside. But you can have some coffee while you wait.
After having been there for lunch, I am so bummed that they aren't open for dinner. But I guess that's good for my wallet.
Other cities might be bigger, but beautiful Portland, Oregon, reigns as the most vegetarian-friendly large city in the United States. From food-cart vendors who hawk vegetarian eats on the street to restaurants that offer more upscale cuisine, Portland sure caters to every vegetarian's wallet and palate with a seemingly unending array of choices.
They provide a short list to the best vegetarian and vegan restaurant choices in town.
The Going Street Overpass is both wonderful, and tremendously sad at the same time.
Let's begin on the south side. The Overpass sits in the Si Stanich Park, a tiny square commemorating Simon Stanich, an architect and neighborhood activist. The park, and the stone that commemorates it, have really seen better days. It once housed a park bench, but now only the supports for a park bench, and a lot of trash.
The circular ramp/helix/whirley-gig up to the overpass connects the south part of Concord Avenue to the north part. It's especially impressive when there's a lot of traffic on Going, to be above it all, looking down on the eight lanes of traffic.
At about the half way point of the Concord St. pedestrian bridge, you come upon the dozens of padlocks hanging from the chainlink overhead. Why? Who knows?
Note when you exit on the north side, that the houses immediately to your left are facing the street... that had once been there. Now their front doors face the fence that divides them from Going Street.
While the original Good Dog/Bad Dog may be no more, the one at the airport lives on.
Sausages range from $3-$6, from the Oregon Smokey, the Hot or Sweet Italian, kielbasa, the bratwurst or the chicken bratwurst, the garden sausage, and several sizes of hot dogs. They have excellent battered thin fries or chili, which you can get in a combo for $3ish more. Widmer or Budweiser beers are $4-$6.
So I guess that explains how a recent lunch for two, with two sausages, fries and two beers, ended up being $25. It was a shock when I handed over the cash, but now, looking at the numbers, it appears I got off easy.
Anyhow, the food. We sat outside the shop, watching travelers go by. We ordered a kielbasa and an Oregon Smokey, and both were excellent. They're both substantial sausages. The buns were substantial enough to not fall apart, but they weren't warmed, and were otherwise rather anonymous. Our fries were great -- crispy, thin, addictive.
Anyways, this is a good option if you need lunch or dinner at the airport.
Eric Nolad writes about the Portland beer scene, must-see brewpubs, and the BrewBus.
And even with all those breweries, the people making the beer engage in a surprising amount of cooperation, eschewing the customary cutthroat practices of the business world. "It's a slacker mentality with a creative edge," said Tom Bleigh, lead brewer for Pyramid Breweries. "It happens on the music scene as well. It's a sense of fraternity that lends itself to experimentation."
And if reading is too much for you (oh, the humanity!), they also have a flash presentation (of course, a picture does tell a thousand stories. Or something.)
Did you know Goodwill has an online bookstore? They do, and it's based here in Portland. It's not exactly Powell's, but perhaps the price is right? A quick glance in their browse by categories could be dangerous.
I was curious to check out the new Goodwill downtown. In the manner of previous downtown thrifts, this is aiming at better-heeled bargain hunters. Unlike most Goodwills, there is a controlled and calm, edited presence in On 10th. Racks are not overwhelmed by clothing, and the clothes don't appear written in (unlike most Goodwill garb). There is an overabundance of mall brands and higher-end mail-order, quite gently used, in an overabundance of small sizes.
While most Goodwills have an adult clothing base price of $6.99 (with better quality stuff more, and less desirables less), the On 10th employees stammered when I asked about a base price there (I'm guessing $25.99, with t's for $7.99, jeans $9.99, and some other items $14.99—though I saw other items at $199.99). To be fair, corporate prices their clothing before it ever comes downtown. So I asked about the clothing selected. I guess that the majority of stores do not contribute to the downtown store—just two stores do. So your neighborhood Goodwill might have the same sorts of gems at a cheaper price.
Every now and again I want to hate Google because everyone loves Google and who can imagine life without Google? But I love Google too, so this whole hating thing is very hard indeed. Especially when they come up with something like Google Transit.
And listen to the way they butter us up!
We chose to launch with the Portland metro area for a couple of reasons. TriMet, Portland's transit authority, is a technological leader in public transportation. The team at TriMet is a group of tremendously passionate people dedicated to serving their community. And TriMet has a wealth of data readily available that they were eager to share with us for this project. This combination of great people and great data made TriMet the ideal partner.
It's not as intuitive as I'd like—my first couple tries brought up nada—but damn, once you get it, it's great. It gives you transit times, walking directions, even the cost of taking transit vs driving!
Has really decent food as well, and nice atmosphere. I think they're even doing some sort of breakfast now.
This strip mall location means there's always parking. While it looks like an Asian Sheri's inside, and there is the unfortunate name, this is a very decent neighborhood viet-chinese restaurant.
The menu here is very extensive. Lots of appetizers, variants of pho, and other soups, as well as bun (noodle dishes with protein). They also serve beer, and bahn mi (vietnamese sandwiches) all day. Breakfast is definitely of the vietnamese variety. It's bright and cheery too.
This is the only place I've seen on the menu that they will switch out fish sauce for soy sauce if you ask. Still, I don't know that this is a great vegetarian restaurant unless you're willing to not ask any questions.
We tend to get pho, with its rich fragrant broth and lovely fresh salad plate (avoid the brisket—they ain't kidding about the fat). But if you're up for an adventure and you have a bit of time, try out the specialty dishes. Last night we tried the Banh Khoai Tom, special crispy fried sweet potato & shrimp. It was excellent—though it would have been nice if the owner had mentioned that it would take a half hour.
This is not a date place though. It tends to sound like a bus station even when there are only a couple of tables, and when the busser rolls around her huge rubbermaid bussing cart, people in the Pizza Hut next door probably know it. Still, a bowl of pho soothes a lot of woes...
Is it disengenous to have a open a restaurant in the same location, with a very similar name to a restaurant that got great national reviews but went down in flames? I'll just leave you to mull on that while I talk about the new incarnation.
This incarnation is not related to the RIPE empire; the owners are from the Speakeasy. And full disclosure, to my incredible amazement, I know the bartender. Obviously, I go out too much.
Anyways, we went to visit during the soft opening. If you want to compare it to the GBT, you're going to be disappointed, in spite of cloth napkins, bowls of pepper and little sauciers of kosher salt. However, if you compare it with a tavern, I think you'll be pleased, or at least, not disappointed.
They have a full bar, and three beers on tap. Those were, on our visit, PBR, Mac & Jack's, and Roots IPA.
The menu is short. Burger, prime rib sandwich, polenta, soup, salad. We ordered the burger and the prime rib, with some special directions. As they were working on this stuff, I could look into the kitchen. The prime rib sandwich comes on ciabatta rolls from New Seasons; the burger is grilled and then placed atop a toasted oroweat bun.
They come with homecut fries, nicely done. The burger isn't exactly as I ordered it, but it's still juicy and delicious. The prime rib sandwich is actually two small, tall prime rib sandwiches. My sweetie, who finishes everything, brings one whole sandwich home.
These are the sort of sandwiches and fries that I am happy to eat at a tavern. Indeed, the fact that my burger is not incinerated makes me heart sing.
Our waiter is the only one on the floor, so we have great service at one point, and lousy at others. But the waiter is trying hard, jogging across the restaurant at points.
I get the impression that they're not sure what they're aiming at either. So, at hard opening at the end of the month, it'll be interesting to see what they are like.
Oregon's largest Hispanic market has opened in Cornelius, the next town west of Hillsboro. The produce section is huge and beautiful, filled with fresh and dried chiles, tomatillos, mangos, coconuts, plantains, and papayas, as well as more typical US produce. A full-service bakery specializes in pan dulces. Everything is labeled in Spanish and English. The carneceria is filled with tongue, tripe, beef cheeks and pork ears. A huge selection of fresh mexican cheese are available. A tortilleria prepares fresh tortillas all day, and a steaming bag of them is just a buck and some change. And of course, there's a deli/cocina with Michoacan specialties like carnitas. I would tell you more, except that there were so many people around the cocina, I couldn't get close at all or see anything in the cases! And mexican sodas like jarritos are 59 cents for a glass bottle, chilled.
Considering that the latino market in Washington County has grown almost 250% over the past five years, this is way overdue.
Beerlovers, if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you. Wait, that's Michigan's state saying. What I mean to say is that things just keep getting better and better. Take, for example, Guest on Tap, the new beer column in the Portland Tribune. You'll be forgiven for thinking it's an ad, as everything about it screams ad. It runs Tuesdays, sometimes in the Portland Life section, sometimes in the Sports Tribune, and luckily, easiest to find on the web (even if the type is way too small). Today's is a piece by beer God Fred Eckhardt on Widmer Alt, including, what is an alt? Other columns have covered the difference between ales and lagers, holiday beers, the cask ale festival, Concordia Ale House, medals for Pacific City's Pelican Pub, and Hops festivals. And, the online version features a local brewpub googlemap mashup!
I tend to have lowered expectations for airport food, but really, if you look at breakfast here as similar to your neighborhood place, you won't go wrong. Yes, it's a smidge more expensive than your neighborhood place, but the plates of food are large, the waitresses friendly, and the coffee tolerable. The bratwurst was good, as was the Black Forest ham (though I don't know about melting cheese on top of the ham—who thought that was a good idea?), not like the best bratwurst you've tasted outside of Germany, but still a solid good sausage. Our tab for two breakfasts with coffee and (a huge) juice came in less than $20, and we weren't trying to be cheap.
Excellent Japanese style sushi and meals in a quiet serene setting. The prices are right too. With no nigiri above $5 (most is $2.95), and no rolls above $9 (with most under $5), it's easy to have a meal without taking out a second mortgage. They offer lunch as well as dinner, Tuesday-Saturday. Excellent, reasonable bento boxes, too.
Helser's appears to be about to implode due to its popularity. But it's popular for a good reason: a good breakfast at a fairly reasonable price. Cheap eaters will want to get there before 9 (probably, quite a bit before nine, as it seems to fill fairly early), and order off their early bird menu. The scotch eggs are insanely good, as are the occasionally offered potato pancake sandwiches. And while I'm still waiting to find a place that does french toast as good as my own, this is the best I've found in a while. Decent coffee, and the opportunity to start the day with alcohol are other bonuses. On nice days, there are tables outside as well.
Here are a number of resources that spotlight Portland history in an ongoing fashion. Are there any I've missed? Please let me know!
Cafe Unknown is a blog about "Travel, History, and Portland, Oregon" by local writer Dan Haneckow. His entries are doted with current and historic photos, maps, and other documents. Recent entries concern "Stagecoach King" Ben Holladay, the old Armory/Gerding, and the Marquam Grand, Portland's first skyscraper. cafeunkown.blogspot.com
Khris Soden: Live on the Internets has a strong Portland History category. He has posts on Colonel Summer's Park, various riots, streetcars (natch), and the history of the location that the B-Side tavern is in. khrissoden.org/category/portland-history
PDXHistory.com covers a lot of Portland history in a relatively small space. Entries include amusement parks, historic Portland, street scenes, departments stores, streetcars & trains, Mt. Hood, the Oregon Coast, post card history, radio, hotels, and neighborhoods and towns. pdxhistory.com
Portland Histories is (hopefully) an ongoing blog on "Bringing the Past to the Present, one post at a time". Mr. One True b!X writes about such things as the Great Light Way, Trolley Maps, and the Finger. Hopefully, there will be more soon. portlandhistories.org
Tin Zeros is an occasional blog on Portland history. Recent entries concern an infamous depiction of Portland's north end (in a word, rough), the Willamette Meteor, a 1976 Portland walking tour from O'Donnell & Vaughan's Portland; A Historical Sketch and Guide done now, and the Lafayette & Brooklyn-Gideon Footbridges. He even includes footnotes and makes allusions to Guy Debord! tinzeroes.blogspot.com
Stumptown Confidential uses photos, postcards, and sometimes old diaries as a jumping off point for posts. Recent entries include the McLoughlin (99E), with a gorgeous postcard and the depressing reality, the Cosmopolitan Motor Hotel (now a Red Lion), and a glimpse of life from the 40s in Portland. stumptownconfidential.com
Okay. I initially thought there were two Lebanese restaurant families, but it appears most (Arabian Breeze, YaHala, Hoda's, Karam, Long Island Pizzeria), like Kevin Bacon, are related to Nicolas. Hoda's is run by Hoda Khouri, daughter of the founder of Nicholas. Hoda's is a smidge more expensive than Nicolas, which is to say it's still fairly outrageously cheap, and unlike the claustrophic interior and almost constant lines at Nicolas, Hoda's is really pleasant inside. Sure, you can get the special, which is less than $15, or one of the plates, which is less than $10, or you can get a sandwich (around $5), soup & salad, etc. You can have beer (on tap, even) or wine. But, no credit cards. No ATM. And while we had great meals (the lamb special, super falafel, kibbeh, lentil soup and zaatar pie, artichoke pie, baba ghanouje, and maanek), it seems that the kitchen is not obsessed with attention to detail. Entrees allow an upgrade to the salad, adding feta and olives. 2 of us ordered that, and none of us got that. The artichoke pie is supposed to have sun-dried tomatoes—but none were to be found.
My dining companions were thrilled by the food. Was it the best pita, zaatar, sfeeha, or baba that I've had in town? No. Parking is a hassle as well. I was impressed with the prices and the unclaustrophobic atmosphere. If you show some self-control, you can eat better, and as cheaply, at YaHala in Montavilla (though I don't have that sort of self-control). And YaHala has a full bar, more street parking, and they take credit cards. Though, if you have the cash and the inclination, it is hard to beat the original, Nicolas (cheap and delicious, no alcohol, iffy parking, no cards).
The Holiday Ale Fest is going on, and what better place to while away an rainy afternoon than in a tent with hundreds or thousands of people you don't know, and 30+ winter seasonal ales? In the interest of serving you, dear readers, I gave up yesterday afternoon to check it out. If you're thinking about checking it out, it runs through Sunday.
The basics: you must be 21 or older. It's free to enter, but to sample beer, you must buy a $4 plastic mug. While not elegant, the mugs are pretty sturdy and make it through many many dishwashings. A taster for most beers is $1, a full glass $4; for the Big Boys, the Belgian and Belgian styles, it's $4 a taste. There is also pizzicato pizza and some crafty sorts of stuff, as well as beer paraphernalia. Designated drivers get free root beer!
Of course, your mileage may vary, but here were some of my favorites from the $1 pours: Big Horn's Free Ride, Collaborator's Sled Crasher, Full Sail's Wassail, Rogue's FestivAle (a Saison), Walking Man's Perambulator, and Widmer's Lumpa Coal Stout. From the Big Boys, I loved Scaldis Strong, Delirium Noel, St. Bernardus ABT 12, N'Ice Chouffe, and something from Steelhead that was really rather amazing. I'm hoping to go back and try some more of the Big Boys, as well as Bridgeport's Ebenezer, Cascade Brewing (Racoon Lodge)'s Defroster and the Fearless Strong Scotch.
They are also pouring some beers you may have seen at your favorite pizza joint or tavern, like the perennially good Deschutes JubelAle, New Belgium's 2 Below, Sierra Nevada's Celebration, Pyramid's Snowcap, and Hair of the Dog's Doggie Claws.
You should plan that you'll be standing the whole time (that way, if you do get to sit, what a bonus), and that the tent will be chilly. And of course, don't drive!
Are you not getting your Decemberly dose of holiday lights? Well, if not, let me suggest these below. Most cost, and some are quite tacky, but that goes without saying, yes?
Holiday Express Oaks Park googlemap get there by trimet find a bike route Friday 12/15 through Sunday 12/17 2 pm , 3 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm orhf.org/events/06holiday
Is there anything better for a train ride than sunny skies and cold temperatures? Especially a train ride powered by a steam locomotive along the Willamette river in a train covered with garlands and lights, oh, and did I mention Santa? Okay, I'm a train geek, and while I'm sometimes allergic to children and serious Santas, this sounds cool, and let's face it—a much better ride than Zoolights. Train, train, train!
on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers! christmasships.org
7-9pm most nights
Watch from Riverplace Espanade
[west end of Marquam Bridge]
0300 Block SW Montgomery
or Tom McCall Waterfront Park
SW Front—Clay to the Steel Bridge
through Dec 20th
photo by Scott Jackson—check out his excellent photos and blog
I don't like change. I don't like change. I don't like the new ownership at M&F, and I absolutely hate the fact that this is the last Santaland at Meier & Frank. If you've been before, you'll want to go again. And if you haven't, you need to. Santaland is really all about Santa (natch), and the monorail. So for me, it's all about the monorail—and I can't even ride it. There's a height limit so only children and extremely short adults can ride it. It's over 50 years old, the last of its lot, and supposably, it cannot be moved. So if you have little kids, go now. If you're a train buff, go now. If you just like goofy things...
- M & F Monorail
- M & F Building Wikipedia entry
- M & F's Santaland blurb
Thanksgiving is the traditional weekend to join many, many other Oregonians and Washingtonians who are stuck in traffic on their wine crawls. Mind you, you can wine crawl any weekend of the year, but the information that headlines Oregonlive.com this morning (slow news day?) could be helpful at any point.
More than half of Oregon's 300-plus wineries will be open during the long Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24-26, for wine tasting, tours and other holiday festivities. The wineries will be pouring from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted in the Wine Guide listings.
Meet up at the Lab anytime after 5:00pm for some grub!
Ride Leaves for the Zoo at 6:45pm
We should arrive at the Zoo approximately 7:15pm or so. Check out the lights, Ride the zoo train, or the thrill ride
Parking is $1 dollar per vehicle. Have a buck ready to go when we get there.
Ticket prices for the Zoo are as follows: $9.50 w/train or 8.25 just for the zoo.
This is an incredible little shop, made up only of photo processing, and gorgeous old used cameras. You have your choice here of Super 8s, Brownies, etc... basically, any non-toy camera, and even some of them, are here. They also have some bins of camera parts that could be useful if you're putting together your own pinhole. Mostly I was in awe of all of this photographic equipment that I have no idea what to do with.
The older guy working seemed happy to have someone come in, and he kept peppering me with questions: could he help me, was there something I was looking for, what was the weather like? I finally fessed up that I was a n00b, but that I found the aesthetics of the older cameras much better than their newer, digital cousins.
I'm not sure when it happened, but maybe 5,7 years ago, Hot Lips Pizza got serious. The sauce got consistent, and the ingredients started being higher end or organic or sustainable. Then even more recently, they started making their own berry/fruit sodas, dude, without high-fructose corn syrup! It's a little heavy for me, but berrylovers would probably really like it. And now they make a chipotle and an habanero sauce, and canned jalapenos! Where will it end?
All silliness aside, Hot Lips is one of the best pizza joints in town for pizza by the slice. The pepperoni is wonderful. There are always vegetarian options. There are always salads and cookies or brownies. You've got your choice of craft brews, the homebrewed soda, or normal sodas.
If you like things a little spicy, try a slice with a little habanero sauce on top. Now, damn, that's good.
filled under chains, SE, Hawthorne, pearl, PSU, downtown, Westside, pizza,bytheslice, groovy,veggie
January 27, 2006 |
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Okay, this is the way it works. Either park in the Portland Center Plaza parking lot, or walk through the urban renewal district and look for the place that is entirely fogged up. When you come into the tight space around the door, head immediately to the hot pot bar, unless you want to hot pot family style. Pull up a seat and consider your broth options.
This is similar to shabu-shabu. You get a broth, in a pot, on a burner, and you get to toss various protein, starch and veggies in, as you wish. Once you've chosen from their 7 asian broths (vegetarian, Ma-la [herbs and red pepper], Thai-style hot sour, pao-cai [pickled cabbage Korean style], xiang-cai [Chinese cilantro with egg], and meat [yes, I know that's only six, but there is another, really]), you can go and load up on soda, dipping sauce, and goodies for your broth.
The goodies vary, naturally, but include frozen shaved meat, meat balls, stuffed wonton, k-crab, frozen and fresh tofu, a couple types of noodles, and then a bar of vegetables. You choose just what you'd like. Then go plunk yerself down in front of your steaming pot of broth, and start cooking. The best thing: you can go back again and again.
If you have questions, just ask. The Tsais are very helpful, funny, and very real.
Lunch is an amazing $7.50, with dinner $12.50 (I think)—dinner has more seafood, and just more stuff.
I love this place. It's fun people-watching and you get to play with your food. And, you can eat so virtuously, and it's so good.
Are all those people unwelcome everywhere else? I don't understand.
I was surprised, honestly, at the uproar that welled up on a local listserve about Christian Ettinger (former Laurelwood brewmaster)'s new someday-to-open brewpub which will cater to bicyclists, scooterists and motorcyclists.
When something caters to bikes and motorcycles, is it excluding cars? It could be, but it's more likely that it will have facilities that make it easier for bicyclists and scooterists. And if you don't ride, you just might not know how important these things can be.
Like motorists, two-wheeled travelers see their vehicle as both transportation and a matter of pride. It might have cost a lot of money or show many hours of hard work. And we're unhappy when we come out and find parts missing, stuff messed with, or our beloved vehicle gone entirely.
And Portlanders overwhelmingly are two-wheel crazy. We bicycle, we scoot, we ride motorcycles—and we rejoice in these things. They're fun!
So what do two-wheels need? Secure and sheltered parking that will allow them (us!) to lock up and feel reasonably confident that our transportation will still be there when we come out.
For bicycles, an example of a business that does this well is the original Lucky Lab on Hawthorne. There is lots of bike parking, you can easily lock up, and if you are the sort who can't let their bike out of their sight, you can sit on the back porch and enjoy the sight of it while you drink and nosh.
When you consider that one "parking place" can hold 10 bicycles, you can make a big impact in just a little bit of space. And while scooters and motorcycles are bigger, certainly, than bicycles, they also can take up less space than a car—it's no big t'ing to have four or five scooters in a parking place.
Huber's is known for two things. Spanish coffees, flamboyantly made, and turkey. You're forgiven if you had no idea of the latter. Most people do come for the delicious, potent Spanish coffees and the scenery: the fireworks involved in making a Spanish coffee at the table by a hunky waiter, the incredible old bar done all clubby with the arched stained-glass skylight, the terrazo floor, and lots of stained wood—solid Philippine mahogany paneling, and the see and be seen crowd, most notably, the Blazers. It's Portland's oldest restaurant. The restaurant portion looks out on 3rd Avenue, while the bar is tucked inside, accessible from 3rd or Stark.
We went there with a bunch of scooterists to try out the lunch menu. Here's what I heard and tasted. Almond-encrusted turkey on a bed of spinach (I think) was simple and good. The hot turkey sandwich is the last of its kind in Portland: served on white bread with your choice of yummy dressing or powdered mashed potatoes, it hits the nostalgia button but good. The buffalo burger with fries was good, but overdone. Cobb salad is hard to do wrong, and Huber's certainly does fine. Pan-fried oysters were good, but the breading was distracting. And finally, turkey noodle soup—fine, about what you might expect. Everything, save specials and seafood, comes in under $10.
In the end, Huber's is solid, a little pricey, and unexceptional for lunch. Spanish coffees, now that's something else altogether.
Hunan used to be known as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Portland, back before everyone was so concerned about authenticity, etc. Today, they still make a mean hot and sour soup, and very tasty potstickers. Otherwise, a recent lunch there was an exercise in frustration at worst, and okayness at best.
At lunch, there is the special lunch menu, which is a la carte. Want the General Tso's chicken, which is probably this place's claim to fame? Well, you'll have to order it off the dinner menu. Main courses on the lunch menu range from $6.25-$8.50, and aren't terribly generous. Dinner prices are a bit more, and are quite a bit more generous. Want that Hot & Sour soup? You'll have to order it separately, for another $1.75.
You get an hour for lunch right? Unless you get a half hour, of course. Most places downtown get that, hustling the food out in record time. Not so here. The soup comes out, then the appetizer, then the food. One of our group had to get his to go because it took so long.
So, we ordered General Tso's, beef with snow peas, shrimp in chili sauce, and kung pao chicken. The General Tso's was awful, the meat tough and difficult to chew, though the sauce was nice. The kung pao was referred to as kung poor. The shrimp and beef were okay, no complaints. All in all, they might have been having a bad day.
Of course, you're going to want to flyer where you lost your pet. You'll want to check catsinthebag.org for the most concise & helpful pet search tips.
But there are also a number of web sites you can check compulsively (or daily). Here goes:
Dove Lewis's Lost & Found Pet Database
This is the most comprehensive place to look for a pet, at least, according to Dove Lewis. You can report a lost pet, or, search their database. (It's frightening how many pets they list).
If you find a pet, you can register it with Dove Lewis and the County to hopefully help it find its way home. Also, almost all vets will scan for microchip at no cost—so do that before you take it to the pound. Cats in particular have a bad time of it at the pound—they are much likelier to be euthanized than dogs because of sheer numbers.
Gridskipper mentions us in the serial, Notes From The Road with Kyle Forester, or more specifically, The Doug Fir. It seems musicians love the Doug Fir—who knew?
First of all, I don't know who the committee is that built the utopia that is Portland, but it had several skateboarders on it. Even the little backstage pass artists are given at Doug Fir has a little silouette of a skateboarder on it! The venue is gorgeous. The backstage has a great couch, on which I took a nap.
But wait, there's more. Google Sightseeing features the Bomber today. You know, the place on McLoughlin on the way to the thrift stores that has a B-17G in front of it, hoisted up on poles? That Bomber, yeah. It's pretty cool that it can be seen from space.
I come neither to praise IKEA nor to bury it. It is now just here, like an asteroid that's hit the earth and totally changed the gravitation flow of Portland, and as such, I must acknowledge it.
As someone whose house is still post-dorm, I'm more than a little excited about IKEA. If nothing else, there's swedish meatballs, and a 99 cent breakfast served from 9:30-11am. And, I'm excited that it's on the MAX line, and that they have more bicycle parking than I have ever seen for a retail establishment in the US.
And that's how I'd recommend you get to IKEA: by public transport, or by bike. Yes, they do have a huge parking lot, but the Portland Police, and Port of Portland personnel expect that if you drive, at least in the next week or so, you'll get some extra time in your car to think about what you're looking for, and to have buyers remorse trying to get back to the freeway.
According to Anna Griffin's article in the July 19, 2007 Oregonian,
The company expects to welcome more than 150,000 Allen wrench aficionados over the first five days, and police and Port officials say the only question is whether our traffic jams will be as bad as those during other Ikea openings.
Seven years ago, the first Northern California Ikea caused a two-week gridlock. Two years ago in Stoughton, Mass., an Ikea debut backed up freeway traffic five miles.
The frenzy over inexpensive -- or cheap, depending on your taste -- Scandinavian sofas and storage bins has been worse overseas: In London three years ago, a half-dozen people went to the hospital for injuries when one grand opening turned into a riot. In 1995, three people died when the crowd stampeded into a new Saudi Arabian Ikea.
Portland police say they're ready, or at least as ready as they can be. The city usually sends four officers and one sergeant to control traffic outside Trail Blazers games; the team pays about $1,200 a game.
During the chain's first five days in Oregon, 40 Portland police officers will guide traffic toward and away from the store. The company's tab: $120,000.
So if you get to IKEA and fall in love with a couch, or a bookcase, you can always have it delivered to your residence. Here's what the IKEA FAQ says:
The IKEA store offers (or will refer you to) a home delivery service if you prefer. Home delivery is not included in the product price.
How sweet is that? (Now if only they'd also take it to the dump for you at the end of its short life...)
I admit a tremendous love for New Seasons—now, Marian Burros of the NYT admits to it as well. In an article in her Eating Well column in the New York Times today (January 4, 2006), she writes:
Today "local" and "sustainable" are the new culinary buzzwords.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the six New Seasons markets in and around Portland, Ore. At New Seasons, "homegrown" is not only the coin of the realm, it's the heavily promoted mantra.
...If there is any doubt about the impact purchasing locally has on nearby farms, the United States Department of Agriculture's agriculture census tells the story. In Oregon the number of farms has risen, from 26,753 in 1974 to 40,033 in 2002, the latest year for which figures are available.
The emphasis on local is not the only thing that distinguishes New Seasons from other chains. Its employees are given "get out of jail free" cards with the instructions to do anything a customer wants. Mr. Rohter said one young clerk opened 81 jars of mustard for a customer to taste. Then he went to his supervisor, handed the card to him and explained what happened.
Printed on the back of the card:
"Dear Supervisor: The holder of this card was, in their best judgment, doing whatever was necessary to make a happy customer. If you think they may have gone overboard, please take the following steps: 1. Thank them for giving great customer service. 2. Listen to the story about the events. 3. Offer feedback on how they might do it differently next time. 4. Thank them for giving great customer service."
"We never reprimand someone for helping a customer," Mr. Rohter said.
WE'VE MOVED!!! As of Feb. 1, In Other Words is serving you better at her new location at 8 NE Killingsworth, on the corner at N. Williams.
The new location is almost double the size of the old, and the staff and more than 50 regular volunteers who run the store are eager to have a larger space where feminist, grassroots community-building can take place.
In negotiations for the lease of the space, In Other Words and the Albina Women's League (a non-profit organization with a mission to support youth in the African-American community) discovered that although they served different communities, many of their values of community were similar. The bookstore will renew the Albina Women's League space as a center for community meetings, educational opportunities, a safe place for kids, and a place to develop community partnerships. Already In Other Words has begun to collaborate with new neighbor, Talking Drum Books, to hold a race and gender reading and action group. In Other Words has also initiated communication with neighborhood community organizations such as Sisters in Action for Power, Ethos and North Portland Bike Works.
This is a great list of resources for touring and local musicians, put together by Heidi Drockelman. If you're looking for information on the best places to watch or play a gig, get gear, or get some cds, you could do much worse than this site.
Tami Parr of the excellent Pacific Northwest Cheese Project interviews Steve Jones of Steve's Cheese in Square Deal Wines over at Food Dude's. Nice interview. I need to check that out some time soon—friends swoon about Steve's cheese (and Steve).
A lot of people diss the urban renewal blocks or South Auditorium District. And honestly, a lot of the buildings in it are those 70s anonymous charmless almost-soviet rectangles. But the Forecourt/Fourcourt/Ira's Fountain is an excellent place to people watch, eat lunch, chill out, or get wet. This is arguably the most visually compelling and best known fountain in town, a small island of serenity in downtown.
With lots of stairs and platforms, as well as grass in the shade and in the sun, there are lots of places to sit without getting wet. With it's secretive spaces, it's easy to feel like you are unseen (though you are). And there are lots of places to get spray from the cascades, or just end up ankle, knee or hip deep in chilly water.
Parents of small children will either want to take their kids to the lower, shallow, pooling area, rather than the falls, and they'll want to keep a close eye on them. This fountain may be better suited for older kids, teens, and adults, which you'll see in abundance.
If you live or travel through NE Portland (or use Tom McCall Park), you have probably seen a series of names and dates, chalked onto the sidewalk ... or, the blur of them. That is the Iraqi Names Project. There is something especially compelling to me about the fact that the names, like our memories and attention towards the Iraq War, fade quickly.
The accompanying website is an excellent resource for seeing where Nancy Hiss and her folks are now. She also offers bios of some of the dead soldiers. (And, there's a video). And consider this: she's been chalking names since Memorial Day, and only came to the second year anniversary on July 29th. (The war began in March 2003. As of June 5th, the total US servicepeople killed in Iraq was 3,494.)
You can find her on weekdays from 7:15-8:15, and on weekends from 11-5.
Artist Nancy Hiss is creating an art work that consists of writing the names of all dead coalition men and women.
The names will thread their way through the fabric of Portland OR.
Only last names will be listed to honor the sacrifice of individuals & their families.
As you reflect on these names also remember the hundreds of thousands of nameless Iraqis and others who have been scared by this war.
The names will be listed chronologically by date of death.
As of this writing, Nancy and her gang are on NE Alberta Street, a little past 15th, heading east. They will definitely be out on Alberta for last Thursday. And a frequently updated map is online.
And like all things, there's a story about this. Colin Portnuff, the owner, died somewhat suddenly in February, and while it appears that there might have been some public miscommunication about whether Island Joe's would continue, it appears that for now, it is not. I knew Colin (and still panned his restaurant), and I'm very sorry to see him, and Island Joe's, go.
The latest word from John Kauffman, Multnomah County's elections director, isn't improving my mood about this Tuesday's final turnout.
"Based on what we've seen so far, we'll be lucky if we hit 20 percent," he told me. His specific prediction is 19 percent, based on previous turnout numbers. That's about average with off-year special elections (for, say, school board races), "but I thought the City of Portland's charter change measures would have brought in more voters."
Clay recommended this cute tiny cafe with "great panini!". First of all, they have a mirror ball. Portland Roasting provides a decent cup of coffee, and there is espresso as well. The breakfast menu is short: panini, bagel, fruit bowl and yoghurt. Lunch offers a variety of panini ($6.25-$7.25), cold sandwiches ($4.25-$5.75), and salads ($4.75-$6.50), as well as sandwich and soup or salad combos, and beer and wine. And yes, the panini are tasty. Service is not the speediest in town, but it's friendly. Seat yourself insider or out— with the only traffic being the MAX trains, it's pretty pleasant. And, they have WiFi.
Jamison Square is a new park in the Pearl District. While the park is divided into particular areas, the most noteworthy is certainly the kid-friendly fountain. On warm days it continuously recirculates treated water into low pools that slowly drains. The water is extremely shallow, so it's perfect for smaller tykes, but there's enough variation that older kids can be kept guessing as well.
The park is right on the Streetcar line, adjacent to both pizza by the slice, a drugstore, and fancy restaurants that would not appreciate wet clothing. There's lots of comfortable areas for people watching, including benches and grassy nolls with young trees. Car parking is all metered, and there's a fair amount of bike parking as well.
The one potential problem is that this fountain, like the others favored by residents for a quick (or prolonged) spraydown, is very popular. On a hot day it can draw hundreds of users from around the city.
I knew Fong Chong had changed hands since last winter, which might be good, but might also be bad. And I hadn't heard from anyone who had been there lately.
We had had an impressive dim sum at Wong's King, but I hated the fact that if we didn't want to wait, we'd have to be there early (and even then, we'd wait), and I hated the fact that some carts never came near us. Last easter, we had a large party, and about a third of the group showed up late, which seemed to displease our servers. So was that why we were repeatedly only offered congee? Just kidding, but there were lots of carts that never made it near us. It was good, but still.
So when GC has said that he had liked Jin Wah, I was excited. I looked at the Portland Food Archives, and on dim sum crawls, Jin Wah had also been favorably reviewed. Okay!
Which wasn't to say there wasn't resistance. They're in Beaverton, after all.
So, on Christmas day, we arrive, are promptly seated, given hot tea and water, and then the choices begin. You can order off the menu, or off the carts, or both. A cart with hot savory items was at our table immediately, with a huge variety of things: chickens feet, shu mai, beef balls, sticky rice, fried rice, shrimp noodle, and many more things that were just a blur of pork, shrimp and mushrooms.
And so we had just got there, and we already had a lazy susan full of things to nosh. Hurrah!
And that's only the beginning of the good news. Everything that we had, save the BBQ pork, was as good or better than we had had elsewhere. My partner grumbled that he didn't like the sauce on the chicken legs as well as at Wongs King, and I'll be honest, I don't remember the sauce. I just remember that I liked them there, and I liked them here.
Stealthily, the staff would refill waters, tea, pop, and empty dishes got whisked away. New carts came by with new treats: shrimp & taro, deepfried in a ball, sesame balls, strange little balls made with shrimp or pork, rolled in sweet sticky rice. Tofu stuffed or combined with pork, shrimp and/or mushrooms. Shrimp dumplings. Another dumpling with shrimp and scallops. Several types of congee, rice porridge; grilled noodles; chinese doughnuts; plates of bok choy and salt & pepper calamari; tropical fruit jello desserts with umbrellas.
There are cons, of course. It's not like eating in a diner, or a banquet hall. The surroundings are quite elegant, sophisticated. You'll have to pace yourself, because, if you want to get everything you want in 5 minutes, you can have it. You won't get the opportunity to stack the empty metal steam pots. You won't get to wait in line, or to wait for food to come. There is no ginger chicken or lobster pie... or if there is, we haven't seen it. And it's in Beaverton. On the MAX line. With parking.
So, obviously, I'm sold. It does seem like it might be a smidge more expensive, though it may be that we're just too excited to stop when we should stop. But we're not talking hugely expensive. In our small groups, we've eating like kings for $15 a head or less, plus tip. We've ended up spending less at WK or FC. Course, there was that one time at WK where we only were visited by the sesame roll cart...
I'm hugely impressed by the service. The staff is friendly, and helpful.
Less than a year after opening, Jones Pub will be serving their last on Friday, December 30, 2005. I'm sorry to see it go. Happy Hour prices will apply all night.
What's coming? The Oaks Bottom Pub, owned by Jerry Fechter (of the New Old Lompoc) and famed publican Jim Parker, late of Concordia Ale House. According to the Oregonian's John Foyston, Parker's "first pub, the Mountain Tap Tavern in Colorado, was named one of America's 10 best beer bars in 1995. Parker will spend most of the time behind the Oaks Bottom bar, a job he loves. He's looking to make it a true neighborhood place that opens early in the morning with good coffee and pastries and continues through the day with a solid menu, 12 taps (half will pour Lompoc beers) and a full bar." Parker and Fechter? Wow! Sellwood, watch out!
Juniors Cafe was one of those places that I'd bring folks from out of town. Or we'd get up early to beat the crowds there. The selection of breakfast dishes could make everyone happy, and the place was so comfortable, it was like home, but with better furniture.
Then I had a fight with my significant other there once, and suddenly, we weren't going to Juniors anymore.
So we went back to check them out after all this time.
Now the great thing about Juniors is that they have vegan and omnivore food. But unlike some other places, you won't feel bent out of shape if you order either, because they're both good. Or were. I delighted in ordering the vegan spuds with cheese and bacon—yum!
The menu feels a lot different, even as they've retained a bunch of the names. They have eggs, scrambles, omellettes, tofu, breakfast sandwiches, french toast, potatoes, and etcetera. Prices range from $4-$8.50, so it's pretty reasonable. They use groovy eggs and other unspecified foods.
Anyways, this last time around, I ordered the migas scramble and my sweetie ordered french toast. The migas came with the eggs browned. We were the only people in the restaurant, and they burned my eggs? The french toast was oddly bitter, so bitter that my companion ate one corner and left the rest (I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him leave food on his plate). It came with one small link of sausage (bland chicken stuff) cut in half.
The potatoes that came with my eggs weren't as greasy as the last time I had been in, but they managed to be completely underwhelming. Now, admittedly, I'm a potatoes snob, I like them just so... but my better half also hated them and refused to eat them.
So, in all, Juniors has gone through some changes over the years, but this time, it's really a change for the worse.
This is one of my favorite restaurants in town, and I hate to even bring it to your attention, because what if you love it like I do, and suddenly I can no longer get in for my caesar and pasta fix? Justa Pasta started out as a pasta maker, and they still supply many high-end restaurants with noodles and ravioli.
The menu is made up of salads, pastas, raviolis, and specials. If you're being careful, you can easily get a small salad and a small pasta and come away owing less than $10. The caesar is one of the city's best, garlicy and sublime. Soups are consistently fantastic. But really, this is all about the pasta—a couple types of pasta, a couple types of ravioli, a handful of sauces, all housemade. It's great. Specials, always including several lasagnas... great. Cheesecake and other sweets... great. And, the owners are really good about posting the day's specials (as well as a current menu) on the website (imagine!).
Okay, so what are the downsides, then? One, you queue up for food. Grabbing a table before you order and get your food is really frowned upon, and seriously not cool. They have a couple of bottled beers, a couple of wines by the glass, or you can select a bottle of wine while you're queued up. Otherwise, find a seat in their remodeled restaurant/lounge, enjoy a sip of whatever you're drinking, and relax. Pearl Bakery baguette comes almost immediately. The service is efficient and friendly, but you'll have to get your own water refill or fresh glass of wine. (See? Why would you want to go there, really?)
It's a wonder to me how many awful lunch joints there are downtown in Portland. I know that not everyone is as much as a crank as I am, but I still have to wonder.
Well, I hope I haven't spoiled the drama there. Kaffee Bistro is a coffee and sandwich joint with neon in the window advertising Fresh Baked Turkey. Not surprisingly, the menu is made up overwhelmingly of turkey.
I was jonesing for some mashed potatoes, so I ordered the Open Face ($5.95), a white and dark meat open face sandwich with all the trimmings. It sounded good, especially with the toasted struan on the bottom. What I got was what they call the Big Turkey Dinner ($5.95), which is the sandwich without the bread, with mashed taters, dressing, corn, cranberry sauce, gravy and a roll.
This looks like something you might get at your high-school cafeteria on the day they roast a bunch of turkeys. Kaffee Bistro are generous with the food, so much so that the chinet plate sags suggestively, as if it's about to lose its bottom. The white and dark meat taste about the same, which is to say, like thin sliced lunch meat that doesn't really taste like anything. The rest of the plate has been reconstituted or reheated from a box or a can.
Mind you, I have a great tolerance for boxed mashed potatoes and canned gravy. Homemade is best, but I don't usually turn up my nose at the food service pac. But when mashed potatoes, even boxed ones, don't taste good, something is horribly, horribly wrong.
I bet they make a tolerable sandwich, but I'm not going to be the one telling you about it.
Karam has always been a foodie's wet dream, but I've never been convinced. Sure, it's a nice atmosphere and they have alcohol, they make pita to order (and whole wheat if you ask nicely), and they have a huge, unusual menu. Maybe it's just because I've been such a fan of Ya Hala. Who knows?
We went for lunch, and I was pleased to see a big breakfast menu (15 items from $3.50-$7) also available at lunch. Then I ignored it. Did I mention the lunch menu? With 17 ala carte main courses ($7.50-$19.95), 11 sandwiches ($5-$6.50), 10 pizza/calzoney things ($6-$8.95), 8 salads ($4.50-$9), and 4 stews ($8-$9.95), it might take a while to decide. We ordered the meat mezze, which has one of everything, a falafel sandwich with baba ghanouj, Fatte with lamb, and the lamb shank. The hummus and baba ghanouj are excellent. The Fatte, a layered dish with pita, roasted eggplant, garbanzo beans, pine nuts and yogurt was beautiful and yummy. The lamb shank came in a broth with vegetables, also gorgeous. Portions were huge, and everything was very tasty—we were all moaning over our food. We were groaning, but still ordered dessert (6 from $2.25-$4.50) (katayef bil-ashta and katayef bil-jos) which were also really good.
While there are lots of vegetarian choices and ways to eat cheap, the menu is kinda pricey. And the service—leisurely. Our lunch took over an hour and a half, making all of us late, and for three folks going a bit overboard, cost us $20 each. It's certainly easy to eat under $10 if you show some self-control, but you might as plan for it taking a while. It's worth it.
Perhaps the nicest part of downtown Portland to walk is also the least walked. The Urban Renewal or Keller (named for Ira Keller, the first chairman of the Portland Development Commission in the 1950s) blocks are a fifteen-block loop, and one of the most pleasant areas of downtown Portland.
These walking areas are located in the south end of downtown and have the distinction of being hidden in plain sight. The paths are heavily treed, and dotted with parks and fountains. This is the perfect place to stretch your legs, cool off on a warm day, get a breath of fresh air, and slow down for a moment.
The concrete paths follow the outlines of 2nd and 3rd Avenues, between Market and Lincoln Streets. Let's start at the Ira Keller Fountain (aka Fourcourt Fountain) at 3rd & Market. Fourcourt is a popular place to bring the kids during hot weather, as well as just hang out, eat lunch, etc. Noted architect Lawrence Halprin designed the fountain, and Ursula LeGuin wrote about it.
If you're a bit peckish, a burrito from Fuego (on Market between 2nd & 3rd) is a cheap, portable option. The Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield (100 SW Market St, enter on what would be 2nd by the fountain) offers discounted healthy meals. Other options include Carafe (french bistro, lovely wines, good mixed drinks) and Murata (some of the best sushi in town).
Parts of the blocks, but by no means all, are wheelchair-accessible.
Lawrence Halprin's urban plazas: Ada Louise Huxtable, America's gift to architecture criticism, once called Portland's Keller Fountain "one of the most important urban spaces since the Renaissance." Designed by San Francisco landscape designer Lawrence Halprin, its stunning waterfall offset by wading pools and platforms invites both contemplation and participation. The Keller -- along with two Halprin-designed public spaces nearby, the Lovejoy Fountain and Pettygrove Park -- changed the way American landscape architects thought about city parks, and it sparked a Portland tradition of great urban plazas and parks. Southwest Third and Clay Street, across from Keller Auditorium
from the Oregonian, World Class Oregon II, Sunday, October 02, 2005
filled under walking, downtown
May 31, 2007 |
Ken's is one of a couple bakeries in town making excellent bread products. That said, Ken's is my absolute favorite. Everything is handmade, using the best organic flours and ingredients, the slow way. The breads are incredible—if you like French-style breads, this is the place. It's a bread-lover's paradise—and an Atkins dieters' nightmare.
In addition to bread, they have yummy sweets—a pain au chocolat to die for. They have awesome sandwiches—the best croque monsieur in town, and they have beer and wine as well as espresso.
They also have a mean pizza night, Mondays, from 5:30-9:30, serving bistro-style pizza.
Downsides? They're often packed, and finding parking on 21st is a pain (though if you're there before 3pm, you can park in Basta's lot). Tables are tiny—great if there's two or less of you, not so great if you're coming in a pack. And, it's a small place. Service can be quite brusque (though it's always markedly better when Ken is around). And, they close early (7pm T-F).
I have mixed feelings about the McMenamins chain. They restore these cool old buildings, and give people the chance to stay somewhere that is about 180 degrees from a cookie-cutter chain. Yet they make inconsistent beer, and the food seems to be an expensive afterthought. They're where a lot of us who grew up drinking industrial swill learned about craftbrews: they enabled the Portland/NW microbrew revolution. And yet the places have such hippyish decor, and the staff so stoned that I'm a little embarrassed.
Still, when I noticed the Kennedy School does breakfast, I knew I'd be heading over there sooner rather than later.
Kennedy School is a former school, built in 1915, retired in 1975. Its one-story modular design was a model to others and got national recognition. In 1997, the McMenamin Brothers worked their magic, transforming the school into guestrooms, bars, a theatre, brewery and restaurant, all with a smirking reference to the school it once was.
And note the year: 1997. Before Alberta was happening, before New Seasons even existed. Before Nature's Northwest went bad. The McMenamin Brothers took a big chance on a property in an area that a lot of folks saw as a bad neighborhood. Good or bad, the Kennedy School project was a huge force in the area's gentrification.
The Courtyard Restaurant is the former cafeteria, right on a courtyard, and I was surprised as we walked in the room how I wanted to linger. The room is full of mismatched light fixtures, huge wood booths, a gorgeous bar, and of course, a whole wall of windows onto the courtyard which is gorgeous: lots of tables, chairs, benches and small pews surround beautiful plantings, and a huge fireplace.
In a word, the place is beautiful, and comfortable, eccentric but in a thoroughly pleasant way. It's so thoroughly Portland, and the acid-trip stuff that makes me gag about McMenamins (men wearing overalls with a hammer for their head, women who look like some SCA witch, stars and moons, so many stars and moons) is so very subtle if it's there at all. I love this room.
We had coffee that they roast themselves: not bad at all. The breakfast menu ranges from $4.15-$9.40, from eggs to flapjacks to biscuits & country gravy to cereal. The waitron recommended the benedict, which is significantly more expensive than everything else. So we ordered heuvos rancheros and biscuits and gravy, along with a side of sausage.
The menu is tremendously vegetarian friendly, just as Kennedy School is tremendously wheelchair friendly.
Anyways, the food: bland. There was plenty of it, but nothing had much of any flavor.
The biscuits were like mutant dumplings, absolutely huge, covered in a white sauce. There was plenty of gravy, but it tasted really more like a white sauce than a sausage gravy. Mmmm, white sauce over giant biscuits...
The heuvos rancheros, of course, did not have anything resembling ranchero sauce, just warmed corn tortillas, bland black beans, unmelted shredded cheddar cheese, poached eggs, a bland salsa, and sour cream. Even the sausage didn't taste like much of anything.
This bummed me out so much. By the time we had gotten our coffee, I had decided that I wanted to spend as much time as possible in this room, or once it stops raining, in that courtyard.
K&Z's will be moving to the Ace Hotel downtown this summer.
They are not serving pastrami right now, until they reopen in September.
However, the deli will continue at Ken's Place until June 2nd with an expanded menu that includes our own Corned Beef, Pickled Tongue, Pot Roasted Brisket Open Sandwiches, Blintzes, Borscht and some other delicacies.
June 2nd is the last day in the SE Hawthorne location.
Full disclosure: I know these guys.
If you've had Pastrami King's pastrami in the last couple weeks at the Hillsdale Farmers Market, you know it's sublime. Well, they've given up on the market and moved their operation back to Ken Gordon's restaurant, Ken's Place, and it appears to be an unqualified success.
Before a couple weeks ago, I didn't understand why people get so excited about pastrami. I was thinking it was a waste of a good brisket. But now I understand, and now, I crave it.
It's a true brunch menu: pastrami & eggs, corned beef hash, latkes, a big salad, handmade bagels with lox, reubens, pastrami sandwiches, and baked knishes. We sat at the counter watching everything get made, and, wow, everything looked better than the last!
We began with a toasty warm potato knish ($2), which could be a meal in itself. One of my favorite things to do in NYC is go to Yonah Schimmel on Houston, and Nick's knish is even better than I remember having at Yonah Schimmel's.
We ordered a reuben ($10.25) and the pastrami & eggs ($8.75). Watching the reuben being grilled was almost painful, it was so beautiful. And while I would have preferred having eggs with sliced pastrami, the frittata was delicious and quite addictive. The guy next to me ordered the hash, which I would have liked to eat off his plate, and his daughter the bagel and lox. Whoa! Even the big salad looked like a decadent treat. We washed these down with Dr. Brown's cream and cel-ray sodas, the latter tasting like celery without the annoying strings. They also serve Stumptown coffee and eggcreams made with Dagoba chocolate. Yum!
Meals run from $6.75-$11.75, and we brought half of ours home. You can also get pastrami by the half pound, chopped liver, potato salad, cole slaw, and full or half-sour pickles.
The downsides here is that with everything looking and sounding and tasting so good, a nosh plate with little bits of this and that would really help. It's not a cheap endeavor, especially if getting breakfast there also means bringing a half pound home to nosh on later—and you practically have to! And the service, while friendly, is a little uneven at this point. Still, I'll be back.
Up a quarter staircase from Glisan, this tiny but wonderful shop has everything you could possibly need. The owner is on hand with a lifetime of really gorgeous knitting experience, and she's totally able to put you at ease. Her selection ranges from high-end to Brown Sheep, with a huge selection of both Manos and Lamb's Pride. While this isn't the most visible shop, it's worth looking for.
In spite of the name, Knittn' Kitten is primarily a sewing thrift. But what a sewing thrift! They have lots of fabric, both in pieces and in bolts, most 100% cotton print for $1.00-$1.50 a yard. Notions and the like include just about anything you can imagine:
cotton sewing thread, zippers, elastic, seam binding/blanket binding, buttons, rick rack, and lace, eyelet, embroidered, fringe, and upholstery trims for the change in your pocket.
They do also have crafty stuff: cotton embroidery floss, knitting and crochet needles, yarn in very small quantities, and beads.
Finally, they also stock beautiful or goofy linens like aprons and hankerchiefs.
We finally made it into La Bodega, a little place where Peanut Butter & Ellie's used to be. You'd never know that there once was a kids restaurant there—La Bodega is sleek and sophisticated, very adult. So here's the deal. They have wine & beer by the bottle (or in a few cases, by the can).
First, let's talk about beer. By beer, I mean, good beer. Really good beer. Lots of Belgians, some from the UK and Germany, and some of the best microbrews in the US, around 120 all told. You can purchase to take with you, or to drink there. If you have a beer there, they have the appropriate glasswear, something us beergeeks get all frothy about.
Now, wine. There are 17ish wines available by the glass, plus ports and dessert wines. There's a whole wall of interesting things (and by things, I mean wine). You can sit at the bar, at tables, on the cushy leather couches, or in good weather, on the back deck. To make it all the nicer, they have ever-changing sophisticated snacks involving olives, cheeses, salamis, pates and crostini, most just a couple dollars.
It's lovely to be at a place that both wine and beer lovers can enjoy. The owners are friendly, and passionate about food, wine and beer. Oh, and map geeks—there are maps, lots and lots of maps! The only thing that could make this better is wifi, though this is the sort of place where what you're sipping should be your focus. I'll definitely be back.
The original Pasta Veloce location, which became La Terrazza, has reopened as La Capanna.
This tiny place with sidewalk and balcony seating has seen better days, but they still make pasta, panini and salads to order, serving the same dishes that PV and La Terrazza did. Prices are in the sevens for panini, $8-$9.50 for salad, and $6.75-$10 for pasta.
The lunch servings aren't bad: a pasta bowl fullish with a couple of pieces of grilled bread, quite attractive. And quite underwhelming. With the Pesto E Pollo, the chicken is dried out (nothing new there, unfortunately), and while the cream-pesto sauce is green, it's not terribly basilly. The artichoke hearts tasted freshly plucked from the can, with the brine still on the interior leaves. And, the pasta was gummy.
I don't want to claim that the original Pasta Veloce was incredible, because it wasn't. But sauces were simple and tasty.
Mind you, it's edible. But for $9.25, it should be a bit better than edible.
We were out scootering when we saw a sign on Lombard: Giant Tortas Buffet, in the location that has housed a thousand small taco shops, most notably Taco Chavez. So when the next meal came and we were still in St Johns, we knew we'd be heading back to Kenton.
Well surprise, surprise, in spite of the sign, the new shop is called Taqueria y Restaurant Las Nayaritas, and there is no sign of a buffet. Indeed, it's just a sparse hole-in-the-wall filled with fastfood molded plastic booths and tables, and the sort of place where the dishes listed on the walls are just suggestions, really.
They have all the usual stuff: tacos, burritos, tamales, enchiladas, but weekends are really the time to stop by, because they increase their menu almost two-fold, making delicioso caldo de cameron, rico menudo, rico pozole, carne en su jugo, and birria. They also serve Desayuno Classico starting at 9am!
So after some consultation, we ordered the pozole ($4.99) and a quesadilla ($2.99), and grabbed some sodas out of the cooler. I asked for the quesadilla without onions, and I was happy to hear the cashier tell the cook to hold the pico de gallo and any other onions en espanol. As we sat down, I immediately regretted ordering something as pedestrian as a quesadilla.
Maybe we looked hungry, I don't know. One of the ladies brought out tastes of their sopa del dia, Carrot Soup, which was seriously rich and luscious. Then she brought out chips and salsa -- no great shakes, but I appreciated getting them in a taco stand. Then, out came our food. The pozole was a pho-sized bowl, with lots of shredded pork on top, accompanied by a plate of cabbage and several slices of lime. The quesadilla was huge, a giant flour tortilla griddled, filled with a little cheese, and a lot of chicken.
The quesadilla was good, especially with the homemade salsa; the pozole was great. It was full of hominy with a yummy broth, very definitely homemade, and such a huge portion.
When we were finishing up, one of the ladies brought us tastes of their carne en su jugo which was wonderful: lots of broth and smaller pieces of meat. Yum.
With the cheapest thing on the menu being tacos ($1.25) and the most expensive being the filet minon ($11.99), it's hard to imagine you could go wrong here. No alcohol, no smoking, cash only.
Really, I don't get a kickback from Concordia Ale House, I just end up there fairly frequently. But I noticed the other night that they offer a late night menu after 10 til close. Most nights (other than Sunday, I believe), close is 2am. They have about 15 items on the menu, including a burger and a chicken sandwich, and just about everything off the appetizers menu, including their yummy and hot buffalo wings.
Laughing Planet is one of those places that we talk about going to, when we want something simple and fast, that usually gets vetoed in favor of dinner at the pub. There's nothing on the menu that calls out to me.
Still, the space is very pleasant: 3 garage doors that open onto the courtyard and Mississippi Street, ceiling fans to keep the air moving around, and an assortment of interesting art and dinosaur statues. And, like everything else on Mississippi St, they have wifi.
This evening we went, and I took a closer look at the menu. Let's begin with beer. They have 4 taps, with Laurelwood Red, Terminal Gravity IPA and Golden, and usually an Amnesia on... though tonight it was Walking Man's Barefoot Brown. They have a selection of bottled beers, bottled drinks, iced teas, etc.
The menu is divided into Appetizers, Bowls, Burritos, Salads, Quesadillas and Add-Ins. I had never spent enough time with the menu before to see that they encourage customization. They're largely groovy and organic. Okay!
Prices range from $3.50-$9. The menu is largely vegan and vegetarian, with protein items like groovy chicken, smoked turkey, tofu or tempeh as add-ons. But it's not just protein: you can add spinach, broccoli, mashed potatoes, brown rice, shitake barley-quinoa pilaf, greens, corn, plantains, grilled veggies and/or romaine. And/or guac, sour cream, jalapenos, tillamook cheese, vegan rice cheese, and vegan sour cream.
We ordered the Amaizin' Grace Quesadilla and Grilled Chicken burrito. The Amaizin' Grace has corn, green chilies and cilantro pesto in addition to jack cheese and pico de gallo. In the spirit of customization, I ordered mine without the pico.
The grilled chicken is a basic mission-style burrito, with pinto beans, brown rice, lots of jack cheese, and pico de gallo. That was ordered with guacamole.
So. Both dishes came without their customization. We sent the quesadilla back, and they comped us a bowl of chips and salsa. The burrito was also missing its rice. The chips were lackluster, but the medium roasted tomato-chipotle salsa was warm enough to keep us drinking our beer.
When we got to eating, it was all good. My quesadilla was super-cheezy, and a nice flavor combo. The burrito had nice, carmelized chicken in it in chunks, quite tasty.
In the end, this seems pricier than going out for a burrito at a taqueria, but part of that may be the fact that there's no beer generally. I 'm excited that I can bring veggie and vegan friends here, and they can have a range of ordering options. The beer on tap will probably be enough to draw us back.
But the fact that they encourage customization, and then are a bit sloppy about actually customizing isn't encouraging.
4 screens, 8 beer taps, popcorn and pizzicato pizza.
2nd runs and art films, as well as oldies but goodies
21 and over after 4:00 pm (minors must be accompanied by parent for shows before 4pm)
On a recent visit, a pint (a real 16oz, in spite of the plastic glass) was $3.75, and the beers on tap included:
Full Sail Amber
Rogue Dead Guy
Lucky Lab Organic Golden
Lucky Lab Stumptown Porter
Rogue Younger's Special Bitter
When it opened in 1924 the Laurelhurst Theatre seated 650 people within a single auditorium. Today the Theater and Pub offers fresh pizza and a microbrew, four screens and some of the cheapest movie tickets in town. Movie options range from recent releases to second runs and foreign films.
The original Laurelwood, in Hollywood, is a popular brewpub, but strangely enough, it's not that popular for breakfast. I don't understand it, but I embrace it!
Breakfast is served from 10-3 on the weekends. The menu is pretty straightforward: a handful of omelettes like the Super Protein (stuffed with bacon, ham, sausage and cheese), the Ham and Cheese (which is big chunks of ham in a cheese omelette) and the Green Eggs and Ham (a pesto version of the Ham and Cheese); a handful of scrambles; a breakfast burrito; egg, meat and carb combos; and a couple kid's options (leggo my Eggo!).
We've been there several times now, and it's a good honest, tasty breakfast. Two omelettes and a coffee rang in at $16. While the roasted potatoes aren't quite as good as Genie's, they're still pretty darn good, topped with raw garlic, parsley and parmesan. If you're familiar with Laurelwood's garlic fries, it's not quite that garlicky, but if you don't like (raw) garlicky potatoes, you probably won't like these.
Toast products come with little commercial jam tubs, but it's actually good.
It's a good, satisfying breakfast with the option of letting your children run free, or having a bit of the hair of the dog. Of course, if you're allergic to children, sit in the bar—or go somewhere else.
Yesterday, I demanded that my better half take me to an establishment that served alcohol, stat. And thus, we ended up at kid-magnet Laurelwood Public House during happy hour.
Since I'm allergic to kids, we don't usually go there, but it did seem like a decent option for beer and food. After all, while Laurelwood's food is not great, it's consistently good and edible.
The happy hour menu includes $2.75 pints, and $3.95 food. The food options include
the Happy Burger with fries, perhaps half the size of their regular burger (and you can add cheese for an extra buck)
the Happy Aritichoke-Jalapeno (sic) Dip, which comes with tortilla chips (artificial artichoke?)
the Happy Mediterranean Pizza with Pesto
the Happy Mac 'n' Cheese with Ham (with tortilla chips)
the Happy Taco (with tortilla chips and salsa
the Happy Nachos (add chicken for $3 more)
the Happy Garlic Fries
the Happy Chicken Caesar Salad
So with dutiful grouchiness, we ordered our Happy Cheeseburgers, our Happy Nachos, and our Happy Mac 'n' Cheese. The folks next to us appeared to be at the beginning of a wake.
Like I mentioned above, the Happy Burger is a small, plain hamburger with lettuce and a single slice of insipid tomato. It comes with a small handful of fries, which are batterdipped and double-fried. I suppose someone might get full off of that serving, but my guess is that 99% of the American adult population would not. But then, none of these servings are large.
The Happy Nachos are really the most cheerful possible thing: tortilla chips covered with black bean chili, cheese, and olives. There isn't a lot of it, but, really, a little goes a long way.
The Happy Mac 'n' Cheese looks like Kraft dinner with little cubes of ham on top. And it definitely tastes like something out of a box, designed not to offend the sentiments of children, like something midway between Kraft dinner and Annie's.
So, we each spent about $9 on food. For that $9, we could have gotten any of their 1/3# hamburgers with lots of toppings, and fries or salad. Which just makes me think we were ripped off!
Anyways, if you're just feeling noshy, the Laurelwood happy hour isn't a bad deal. But if you're hungry, just stick to the regular menu.
The best way to learn about beer (or wine) is to go to tastings, or to go to places where it's taken very seriously.
I'm a newbie to savoring craft beers. While I was lucky to be exposed to different beer styles in France, Belgium and Germany in my 20s, I tended to drink lawn-mowing beers until very recently. Part of this is economic, but part was also the fear that I wouldn't like what I ordered and I'd have to drink it anyways (cuz that's just how I am).
So, attending beer festivals is a good way to being exposed to new and different styles of beer, and new brewers—however, they tend to be too busy to get real good information about what you're drinking.
You have to watch for beer tastings, but it's worth your while.
A beer tasting is an organized event that usually features one craft brewer or one style of craft beer. John Foyston of the Oregonian frequently mentions them in his Brew News column in the A&E. We try to post about them here as well.
Places that offer beer tastings include La Bodega, Belmont Station, Liquid Solutions, and Woodstock Wine and Deli. There are other beer related events that happen elsewhere, like local beer luminary Fred Eckhardt's beer pairings with cheese or chocolate, or brewer's dinners at various restaurants around town.
There are just a few places where craft brews are taken very seriously, and where there are enough different beers to make it worth your while.
My favorite, and certainly where I've learned just about everything I know is at Concordia Ale House. They tend to have really interesting things on tap, and a huge collection of bottled beers. The staff are well educated, and especially when it isn't busy, are happy to share tasters and information. Just reading their draftlist is an education!
Other places that have good beer on tap and well-trained staffs include HorseBrass, Rose and Raindrop, and Oaks Bottom. La Bodega is an excellent place to explore bottled beers, (they have quite a few, and they are true beer geeks about the storage) and it's a small enough place that you can really get some special attention if you'd like that. And Henry's Tavern downtown has 100 taps, and is excellent—but only if you sit at the bar. The waitrons are clueless about alcohol.
Be sure to ask questions, and tell them what you like. You'll find that many barkeeps, restaurant managers, and the like will be sure to send something special your way.
But what if you're starting, really, at a beer festival? You just need to do your homework.
If you have some time before the festival, look at the list of brewers and beers offered. These are usually listed in the program or on the festival's web site.
You can learn a lot about a brewery by checking out their web site. For example, Dogfish Head pushes everything to an extreme. Is that good? Depends on what you like (I love some of their stuff and hate others).
A site like Rate Beer (ratebeer.com) can be helpful in determining what you might like. Look up a beer you like, and then a beer that looks interesting. Admittedly, the site isn't as easy as it could be to use, but, it can be helpful.
Trust your intuition.
Have you ever noticed some beers in the grocery store that have no information about the brewery? Isn't that odd? It seems like the big local breweries' packaging is full of personality. So what are you to think of a, say, Blue Moon, or a Green Valley? Surprise, surprise, Blue Moon is owned by and brewed by Coors. Green Valley is just a nicer name for Anheuser-Busch.
Of course, the same can be said of Session, though it does actually say in the fine print that it's brewed by Full Sail.
There are smaller names whose brewery names I'm blocking out, but they're easy to spot at the grocery: they're craft brews, and they're cheap. Usually, they're cheap because they aren't consistent, or just aren't so good. Your mileage, of course, may vary. They might be contract brewed, they might be brewed by a bigger macrobrewery. Who knows? Just remember, you get what you pay for.
We trekked here one Sunday for dim sum. Arriving at 9:55, we were pleased to notice others standing by, keeping the vigil at the front door. At 10am sharp, a manager unlocked the door, and let the hordes in.
When you go to Legin for dim sum, you want to be seated in the dim sum dining room, usually Dining Room C. Sit elsewhere at your peril.
You can't complain about the quantity and variety. We were seated and there were lots of carts with lots of steamer baskets of goodies, so we began with shaomai (pork dumplings) and hargau (shrimp dumplings). These were warm, but not hot; the shrimp fresh, the wheat starch wrapper a little gummy.
We tried many things. Tripe (okay, I didn't try that), taro dumpling, cheong fun (rice noodle rolls), a dumpling with shrimp and chinese greens, and chinese broccoli. For the most part, these were okay, though I've had better versions elsewhere in town, in particular at Wong's King and even at Fong Chong.
While enjoyed a great variety of dishes, only one was served hot, the very last plate of shaomai. There were several dumplings that I usually enjoy (like scallop, or shrimp in rice ball, or the fried meat dumplings) that tasted mostly like library paste.
And yet. The humbao was light and fluffy, really much better than what you usually find in Portland.
Consistency is an issue here. From week to week, you may find things better or worse.
Prices appear to be higher here. We were a bit restrained and it cost $13 a head.
So, in the end, do you have to wait in line, or have a hard time finding something to eat? These aren't likely at Legin. You may find better dim sum elsewhere in town, but this, for the most part, isn't bad.
This is a small, but very enthusiastic market. There actually is a community table where folks can sell their produce, or in this morning's case, tamales and horchata. A small collection of farmers are there. We picked up strawberries and fresh ameraucanas eggs, in the colors of organic cotton. If I had chickens, I'd get ameraucanas, just for the colored eggs. The chickens who produce these eggs are free range, and they live about 10 blocks from the market. How's that for local? A new round of hens will be old enough to lay brown eggs in next couple weeks. Yum.
Visit the Lents International Farmers Market and you will find a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, plants, flowers and prepared foods, many of which were grown or prepared by immigrants and refugees living in the Portland area. International music, children's entertainment and educational talks and demonstrations by chefs, nutritionists and gardeners, are all a part of the weekly fun! The market accepts WIC and Senior coupons and will soon accept the Oregon Trail card. A community table is available for anyone who would like to sell their extras from their home gardens. This is our first year of weekly markets.
Sometimes, you just need to get away to appreciate home. For example, let me sing the praises of PDX, our local international airport.
I got lucky enough to go through the top two busiest airports a couple times in this last week. Oh boy. As far as I can see, they are textbook examples of how not to have an inviting airport.
So, without further adieu...
1. The MAX train that comes right into the airport. With MAX, you can easily get downtown or a number of other destinations.
2. Parking in the economy lot? Bus shelters are frequent, every couple blocks, as are the buses that take you to the terminal (every 7-9 minutes!)
3. People at the ticketing counter are nice, and helpful. It almost seems like they want to help you!
4. Even early in the morning, you have a choice of places to get something to eat. You can choose between a meal in a bag, fast food, sit down or sit down nice, all at Portland street prices.
5. Shopping? Like every other airport, they expect you're bored, have room in your carry-on, and have money to burn. But! They have a bigger Powell's Books in the "Oregon Market" as well as smaller ones in the concourses. All have used books, and super cheap paperbacks.
6. Need to do work? Or web surf? Or play games? Unlike other airports that hide their power outlets or kill the juice to visible ones (!!!), PDX knows that you need your laptop fix and works to make it as easy as possible. There is a Service Center (or two, in C) in each concourse, with workspace, telephones, copy machines, power outlets. WiFi is free, and available in most areas of the airport. Let me just repeat that in case you were dozing: WiFi is free at PDX.
7. But wait, there's more! They have these little living rooms areas with comfie chairs, big screen TVs, power outlets. Get comfortable and relax!
8. Waiting for someone coming in from a flight? There's a new comfortable waiting room, where you can sit comfortably, and, shock, actually see the folks coming through the shute from the concourse. Incredibly humane!
All we need is a little appearance from Mr. Bicycling himself, Lance Armstrong, and the media puts out lots of bicycling articles. Though that makes it sound different—when the Oregonian, Tribune and Willamette Week have given us a quite a bit of bike love since I've become obsessed with all this (eg, this spring).
Portland's a great place to bike, and a great place to be part of the bicycling community, though there could be improvements. Sure. Sure, it could be better. But compared to most of the country, it's heaven.
Here's three stories that ran on Sunday, September 25.
"It's all about THE BIKE: A curious spokehead searches out why our Rose City is the most bike-friendly big city in the U.S." Jeff Mapes, the Oregonian, Sunday, September 25, 2005.
Long ago and far away, a reader recommended Libbie's. But it took me a while to actually make it to downtown Milwaukie.
Libbie's subtitle is The Home of Comfort Food. This is certainly true, at least at breakfast, which is served all day long. Actually, breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served all day.
The menu is simple: 10 large omelettes ($7.50-$13), purely starchy things ($1.75-$7), and 11 egg specials ($6.25-$12). Coffee is a buck seventy-five, and it sucks.
The omelettes are all your favorites: farmers, vegetarian, denver, spanish, and they all come with either pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or potatoes and toast. Potato options are home fries and hashbrowns.
For starches, they offer pancakes, french toast, and waffles (though waffles are only available until noon), oat groats, and hot cream of wheat.
The egg specials include the usual cafe breakfast, biscuits & gravy, corned beef hash, chicken fried steak and two other steak & eggs variants.
We ordered two of the egg specials: the number 5, biscuits, gravy & hashbrowns; and the number 11, Rick's special, home fries grilled with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, bellpeppers and ham, topped with cheddar cheese and 2 eggs any style.
These are giant plates of food, far more than anyone should eat at breakfast. The gravy is mild with small chunks of sausage -- it tastes fresh, not floury, but not well seasoned. The biscuits are buried but appear to be tender and fresh. And the hashbrowns are at the top of their game: two crusty, golden brown sides surrounding the soft warm potato inside.
I think the Rick's might have worked better with hashbrowns rather than home fries, for that contrast in text, however it was awfully good with the home fries.
If you're looking for an old-school greasy-spoon breakfast, Libbie's is pretty darn good. Just stay away from the coffee.
So I was thrilled and excited when they did finally open and I could finally make it there.
Basically, this is an adorable, charming Portsmouth coffeeshop with light breakfast food and sandwiches, coffee and espresso, milkshakes and housemade ice cream.
On our visit, we tried a breakfast sandwich (the paperboy, $5), a tuna sandwich ($6), a cup of "regular" coffee, an americano, a pot of french press coffee, and a chocolate malt($5).
First of all, the coffee is excellent! This was the first time I've had Courier Coffee and I am a believer! We are so lucky to have so much good coffee in this town and here they serve it strong. If it's too strong for you, ask for a little water added. Yum.
The milkshakes are made from ice cream from Eugene (not with their housemade), and that malt was easily the best I've had in recent memory. Unlike some other malts I've had recently, this was not super-sweet, and not overly chocolately, but it was a perfect meeting (to me) of chocolate, malt, sugar and fat, and it was like the milk shakes I remember (and covet) from childhood.
The paperboy, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. It's a simple sandwich: fried egg, american or cheddar cheese, on ciabatta. It comes with a cup of coffee or tea. You can add veggie bacon or bacon for a buck. And it is delicious, just simple perfection. Grand Central, you are no longer my favorite breakfast sandwich.
The breakfast menu is simple and inexpensive. Three different egg sandwiches for $5 or $6, a bowl of yogurt, fruit, and granola for $5, and various baked goods and doughnuts from Fleur de Lis, Dovetail and Voodoo Donuts. All the breads come from Fleur de Lis as well, and are excellent.
The Tuna sandwich is albacore tuna salad with cheddar, green onions, and apple slices. It usually comes on ciabatta but this time it came on multigrain bread. Other lunch options include turkey, curried tempeh salad, roast beef, BLT and avocado, 2 different grilled cheeses, and two peanut butter sandwiches, with prices ranging from $4 to $6.50.
If you're not a fan of coffee or milkshakes, they do have old-fashioned sodas like Bubble Up, Coke in glass bottles, Sioux City Cream Soda, Nesbitts Strawberry, some Izzy's, Bulldog Root Beer, Vernors, and Yoohoo.
Housemade ice cream can be had for reasonable as well: 95 cents for a double shot in an espresso cup, through 2 scoops for $4.50. I haven't tried the housemade ice cream, but I'm looking forward to it.
They have a couple outside tables, bike parking, and pretty ample parking nearby. They have a bike up window open after 3pm, and they have an everchanging bike-in incentive. But mostly, Ali and Evan are sweet, their space is comfortable, and their food and drinks are divine. I'm so happy to have a destination, now, in Portsmouth!
Lloyd Center Ice Rink is a unique ice skating rink in the center of Lloyd Center Mall. We are conveniently located on the first level across from Meier and Frank. We offer Group Learn to Skate Lessons, a full stocked figure skating pro shop, broom ball, group parties, birthday parties, Summer "Kool" Kamp, freestyles, dance, private ice and last but not least public skating sessions.
The Lloyd District will begin a new farmer's market every Tuesday from 10-2 (originally, it was 2 - 6) in the Oregon Square (right next to the NE 7th Ave Max stop). That's exactly the sum total of what I know, but I'm excited all the same.
Dude, I just got the best festivus present ever! The New Old Lompoc project on N Failing, aka Failing Williams, aka 5Q, is open! They have all the Old Lompoc Brewery beers on tap, natch, including an insane five (5!) winter seasonals, as well as hard liquor. Two nitro thingees. They have this sophisticated space, not as self-consciously cool as Pix next door, but lovely in an astere, calm sort of way. They have—wait for it!—a garage door (thankfully not open this time of year). They have these crazy huge long booths which practically demand interaction, and appear to be built for beer lovers. And real adult food. The macaroni & cheese of the day yesterday was a rib-eye in a red wine-cream sauce over penne—a lovely stroganoff of sorts. The steak was delicious and a steal at $14, presented over the rich, creamy and thoroughly homemade mashed potatoes, and perfectly done veggies. Meatloaf, well damn, I loved that, too. They have a healthy list of appetizers, salads and sandwiches too, and the fries look great. No wi-fi yet. They'll start brewing in the spring, and distilling in the summer. Damn!
Regular house pints are $3.50. There's a happy hour, too.
Looking Glass Books, which has been downtown for over 30 years, is moving out. Their last day on Taylor Street will be January 31. The new location will be in Sellwood.
Meanwhile, they're having a big sale. Many sections of the store are marked down. Shop as usual. Avoid panic buying.
I can't even tell you how sad this makes me. It's the only non-chain bookstore in my part of downtown.
Check them out before they move... They're a small store, intelligent staff, great selection in its specialities (Eastern Spirituality meets literary genius -- also SciFi, women's stuff, queer stuff, divination, more), and they have a staff dog. They also stock comix.
Previously, around these parts, you could buy turducken cat food, and that was really about it. If you really wanted a turducken, you had to work for it, with all that deboning and stuffing, etc.
But now, you can order a Shelton Farms turducken from any Zupan's Market—just call their meat market. (they're calling it a Trilogy) Or, thanks to McAngryPants' legwork, you can get them at New Seasons. Thanks, Mac!
In case you've missed it, a turducken is a truly unholy thing: a boneless chicken stuffed inside a boneless turkey stuffed inside a (boned? partially boned?) turkey. Any space where there is space is filled with either stuffing or sausage. Though some reverse the duck v chicken thing.
I'm sure these cost a mint. But having once boned a turkey (without breaking the skin—let me tell ya, I'll never get those 4 hours back again) for a chinese-style turkey, I'm happy to pay someone else to do it. Would I cook a turducken at home? Well, yeah, if I didn't have to actually debone and stuff the damn thing.
Back when I was a secretary, Lorn's was a favorite hideout when I was having a bad day. I didn't eat out so often: I couldn't afford to. The booths are high, dark stained wood, the plates are solid, substantial, the silverware feels... heavy! It was a real treat.
Lorn and Dottie's has been one of my favorite places for breakfast for a really long time. Favorite is probably not the right word, as there are better places, and cooler places, and places we end up more frequently, but L&D has consistently good food, and consistently short waits. It's very reasonable, very nice, and the city's best kept secret for weekend breakfast downtown. So what's not to love?
So imagine my surprise that we end up there on Labor Day (because all the places I wanted to try on the west side were closed for the holiday! Sheesh!), and find out that they're not open weekends any more.
Hmm, I think. New owners? New cooks? The menu is the same, the prices are the same, and it appears the family that runs it is the same. But all our favorite waiters and waitresses are gone. And it appears the crowds are too, as the place has plenty of open tables and the entire counter is empty.
We order with some trepidation. At this point, we're taking one for the team. It seemed like they had so much more business on the weekends, why would they be closed for them? It doesn't make any sense.
Remembering the old rule, we stick with the starches. This is where Lorn & Dottie's excels. Hot cakes ($6-8.50), plain or with blueberry or banana pecan, dutch babies, german potato pancakes, and the yeasted waffle... oh, the yeasted waffle ($6) is so light and airy and wonderful. But the dutch babies ($9-10) are too. And the potato pancakes ($6-8.50) are great with applesauce, or ask for sour cream.
They offer Banana-Nut Bread($3) and Jalepeno Cornbread ($3), too, both really good. They also have steel-cut oatmeal ($5) everyday, Cream of Wheat ($5) on Wednesday & Thursday , and Zoom ($5) on Fridays.
Not that the eggs are bad; they're not. Really. But the starches are the thing.
So we order a yeasted waffle with Canadian bacon ($8.50) and 2 eggs with potato pancakes and sausage ($9), along with two coffees. Now, this is Starbucks coffee and not really great Starbucks coffee at that, but they do keep your cup full.
The food comes, and it's as good as ever. Delicious, filling, everything we ask of breakfast. So why are they closed weekends? What gives?
This is the other fountain designed by Lawrence Halprin, the prolific and accomplished American landscape architect, in the urban renewal blocks. It's a secret, so be sure to tell no one!
Compared to Ira's Fountain, this is the black sheep, the underloved child. Ira's attracts folks like a magnet, whereas this seems to not have enough strength to repel people. I'm told folks in the apartments and condos nearby use it to wade and cool off, but I see so few signs of that when I wander around during the work day.
It's a curious space, to be certain. The fountain, by itself, is quite pleasant, and it has areas that are designed for visitors to interact with water. And walking along these carfree corridors is a great way for me to lose a bad mood.
Here's what is said about this fountain and how it fits into the rest of the urban renewal blocks:
The Lovejoy and Forecourt Fountains are part of the Portland Open-Space Sequence designed by Halprin in 1965. In his notes about the work, Halprin talks about "urban gardens" and how "they reveal a relation to the rest of the city, emphasizing movement through the malls." The visitor can walk from the open Lovejoy Plaza to the green Pettigrove Park to dramatic Forecourt Fountain. Again, the idea of the choreographed movement through artwork is intensely important.
Beginning with the wide-open stepped concrete plaza at Lovejoy, the visitor is brought into Halprin's vision of the rocks of the High Sierra, where the board-formed steps echo the ledges of rocks recorded during Halprin's hikes for inspiration. The fountain is successful in developing a variety of vistas and water modifiers, that is to say, ways to make the water perform in both active and contemplative manners. The large open areas and the accompanying wooden wing-like structure, designed by architect Charles Moore, invite the public's participation.
The Grand Opening isn't til Friday, but Lucky Lab No. 3 is open now and they're lonely. They have this big ole kitchen and no one to make sandwiches or bento for. Many taps, but no one to pour for. Won't you help them?
No really, we went last night and the manager begged us to tell everyone we knew. Okay. It's a cute former industrial building, complete with interior garage doors and a hoist(!). It's funky and wide open and loud like a bus station, and just dripping with that Lucky Lab je ne sais quoi. The 5-ton strong ale is worth going out of the way for, even if they do only serve it in an 11oz glass. Multiple garage doors, and a partially enclosed outdoor area are going to make for a great place to be in good weather.
And, some of the light fixtures are made from kegs. Beat that! Sorry about the fuzzy pictures, though.
I admit being slow to come around to the Lucky Lab. But now that I'm round, I can't get enough. They feature 12 taps (11 of their own, plus a guest) plus a cask and a nitro tap/engine/thingee. When we were there last, they had two types of homemade pop on tap as well—the traditional root beer, and ginger ale. They have some tasty beers, 4 wines by the glass, cider, mead, and some lunchie type foods (bento, soup & sandwiches for less than $6.50, my favorite being their embellished grilled cheese, the meltdown, which is really good).
So the pros are good beer, large space, some food, a heated, covered back porch for smokers and dog lovers, and good bicycle parking (and a small auto parking lot—street parking is very easy in this area). Miser Monday is a happy day all day long. And they have wifi. The cons are that the space can feel like a bus station when it's hopping, and the food—nothing fancy. And if you don't like dogs, you might not want to sit outside.
Fancy this: it's Saturday afternoon. You go into MacTarnahan's Taproom, and while there are only a couple tables occupied, there is a Wait to be Seated sign. The beautiful porch overlooking industrial NW Portland appears closed in spite of it being a nice spring day. We are seated and given menus, listing all sorts of pretentious sounding food. We order some beer (an imperial pint is $3.50) and some fries ($4). They do have all their beers on tap, and the room is both airy and Germanic with wood and beer signs, and the taps at the bar are beautiful. The fries are very good.
This week is Maintenance Week here at AltPortland. I hope to still have some tidbits of tasty Portlandophile info for you, but I'm going to concentrate on doing clean-up, cross-indexing, and the like.
But hey, you say: what's in it for me?! Well, I'm hoping to make things easier to find. And I'm also trying to make room for new sections like Questions Answered and Better Know a Geographical Feature.
This doesn't mean I'm going on vacation or starting grad school -- really. I'll post a report each day on my progress.
My first act of maintenance: adding search. It's on every page at the top right, next to the logo thingee. Enjoy!
Mama Mia's, in spite of the name, has got some serious bordello going on. You shouldn't go in expecting the new Tuscan cuisine that is touted as Nouvelle Italian—this is the Italian of your childhood, redolent of cheese and red sauce, perhaps lacking in subtly, but... I'm not complaining, please!
Huge menu. Starters range from $4-10, with the standouts being the chopped salad, the zucchini, and the calamari. Individual sized 10" pizzas are $11-$12.
16 pastas come in huge portions, from $8-$16. The sunday gravy and gnocchi are crowd pleasers. The Losta the Pasta Lasagna has been uneven: perfect and well balanced one time vs eggplant undercooked and tough. Entrees range from chicken, beef, veal, and seafood, $14-$19, featuring all your childhood favorites: scallopine, parmigiana, milanese, alla marsala. Three of us got veal and loved it, though it was interesting to see how serving sizes varied on the same dish. (The veal, by the way, is free-range and naturally fed)
There are quite a few veggie options and the menu indicates a willingness to accomodate vegans as well.
The mixed drinks are impressive, and about the usual price. They do have 8 taps, with Widmer Hefeweizen, Widmer Drop Top Amber, Newcastle Brown, Moretti, Stella Artois, Lagunitas Censored and Bridgeport IPA. The pints are $4, unless they're Guinness, and then they're $4.75.
We finished the meal with about one of everything off their dessert menu. While dessert is not their strongest course, that didn't stop us from devouring almost everything before us.
You can make this a cheaper meal, or as we did, go completely overboard. I love coming here, it's like coming back to a childhood memory, except it totally doesn't suck. It's really a pleasure.
This is a very tiny joint, a combo deli and store, and I get the impression the store doesn't get a lot of visitors, which is a shame. It's a tiny little thai store, of canned and packaged goods, but they do have all the necessities like powdered coconut milk, sriracha (shark brand), and an assortment of premade curries in little packets for $2. There's no fresh fruit or veg, no meat, just canned and packaged goods.
Market of Choice is an Oregon-owned high-end grocery which has the majority of its stores in Eugene. The Burlingame store, in the location of the old Burlingame Grocery, is a very small grocery, but it manages to throw a big punch. Think of New Seasons, but even better. That's MoC. The fruit and veg section is tiny and absolutely gorgeous, filled with odd wonderful fruits like you might find at Food Front. The meat counter is full of Painted Hills beef. They have a small bulk section, and an average bulk spice selection. Everything is small but so well edited.
The danger zone, for me, is towards the cash register. The beer case—well, no one is going to confuse it with Burlingame Grocery—but they hit all the high points, both locally, from the Northwest, from the States, and internationally. The guy stocking the beer case is a font of beer knowledge. The wine section is a bit bigger, but I get the impression that it too is tightly edited. Then you have to walk past the cheese case, the wood-fired pizza oven and sandwich stand, the sushi makers, the salad bar, the deli case...
In the name of science, we tried the pizza by the slice. Perhaps there's some sort of perfume in the air that makes everything there exquisite, but for grocery store pizza, it looked really good, and it was really good. Now, it's got nothing on a good slice from Escape or Hot Lips, and it's nowhere near the league of Apizza Scholls or Ken's, but it hit the spot. And for $2, a reasonable snack.
I suspect if you regularly shopped here, it would add up. But the beer prices are competitive, and stopping in for beer, milk, and deli stuff, it doesn't seem so much more than any place else.
Mash Tun is just a little brewpub, just a little off Alberta, behind Office. It has a nice little bar, a small room, and a nice covered patio which easily doubles the space. In addition to brewing a few house beers, they have a nice, concise selection of craft beers and imports, and they offer food: not the best food, but the sort of stuff that can prolong your drinking.
Now, brewpubs or taverns that offer undistinguished, inconsistent food isn't that unusual, of course—it sadly seems to be the law (with exceptions like Widmer). But how many of them offer vegan options next to their more meaty third-cousins? I can think of only a handful of places, but Mash Tun is one.
On tap, they have 2 house beers, 3 imports, and 7 craft beers. They also have a handful of things in bottles and cans (brother, clap your hands). None of this is terribly cheap: for imperial pints, the house ales are $4, craft beers are $4.25, and imports are $4.50, with non-tap options ranging from $2.25-$4.50.
I haven't been so crazy about their house beers, but they are very drinkable. The tap selections rotate, so there is always something good on. Last night, for example, there were 4 or 5 different craft beers that I would be very happy to drink. Nice!
In recent times, the place has changed up a little bit. You can still smoke at the bar, or outside, but you have to vacate outside by 10. The jukebox is still there. But the pool table has been replaced by table-tables. I don't know about the wi-fi, but I hope it's still there. We got there shortly before 6, and the place was pretty full.
The new food menu is about a month old, and made up of appetizers, a small collections of soups and salads, and pub grub (which means sandwiches). No more of their wildly erratic fish and chips. Appetizers range from $2.75-$7, with all of the usual deep fried subjects. Tots and fries can come cheesy if you like. There's also vegan red lentil puree & tempeh things, and nachos.
They offer house, caesar, spinach, and a roasted beet salad, a soup de jour, and a chili con carne, $2.95-$7. And for sandwiches ($7.50-$10), they have a burger, and a variety of other things that are served on rolls. Vegan options include a vegan burger & a BLATO (fakin-lettuce-avocado-tomato-onion with veganaise), and there's falafel and roasted eggplant for veggies.
We tried to order cheesy tots, but alas, no tots this evening. So we ordered a cheesesteak and a meatball sandwich, both with their hand-cut skinny fries. And both sandwiches were very edible. The cheesesteak had a nice balance of cheese to meat to cooked yellow onion, and came with a side of good, but not great marinara. The meatball sandwich was dosed in both marinara and melted cheese, but the meatballs were plentiful, tender and tasty. Unfortunately, neither of the rolls the sandwiches came on had been toasted, and the fries are soggy and greasy. Why do some taverns insist on hand-cut fries?
So. Nice patio, nice ever-changing selection of beers, and deep-fried appetizers rock... unless they're fries.
Hey, Mash Tun is now serving their own beer. The other night, they had a classic British IPA (in the UK, referred to as a bitter), and an American Pale. Tasty! And they still have the other goodies on tap too.
He'Brew Kick-off at the Horsebrass Pub
Beer lovers, get excited, because He'brew is finally in town. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's an extended joke, but the reality is, He'brew is an incredible beer line. We tasted Messiah Bold, a brown ale which has redefined the style for me, last winter. Talk about an excellent beer.
The kickoff party already happened, but I believe the beer is still at the HorseBrass and Belmont Station. Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. and Monumental Jewbilation was on tap. RIPA is a radical rye IPA named after Lenny Brucy. Jewbilation combines "10 different malts and 10 different hops to achieve a brew with complex flavor and a well-hidden alcohol presence. Weighing in at 10% abv, this massive beer will make you feel "jewbilant" in no time at all." Their other beers are available bottled, including Genesis 10:10, a pomegranate beer. Dude!
There are three ways to get meatballs at IKEA. The one we all know about is in the IKEA Restaurant.
In the restaurant, you can get small (10, $4.29), regular (15, $4.99) or large (20, $5.99) portions of meatballs in cream gravy, meatball-sized whole red new potatoes, with a spot of lingonberry sauce. These come served on a porcelain plate, that you can eat in the pleasant restaurant with real metal flatware at a clean table while sipping on free refills of pop or coffee. There's salt and pepper, cholula hot sauce, ketchup, and even little flip cards on your table with the answers to all your questions -- or at least, all the questions that IKEA thinks that you will ask. Sit by the huge windows and watch the weather coming in, or planes taking off and landing. It's all very civilized. The restaurant even provides tray carts, so you can easily push all your trays to your table without spilling them or doing a balancing act.
But if you need a meatball fix right now, you should know about the IKEA Bistro. The Bistro is the little fastfood area after you pay for all your new belongings, and the fact that it's called a bistro is a sad joke. It's dirty, crowded, noisy -- really everything the restaurant is not.
But, you can buy a cup of meatballs for $1, along with 50 cent hot dogs, cinnamon buns, frozen yougurt, and some strange pizza empanada sort of thing. The $1 cup is small, but it probably has 6-8 meatballs in it (sorry, I didn't count). You get a toothpick to eat them with.
Best yet, if you go into the entrance of IKEA, but don't follow everyone up the escalator, but rather, veer to the extreme right, you'll see the check out cashiers and the Bistro. Just proceed directly there, and glare at anyone who comes between you and your meatballs.
Finally, you can buy meatballs frozen in the Swedish Food Market, conveniently located next to the Bistro. A 2.5 lb bag is $7.99, and you can buy some instant cream gravy mix for just a little more. Lingonberry sauce, I'm sure, is also available.
Another option, if you're on the west side, is to go to the Dania on NW Cornell, and have their cafe's meatballs, either hot or frozen.
This is a great time to stock up on your bicycle propaganda t-shirts, "One Less Car" stickers, CHUNK 666 zines, Critical Mass books, and other cool goods. Go to the website http://www.microcosmpublishing.com/ to see the selection.
And now is the time to stop by, especially if you've never been to the storefront, because Microcosm's operations will be leaving Portland on March 15th!
The store is open every day from 11am to 6pm. Call us at 503.249.3826
If you're interested in Multnomah County races (by which I mean, the Cities of Fairview, Maywood Park, Wood Viallage, Troutdale, LO, Milwaukie and Greshams races, Metro, Portland Public Schools, or how Multnomah County residents voted for state positions and ballot measures [and more, and more: outlying RFPDs, water districts, and school districts]), okay, this may not be the most elegant website, but it is the official one. You'll find your information clearly and tersely put.
For a state-wide birds-eye view that won't suggest you need colors, bolding and graphics to read the results, check out the State of Oregon's Final Results. These are updated about every five minutes. And you get useful statistics like, hey, almost 60% of Oregonians voted, in spite of the Pinapple Express! In comparison, Multnomah County, you're a bunch of slackers. Only 51.91%. Sheesh.
If you do prefer infographics, and I know some folks do, check out the OregonLive election results. They're colorcoded by blue, red, and, um, blue. Most of the results are already in but you can always hit reload repeatedly to see changes. Or not.
The Mill End Store claims to have the most fabric anywhere. And to be sure, they have a lot of fabric. But they also carry yarn.
The pluses to the store are what you might expect. Lots of Patons, lots of Encore, lots of man-made fibers. Lots of Sugar & Cream. A clutch of discount & high end brand novelty yarns. But they also carry a full range of bamboo needles, magazines, and some patterns.
After browsing Bernat wool and Kroy, I was surprised to see some bamboo yarn and banana fiber yarn. Wow.
Comparing Mill End to your LYS or to Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics, I don't think the prices are significantly better. If you're going for higher end fibers, the lighting is going to be better at your LYS—it has to be!
On first impression, darkness, smokyness and continental service (read, leisurely) mark this british style pub with full bar. But the Moon and Sixpence is a very pleasant combination of british style and portland stylee with a huge open back porch, fun music, board games and darts, and even, perhaps best of all, bicycle parking inside. I love the fact that people bring their bicycles into the bar in inclement weather, and through the bar to the patio in nice weather.
Like a real British Isles public house, the M&S is really visually interesting. Or overwhelming. I prefer to think the former. Beer signs elbow photos elbowing bookcases and chalkboards and beer towels.
They have wine, and obviously the full bar (specialty drinks are $4.75-$6), but this place is about the beer on tap. Though the last time I was there, there was a large group of guys drinking Kokanee ($2) from bottles.
There are 20 taps, served generally in imperial pints. These are listed on a chalkboard behind the bar with name and alcohol by volume. Here's what they had when we were there.
two Belgians (Lindeman's Framboise and a rotator, $5.50 a glass)
2 casks (North Coast's Red Seal and a rotator, $4.50)
and of course micros ($4)
Terminal Gravity IPA
Deschutes Inversion IPA
Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Pelican Cream Ale
They also have bottled beer, sorted by style, ranging from $2-$12.50, including 22 classic belgian and farmhouse ales, and 6 trappist ales.
They do have food here, but it's british pub food, and not gastropub food by any means. Things like the fish and chips (these being not-quite steak fries) and sausage rolls are reliable and tasty. Snacks are under $5, cold sandwiches under $7, entrees under $9.
Another foodie story about Portland in the NYT! This time with nods to Apizza Scholls, Bar Pastiche, clarklewis, Crema Coffee and Bakery, Gotham Building Tavern, Hot Lips Pizza, Ken's Artisan Bakery, Navarre, Noble Rot, Olea, Park Kitchen, Picklopolis, Pix Patisserie, Sahagun, Stumptown Coffee Roasters' Annex, Viande Meats and Sausage, and Wildwood.
If you need some factoids to be able to spiel out in conversation about how insanely green (in the ecological sense) that Portland is, here's your document. The first half is all about Portland; the second half, all about President Bush. Bet you can guess where that goes.
Climate Change? Try Regime Change Portland Thrives, Bush Denies. By Ted Reinstein June 1, 2007 BOSTON -- I spent last week on assignment in Portland, Oregon. Smaller than both Seattle and San Francisco, Portland is a gem. A very green gem. And not merely because of its temperate climate, nearly 40 inches of annual rainfall, or the abundance of trees left to stand on its city streets.
Portland is a world leader—and way in front of all other American cities—when it comes to grappling with climate change, global warming, and general environmental awareness. And they love to talk about it. Others love to write about it. In fact, renewable resources (like trees) will need renewing considering how many articles about Portland have been published.
Long-planned Moreland Farmers Market is a go. Organizer Jacque Ries reports that previous problems obtaining permission to use the Westmoreland Merchants parking lot at S.E. Milwaukie and Glenwood have been resolved, and the Moreland Farmers Market will be opening Wednesday, May 17th, and will run each Wednesday through September 27th, between the hours of 3:30 and 7:30 pm in that space. In conjunction with the Westmoreland Wednesdays events planned by the Westmoreland Business Alliance, the market is planned to be a key factor in bringing more mid-week traffic to the neighborhood. Neighbors from the surrounding areas including Brooklyn, Woodstock, Ardenwald, Reed, Eastmoreland, Sellwood, and beyond will be able to buy local produce, flowers, and nursery stock direct from the farmers. Plans are also underway for future markets to include entertainment, wine tasting, food demonstrations, and other activities.
You could do a lot worse than Muddy's. Yummy and very reasonable breakfast all day. The best french toast in town, even beating out Henry's. Homemade chipotle hot sauce. Good, groovy coffee, groovy eggs, yummy baked goods and really good bread. Homemade strata on the weekends to die for. Our only qualm was that they don't do over-easy eggs. But hey, at least they are totally upfront about it. Lunch features the three Ss - soup, sandwiches, salads, along with a quiche of the day. Not that I've ever made it to lunch, but I bet it's good. It's like hanging out at home if your home is an adorable victorian filled with mix-matched furniture, and clean. And with good food, and good vibes. They now have bottled beer and house wines to make this an excellent, low-key place to hang out and get some work done. Or not.
I love My Father's Place: it's totally unpretentious, cheap, and good. They don't serve espresso, but they do have a full bar and beer on tap. And, more importantly, breakfast served all day.
The specials board rarely if ever exceeds $6. Now this is a special I can get behind! They have a pretty standard breakfast menu, but with a sense of humor. You can get the classic bene, or a country bene (biscuit, sausage, egg, gravy). You can get the veggie omelet, or the hobo (all the meats plus onions), or the combo, which is described as veggie + hobo = smiles. And you have your choice of the best hashbrowns in town, or O'Briens. The most expensive item is that combo omelet/scramble at $8.
The sausage gravy is better than a lot of places (though the winner is still the Overlook for sausagey taste). I wouldn't drink the coffee there. But when you consider that PBR ($1.75), Hamms ($2), and micros (Sierra Nevada Pale, Terminal Gravity IPA, Full Sail Amber, and Widmer Hefeweizen- $3) are on tap, who needs coffee?
So, I think it will be slow going around altportland for the next few days. I got a little overexcited last week and downloaded some new software that has effectively killed the commenting system. All weekend, I kept thinking I'm just around the corner from getting it all fixed, but of course, I'm not just around the corner unless the corner involves a labyrinth.
So it's not that I'm a slacker (though I am), and it's not that I don't have new places to tell you about (because I do) -- I just need to get the software to stop producing ugly 500 server errors.
And hopefully by confessing this, I'll be back on track *very soon*.
I was hoping that this would be more about bike fun, but primarily, it's about how our bike friendliness has created an niche industry of frame builders. Still, it mentions bikeportland.org, and anything that mentions bikeportland.org can't be bad.
A spotlight on Milwaukie's Dark Horse Comics, with a nice overview of how Dark Horse is different than the large comics houses.
By nurturing and backing a quirky, brooding and inventive stable of writers and artists, Dark Horse has spent the last 20 years carving out and maintaining its place as a scrappy comic book franchise in an industry dominated by Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics.
Dark Horse, which is privately held, has endured in an industry where many small publishers last less than a year. It has thrived, its owners say, by sharing financial success with its artists and taking its role as an independent publisher very, very seriously.
For people partial to fine craft brews and plenty of local color, Portland's rainy winter season is a great time to visit the city that is king of beers. Indeed, Portland has more breweries - 28 - than any other city in the nation if not the world, and it has arguably become one of the best destinations anywhere for beer-tasting.
— Jessica Merrill, In Oregon, It's a Brew Pub World, the New York Times, January 13, 2006. travel2.nytimes.com/2006/01/13/travel/escapes/13beer.html
Interesting article, though it's not terribly news-worthy here. Yes, there's Widmer, there's Bridgeport, there's the McMenamin Brothers, there's Hair of the Dog, the HorseBrass, and Tugboat. Tugboat?!?
The one thing I learned is that Jim Parker is a busy man indeed. Is there a really good brew pub that he doesn't work at?
And yes, it seems odd to me to mention the McMenamins and Tugboat in the same breath as Widmer, Bridgeport, Hair of the Dog and Horsebrass. And, hello! The flagship Bridgeport brewpub isn't open yet, and Hair of the Dog doesn't have a brewpub!
Anyways, always happy to get a little love from the New York Times...
A neighborhood yarn shop for N. Portland. They feature multiple comfortable, well-lit, places to sit and knit, and friendly folks to help you work through a knitting problem or two. The shop is fairly small, well-lit, and well-edited, with lots of space to move around. Clover, Brittany and Lantern Moon needles. A nice collection of books and patterns. They have several types of natural or eco wools, a nice selection of Lorna's Laces in several weights, and perhaps the nicest display of Fixation in town. The majority of yarns there are midrange, ringing in under $10 a skein, though some are as inexpensive as a couple dollars a ball.
Everyone loves their LYS and here's why I love Naked Sheep:
- it's small enough that I don't get overwhelmed with choices. Mind you, I love looking at a bigger yarn store, but I hate trying to make a decision at one.
- these folks are the nicest around.
- they know their knitting. All of them!
- Cheri's husband and teenage son are frequently there.
- Riley, the shop chihuahua, is frequently there too.
- all the yarn they carry is tagged with an easy-to-read listing for those of us who are too vain to get reading glasses.
Wanna see how the other half live? Or at least check out some homes on the National Register of Historic Places?
Owners of these homes and buildings are obligated to have an annual open house for the public—so if you're into old buildings and free stuff, you win!
Finding out about the open houses has been the hard part. The Oregonian's Homes & Gardens of the Northwest (Thursday insert) has a Historical Home Tours section that runs every first Thursday of the month, but that section is not so easy to find in print or on the website.
Lucky for us, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department: Heritage Conservation Division also has a listing in the form of a PDF. Not that that's terribly easier to find, but if you know the URL....
Enter an address and get data for that zip code about lifestyle (college student, young single, young family, family, mature family, and retiree as well as spending preferences), politics (democrat or republican), crime (my neighborhood gets a 90 out of 100! Wuhoo!), elementary school rank (by school district), air quality, median home price, median 2 bedroom apartment rent, cost of living index, commute time, median household income, tax rates, unemployment, and population densities and break down by race.
Nice interface, and nice googlemap mash-up, though it's still not as useful as Portland Maps is for address and neighborhood-based information.
Hey, wanna publicize your groovy event? Or learn about groovy events? Or not use the word groovy anywhere near the word events? Altportland, this very Portland guide, now has an events page (altportland.com/events). And you can contribute to it! We hope you will!
As has been noted in places far more august than here, Portland is not exactly a BBQ town. There's some things that we do well, but by and large, barbecue isn't one of them. Sure, there's LOW BBQ -- but that's just Texas style, and just Tuesday.
So, I offer to you a BBQ page. It's not done (are these things ever?), it's not complete or exhaustive, it needs more, more, more of everything, but it's a start. I mean, I'm not entirely certain that Doris is still open. Anyhow...
Hey, do you only wanna hear about restaurant & alcohol stuff, and are you sick of hearing about bookstores and bicycling and places to buy spices and the like? Well, do I have something for you then, sucka!
We Are Moving!
Belmont Station is relocating just 3 blocks away to
4500 S.E. Stark St Portland, OR 97215
January 4, 2007
After grueling months of waiting on City Hall, construction is complete. On the first week of the New Year we'll be pleased to welcome you to a new, expanded and updated Belmont Station. What's going to be different?
THE STATION CAFE! The new Belmont Station is two spaces in one. On one side, a bottleshop. On the other, a great little bier cafe. On the menu: any of our bottled beers, plus a few very special beers on draught. It will be a comfortable, neighborhood place to while away the hours tasting the best beers on the planet. We will feature soups, sandwiches, and cheese plates for your nibbling enjoyment.
MORE SPACE MEANS MORE BEER! Lots more space! Our beer selection is just shy of 700, but we're looking to increase our selection to around 900!
SELF-SERVE COOLERS! No more waiting while we fetch your bottles. Our knowledgeable staff will continue to assist you with your selection and any questions you may have. We'll have UV protection on the cooler lights to prevent skunky beer, and we'll be religiously rotating and stocking as usual. Belmont Station will continue to be the place for the freshest beer in town.
Gasoline. Love it, hate it, those of us who drive gasoline-powered vehicles must seek it. And finding it downtown or on the inner westside can be problematic. However, I've come up with a list. Perhaps you will find it useful?
The Nite Hawk is a funny little place. A recent advertising campaign seems to be bringing in a younger than 70+ crowd to this time capsule from the early seventies. Dinner and lunch here are okay, serious family restaurant fare, but breakfast is the real deal.
This place is all about booths and a counter. The restaurant is non-smoking; you can smoke on the lounge side, and perhaps the only way to tolerate the lounge side is by smoking. They have their own parking lot as well as street parking, a little bit of bike parking, and they're located at a MAX Yellow Line stop.
Breakfast is served all day. They list breakfast specials on the board, usually about a half-dozen of them with the most expensive being $5.95. When we were in, they also listed a prime rib & eggs, which was significantly higher.
The coffee is awful. But they're lavish with it.
Menu items lean heavily towards meat, eggs and potatoes, and run from $3.95-$8.95. We had pigs in a blanket, biscuits and gravy, and the standard eggs-sausage-potatoes-toast with hashbrowns rather than the default cottage potatoes.
The pigs in a blanket was a huge plate of four long breakfast sausages tucked into pancakes, then sprinkled with sugar. It came with garden-variety "pancake syrup", and it was just fine.
The gravy on the biscuits could have been more hearty, but it was the first gravy we've had in months of eating out in Portland that actually tasted like sausage. It even had some visible sausage particles! It was easily doctored with pepper and hot sauce. The biscuits were hidden, but were fine.
And the standard American breakfast was just that. The hashbrowns were great diner hashbrowns.
If you get bored, there's Keno and scratch-offs, and the lounge features video crack and pool.
Most patrons, if they're in a for a hair of the dog, prefer a red beer (a glass of lager with a tomato juice chaser), but with a full bar and a couple of beers on tap (Bud, Coors Light, Fat Tire, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen, and Black Butte Porter), you can have whatever you'd like. Or RC.
No Fish! Go Fish! has a goofy name, to be certain, but it's a good source for an inexpensive and yummy lunch. Especially if you like soup and like little fishy non-fish sandwiches.
The NFGF guys have had a cart for quite a while now, selling sandwiches with a handful of tasty fillings and three different types of soup. The sandwiches are, well, let's let them explain it.
No Fish are sandwiches baked in the shape of fish. They look like cute little fish but they contain no actual fish. [They were] inspired by a traditional Korean sweet bean fish-shaped pastry known as Pung Ap Bang. Loosely translated, Pung Ap Bang means fish bread that has no fish... We developed our own bread recipe which blends the sweetness of corn bread with the high fiber benefits of oat and the texture and flavor of wheat flour and incorporated the visual appeal of the Korean fish shaped pastry. The delicious and somewhat crisp bread is baked fresh right at the carts or at the restaurant while you watch and are filled with a variety of cheese and vegetable fillings.
Anyhow, there are a handful of standard fillings: some vegetarian, and one vegan (curried vegetables). There's always some special fillings as well. These are especially tasty if they're made to order and inhaled immediately, but most travel okay.
There are always three different soups, with at least one of those vegan each day. If you're on their (amusing) weekly mailing list, or check their website, you can see what soups are on today, and, even see what the ingredients are (bonus!, but only on the website.). With over 105 soups in rotation, there's generally something new and interesting on.
A cup of soup, a pint really, is $3.50. Add two sandwiches (mix and match on the fillings if you like) and it's $5. Like all other carts, a drink is $1. So, for $5, you get a nice light lunch, to sort to not put you to sleep at your desk with the 'itis, but to ready you for the fight ahead.
Just got back from dinner at Nostrana. If you've been in the previous occupants (Sue Bee's, Kienow's), you won't recognize it: it's all chic and gorgeous and hard wooden surfaces and a giant wall rack of wine. It's beee-autiful. And the menu is full of all sorts of Italian words that weren't at all recognizeable.
One way to get great service, or better service: take pictures of the place before going in. They'll think you're a reporter (and they'll ask, too).
We had a selection of things from various parts of the menu: a charcuterie plate from Salumi, the Nostrana salad, a pizza with sausage and sweet peppers, a steak, and some semifreddo. The meat plate was delicious, but very spare, 4 different styles of meats from Mario Batali's dad, served with big slices of crusty Italian breads, and a cranberry jam. The Nostrana salad is a caesar made with radicchio, and the serving is large and impressive. We liked it: it has an impressive crunch and the dressing was oily rather than creamy. Radicchio, I'm told, is usually bitter, which I didn't know at the time, but I scarfed my portion of the salad.
The pizza was a 12" version, which comes to the table uncut. I have to agree with the foodies who complain that it should come cut. It just should. The pizza was fine—a crackery crust, a tiny layer of sauce and cheese, sausage and peppers, all in balance. Nice. It's not going to give Apizza Scholls a run for their money, but I wasn't expecting it would.
The steak was our big ticket item ($22). It was small and came with maybe six or seven little wedges of potato and several leaves of kale, dwarfed on a huge plate and it was dressed in a tomato-pancetta sauce. The sauce seemed unnecessary as the steak was tender and rich, perfectly cooked, with just a smidge of fat or gristle.
In the end, it was a nice experience but one that didn't seem worth $66 to me. I can't fault the food—it was good. I'm sure part of it is my inner cheapskate that wants to feel very full after $66. That cheapskate also doesn't want to rely on guessing or having to ask the meaning of non-English words, and wonders why a main entree is served as this spare, slight thing (what, how expensive are potatoes or kale these days?). Part of it certainly was the service, which was competent but not the level I'd expect for that sort of cash. It just wasn't the epiphany with angels singing that I expect for $66. (though I could occasionally hear opera above the dull roar of the diners)
NOTE: 10/11/2007: Chef Coryell is still at Nutshell (per Nick at Portlandfood.org. ) Be still my heart. I can't take this kind of drama!
NOTE: 10/10/2007: Chef Sean Coryell has left Nutshell. What this means for the food remains to be seen.
(this according to aidensnd at PortlandFood.org)
I just had the most phenomenally delicious dinner. It was delicious and innovative and beautiful and not outrageously expensive.
Nutshell is brandspanking new, in the suddenly happening neighborhood at the east edge of NoPo, on Williams Street. It's casual and sophisticated in the same breath. Concrete floors, painted cinderblock, and beautiful wooden booths. Books for exchange located near interesting beers and wines for retail. And carnivorous plants, gorgeous carnivorous plants.
I've had people I know rave about the food here. My neighbor, who isn't a foodie, told me he wanted to lick the plate. So I was excited to finally get to eat there.
Looking at the menu, I felt a bit of panic. What to order?!? It's a little overwhelming. Salads are $5-$6, a bowl of soup $4, stews $8, veggies & starches $4, featured entrees $9-$11, and pastas and tandoor skewers $8. Even if you decide to order bread ($2) with extra virgin olive oil ($1) and salt (50 cents to $1 each). you have to choose between 5 bread selections, 8 olive oils, 18 basic salts, and 6 premium salts. Thankfully, the staff are helpful, and we ordered the Jamaican Choco Escovitch with a Pearl Bakery assortment, olive oil, and a couple salts to start.
The name, Choco Escovitch, is just so much fun to say, I had to order it. It was one of those salads, like the Singing Pig Greens at Toro Bravo, that really elevates your expectations of what a salad can be. The greens in question included herbs, and were lightly dressed with a creamy dressing made from angostura bitters (but not bitter at all). Thin slices of merlatan squash, with a taste and texture similar to granny smith apples or jimaca, were fanned over the greens, with a tiny edible pansy on top. And on top of that—genius!—what appeared to be tempuraed cucumbers. Yum! The flavors were so bright, flavorful, slightly floral, and dare I say, dynamic.
The next to arrive was our selection of breads with olive oil and salt. This is such a simple thing, and generally so pedestrian. But it was a revelation to try the various breads with the oil, with the oil and salt, with the oil and the other salt. One salt was slightly piquant and showy, the other more subtle and slightly smokey.
The shot of soup is just that—a shot glass full of soup. In our case, it was a chilled creamy french lettuce & chervil soup with lemon, which was so rich and creamy that I was glad to only have a shot -- but again, so flavorful. So yummy.
The Nutshell Jamaican barbeque includes four of the starches (peas & rice, aka the traditional Jamaican red beans and rice; crispy shredded yucca pancakes; Jamaican cornmeal fritters that look just like cheddar puffed cheese balls; and, an orange stuffed with yam, coconut, and mace), house made jerk, fried okra, and grilled eggplant and lilies, as well as a shot of the Marley family drink.
The peas and rice were redolent of coconut, fresh coconut, and the yam had the fruitiness of habanero without the heat. The grilled onions were delicious and sweet, the okra crispy and not at all slimey. The only just okay part of the meal was the eggplant which was grilled, not at all bitter, just not a lot of flavor. But combined with the rest, it was delightful.
My neighbor had raved about Karen's raw living lasagna, and so that's what I ordered.
The lasagna contains no pasta, just a stack of vegetables and sauces. The heirloom tomatoes are easily the best tomatoes I've eaten this year, the sort that need nothing but a shake of salt and pepper (though these wanted for nothing). There were also marinated mushrooms and very thin slices of zucchini, separating the layers of pinon ricotta, pistachio pesto, sun dried tomatoes.
The pesto and tomato sauces along with the creamy pine nut ricotta say lasagna, but everything element of the dish just sang. Beautiful, again, and wonderful balance of flavors. I was really glad they had been so generous with the bread so I could mop up that extra sauce.
Our bill, with two beers, was $33, and walking out, we were both stuffed. I can't wait to go back.
Making food taste good using dairy and meat really isn't that hard. But someone who can do that just with vegan ingredients is a real master. We finally have fine-dining vegan food in Portland, and it's really good. This is vegan food that really anyone could love... and will, I bet.
Update:: The menu has been simplified. But the service in our last couple visits has really gone downhill. We've had servers who seem annoyed that they have to take our orders, servers who expect us to eat soup with our hands, and no sort of concern that we might not be enjoying our meals. We've had naive servers who appeared to have never tried the foods in question. I am hoping these are blips. Sean, Tabla guys, please make the service match the incredible food!
The spirit of goofyness is alive and well in Portland. Take, for example, the Horse Project.
Now if you've been here or read any of the local blogs or even some news outlets, you know about Scott Wayne Indiana, a local artist, and his Horse Project. But if you've missed it, here's the haps.
People are tethering toy horses (and in at least one case, a cow and a pig) to the rings imbedded in the curbs all over the central city. It's stoopid, it's fun, and it's always a nice surprise to come upon a new tethered horse, or to visit an older one.
Here's what Indiana has to say about it:
a major goal of this project is to open eyes to the intricate details of our urban environment. personally, when i am being mindful, i stop and look at little things that catch my eye all the time. if people notice one horse, then that little moment is one step closer to other new experiences along "the way."
for this public art project, utilize the metal rings that are located on various sidewalks around Portland, Oregon. the rings are embedded in the concrete curbs, and the legend is that they are still around from a time when they were used by citizens to secure their horses while they went about their business in town.
so, first, buy a small toy horse and find a ring.
then, to one of these rings, tie a toy horse. then, leave the horse there just as one would have left their actual horse a hundred years ago. such toy horses can be purchased at goodwill for about a dollar or two. also, the dollar store has great plastic horses!
The Oaks Bottom Grand Opening is Saturday, April 1, but the pub is open now. And, it appears to be a great hit.
Jim Parker, former Oregon Brewers Guild director and general indicator of good beer, and Jerry Fechter (of the Lompoc empire) have opened this tiny, comfortable pub in the former location of Tartine and the Jones Public House. Lights are comfortably low, yet it's not dark. Boothes line one wall (a wheelchair ramp the other, yay!), and biggish tables designed for sharing. They have a full menu of food, and I'm assuming they'll be working the kinks out of that. Two words to remember: tater tots.
But let's talk about the important stuff: beer. They feature 6 Lompoc taps, and 6 guest taps. Last night that meant Caldera Pilsner, Bend Brewing Big Eddy ESB, Amnesia Double Whammy, Terminal Gravity Porter, Walking Man Sasquatch Imperial Red, and Pelican IPA. They have hard alcohol as well, and a Sunday Bloody Mary special.
There are some outside tables, and I'm not sure about bike parking. Last night, the place was full to the rafters.
When I make the pilgrimage to Hillsboro, I have to eat Mexican, because there are a couple great purveyors of Mexican food there. Usually, that means a visit to La Flor de Michoacan, but the other morning, Nick Zukin mentioned Ochoa's, and I knew I had to go there. On the way out, I beat myself up: why don't I ever go there? The food is great, servings are massive, options are endless.
And then once I'm there, I remember. You walk in, and there's a crowd of people, but where does the line end? There's an english menu with tacos and combo plates, and then there's a wall of photos with faded labels. What meats are available? What about nopales? I see barbacoa (a huge steamed cattle head). Everyone is speaking spanish, and I'm wondering if my awful tourist pidgin is up to this.
Still. Our cashier can pidgin English so we order. Huaraches are one of the reasons to make the trip: masa "sandals" the size of an NBA player's foot that are grilled, spread with refried beans and then topped with some sort of meat. I chose carne asada. I also got sopes, masa disks covered with refrieds, meat, fresh mexican cheese, crema, avocado, and lettuce, and a combination plate with more carne asada.
This and two jarritos cost $18. My sopes were most expensive at $5.50! The combination & the huaraches were both $5.
While we wait for the food, we explore the salsa bar. 5 salsas: a pico, two reds, and two greens, and the red and green we try are both blistering and addictive. Free chips await—help yourself. While we watch people around us get food, I make mental notes of things to try next time. The 7 Mares (7 seas) soup looks wonderful, as does a Cocktel de Camarones—good-sized shrimp, topped with good-sized chunks of avocado. I watch a man tuck into a torta, which seems about the size of his head. I watch someone from the kitchen come out and trim out some barbacoa for an order.
You'll notice there's no photos of the food: it's because we fell into it! The huaraches plate came with two giant huaraches, plus rice, beans & guacamole. The sopes: three to a plate, no sides. And the combo plate: rice & beans, and freshly made tortillas. Everything was delicious, both hot, and as leftovers (we brought lots home).
On the way out, I asked about to-go menus. The cashier said, yes she had them, and then I repeated the question in spanish: she gave me a scowl and said, no, of course, no! I wish I had a road map. But I think I'll be back there soon, saying, give me what he's eating.
filled under Taqueria Hermanos Ochoa's, Ochoa's brothers taqueria, Hillsboro, mexican
July 21, 2006 |
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I upgraded the blogging software used as the CMS on altportland this weekend, and I was so tickled that everything went so smoothly. Except, now I've just now noticed that all the links to the individual entries have been broken.
Long story short, they're fixed. Sorry for the inconvenience!
This chinese market has a number of things that you'd expect, like cold drinks, frozen goods, and lots of canned and bagged goods. There's some fresh veggies and tofu and fruit. But the highlight here are the tanks of live seafood. There are several tanks of lively spot prawns, a tank of Dungeness crabs, baskets of manila clams and periwinkles, and some unidentified fish that I'd hate to meet in a dark alley.
While we didn't buy any live seafood, we did pick up some limes, rice stick noodles, fortune cookies, egg tofu, shrimp chips, and the ultimate impulse item, right by the register, a baggie of little multicolored chilis. The staff was friendly and helpful.
When you're looking for something to do around Oregon City, one option is to check out the Municipal Elevator.
First of all, how many places have municipal elevators? Let's see... in the U.S., there's just one. And it's free.
If you drive, there is ample parking in the area (with meters). The entrance to the elevator, as you might imagine, is a tunnel in the side of the bluff. There are handwritten directions outside the elevator door: no bikes, no groups bigger than 10 people, and if you think you'll flaunt this, you'll have to explain it to the elderly elevator operator!
There is also a staircase, if you'd like.
The top of the bluff is about 90 feet up. That doesn't sound like much, but once you're in the star trek like observation pod, everything looks a lot small down there.
The observation deck is glassed in, giving you a nice panarama of Oregon City, the Willamette River, I-205, and the paper plants that line both sides of the river. Crudely painted dioramas give you the short version of OC history.
Step out of the observation deck, and you're on the OC Promenade. Like a lot of parkland in the Portland area, this was donated by a rich robber baron person (in this case, Dr. John McLoughlin who worked for Hudson's Bay Company) before the turn of the last century. There is a stone handrail to keep you out of harms way, and a nice well-maintained paved path along the ridge the bluff. You pass by ancient houses (noted by their original owner and style; after all, OC was the first incorporated city west of the Rockies).
The views of the river, the city, the bridge, and the paper plants is just spectacular. Walk a bit further south on the Promenade, and you get a great view of the Willamette Falls Locks. If you want a better view still, go to the south end of the Promenade to the parking lot of the VFW Bingo Hall (one of several prominent quonset huts in OC) to the pedestrian bridge/catwalk across McLoughlin Blvd.
The Promenade is not strenuous or long. Round trip is probably less than half a mile. But it is quite visually interesting.
An article about the DIY Portland music scene, just in time for PDX Pop Now! It's in the InPortland section of today's Oregonian if you'd like to see the printed version.
Our own tune: Singing, recording, selling, promoting . . . Portland's DIY ethic is creating an indie music capital
Thursday, July 27, 2006
By Amy Hsuan
Let's consider Portland musicians -- once unemployed loafers, now accidental entrepreneurs.
At first, he's penniless with dubious job prospects, looking for a creative safe haven and cheap rent. She has talent with instruments, scoffs at stardom and thinks money is the devil's creditor.
They find sanctuary here. A record store on almost every corner, venues of varying sizes, a mass of like-minded music junkies. He taps the Internet, free in some neighborhoods. She plugs into the city's do it yourself mantra. Then, they begin a business -- in the basement.
A fledgling industry has hatched in Portland. Hundreds, maybe thousands, with similar tales drive the new trade -- an anti-industry, really. Their business has little to do with fortune or fame.
An aligning of the stars, new technology and Portland's distinctive up-yours, can-do spirit spins the independent music uprising. It puts the city on the short-short list of destinations for sound. And it's turning the Music Industry upside down.
Sickie food in my household is amerochinese, the unchallenging chinese food of our youth. But, the things you really want when you're sick: hot & sour soup, eggrolls, maybe some kung pao chicken—well, why is it so difficult to find decent food close to home?
The Orient is not the sort of place I'd recommend you eat at. It's odd. The bar is bright and undistinguished, and the dining room is essentially a long hall with booths on both sides. And rails in front of the booths, just, I guess, so customers don't get out of line. Or something.
Take-out is a mixed bag. Hot & sour soup is actually spicy, and while no one will confuse it with Wong's King Seafood's or Sungari, it's not bad (and the best, sigh, I've had from NE). They show a bit of care with their foodstuffs: a garlicky dipping sauce for potstickers, crab puffs actually taste a little like crab and contain scallions, and deep fried items are separated from their sauces (dude, so they're crispy still!). Still, the entries were no great shakes and may well have come from Panda Compress for all I know.
Halibut's is two rooms: a comfie little bar, and a walkup counter with some tables. It's a little confusing, honestly. The last time we were there, we ordered at the counter, then went into the bar. This time, we went into the bar, and they wouldn't let us go to the counter. So, it appears that the bar has table service.
There are also some pleasant tables out on the sidewalk.
The menu lists giant tiger prawns, halibut, salmon, true cod, catfish, and chicken tenderloins as fried options, and ahi (is it fried? is it roasted? is it grilled? is it poached? Who knows?), crab cakes, an unfried combo, chowder, corn on the cob, shrimp cocktail, and key lime pie. It seems initially quite straightforward.
All of the entrees come with skin-on fries, and all come as a half or full order.
Every time I come into Halibuts, I think, mmm, I'll have the halibut ($9/$14). Now, should I get a half, or a full? I can never remember if a half is enough food, but then, at $9, it seems like it should be. And then I get the half with its two small pieces of halibut and think, shoot, I should have splurged.
This is the thing: it would be helpful to know that a full order of prawns is 8 pieces, and a full order of halibut is 4 pieces. But the menu doesn't specify and most of the staff seem to not want to chat or explain: they just want to take your order.
Half baskets range from $5-$10, while full baskets are $3-$5 more. $6 will get you a very small bowl of very good clam chowder (though, at that price, it ought to be).
We've had the halibut, the prawns, and the true cod. All very good. The batter is tasty, and the result isn't greasy. This is probably the best fish and chips in town, though that comes at a price.
When we were in recently, the owner stopped by our table and started with the, oh, you got half orders schtick. "For ten dollars, you get 4 prawns", he says. "For four dollars more, you get four more shrimp. It's a no brainer."
Unfortunately, we've heard this speech from him every time we come in. Unfortunately, his menu claims a full order is $5 more, not $4. Does he not realize that it sounds like he's telling his patrons they're cheap while he's bragging about his food?
They have some beer on tap,
Fish Organic IPA
as well as a full bar.
There are plenty of other places that do fried fish well. And have beer on tap. Alameda Brew Pub and Corbett Fish House come immediately to mind. And I think that's where I'll be spending my money, the next time I'm jonesing for fish.
I wasn't expecting much going in. The Hot Cake House is a Portland institution, but a slightly frightening one.
This garish corner in Brooklyn has wonderful neon, but that's about all it has, appearance-wise, going for it.
The Hot Cake House is a 24 hour joint that serves mostly breakfast, though some sandwiches and burgers are also on the menu.
I had read that most people order the hot cakes, so I got them with eggs and chorizo. After seeing the hashbrowns on the grill, I had to have some of those as well, and they conveniently come with a mexican omelette.
And voila, everything was great. Not like exquisitely great, but definitely diner food great. Eggs and chorizo were a huge portion of just that, lots of chorizo, everything nicely combined. If they had fresh corn tortillas, I might eat breakfast nowhere else. The hot cakes were absolutely hot cake-like, doused in some butter-like substance, and then served with something that is heated, but probably not pure maple syrup. Hell, it may contain no maple syrup for all I know (I saw some patrons bring in their own)!
The mexican omelette was stocked full of cheese, chorizo, onions and peppers, and the hashbrowns are thinly shred, but these are bigger thin shreds, nice and brown. If I lived in the neighborhood, I might be there all the time. The coffee looks scary—we didn't go there.
The place is small, a combination of fast food booths and homebuilt stuff, all a very cheerful yellow. The people watching, day or night, is superb.
If you happen by Otto's, and you get a whiff of the smell of the sausages on the outdoor grill, it's hard to continue on by. The smell is sooo good.
Reedies and other Woodstock denizens can happen by during the week, but for the rest of us, an Otto's visit means Saturday. And if nothing else, you can identify Otto's by the crowd of people in front.
You can just stay outside, grab a soda from the tub and buy a sausage, but it's worth it to go in. First of all, they have beer on tap:
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Otto's IPA (made by Raccoon Lodge)
Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown (a seasonal)
New Belgium Skinny Dip (a seasonal)
Deschutes Obsidian Stout
Thomas Kemper Root Beer
They also have a cooler of specialty sodas like
Vernors (in glass bottles!)
Thomas Kemper sodas
They also have a selection of bottled beer and wine. Purchase that, and then head outside.
The menu will list the sausages on the grill. There's usually wieners, smoked pork sausages, and chicken sausages, with regular, potato or whole wheat buns. For $1.50-$3, you have lunch. Or half a lunch. Whatever. Load up on the limited condiments and take a seat outside if there is one. Cuz there aren't any tables indoors.
I know far more esteemed critics have called Otto's one of the best 10 hot dogs in the U.S., but I don't think it's quite that good. They're tasty dogs but they pale compared to others in SE.
filled under hot dogs, weiners, wieners, sausages, beer, woodstock, portland, oregon, roadfood, tube steak, Otto's Sausage Kitchen
June 2, 2006 |
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It seems that everyone in N & NE Portland were up watching the Trojan implosion, and then decided to go out to breakfast. We pulled up at John Street Cafe and were shocked to see the inside and the outside crowded with people.
I was with my companion, he who does not willingly wait for breakfast, so we obviously needed to come up with Plan B tout suite. But we're in St. Johns, which is a bit sleepy at 7:30 on a Sunday morning. There's Pattie's—no, that's out. There's the New Portland Rose, which was also deemed unsuitable. I didn't know about Slim's but I bet it wouldn't have passed muster either.
And so with lowered expectations, we went to Our Daily Bread. It's a family restaurant. However, it's not a chain, and the name is from the fact that they bake their own bread. The coffee was awful, but was there immediately with a menu and a glass of water.
The interior is all about wood, but very comfortable.
Breakfast is offered all day, and the ranch breakfasts are all about eggs and meat: three kinds of sausage, corned beef hash, chicken fried steak, and three kinds of conventional steak are among the offerings ($6.75-$19). There are pancakes, french toast and waffles ($2.50-$6.75), omelettes ($6.75-$8.50), even espresso. And from 6-10am, there are five $4.50 breakfast specials.
So, I ordered the classic ham & cheese omelette with hash browns and homemade cornbread. HWDNWWFB got pigs in a blanket.
Quickly our food came, and hey—it was great!
The omelette was perfect: a thin crepelike egg layer swaddling chopped ham and melty cheese, neither over or underdone. It wasn't an exercise in trying to pile food on the plate, but it was tremendously filling. The shredded hash browns were crispy and lovely, creamy on the inside, not at all greasy. And the cornbread was warm, obviously freshly made, northern-style so slightly sweet, served with creamed butter.
The pigs in a blanket were plate-sized pancakes rolled around link sausage, served with applesauce, creamed butter and syrup (sorry dunno if it was real maple or not).
We both attacked our plates and began talking again once we hit about half through, which was about when we had to say when.
Another example of what makes St. Johns great: unpretentious, hard-work, and value on the buck.
First, let me say: this is a family restaurant. So don't get your hopes up about gourmet or really good. But this greek diner/lounge has a pile going for it. Among other things, if you live in the neighborhood, you'll see your neighbors there. The non-smoking restaurant side is busy, bright, and very diner-like, with an assortment of booths, tables and counter seating. Go at breakfast or dinner, and you'll find kids—not a lot, but some. The lounge side is dark, soothing, busy, and smokey, with its own counter, what seems like thousands of TVs playing sports, and two fireplaces(!). You don't have to drink on the lounge side (just be tolerant of smoke)—and at breakfast time, is about half full, though there's not a lot of folks in for their hair-of-the-dog.
What the Overlook does exquisitely is the diner breakfast. Lots of options, always some cheap less-than-$5 specials, and the food is reliably solid. Get the grits if they have them—you can doctor them up into something fantabulous. The two of us went a bit nuts and still got out for less than $15, not including tip, for breakfast.
I just learned that this store will be closing soon, to go into an online-only mode. Sadness!
The spawn of one of the former Ozone owners, this one is a small, friendly space with lots of popular music, electronic, gothic, and industrial, not just imports. They too have espresso, as well as hair dye, DVDs, pipes, listening stations...
It's a Portland-focused search engine/information utility created by Benjamin Foote, a local web developer/sysadmin. But just calling it a search engine is way too incomplete. Here's what he's had to say about it:
Recently I've been working very hard on a Portland specific search engine called p d x s t u m p. I'm particularly proud of the tags and the news features of the site. If you live in Portland I hope you'll find it to be a useful resource.
It includes weather, a news reader for Portland-oriented blogs (I didn't see altportland there, but it's a little confusing), and tags. With the tags feature, you can see what's most popular, and drill down.
For example, I clicked on breakfast and then ne, and ended up with a google map of bunches of NE breakfast joints.
This is pretty great now, but I'm excited to see what more he does with it.
I haven't posted a lot of PR lately, but I have this week. Here's the roundup:
Thursday 7/6 is first Thursday, and the Made in Portland Bike Show and Art Installation. Local bike artisans like Sasha White of the luscious Vanilla bicycles, Shaun Deller of the bike hat fame, and Shawn Granton of the Urban Adventure League will be there. Free pizza and beer as well as Sam Adams.
Saturday, 7/8 Kenny and Zuke's opens. Ken Gordon and Nick Zukin bring their Pastrami King pastrami to a deli brunch on Saturdays at Ken's Place.
If you are looking for vietnamese ingredients, you have a number of options. You can go to your neighborhood vietnamese market; you can go to a mega market like Uwajimaya or Fubonn, or you can go to this full-sized vietnamese grocery tucked away in a corner of Rose City.
This former Red Apple grocery is a full-sized, full-service grocery, where you might not hear any english at all. I did but only because I came upon a Somali woman with her children who had a Vietnamese friend asking the butcher questions.
They have a deli with cheap, premade banh mi, salad rolls, and who knows what all else, a huge case of fresh noodles, including vegetarian egg noodles, a small produce section with all of the usual (and unusual) vietnamese veggies, fruits and herbs, and the full butcher case, with all the tags in Vietnamese. As you might expect, they have a huge selection of tea and rice, but they also have aloe vera juice and sugar cane. Durian is in a freezer at the front of the store.
The market itself is sad and showing its age, with buckled and broken linoleum tiles on the floor, and an air of dingyness. It just seems a bit down on its heels.
And if while you're shopping, you remember that you need cosmetics, Pacific Cosmetics is tucked into the west corner of the store. It's as plush as any cosmetics counter at Nordstroms.
Keep those cards and letters coming folks—what do you want to see here? What isn't working for you? What is working for you, that you need more of?
I'm not just whistlin' Dixie, no sir-ree! Food Dude asked for a home button up top, and I have delivered. You don't have to ask me twice. Realistically, there will be a new design at some point in the next week month that will have the normal "logo in the top left hand corner that takes you home", as soon as I can get the background stuff done to make it so. Ach, so much fun!
In the wonderful world of cross-indexing, I offer: pasta.
Anyways, whether you're a regular or a first time caller, let me know what you think!
One part community meeting space, one part resale shop, one part Av0n distributor, one part diner, it's one big jumbled mess and it's Pattie's. They must be doing something right, as they've been in business since before the turn of the century (this last one at least). Breakfast there is unexceptional, and it's not for a lack of not trying. The taco meat that appears in an omelette is just unseasoned hamburger. Does the cook use salt and pepper? Everything appears to be in some sort of food service packaging, and truly, in some sort of chaos.
This is the sort of place that makes me think, yeah, if I were willing to give up my life, I'd be able to have a diner-cum-resale shop. The dining area is clean and tidy, but one of the counters is completely covered with stuff, including a soda fountain which has had better days. I admit, looking at the piled up stuff (merchandise? a goodwill donation?) unnerved me, and sort of lowered my expectations. And lowered expectations are good—no one is going to confuse this with John St down the way.
I shudder to get too excited about this, this little place on Interstate. They have a lot of beer, and hard liquor, and usually that means the food is inconsistent at best. I go to these places soon after they open, and the food is good, and I get my hopes up. Then I go back a couple months later, and while they have the same menu, the food is lackluster or bad.
But this place has a chef, according to the Oregonian. It's a lovely, wide open space, with tables and booths, and a full wall of windows onto Interstate. And, it's owned by the Low Brow guy.
Anyways, we went in for lunch and really liked it. We had great but relaxed service (though admittedly, the restaurant only had a couple tables going). Water and cokes were refilled frequently. The menu is just one page but stocked with comfort food in the cheapish range ($7-$11). And, there is a full bar, and about ten taps (Bud, Bud Lite, Lagunitas IPA, Lagunitas Maximas, Terminal Gravity Fest, Guinness, a Dick's, Boont Amber, a Flying Dog, and Black Butte Porter). In chatting with the staff, they are planning on rotating at least part of the taps, with Hales Wee Heavy next in line for the cask.
We had the crab/cheese dip, meatloaf, and mac-n-cheese. It was quite impressive when the crab and cheese dip came to the table, in its own boat, covered with breadcrumbs, and quite molten. The dip came with grilled pita bread. It was delicious, and we made short work of it.
Next came the entrees. So, the meatloaf is not what you'd eat at home unless perhaps your mom was a Food TV addict; in fact, I'm not sure how to deconstruct it from the one bite I had. But I'm generally not a meatball fan, and this was quite tasty, like a meatball loaf. It came served on mashed taters, covered in a pancetta gravy. Health food, in other words. It was a substantial portion.
The mac n cheese came in a large, round, low baking dish, perfect for a high molten mac-n-cheese to toasty bread crumb ration. I couldn't even make it through half before getting it boxed up. It was quite delish, a nice classic mac with a smidge of heat.
So, all in all, it was great. Good food, good beer selection. Can it last? Gosh, I hope so.
Sadly, it appears Pause has settled into mediocrity. The last 4 or 5 visits have been underwhelming at best. But they do have an outdoor setting area, fenced off from Interstate, surrounded by lawn which is great for little kids and smokers.
If you're looking for spices, Penzeys should definitely be on your list to visit. It's a well-known midwestern mail-order spice source, and they have a store in suburban Portland. While the strip mall houses a Winco and a Hometown Buffet, walk inside the Penzeys to feel the glory and the love of culinary spices.
There's a hushed, reverent tone inside, as folks compare different types of cinnamon, vanilla, and pepper, sniff from open spice jars, and begin to act like cats around catnip. It appears that they carry everything from the catalog, in a variety of sizes (tiny .6 and .8 oz. and 1.9 oz. jars, or 4oz. and 8 oz. bags ).
Prices range from $1.09 to $11.49 (for saffron, okay?) for the smallest jars, so just about everything is really fairly inexpensive.
If you're looking for something exotic, just check their catalog online to see if they carry it. They have an excellent collection of both ground and whole chilis for Mexican, Turkish, Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese cuisines. If you're looking for a specialty spice from a particular region, you might just find it here. For example, cinnamon. They carry cinnamon sticks, like you can get at any grocery, as well as Ceylon "True" Cinnamon, China Cassia Cinnamon, Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon, and Korintje Cassia Cinnamon. Two types of oregano, three types of paprika, three different wasabis, five types of peppercorns.
As for spices you're likely to not see outside of an ethnic grocery, they carry ajwain seed (aka ajowan), annato seed, charnushka (aka nigella), galangal, kala jeera, mahlab, sumac, and zatar.
There are very nice collections of herb, chili, salt-free and pepper blends, and salad dressing, cheese and sausage seasonings, curries, as well as gift boxes. Everything has a information about where it came from and how it's used, and there are also tear-off recipes for both simple and elaborate foods.
While they've expanded their Indian/Pakistani spices, they may not have everything you need. But with over 250 spices, seasonings, and herbs, they have a great deal.
Alberta Food Coop is the new kid, Food Front is the nouvelle corporate style co-op, ala PCC in Seattle, and People's, People's is so damn cool. The new cob-built green expansion is done, and the new coop is spacious and well-stocked. There are seating areas both inside and out, a gorgeous meeting room, and as being totally eco-cool, they have incorporated the old original victorian house as well. They have more space and more stock. They have wonderful organic produce with signs as to where the food came from. They have a wonderful bulk section for spices, grains, organic instant mashed potatoes and the like.
I stopped by on a whim the other day and was blown away by what they offer. For example, "living foods". They have an entire section of raw foods, sprouted living foods: crackers, breads, and bars. They have baked goods, including vegan goodies. They have three kinds of dates, barley and chickpea miso, cultured veggies, Noris unhomogenized milk products, and organic Champoeg eggs. With many items, there is a factsheet. In fact, the eggs have a full 8.5 by 11 sheet talking about how the hens at Champoeg live! And, you can buy eggs in bulk, as in, by the egg!
Who knew there was hemp milk? And hemp tortillas? Obviously, in stock.
I found wildcrafted nettles, as well as papaya and pineapples, conveniently halved.
Like any coop, they have Dr. Bronners and shampoos and conditioners in bulk, but they have the most extensive bulk selection in town. They carry raw and roasted tahini, almond butter and peanut butter. Tons of oils, honeys, and vinegars, plus Bragg Amino Acids. Date sugar and agave for sweetening. Vanilla. And get this: instant soy milk.
Topping all of that off, I can get Little Pots and Pans' veggie and vegan tarts, and Ken's Artisan Breads!! And they host a year-round kick-ass all-organic farmers market on Wednesdays.
PP is the Godhead of used magazine stores -- they have more magazines, used books, catalogs, etc. than you can shake a stick at. It is very dangerous. Magdalen, a fellow omnizine addict, says, "I no longer allow myself to enter Periodicals Paradise because my magazine addiction combines in a very frightening manner with my vintage-anything mentality, and I want to pore over magazines for the rest of the week..."
The other day, someone asked me if PP was still around. Oh yeah, of course it is, I replied, but then the next time I went down Hawthorne, it was gone, with no sign that it had ever been there. A couple days later, I'm walking around in Hollywood, and there it is, part of an antiques store.
It's in the old JoAnn Fabrics store, and the Paradise Group, as they call themselves, dominates the store. There's Pine Paradise and Paradise Past on the main floor, and Book Paradise (mostly paperbacks) on the Mezzanine (the floor on the way to the basement. Hmmm. What is that called?), and finally Periodicals Paradise in the basement.
They still have a massive collection of old magazines, $1 each unless marked otherwise.
Maybe we were there on a bad night. Maybe the guys cooking were too high. Maybe the beer lines weren't clean. But usually there's something redeemable about a joint, and this time, there was nothing. We got the philly cheesesteak, hold the onions (which meant there were nice big chunks of onions), and an italian sausage, which had everything, sausage, peppers, onion, in a rough dice. The cheesesteak was nothing to write home about, except for the amazingly small meat to bun ratio. The sausage was tasteless, covered with incipid marinara, poorly cooked peppers and onions, and doughy bread. We had gotten the recommended porter, and a brown. The porter had a nice mocha nose, but tasted like mud. The brown had no nose, and tasted like mud too. We left all of it there, and got dinner at DQ, which was cheap and tasty.
I was having a bad day, and I needed comfort food. What could be better than pho? And so I ended up at Pho Green Papaya and Sunset Deli.
Now, you might be familiar with them already. Up until recently, they were simply Sunset Deli, a shack-like building on MLK across from Sheridan's, and next to Taco Del Mar. I admit, it seemed a little too divey for even me.
But with a new paint job, Pho Green Payaya looks almost respectable. A covered deck on the side would be nice in warm weather, and it would be removed from the hustle and bustle of the tiny, newly painted interior.
The original Sunset Deli menu (teriyaki, salads, sandwiches) is still in place, and for vietnamese lunch, you've got some limited, not terribly cheap, options. We started with vietnamese iced coffee and their salad rolls, which they call fresh spring roll: filled with bbq pork (xa xiu), shrimp, vermicelli noodles, & mint. The presentation on these was gorgeous, and they really were the highlight of the meal. Though definitely not the best salad roll in town.
Next came our entrees, beef pho and lemongrass chicken. Like I said, the viet menu is short: 3 pho variants (beef, chicken or vegetarian, with no choices for meat), udon (huh?), curry, fried rice, papaya or mango salad, and lemongrass chicken or tofu. The presentation on these were also really lovely. And for a $6 small bowl of pho, it ought to be lovely.
The pho was disappointing. It came with a very small salad plate (though the broth was studded with lots of herbs), and the meat and rice noodles clumped to themselves. By the time the pho got to the table, the meat was an unidentifiable grey mass. And the broth was salty and thin, not rich and robust.
And the lemongrass chicken was also underwhelming. The sauce was tasty with that nice lemongrass citrusyness and slightly spicy, but the chicken itself tasted plain. The green beans were nice and crisp though. It seemed overpriced.
So, beautiful presentation, a little expensive for what it is, and okay but not memorable food.
With a name like Pho Saigon, it's hard to know if you're eating at a chain, or a mom-and-pop pho joint. For instance, is this Pho Saigon related to the Pho Saigon which had been in the Global Food Court downtown, or the one in Vancouver, or the one in Beaverton?
We went seeking pho, soup and bun. Pho Saigon is a pleasant restaurant with booths and tables, a large flat-screen TV, and a lot of lobsters on the wall. The menu is Vietnamese and Chinese, with most items given in English, Vietnamese and Chinese. I was a bit surprised at the prices: a small pho was $5.50, and a large was $8. But no matter.
We ordered salad rolls, fried prawns, a pho with meatballs and rare steak, BBQ pork wonton soup, BBQ pork bun, a thai iced tea, and a Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk.
The drinks, of course, came first: small, strong, and not terribly sweet. I prefer doing my own sweetening, so that was right up my alley.
Next, the salad rolls, which were very decent, stuffed with shrimp and BBQ pork. The dipping sauce was very thin, which made for a drip hazard. I decided to get okay with a drip (or three) on my shirt.
The fried shrimp were, well, not the best example of the craft. The shrimp were firm, sweet, and mediumsized, covered with a thick batter, which was still doughy and undercooked. They came with a classic chinese sweet and sour dipping sauce. The person who ordered them didn't end up eating them in the end.
Then came the entrees. The BBQ pork wonton soup was totally full of wontons and chinese BBQ pork—it was the winner of the table. The wontons were filled, it seems with BBQ Pork, so they were at the bottom, covered by an impressive array of BBQ pork slices. The person who ordered that slurped happily, ignoring the glares from the other side of the tabel.
The pho was a small bowl with both meatballs and sliced eye of round. I had ordered it children's style, without onions, but that had been lost in translation: they may well have given me extra onions. There was a salad plate that was small, but with very fresh ingredients with a full salad plate. The beef broth was okay, though definitely mild and a little underspiced, not the rich broth that I relish.
And the bun, or vermicelli bowls (a rice noodle salad with a fish-sauce dressing), was deemed okay, but terribly mild. It came with adorably cut carrots, and pickled daikon. And while it was deemed okay, the eater picked at it.
Now it could be that we just got lucky, and came in on a bad night. In spite of the parking lot being full, there were only a few tables full in the restaurant. Friends, with better palates than mine, certainly, have liked it. Next time through, I'll stick to the chinese noodle dishes.
The original Pho Van continues to recreate itself. A new remodel has rendered the space more sophisticated, but the prices are about the same. You can still get pho, salad rolls, and bun (rice noodles with veggies and protein), but you can also get some new interesting things, like beef 7 ways (bo 7 mon) and roasted whole catfish (ca nuong). Admittedly, the catfish and beef 7 ways are special occasion dishes ringing in around $30, but they do serve two easily.
Soups are $5-$7.50, entries $6.50-$8.50. One of my favs is the cha gio chay, spring rolls with tofu and taro root, with soy-ginger dipping sauce. If you really want to impress someone new to Pho Van, order Banh xeo, an impressive crispy rice flour crepe filled with pure yummyness (shrimp & pork)—as big as a dinner plate and golden brown delicious. Bahn xeo is always impressive, but Pho Van's version is quite possibly the best in town. Okay, I've not had anything I don't absolutely love there. It's so yummy, I try to come up with excuses to go there, across town, several times a week.
One of Pho Van's greatest strengths are their ability to work with groups. This is a place that doesn't get flustered with a crowd. And they take reservations for parties of six or more.
This is also a great place to take your unadventuresome midwestern relatives: the place is so beautifully designed, so clean, so stylish, that how can your Applebee's loving mom not approve?
Pho Van is well-known to Eastside pho enthusiasts. It's hard to go wrong with a good bowl of pho, and Pho Van does some of the best. The prices are good, the service is fast, and, it's a great place to take someone who isn't sure about pho. Unlike most of the other eastside pho parlors, Pho Van is gorgeous and lovely and tremendously aesthetically appealing. With the new menu strict vegetarians won't have to go hungry, though their options are limited. Dinner for 2 including appetizers, beer, and tip came in at $25.
Let me start right up front with my biases. I love Pho Van on 82nd, and would eat there every night of the week if I had the cash and someone to go with me. It's certainly not the only vietnamese restaurant I go to, but I love the combination of good food and serene atmosphere. And, they have a vespa and a bike rickshaw inside!
I had heard some less than steller reports about the new Pho Van on Hawthorne, so I went to check it out. Parking was a hassle. We get inside the doorway at 5:15, and there's already a crowd of people standing there. The space in front of the host/hostess stand is small, cramped, and dominated by a giant palm which is totally in my face while I wait. There's one host, and he's taking a phone order from some indecisive person.
After maybe 5 minutes, we get seated. Not too bad. The menu is the same as Pho Van's lunch menu—so an assortment of pho and other soups, appetizers, hand rolls, rice dishes, and bun. The place is close to full, and loud, with sound bouncing off the concrete floors, reverbing off the walls.
First comes the crispy vegetarian rolls, stuffed with all sorts of goodies including taro. They're greasy. But we're hungry, so we don't say anything, and it's not like anyone is checking up on us other than to come and shake our partially full beer bottles to see if they're empty. Yeah, thanks.
Then the main course come. I ordered one of the handrolls, with shrimp and chicken grilled on sugar cane: it's wonderful, but it's all cold. Is it supposed to be cold? I don't remember.
The bun, however, is supposed to be a constrast of cold crunchy vegetables, warm soothing rice noodles, the brace of fish sauce. It's all cold as well. My meal partner, who has worked at viet restaurants in the past, is very displeased with the bun. The noodles are clumpy, the beef is weird, etc. And so, ten minutes or so after the food is delivered, the waitress comes by to ask if everything is okay and gets an earful. She says, well the noodles are supposed to be cold. Hmmmm. She comps his meal, but it's clear she thinks we're PITA. My meal partner claims it's one of the worst vietnamese meals he's ever eaten, and leaves most of it there.
Maybe it was a bad night. Maybe we just had bad luck. Admittedly, I'm totally charmed by the 82nd Ave Pho Van. And while I'll go back to see if it was just bad luck, I'm not terribly motivated to make that soon.
This was a Pho Hung until about a year ago when it changed hands.
When we went by on a Sunday afternoon, the lot was full. After we found a parking spot down the block (the neighbors must love them), we came into the restaurant and were greeted by the host/traffic director who authoritatively directed us to a table.
About half the restaurant was full, with about half Asian families, the other half speaking Russian, Spanish and English. That's a good sign.
The restaurant looks completely unchanged from when it was Pho Hung. It's a respectable, but not fancy, pho joint. The menu is similar to Pho Hung's as well: pho, noodle soups, bun, and rice plates, except it's all doublespaced and in large print. We ordered our usuals: salad rolls, 2 small pho with meatballs and eye of round (one children's style), and 2 iced coffees.
Immediately, the salad plate arrives. It's basil, sprouts, sliced jalapeno, and some lime quarters, and the basil and sprouts looked a smidge past their prime. No cilantro, no sawleaf. Almost as quickly, the salad rolls appear, with no side plates. We divvy up napkins. The salad rolls are okay, not great, again seeming a little tired.
We've just solved the napkin problem when the coffees arrive, old style: two glasses with ice and spoons, two cups with vietnamese drip filters. I'm not sure why, but both cups are covered with coffee grounds.
And then, the pho arrives. The entire process, from ordering to pho coming, probably took five minutes -- pretty normal. To my great pleasure, my pho did come without onions (children's style), but it was also without the eye of round.
The broth was the highlight. It's not the best in town to be certain, but it's certainly tasty enough. The small size is a pretty healthy serving, with a brick of rice noodles on the bottom, waiting to be teased out with your chopsticks.
In the end, for this speedy, filling meal, it was under $20. Then again, as I look at the receipts, I paid the wrong bill, so maybe... uh, who knows.
I just heard from PDXJule who had this sad bit of news:
This has been my favorite Asian market in Portland for years. I always buy more than I can carry...a great source for dried and tinned mushrooms,sauces, coconut milk, vinegars and more.
I was suprised to see a Liquidation Sale sign last week - so I called today, and unfortunately they don't have much left. Will probably be closed after this week I think. They do plan to do a remodel and open another business at the location.
I guess the Seafood freezers are all cleared out, and there's not much left. 50% off their already low prices is a great deal. They used to stock dried and canned mushrooms of all kinds.
Okay, if I'd have known there'd be pirate ships, I would have gotten a whole lot more excited about the Rose Festival. Which runs from today to June 10th. And all you gotta do is google rose festival portland if you want more info.
(Oh, and they call them Tall Ships. Tall Ships. Like Tall Bikes? They will be terrorizing the Willamette through Sunday June 4)
So, after the proverbial bad day at work, we went to Pirates Tavern. We'd never been before, indeed, we didn't even know anyone who had been before, and I admit I was rather dubious about the whole thing after looking at their website with the computer-generated babes with special sparkling nips. But still...
We arrive at 6:30ish, and a band is already playing Dead tunes in the loft. Unfortunately, the music is really loud, louder than I want to deal with, so we go and sit on the pleasant covered porch overlooking St Helens Rd.
Our young waiter, with his hair fashioned into two impressive horns, brings us water, and then 24 oz mugs of beer. They have several organics from Roots, as well as Wild Hops and Stone Mill (aka, Budweiser), as well as a number of organic wines, and rum.
While I am a lover of the fake meats, the menu at Pirates Tavern is frightening. It's all about mock this and mock that with pasta or potatoes or white rice. Entrees are $12 - $14, with appetizers about half that (the menu online is not up-to-date). We ordered a taquito appetizer to split, tostadas and mushroom stroganoff.
The taquitos, well, what's not to love? There are 4 of them to the appetizer, crunchy and deepfried, and god-only knows what's inside them. A small serving of pico de gallo and quacamole are along side.
The entrees, unfortunately, were not as good. The tostadas were a huge plate of food, but unfortunately, it was all layered on warmed tortillas. I have to admit, I've never ever had a tostada that wasn't served on a crispy fried tortilla, and honestly, I don't ever want to have one again. The beans were seasoned, but not as tasty as they could be with just a little more seasoning, and the white rice appeared almost instant. The stroganoff was a non-dairy cream sauce on white pasta -- that was fine. Large chunks of some burnt fake meat, god only knows what, dotted the dish. I had been hoping they were seitan, but they sure didn't taste that way.
The entrees come with soup or salad. Today's soup was lentil, and it was fine, though nothing really to write home about. The salad was small, but generous with vegetables, and I appreciated being able to order an unusual dressing without comment.
In the end, our dinner was $50 including tip. Not inexpensive, in other words.
In my house, we have this joke, that Pizza Fino is Matt Zefino's brother. Heehaha. I bet I'm not the first one to come up with this one. But this recent addition to Kenton is a sign that things really might be turning around up there.
In front of the house, there's the pizza by the joint place, where you can get a slice or a sandwich and a beer or soda and sidle up to the counter. In the back, there's a lovely, tiny dining room that looks out on the back parking lot, but in spite of that, manages to be charming. There in the dining room, you can have table service and order off a menu.
Pizza by the slice has at least 4 pies ready for munching. The prices are in the $2-$3 range for slices. They also have 4 salads ($4-$7), 4 panini, 4 heros, and 4 cold sandwiches ($6.50-$8.25), and out of each of those categories, one is vegan, and most offer a lacto-ovo veg option as well. All the sandwiches come with soup (a good vegan minestrone or a soup of the day), the house salad, or a pasta salad. They have 13 different wines by the class ($5-6.50), and 6 different beers on tap ($3-$3.75).
We ordered the Italian Job, a huge cold sandwich made of sopressato, capicola, provolone, roasted peppers, pepperoncini, tomato, red onion, lettuce, oil and vinegar on ciabatta, with the minestrone. Also, the Maspeth: fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil pesto with prosciutto on como, with a side caesar, and a pepperoni slice.
The pepperoni slice was pretty good. Pizza by the slice always tastes worse than a fresh hot pie, and that can't be helped. But the crust was crunchy and crackery, the sauce was not overabundant, but prominent, the pepperoni was good, and the cheese was okay. Still, for pizza by the slice, this was mighty good.
The Italian Job was one of those sandwiches that is so tall, it ought not fit into your mouth. Everything in it tasted zingy, tasty and fresh. The ciabatta roll from Grand Central was the perfect foil: crusty but not too crusty.
The caesar was good. Slightly undressed, which I'd rather, and some restraint with the shredded parmesan and the croutons. The Maspeth was Caprese-esque in ingredients only, though the gooey, stringy mozzarella was a delight, especially with the pesto. The roma tomato was okay, it wasn't as bad as most sandwich tomatoes out of season, though I'd rather just wait til summer. The proscuitto kinda disappeared into the sandwich.
Brunch is served on Saturday and Sundays, with prices from $5.75-$12.50, and with entrees ranging from breakfast pizza, panini, a scramble, some omelets, a tofu scramble, and polenta with buffalo brisket!
The sitdown menu has a pile of yummy-sounding Italian appetizers ($3.50-$9), a handful of pastas ($7-$13.25), and some specialties ($9-$10) like lasagne and ravioli and risotto. Of course, there are also pizzas ($9-$23), including the most decent sounding vegan pizza I've ever heard of: a white bean & roasted red pepper spread topped with tempeh (I'd pass on that) and veggies. They offer red sauce, alfredo, garlic & olive oil and pesto as bases (as well as the white bean/roasted red pepper spread), and they even offer a clam pie.
So, we went back for dinner. This was not as good of an experience.
Now, before I go any further, let me say that I know folks who have had great experiences on the sitdown side of the restaurant. It just sounds like I got unlucky. But lo, this could happen to you!
Right off the bat, we order drinks, and my Fino Fizz comes back to the table with Chambord rather than limoncello. We placed our order, for a large spinach salad, a pasta carbonara, and a house lasagne (not to be confused with the special lasagne). Our salad came quickly, lightly dressed and quite good. The fresh baby spinach leaves were tossed with tiny tiny bits of candied walnuts, cubes of roma tomato, and ricotta salata. Then began our long wait.
It appears, if you order a pizza, it will come out quite quickly. We watched two tables who had ordered well after us get their pizzas and finish them before we got our pastas. I'm estimating a wait of about 40 minutes between ordering, and pasta arriving at the table.
It should be noted that the pizzas looked really good.
As noted on the menu, the carbonara was cream-based, and was fairly garlicky. That's not traditional, but I didn't mind it. The pancetta was well carmelized, and the peas were peas.
The lasagna was made with housemade sausage, which were all the size of really small hail, or smaller. It really didn't taste unlike lasagna you can get at the grocery store.
Both pastas were accompanied by several slices of really stale Grand Central bread—so stale that I could barely bite through it.
Several times during the meal, someone would haul trash or recycling through the dining room. At several points, I could smell cigarette smoke, even though the dining room is non-smoking... maybe coming from the bar?
Service was an issue the entire meal. For the majority of the meal, there were three tables and two servers, which I suppose explains why my water glass was dry for twenty minutes. At one point when the server did come into our orbit, I asked for a glass of beer and she asked if she could take the remainder of my drink (I had maybe a quarter of it left). I had asked for the beer then because it had been about 15 minutes since she had been at the table, and it wasn't unreasonable to believe they'd leave me there with both an empty water and empty drink glass.
I watched as this same server brought tasters of red wine out to a neighboring table and then couldn't remember which was pinot and which was chianti.
This was a big disappointment after our great lunch the day before. Our dinner experiment cost us $55 after tip. So my recommendation to you is, go for pizza or sandwiches. The pizzas are really tasty.
Andrew Hall, of Portland Bridges fame, was one of the first "names" I was aware of online in 1995. He was doing all these great web sites, blah blah blah. And one of them was his annotated list of pizza slice places.
Happily, I ran across this again recently, and it's pretty up-to-date. A pizza joint is:
a casual pizza place where you can get pizza slices. It should not be a place with table service or a place where you would expect to tip, although nowadays most of them have the ubiquitous tip jar. One should feel comfortable going into pizza joints alone. Chain restaurants like Godfathers and Pizza Hut don't qualify as pizza joints, either.
Sometimes, you just want a brewpub near by. Who can blame you? And maybe you just want to look on a map? Place Mapper's got your back. Or something. With this googlemap-mashup, you can id brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional breweries—in Portland, in Oregon, or heaven forfend, in Seattle.
Are you thinking about going car-free? Or just want to be rid of a car, boat, motorcycle, etc?
As long as it's still worth $70, and you have a clear title signed off by the titled owner, a number of organizations would be willing to tow it away (some even give an incentive for driving it in). You get the convenience, and maybe a write-off on your taxes.
This is such a great idea. I wish it were a little easier to find content centered on a particular area, and at times the AJAX coding will cause the page to flash and act oddly. But I have no doubt that these things will be addressed--it's just alpha, after all.
So, I haven't taken the copious sorts of notes I frequently take when I'm trying out a new place. But I've been in a couple of times and I wanted to give a preliminary report. And, yes, I know the owner socially.
Rodney Muirhead, of LOW BBQ fame, is back. You better believe it. In this tiny storefront next to a taqueria, a subtle, unpretentious and sometimes chilly dining room awaits. So, okay, wear long underwear. Or get your meal to go. It should be fixed soon, if not already.
The menu, these days, is pretty simple. Openers include their wedge salad and Texas style chili. The wedge is just that: a wedge of iceberg lettuce dressed in homemade bleu cheese dressing and scallions. Simple and so very delicious. The chili reminds me most of red pozole, made without hominy, and with lots of brisket. Delicious, and very spicy. My one complaint is that it comes in a very small cup.
The entrees are what you might expect: brisket, pork ribs, beef sausage, pulled pork, and more, with two sides. The sides are cornbread, coleslaw, beans, and potato salad.
The meats, for the most part, are exquisite. Okay, so the sausage is not as good as you'd hope, but the brisket and pulled pork are really scrumptious, with a little bark and very tender. The sides are a work in progress: on two different visits, we had different styles of cornbread and beans, so maybe I shouldn't comment on them? The initial beans were borracho style, in a decious meaty broth, and the second time, they were more like baked beans.
Lunch has some sandwiches: whatever meats were smoked the day before: probably pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey, plus ribs and the wedge salad. For $8, you can get a sandwich, a side, and a pop.
The lunch—well, there's nothing not to love. The sandwiches are piled high with slow roasted meats, and they come plain, with a side of pickled carrots, jalapenos and onions, and another side of sauce. And they are really good enough to eat without sauce.
You can wash all of this down with some pop, some fancy soda, or beer. They do have some on tap. And follow up with some pecan pie.
So... great BBQ or greatest BBQ? Arguably, the sides are better at Ken's Place-LOW BBQ. The issue of meat is going to require some investigation. But of places that serve BBQ more than one night a week, Podnahs is above and beyond anybody else in town.
Podnah's is one of my favorite places for lunch or dinner. And now, it's one of my favorite places for breakfast.
Beginning Saturday, October 6, Podnah's will be serving weekend breakfasts from 8am - 1pm.
I was lucky enough to get a preview and man, this is some mighty fine grub. The menu is short. The copy I have has four entrees plus drinks. But, man, I love the fact that he's narrowing in on what he's good at.
Here's the menu (current last week, your mileage may vary):
Biscuits & Gravy $5.50, with 2 eggs $7
Smoked Trout Hash $7.50, with 2 eggs $9
Ham, Grits & Eggs $8 Kolaches $2 each
Fresh OJ $3
Both biscuits & gravy and grits are foods that are often really fantastic at home, and really underwhelming in restaurants. There are really very few restaurants in town that do either well. But if anyone can do these well, I think it would be Podnahs. And they do.
We ordered the Biscuits & Gravy, and Ham, Grits and Eggs, and each of them were excellent. The biscuits and gravy were your classic country gravy, studded with big pieces of breakfast sausage. The gravy was excellently seasoned, and honestly, it's the best gravy I've had outside my own. The biscuits were simultaneously crisp and flaky. As well as golden brown and delicious. Yum.
The Ham, Grits and Eggs, were a big slice of really decent ham, with really wonderfully creamy grits, and eggs any style. I ordered them soft scrambled, and they were quite creamy too. The grits were just plain great -- rich, and humble and wonderful -- one of the better grits I've had in a restaurant.
We sat next to someone who was having the Trout Hash, who said that he just couldn't order anything but the Trout Hash because it was so good. I would have asked to have a bite, but I think that he might have assaulted me.
Anyways, who knows what Rodney will have this weekend, except I expect that biscuits & gravy and grits will play some sort of role.
There are two words you need to remember when you think about Poor Richard's: family restaurant.
I didn't come up with this definition, but when you hear family restaurant, you need to abandon hope that the food will be anything better than edible.
When I first moved to Portland, my ex used to drag me to Poor Richard's in Hollywood. We'd sit in the bar, order a stiff drink and a steak, and each time I'd realize that I had blocked out the previous visits and how awful it was.
Similarly, recently, I was thinking that it wasn't all that bad. Sadly, I was wrong.
Poor Richard's has a dining room and a lounge. The dining room is shabbily colonial, with tables here and there of large family gatherings and elderly folks. We didn't visit the lounge, but I'm sure it was probably a little less comatose.
The claim-to-fame for Poor Richard's is their two-fers: order two of the same thing for one low price! You have a choice of tenderloin ($21.95-$32.95), top sirloin ($20.45-$27.45), cod fish & chips ($21.95), pork loin ($19.95), and three different styles of chicken ($19.95). Admittedly, you save a buck or two off the menu price, but realistically, these aren't incredibly cheap prices. Even the single menu prices aren't cheap.
We ordered a couple beers (the hefeweizen was fine, but less popular beers weren't quite right), an appetizer of Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Strips ($5.95), and the 8oz top sirloin. The chicken strips were speedy and quite tasty.
Dinners include your choice of
cole slaw, tossed salad or soup of the day, garlic bread, choice of baked potato (after 4:00pm), seasoned french fries or rice pilaf, coffee and tea and soft vanilla ice cream. All dinner items are cooked to order.
We were quite hungry and our waitron quite accommodating—we consumed multiple small baskets of garlic bread. The cole slaw arrived, a perfectly round scoop with a big round slice of pickled beet laid against it. The cabbage was cut into tiny tiny pieces and the dressing was too sweet.
Not long afterwards came our steaks. I ordered a loaded baked potato and they took me at my word—it was the highlight of the meal for me. The steaks—eh? Tough, gristly, overcooked. Admittedly, when a steak costs $15, I'm not expecting much, but there are plenty of great steaks at the $20 mark, and good steaks at $15. Just not here.
I'm usually a good eater, but the potato was all I could finish.
With tip, it was over $50, which is straying into special-occasion territory. And while the people watching is excellent, I can't recommend this for a special occasion.
If you read a lot (or any) of the Portland food bloggers, you are already aware of this wonderful resource created by Portland Food and Drink's Cuisine Bonne Femme.
But in case you live under a rock, here's her description:
This site is an ode to Portland's food carts, and a practical guide on where to find them and what to eat once you get there. It contains a listing of carts, a map, a search feature, and categories by cuisine types and specific locations. It also contains photos and menus if I can get them, and the occasional profile or review if I am especially inspired (or horrified) by a particular cart.
At this point, the big categories are Vegetarian Options, Vegan, Sandwiches and Mexican. Each entry has at least the address, with a googlemap and frequently a detailed description/entry.
I plan to break out of my downtown lunch rut with this, yes indeedy.
I created Portland Ground to share the beautiful photons of the Portland area with people here in the Northwest and around the planet.
Portland Ground is a geo-photo-documentary. Each of the 896 images here is connected to one of the 50 odd neighborhoods or places I've visited. It's my effort to do street photography in a way that pleases me, and captures the rough edges and the beautiful sides of Portland Oregon.
My goal is to provide you with fresh Portland Ground every day.
Nick Zukin, aka ExtraMSG, has created this great restaurant and market resource for newcomers and townies alike.
The tip sheet breaks restaurants down by style (American, Bakeries, BBQ, Breakfast, Chinese & Korean, Chocolates, Desserts, French, Greek & Middle-Eastern, Hamburgers, Ice Cream, Indian, Italian, Latin-American, Mexican, Mexican-American, Northwest Cuisine, Pizza, Seafood, Special Occasion, Sushi/Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese) and by neighborhood (downtown, the Pearl, NW, NoPo, Inner NE, Restaurant Row/28th/NE, Sunnyside SE, Division/Clinton SE, Sellwood/Westmoreland/John's Landing, outer SE [82nd & Montavilla], Vancouver, and Westside/Washington County), and markets by category (Asian, Farmer's, Gourmet/Organic, Latin, Meat, and Wine).
He has links to online resources, listings of under- and over-rated restaurants, and perhaps the best thing: a list of Sunday and Monday options. The latter I go back to again and again.
Here's how he describes it.
This tip sheet is primarily intended for people who are new to Portland or just visiting and want a few quick recommendations. It may also be useful to people who are looking to explore a cuisine for the first time or who don't get beyond their own neighborhood often. It's not meant to be comprehensive. Nor is it intended to always give the best three in each category. Some restaurants may be both among the best American restaurants and the best breakfast restaurants, perhaps. However, they will only be listed in one category. Also, there is some attempt to add variety in each category, giving both upscale and downscale options, for example, or variety in location or style. However, each should be among the better, and possibly best, choices in Portland for that category.
Oh, I'm so jealous of RecordStoreGeek, that s/he made a googlemap mash-up of record stores before I did. And better (or worse, from my perspective), it's far more complete than my list too. Anyhow, check it out, it's great.
The west coast attracts all the refugees and fugitives of the US. Portland ends up the with the most disturbed people because it's the cheapest place to live. Chuck Palahniuk
So, now we've seen the results of Portland being Tony Bourdained. I think, considering that he had less than a half-hour to cover us, he still did pretty well.
His thesis for this episode is that the Pacific NW is about obsession. Obsession is really the pessimistic version—passionate might be a better way to put it. Folks that weren't raised here or didn't come here for a job are here largely for the lifestyle. Yes, things are slightly cheaper than SF or Seattle.
The thing is, people are here to slack. And I don't mean that in a bad way. They may care very much about their job, but they also care very much, perhaps to obsessiveness, about something else: reading, writing, beer drinking, beer making, film watching, running, cycling, skiing, and of course food.
We have our short rainy winter to brood over the things we love, and perhaps to do them anyways.
Anyhow. Tony met up with Chuck Palahniuk, and I was pleased to see him, even if his view is that we're all freaks. I was pleased to see Voodoo Donut show up even if they don't make the best donuts in town. They're fun and inventive, and shoot, it's Tres from the XRay!
I haven't made it to Velveteria yet so I can't speak to that. The Heathman, of course, is a lovely oasis of calm and civility. And then there's Apizza Scholls!
I was so happy to see Brian, the owner/dough guru at Apizza get some decent airtime. He's truly a decent man who makes an exceptional pizza with exceptional ingredients. Tony got it wrong—it's not NY pizza, it's New Haven pizza, and that's the real difference between it and other pizzerias in town, and indeed, what trips a lot of folks up. I can't say enough good things about Brian and Apizza Scholls, though in full disclosure, I do know Brian... because after I had driven out to Scholls 4 times for his pizza, it only seemed fair to thank him.
The whole Shanghai tunnels thing I could have done without. One, because a whole lot of TV on Portland covers it, and two, because there is not a lot of written or oral history (outside of Michael Jones) that proves that the tunnels were used for crimping. Yes, Portland was a tough town, full of vice, and not the place to let your guard down. Yes, men were crimped for ships.
I haven't heard a lot of good things about the Cascade Geographic Society (Michael Jones) tours, and if I were going to pursue this, I'd do a tour with David Schargel from Portland Walking Tours. Cause who doesn't love tunnels??
Mary, a craft beer lover, made a recent trip to Portland to check out the suds. Here's her report on a marathon day of beer crawling with stops at John's Marketplace, New Old Lompoc, Lucky Labrador Beer Hall, Laurelwood NW Public House, Amnesia, Roots, Horse Brass, Belmont Station, and the Concordia Ale House.
The only destination that she missed, I think, is Widmer (929 N Russell, (503) 281-3333) -- not so much for their standards, but for their wonderful brewers specialties and Collaborator beers.
Of course, if she or her friends are fans of Weizens, they have to go to Portland/Pyramid Brewing (2730 NW 31st, (503) 228-5269), which has the gold medal winner for an American Crystal Weizen (filtered and bubbly) on tap, as well as an Imperial Hefe which is quite nice.
And then there's Rogue (1339 NW Flanders St at 14th, (503) 222-5910), just for the sake of. While they've reduced the amount of their own beer that they have on tap, they still tend to have about a dozen of them on at any given time.
The Portland Tribune is a twice-weekly free paper, printed and distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays. It is owned by Robert Pamplin, who also owns KPAM (AM 860) and the Community Newspapers Group. The news initially was only to be about Portland, but now it also covers the suburbs as well (which is good, as the editorial offices are now in the suburbs). Issues tend to be about 16-32 pages long. The news consists of a long front page story, and a number of shorter pieces.
Both in print and online, they have their content divided into news, opinion, features, sports, sustainable life and classifieds.
The front page online is updated between print editions. They do not appear to have RSS feeds.
While some issues have a decided conservative slant (alternative and public transportation, public spending, small business), and editorial feature work generally reads like PR pieces, they can pull a real surprise out of their hats every now and again.
They have all of their content online, and while they have recently switched content management systems (and broken all of their old URLs), they have a well-oiled search engine to find material. They don't appear to take material down, which I appreciate. (Now, if they had some sort of redirection rather than their ugly 404 message).