I’ve always delighted in the play-on-words for Groundhog Day: Ground Hog Day. For me, it’s a perfectly good opportunity to enjoy delicious ground meats of any kind. Sure, a purist’s approach is to only chow down on pork, but I’m flexible and happy to entertain more meats than that. Here are some spots I’d be happy to spend time eating ground hog etc.
Scratch Meats. I love these guys, who offer their delicious sausages at various farmers markets every week. I get mine at the Hollywood Farmers Market and I’ll be stopping by on Groundhog Day to pick up my favorite—Chicken Parmigiano. It’s ground chicken thigh mixed with sun dried tomatoes, a variety of hard cheeses and spices. We are big fans at our house. They also offer a number of other sausages made with pork, beef, lamb, and even a Paleo-friendly sausage that includes variety cuts (organ meats).
Olympia Provisions. One of the Portland’s most-recognized brands, Olympia Provisions excels in the ground hog/charcuterie arena. They did well at the most recent Good Food Awards, too: “Top marks went to regular medalists Olympia Provisions, which took home three awards for its Saucisson Sec, Saucisson Aux Noisettes de Oregon (that’s Oregon Hazelnut to non-Francophiles), and Green Peppercorn Pate.” Find them at farmers markets, supermarkets, and other stockists.
Stammtisch. Your belly will say “wilkommen!” to all the delicious sausages there, whether it’s Currywurst, Bratwurst, or Weisswurst (my favorite). There’s also plenty of potato, sauerkraut, and beer action. 401 NE 28th Ave Portland. stammtischpdx.com. Monday-Thursday 3pm-1:30am; Friday 11:30am-1:30am; Saturday & Sunday 11am-1:30am.
Kari Gogo’s Khinkali. I love Georgian food; I have ever since I was served it in an underground supper club in NYC, and got to enjoy it at some pretty legit spots in southern Brooklyn (thank goodness our friend spoke Russian). Kari Gogo here in Portland is great and worth your time. The star of the ground hog show is the beef & pork khinkali, a large dumpling; pro tip: be sure to refrain from eating the tip/top knot of the khinkali. And for the love of all that is holy, get the Acharuli Khachapuri and sink right into that dream of a butter-cheese-egg bread. Don’t forget the tarragon soda, too. 3039 NE Alberta St, Portland. kargigogo.com. Wednesday-Sunday 11am-9pm.
And speaking of actual Groundhog Day, there are a couple of places in Portland screening the beloved comedy classic, Groundhog Day, on Groundhog Day: the Clinton Street Theater and the Academy Theater. And we’ll have to see if Fufu the Hedgehog at the Oregon Zoo will make a prediction this year (see the other prognosticators around North America aside from Punxatawney Phil).
Finally, I have one actual Groundhog Day special to share, and that’s at Toast la Tea : “In honor of the special occasion, all-day on Saturday, February 2, guests of Toast la Tea will be able to choose a bowl of Veggies, Beef or Chicken Pho for eight dollars ($8). All of the Pho is made in-house daily and is a family-recipe from Vietnam; it’s served with a heaping side of garnish to flavor to your liking.” 1037 NW 23rd Ave, Ste 100, Portland. toastlatea.com. Saturday 11am-10pm.
Here’s hoping the prognosticators tell us it will be an early spring this year.