Back at it—here are four things I learned this week in the world of Portland food.
The Mid-Autumn Festival starts today. Here are three local bakeries where you can find Chinese-style mooncakes for the annual Mid Autumn Festival. Also: I learned that there are regional differences in mooncakes, which makes total sense. In the past I’ve only had access to Chinese-style mooncakes, and now I wish I’d sought out other styles. Wikipedia has a summary of the different styles throughout Asia.
Say cheese(burger). Wednesday, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day, and Burgerville is offering $1 cheeseburgers that day. Maximum five burgers per transaction, and a two transaction limit per vehicle.
The donut breakfast sandwich is a thing. Delicious Donuts, celebrating 14 years in the business this week, offers many things, including a breakfast sandwich made with a glazed donut. Redditor @afeld explains, “They flip the donut inside out, so you’re holding the dry inners, and glazed part is with the egg.” That would be Aiden’s Sandwich, made with egg, cheese, and choice of meat—bacon, ham, or sausage. Their Grand Avenue Burger also comes on a glazed donut.
Zapapizza is in soft open mode. Nick Zukin of Mi Mero Mole fame has been working on his newest project, Zapapizza. Offering thick-crust pies with Mexican ingredients for toppings. From twitter: “We are now soft open 11am to 9pm with thick crust pizza slices, beer, booze, wings, and even salad. Limited menu. More coming soon. 503 W. Burnside.” P.S. The Zaparoni, a pepperoni pie base with the addition of pickled jalapeños, queso fresco, and fresh avocado, is basically my dream pizza.
We’re back with four new-to-me things I learned this week in the world of Portland food (week ending Friday, September 6, 2019).
Third time’s a sad charm. This week we got the bad news that Smallwares will close; her Zipper Building spot, Wares, was put on the market this past summer. And, of course, the original Smallwares—which I first became aware of all the way in NYC back in 2016 when I was the editor of Northeast Neighbors magazine—on NE Fremont has been gone for a few years. Johanna Wares has made some seriously tasty “inauthentic Asian” food, and her work will be missed. You have until Saturday, September 28 to eat at Smallwares, and then it will be gone, gone, gone.
More than a michelada. Portland gets a new bar that sells craft beer and hot sauce, Alefire.
Beaverton’s best for food. Thrillist claims Beaverton as one of “the country’s best suburbs for people who love food.” Highlighted eateries are Duh Kuh Bee for noodles, dumplings and kbbq; Yuzu for izakaya; Oyatsupan Bakers for Japanese baked goods; Decarli for Italian food; Best Baguette for banh mi; and Beaverton Sub Station for… well… subs.
Portland Mercado suffers jagoff behavior. We got the bad news this week that someone broke the front door at the Portland Mercado—and so close to their biggest event of the year, Taste of Latinoamérica – Sabor de Latinoamérica, this Saturday, September 7, from noon to 7pm. Property damage sucks.
It’s back! I’ve resurrected my weekly Four Things, where I tell you about four new-to-me things I learned this week in the world of Portland food (week ending Friday, August 30, 2019).
Doe Donuts is backlogged with city permits. Back in June, Doe Donuts announced they were leaving their FoPo location for new digs in the Hollywood District (where Garden Monsters previously set up shop). Their signage has been up for a while at the new spot, so I asked them on their Instagram when they plan to open. “In a few months,” was the answer. And why? “Permits are holding us back.”
The calzone zone is on Wednesdays at Red Sauce. According to their Facebook page, Red Sauce will be serving their amazing calzones on Wednesday nights only, going forth. Also news: “Pan pie on summery vacay, back in the fall.” Both are excellent choices; you should go. (And get a Treat Vancouver ding dong while you’re there.)
Oregon is a cheese champion. During the American Cheese Society Competition, Oregon took home 14 cheese wins this year. You can sample some of this year’s winning cheeses at The Wedge in October. And next year’s American Cheese Society Competition, Festival of Cheese, and accompanying conference will be held in Portland (July 2020)!
Xico nixes lunch service on SE Division. We’ve learned that Xico, home to an excellent version of “winner, winner, chicken dinner” on Monday nights, has decided to close down lunch service at their Division Street location. Last day of lunch service is Sunday, September 1. But… you can go to their NW location, where they will continue to serve lunch every day, save for Tuesday.
I was out of town for a week, but I still learned some stuff about food in Portland! Here’s my list.
I’ve craved Hat Yai’s fried chicken, roti, and curry. While I was up on the Olympic Peninsula I kept thinking back to the meal I had at Hat Yai that was a plate of fried chicken, fried roti, and a rich bowl of curry. It’s an incredible flavor bomb of a meal—my favorite of 2018 so far.
I finally had a drink at Wilf’s. When I got back into town Wednesday night, I stopped in at Wilf’s, next to the Amtrak station. I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at the interior, which was moody in a kind of dark NYC lounge way. I sat at the bar and had a lovely cocktail—gin, St Germain, citrus, and champagne. I can see myself stopping in again, maybe to hear some live music next time.
Current lunch fave: Fleur de Lis’s Harvest Bowl. I’ve now had this twice and love it for lunch. It’s a base of farro topped with cubed roasted squash, roasted golden and red beets, red onion and kale. It comes with tahini dressing and a couple pieces of the bakery’s amazing rustic bread, and you can get it topped with chicken. Pro tip: add avocado to make it even better.
Excited about Kinn Kao’s happy hour. Andrea Damewood wrote a helpful article in the Merc about the happy hour at Kinn Kao, a Northern Thai bar downstairs from Sweet Basil Thai restaurant on NE Broadway (not far from Bridgetown Bites HQ). I’d been to the space when it was still Sweet Basil, celebrating their 17th birthday party with them last October; that was shortly before they changed it over to the Kinn Kao name. The happy hour sounds super tasty and I plan to stop by soon.
I’m spending a little time outside of Portland this week and next, so first-hand experiential tidbits are halved this time around. Still, here are four things I learned this week about (mostly) Portland food:
Tempeh! When I was in Laughing Planet recently, I asked about their crazy delicious tempeh and how they cook it. I was told they bake it, a treatment I had never considered. It’s wonderfully savory, and perhaps what is essentially roasting helps draw out delicious flavors (I think they must use a marinade of some kind, too). Another thing I learned from the staff is that if you steam tempeh first, it makes it easier to work with. Brilliant! I plan to try this soon.
French press your nuts. And by nuts I mean those ground up nuts you use to make nut milk (yes, this all sounds vaguely dirty). In the recipe for strawberry almond milk over on 101 Cookbooks, Heidi recommends one way to extract the milk—by using a large French press coffee maker. I think that’s a really smart idea. When strawberries arrive at the Hollywood Farmers Market, I’ll be making some strawberry almond milk for sure. P.S. Thanks to reader Lindsay Ingalls of Running With Tongs for alerting me to the availability of nut milk bags at People’s Co-op.
New brunch menu at Jackrabbit. After participating in the March For Our Lives + Rally last Saturday, I decided to have a solo brunch at Jackrabbit. The bartender told me that they had launched a new brunch menu that day. I enjoyed the Braised Pork Sugo—a base of soft polenta topped with pulled pork (rich, porky, and a bit sweet with vinegar notes), two poached eggs, and a dusting of grana. I think next time I’ll try the savory waffle. Jackrabbit is located at 830 SW 6th Avenue.
Eight restos just say not to straws. Over on Portland Food and Drink I learned that eight restaurants in Portland, members of the Independent Restaurant Concepts hospitality group, “will no longer be serving plastic straws as of Earth Day 2018.” This is great news! Conventional plastic straw are a negative on the environment, so they’ll be serving drinks with compostable straws (and sometimes no straws at all). Yet another step forward toward sustainability in our fair city.