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.
Here are four new-to-me things I learned this week in (mostly) Portland food.
On the vegan front, Portland is #blessed. This is a twofer: White Owl Social Club has removed beef and lamb from their menu and are serving the Impossible Burger. And PoMo’s Molly Woodstock put together a nice roundup of recently-ish opened vegan spots in town.
Sous vide eggs are a thing. I had them at Verdigris this past week, and found them very tasty—the whites of the eggs look undercooked but they weren’t. It’s a bit of an optical illusion, of sorts. Plus, did you know that you can sous vide food in certain Instant Pots?
In certain parts of the country they dip cinnamon rolls into chili. This one astounds me, but some people love it. I wonder if this combo will show up on Portland one day (perhaps it already has). While reading about it I was briefly reminded of “The One Where Ross Got High” episode of Friends.
Han Oak’s Service is 💯. I had dinner there this week and could not get over how friendly and quick the service is at the bar—it’s really efficient, and has been swift both times I ate there this past month. BTW, stop by next Tuesday, March 20 for their Spring Patio Party (the day of the Vernal Equinox). Gado Gado PDX will make the food, proceeds benefit Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry. 11am-7pm.
Inspired by the podcast, No Such Thing As a Fish, I am here to tell you about four new-to-me things I learned this week in the world of Portland food.
Vegan cheese can be delicious. Vegan cheese has come a long way from the “Tofutti as an only option” days. I’ve decided to decrease my dairy intake, and these days I’m enjoying Treeline’s soft spreadable cashew cheese with scallions on top of crispy rice crackers (purchased at the Hollywood Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, respectively). Plus, did you know Portland is home to a dedicated vegan cheese shop?
Red Sauce’s Shardell Dues‘ kickass pizza lyfe. She spent a number of years making pizza and managing the kitchen at Apizza Scholls and has worked mostly at pizzerias during her career. Learn more about Shar’s fantastic pizza work and fascinating career on this episode of Portland food podcast, Right at the Fork. Plus, be sure to hit up Red Sauce next Tuesday for their fundraiser for Portland Animal Welfare (PAW)—15% of all sales that day will go towards PAW.
Gravy is opening its second location not far from Bridgetown Bites HQ. Another bit of news I missed while sick—Gravy is comin’ to NE Sandy, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Hollywood District. I love their veg gravy and biscuits and have personally stood in those seemingly interminable lines up on Mississippi Avenue, so a second location will be a welcome addition to Portland brunching.
On a personal note, I did not get the job. I was a finalist for the Eater Portland editor job. I hadn’t heard from them about their decision, so I took a look and and saw the updated masthead this week. The new editor is Brooke Jackson-Glidden from Salem and I wish her the very best as she takes on this position, and look forward to reading the site under her editorial direction. The application process was a positive experience and I got a lot out of it. I love my freelance career so all is good in the end.