Four Things I Learned This Week (November 8)

It’s been a crazy week with some unusual and new experiences, so let’s turn to more enjoyable things—here’s what I learned about the Portland food scene this week .

There’s a Portland pizza podcast. Yes, that’s right, and it’s a no-brainer kind of thing for this pizza-loving town. It’s hosted by Pizza Jerk Chef/Owner Tommy Habetz: “Portland Pizza Podcast features in depth interviews with some of the biggest names in Pizza today.” There are only two episodes up right now so it’s easy to catch up.

Goodbye Baja Fresh. A tipster mentioned to me that the Baja Fresh in the Hollywood District closed and a post on the Hollywood Boosters Facebook page confirmed it. Maybe it’s not really a big deal in the Portland restaurant ecosystem, but they offered a perhaps slightly healthier, slightly fresher option for those seeking fast food in Hollywood.

Make baklava in Hollywood. While perusing the Hollywood Star during my most recent and outrageously delicious meal at Laughing Planet, I noticed this gem:

Nov 19, 3-4pm. Learn to make baklava just in time for the holidays with Armenian chef Angele Mahshigian. The sweet dessert is made with layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and drizzled with honey or syrup. Free. Registration required: 503-288-8303. Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Ave.

Arkansas Black apples in Portland. A tipster on Facebook noted that New Seasons in Hollywood currently has these unusual apples. This fruit is considered very special to some apple connoisseurs, and involves a little bit more time than your average apple. According to Atlas Obscura, “Arkansas Black apples aren’t meant to be eaten straight off the tree. In fact, the best thing you can do to one is put it in the refrigerator and forget about it until next season. Patient pickers are rewarded with a sweet, firm fruit that offers notes of cherry, cinnamon, vanilla, and coriander, but only after having aged it in cold storage for a few months.” I’m definitely intrigued.

Bonus: Shiny Alberta Co-op Grocery news. Glad to hear about the refresh at the Alberta Co-op Grocery, one of my favorite independent food markets in town.  More about the project, designed by Portland’s Propel Studio:

“The demographics of this neighborhood have been changing a lot, and a lot of new people are moving here,” [Propel co-founder Lucas] Gray said. “A lot of people just didn’t know the co-op existed or didn’t go in for whatever reason. So part of it was just kind of giving it a fresh look and feel and then creating some transparency so people know that it’s there.”

That involved relocating shelving, merchandise, coolers and other items that had obstructed visibility in the past. The co-op also got all new shelving, new lighting and other accents to make the space more inviting.

“It’s much more visual now,” Gray said.

Top 5 Posts On Bridgetown Bites, October 2019

Data Analytics Chart

I love reviewing the previous month’s posts to see what readers are drawn to. For October it was restaurant news all the way—from burgers to bagels to bars. As always, thanks for reading!

5. Black Seed Burger Cult Does Not Take Itself Too Seriously


While perusing the latest liquor license applications, I ran across the intriguingly-named Black Seed Burger Cult; they’ve applied for a limited on-premises license. They’re opening up in the old Verde Cocina space (3746 North Mississippi), which closed last January. Continue reading “Top 5 Posts On Bridgetown Bites, October 2019”

Four Things I Learned This Week (November 1)

Happy All Saints Day, everyone! Hope you had a good Halloween and there were plenty of kids trick or treating in your neighborhood. One of my favorite stories from last night is by Sarah Kline of the @portlandsampler Instagram—she gave out big and small candy, bags of chips, and vintage Nancy Drew books! I feel inspired for next year. Now, on to Four Things I Learned This Week.

More pizza. That’s right—pizza. Earlier this year we published news of the pending opening of To The Moon, which was supposed to be a new bakery venture from Marius Pop of Nuvrei here on the east side (NB: I have unpublished that post since the details are moot at this point). Well, he’s changed his mind and is now opening a pizzeria called Pop Pizza. To be honest, I’m not sure Portland needs more pizza, but Pop really elevated the quality of croissants in this town, maybe he will bring something truly stupendous to Portland’s pizza game.

Brie butter sounds like magic. Pech of Pechluck’s Food Adventures tips us off to the existence of brie butter at OK Omens. It sounds amazing, and in her words, “It is unbelievable how incredible this brie butter is, seriously.”  See you soon, OK Omens!

Big’s is back. Big’s Chicken, which suffered a terrible fire in 2017, has returned to Portland with their delicious Alabama-style barbecued chicken. They opened on NE Glisan on October 25.

Brewvana and City Brew Tours. A mashup of east and west is here, as Brewvana, “showcasing the history and culture of Portland’s craft beer scene,” has sold a majority stake to City Brew Tours, “the nation’s leading brewery tour operator based on the East Coast.”

Four Things I Learned This Week (October 18)

It’s Friday, so it’s time for Four Things I Learned This Week!

Update on Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters. Remember that contest from Business Impact NW that Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters participated in? They did well—here’s a summary of what happened:

“The business competition you all graciously supported us in took us to Seattle for a final round including a live 6-minute pitch about how our business blesses our community and how we’re going to do that even more! The three of us all presented and answered questions from the judges. We came home to Portland with a giant $2,000 check in our pocket! (figuratively) We’ll put that money towards opening our first coffee shop.”

And now on Saturday, October 26, James and his protegé Lily Helms will be competing in the Cascadia Roaster’s Competition at Buckman Coffee Factory.

Congratulations, Pix! Portland’s own Pix Pâtisserie won the award for Best Champagne & Sparkling Wine List (the winner for the sixth year in a row) in the World’s Best Wine List Awards 2019.

The future of Kitchen Share SE. You’ve heard of book libraries, tool libraries, and now there’s the kitchen tool library. Located at 2800 SE Harrison Street,  it’s “a library for kitchen, dining and entertaining tools. You can borrow appliances, gadgets, pots, pans, and prep tools for free. Try out a tool before buying, or just borrow when needed.” They’re having an event on Sunday, October 20 fro 3:30-4:30pm to talk about the future of the library and how to sustain it as a visitor, volunteer, or donor. Cider donuts will be involved.

Culture + Food festivals resource. After seeing so much PR cross my desk for various festivals and events produced by the broad number of cultural communities here in Portland, I wanted to put the info in an easy to reference list, which you can find here: Portland Area Cultural + Food Festivals. It’s a Page, not a Post (in WordPress speak), so the URL won’t change from year to year. I will continue to update it, as well as publish an archive of the year prior when the new year starts. If I’m missing any events you think I should include, just shoot me an email.

Four Things I Learned This Week (September 27)

We’re back with four news tidbits in Portland-area food this week.

Happy in Happy Valley. Loved learning about this place for hand-stretched (and hand-cut) noodles in Happy Valley, Noodle Man.

Puffy pancake alert. The fluffy, puffy Japanese-style pancakes are available in Beaverton at La Rose Patisserie.

RIP Rip City Grill. Rip City Grill closed last Saturday  9/21 on SE Division at 60th. Good news, though: their truck and SW Waterfront cart are still in business.

Also closing: Laurelwood Brewing. The Sellwood-Moreland/Westmoreland location of Laurelwood Brewing is closing as well; their Sandy Blvd brewery will stay open. This weekend is the end of the road. It comes down to a hike in rent, something we will likely continue to see for some time and that could spell the end for restaurants throughout Portland. Competition will only get more intense.

Conventional wisdom says that the reason Portland’s food scene was able to flourish years ago was cheap rents and cheap land (property) prices. It’s not a surprise that those days are over, for the most part. Plus, some food carts will no doubt close because of new requirements re: cleanliness. Change—it’s the only constant.