First Tastes: Sweet, Savory, Salad

Portland is full of delicious food, so here are some first impressions on the latest tasty things I’ve eaten recently in town.

Dahi Papri Chaat | Bollywood Theatre. I ate lunch there a while back and really enjoyed the meal, but the dish that has really stuck with me is their Dahi Papri Chaat. It starts with a base of housemade garbanzo bean flour crackers, then topped with small dark chickpeas, little cubes of potatoes, yogurt, cilantro, tamarind chutney, all dusted with chili powder and topped with sev, a kind of crunchy noodle made from chickpea flour paste. I had something like this at Dosa Hutt in Flushing a few years ago, and have been hoping to encounter a similar dish since. It’s quite saucy and very flavorful; a true flavor bomb. I love the contrasts of cooling yogurt and spicy chili powder, earthy chickpeas and tart chutney. I could eat this every day. bollywoodtheaterpdx.com, 2039 NE Alberta Street, Portland  Continue reading “First Tastes: Sweet, Savory, Salad”

Naengmyeon For Hot Days

Naengmyeon, or Naengmyun, a chilled Korean noodle soup, is worth seeking out.

I first tasted it when I was doing research for the Flushing section of my book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Queens. On a warm and rainy afternoon I took the LIRR out to the Murray Hill stop and met up with my friend Sang Joon and we headed to Kum Sung Chik Naengmyun specifically for their naengmyun. When we ordered, they gave us the option of arrowroot noodles along with buckwheat and Sang Joon recommended I go with the chewy arrowroot (it’s in the restaurant’s name, “chik”). I’m glad he did.

I remember wondering how tasty cold beef noodle soup could be and I was delighted with how good it was; kind of a chilly comfort food. I had the mul-naengmyun style, which was light, sweet and sour. I remember really liking the bits of icy, slushy broth still in the soup, the cool beefy flavor, and the sweet pear topping. It was one of the more memorable meals during my book research.

So I’m really glad to see that The Oregonian put together a short roundup of places where you can find naengmyun in the areaHere’s their list:

  • Gangnam Korean BBQ, 2473 NW 185th Avenue, Hillsboro, 503-690-9551
  • JCD Korean Restaurant, 3492 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, 503-644-7378 (about a half mile north of the Beaverton Central MAX station)
  • Nak Won, 4600 SW Watson Avenue, Beaverton, 503-646-9382 (about a half mile south of the Beaverton Central MAX station)
  • Spring restaurant, 3975 SW 114th Avenue, Beaverton, 503-641-3670 (about a half mile east of the Beaverton Transit Center)

Definitely read the article for a brief primer on naengmyeon and a little bit about the different local spots where you can find it. If there’s any time to eat it, it’s now during this crazy heatwave right now. And here’s how to make it! I’ll have to give it a try next summer when H Mart arrives in Portland.

Stay cool this summer with Korea’s favorite chilled noodle soup [The Oregonian]

Keep Cool In the Hollywood District

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This week in Portland we will have a legit heat wave on our hands—the predicted forecast as of the writing of this article is three days in the triple digits preceded by a day in the upper 90s (image via Weather Underground).

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Now, I don’t have air conditioning in my apartment so there will be times during the day when it will be roasting inside, to put it mildly. But the good news is this—dew points in the 40s and low 50s mean it won’t seem overly humid, especially compared to past summers back east. And there are plenty of ways to keep cool here in the Hollywood District—here’s my roundup of options.

Hollywood Theatre. This is the big dog of available choices, and spending the evening in their air conditioned theater sounds like a great way to stay cool. Critically-acclaimed Dunkirk is playing in magnificent 70mm each day at 6:30pm and 9pm, and on Friday An Inconvenient Sequel, part of the Portland EcoFilm Festival, screens at 7pm and 9:15pm. Amp up the chill factor with a serving of Salt & Straw ice cream or a cold bottle of kombucha, both sold at the concessions stand. 4122 NE Sandy Blvd, hollywoodtheatre.org

The Magnolia. Across the street from the Hollywood Theatre is The Magnolia, a beer and wine bar that serves primarily vegan food (though there are a few deviations from that—the tuna salad is particularly tasty). Recently on Facebook they posted, “The Magnolia has (pretty much the best) Air Conditioning,” so you can expect a comfortable time in their friendly and welcoming space. Open from 4-11pm except for Friday when it’s 4pm-midnight (closed Sunday and Monday). Happy hour is 4-6pm and starts again at 10pm ($4 drafts, $5 house wine, and $4 Garlic Cheesy Bread). 4075 NE Sandy Blvd, themagnoliabar.com Continue reading “Keep Cool In the Hollywood District”

Reflections On a Year Of Eating In Hollywood PDX

Sunday, July 23, 2017 marked our one year anniversary of moving to Portland. We spent the day taking it easy and not doing much at all—completely the opposite of the year before. July 23, 2016 was a crazy day, with a pre-dawn start in NYC, schlepping heavy luggage to JFK (one bag incurred a weight overage fee), including two cats in carriers, and finally sitting the 6+ hours on the plane. It was a grueling and tiring process, but we made it.

As is often the case when I move to a new place, my first meal is pizza—this time it was at Atomic Pizza (4144 NE Sandy Blvd); I wish I could say that we searched out something more elaborate, but we were beat and a slice really hit the spot. We’ve been back a number of times—the pizza is tasty (though I think it’s often better next door at the Hollywood Theatre’s Pie Hole, go figure), the staff is friendly, and I get a sort of 80s vibe there. It reminds me a bit of the pizza parlors I used to eat at when I was a teenager.

I’m also happy that they sell Ruby Jewel ice cream, something I’ve come to treasure as a local. And they hang local art! My recent favorite show was the series of drawings by 10-year old Hobbs Waters.

The other memorable detail of that weekend was that we watched “Escape From New York” at the Hollywood Theatre that Sunday night, so fitting for us then. I remember feeling exhausted—and I probably dozed off momentarily at times—but I’m glad I saw it then and there.

❝I wish I could say that we searched out something more elaborate, but we were beat and a slice really hit the spot.❞

 

Over the year we’ve come to understand that the Hollywood District isn’t exactly the hippest of places in Portland, and that suits me just fine. There are some excellent places to eat in the neighborhood that serve consistently good food—standouts include Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry (4128 NE Sandy Blvd), Laughing Planet (1914 NE 42nd Avenue), Fleur de Lis (3930 NE Hancock Street), Killer Burger (4644 NE Sandy Blvd), The Magnolia (4075 NE Sandy Blvd), Rust Coffee Lounge (2035 NE 41st Avenue) and the vendors at the Hollywood Farmers Market (4420 NE Hancock Street). RIP Pono Soul Farm Kitchen, which was also a favorite.

Probably the biggest surprise for me has been the quality of the specials at Sam’s Billiards (1845 NE 41st Avenue). I’ve had some truly excellent non-fussy food there—the stews in particular catch my eye (the red pozole comes to mind), and their breakfast scrambles are simple, good, and filling (I’m fond of the vegetarian El Tiburon). I also must admit I often crave the pulled pork sliders on their happy hour menu; they are satisfying little things, topped with creamy slaw and at times an almost frico-ized bit of cheese. I love the space—unpretentious and friendly, plus all those pool tables; players take this place seriously (and next time you’re in, take a gander at the staircase’s railing). I’m also glad that Hollywood has a nice mix of old Portland and new.

Particular dishes I’ve grown to love at a few other places in the neighborhood are the Bun with beef at My Canh (1801 NE 39th Avenue); sausage rolls at Moon & Sixpence (2014 NE 42nd Avenue); pork potstickers at Shandong (3724 NE Broadway); beef bibimbap at The Bulgogi (4232 NE Sandy Blvd); and the grilled king salmon at Chameleon (2000 NE 40th Avenue). The beer brewed at Columbia River Brewing Company is also quite good. And did you know you can get swing-top bottles of Virgil’s root beer at the Orchard Supply Hardware next to the MAX station?

One thing we had to get used to here was the lack of the NYC staple, the bodega (variants: corner store or corner deli). Ours was a corner deli run by Greeks that made wonderful iced lattes, frappés, and freddos in the summer. Soon after we arrived in town, we happily found our way to the iced lattes at Fleur de Lis and Rust.

There’s a lot to love here in the Hollywood District, and I’m really glad this is where we landed in Portland. I look forward to another year of good food in the neighborhood!

Salt Fire & Time’s Broth Bar Introduces Summer Collagen Coolers

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Four fruit and collagen drinks for summer. From L-R, Melon Moon, Flame Tamer, Sweet Greens, and Beauty Lemonade.

Let’s hear it for tempting, refreshing summer drinks! And it’s a bonus when they’re good for you. Now, we have exactly that: enter, the Summer Collagen Cooler.

Earlier this week I stopped by Salt Fire & Time’s Broth Bar to sample their new Summer Collagen Coolers. These are raw, cold pressed juices combined with collagen peptides and a little soda water that results in a light and fizzy drink. While fresh raw juice is nourishing in its own right with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (plant chemicals), the addition of collagen amps up the nutrient density of the drink, making it greater than the sum of its parts. It is a good source of protein, aids joint health, helps with digestion, and also improves hair, skin, and nails. And the best part about these Collagen Coolers—they taste really good!

Salt Time & Fire’s proprietor, Tressa Yellig, spoke about how excited she is about these new drinks for summer, as well as how much she enjoys providing a range of nourishing foods to Portlanders. About the Collagen Coolers she points out,  “We produce less collagen as we age and supplementing with collagen-rich foods can make up the difference that our bodies need in delicious ways everyday by drinking bone broth or refreshing collagen coolers.” Continue reading “Salt Fire & Time’s Broth Bar Introduces Summer Collagen Coolers”