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


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”

Portland Area Food Events, July 20-27


There’s a lot of beer celebrating going on these days.

Each week we will bring you a roundup of public food events in the Portland metro area. It’s not every single event that’s going on, but the ones in particular that catch our eye. Want to submit an event? Fill out this form. Listings curated by Meg Cotner.

Puckerfest 5—Portland Sour Beer Festival
Until Monday, July 24, 2017, various times
Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark Street, Portland

If you like sour and/or funky beer, this is the festival for you. There will be 12-14 beers on rotating taps, Meet The Brewer nights, tasty food, and more. More information.

Belgian Independence Day
Friday, July 21, 2017, 2pm-midnight
The Abbey Bar & Bottle Shop, 716 NW 21st Avenue, Portland

Leopold I ascended to the throne on July 21, 1831. Join the Abbey folks at their 21st location and celebrate Belgian National Day with the best of Belgian beers! More informationContinue reading “Portland Area Food Events, July 20-27”

First Tastes: Flavors of Summer

Portland is full of mouthwatering food and I love to try dishes that are new or new-to-me. Here are some recent tastes and my first impressions of them.

Superfood Coleslaw | Dick’s Kitchen. If it’s not clear yet, it should be—I’m a big fan of coleslaw. The Dick’s version contained things like brussels sprouts, kale,  carrots, and red cabbage; it was light on the mayo and had a nice balance of natural sweetness and tang. The vegetables had softened a bit but were still crunchy, making it highly pleasant to eat. I’d get it again. Dick’s Kitchen NW, 704 NW 21st Avenue, Portland

Griddled Bread Pudding | Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry. This was my second visit to Vivienne, the previous (and initial) visit being November 2016, so it might as well have been my first time there. The Griddled Bread Pudding was a chalkboard special, and the staff basically swooned over it, so I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did—the bread pudding was dense yet soft and at times had almost a mochi texture to it (disclosure: I love mochi). The variety of berries atop were lovely, and it was nice to have a mix rather than only the requisite strawberries; there was a dab of soft compound butter featuring an herb that might have been dill. It was accompanied by two sunny side up eggs with bright orange yolks and bacon that was deeply satisfying in its savory-saltiness. Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry, 4128 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland Continue reading “First Tastes: Flavors of Summer”

Asian-Style On My Mind

When I see an Oriental Chop Chop or a Secret Asian Man, I feel … weary. Because the language of the Asian salad is revealing of the dangers of bland, disembodied generalization: When you fail to see countries and cultures as discrete entities, what kind of consideration could you be expected to give to individual people?

–Bonnie Tsui, author of the essay, Why Is Asian Salad Still on the Menu?

The other night in Portland I ate a downright delicious thing called the Crispy Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich. Along with the pleasantly moist chicken with a crackly crust, the condiments hit all my favorite notes—creamy, tangy, savory, spicy—and the bun held the sandwich together without getting in the way of its filling. In the sandwich’s menu description there was a list of elements and they included, among other things, “Asian-style coleslaw.” What?  Continue reading “Asian-Style On My Mind”