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”

Good Times at the 2017 Oregon Brewers Festival

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This year’s artwork, designed by local artist Kirsten Karkanen, honors longtime friend of the Festival, Richard Frank, who passed away on January 28, 2017.

On Friday afternoon I spent some time at the Oregon Brewers Festival, which celebrates its 30th year this summer. I attended last year with family and we all had a blast, so I was definitely looking forward to it again this year. It did not disappoint (full disclosure: I was provided with a mug and tokens by the Festival organizers). I also learned something about my own current beer preferences—it took having a feast of tasting opportunities at my fingertips to see where my inclinations are these days. Spoiler: it’s beer brewed with or flavored with fruit.

The Oregon Brewers Festival, according to the organizers, is “one of the oldest and best-loved craft beer festivals in the world” and attracts tens of thousands of attendees each year (about 80,000). It takes place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. There are four entrances: SW Oak Street, SW Pine Street, under the Morrison Street Bridge and along the sea wall at Pine; it takes up about the space of six blocks.

The festival is free to enter, but to taste you must buy a commemorative mug for $7 and tokens (wooden pogs) for a dollar apiece. Each token gets you a generous sample, and five tokens gets you a full mug of beer. Personally, I find five tastes to be preferable to a whole mug, since this is a fantastic opportunity to try out a whole slew of different beers. Root beer costs $1 or one token. Continue reading “Good Times at the 2017 Oregon Brewers Festival”

Happy H Mart News

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Photo credit: Another Believer

The Belmont Dairy building, former home to Zupans, future home to H Mart

While in the midst of a late night internet rabbit hole session, I came across the good news that H Mart will open up shop in SE Portland in 2018. This is relatively old news in internet time, but I’m still elated about it—it means a good Korean grocery will be a short bus ride away. They’re opening up in the space that formerly held Zupans, at 3301 SE Belmont Street.

My previous experience with H Mart was in NYC; you’ll find H Marts throughout the city and in eastern New Jersey. I used to visit the original store in Woodside, Queens, still called Han Ah Reum, which in Korean means “one arm full of groceries; it’s relatively small but packed with products. Actually, a lot of H Marts can feel cramped, but there are some large megastores in New Jersey. The SE Belmont space is over 20,000 square feet, which is about half the size of the average American supermarket, but for a standard H Mart it might feel spacious. I have not been to the other H Marts in the suburbs to compare. Continue reading “Happy H Mart News”

Portland Area Food Events, July 27-August 3

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Barbecue short ribs, Guam-style.

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.

30th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival
Until Sunday July 30, 2017, noon-9pm except Sunday noon-7pm
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland

Over 80,000 people visit this festival each year, trying over 90 independent craft beers. There will be a handful of food vendors offering savory treats like gyros, fresh roasted nuts, sausages, burgers, pizza, falafel, and more. FREE to enter. To drink you must purchase a $7 souvenir 14-ounce plastic mug; beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 each. More information.

Washington County Fair
Thursday, July 27 to Sunday, July 30, 2017, 10am-midnight
Washington County Fair Complex, 873 NE 34th Avenue, Hillsboro

Along with animals and rides, there’s food—seafood, crepes, dumplings, deep fried items, ceviche, grilled meats, ice cream, cotton candy, and lots more. Admission is FREE, just be sure you get in before 10pm. More information. Continue reading “Portland Area Food Events, July 27-August 3”

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!