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:

MAKE BAKLAVA
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.

Restaurant Updates: Pizza, Bagels, Brunch and More

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I thought I’d catch us up on the current status of stories I’ve been following here on the blog.

The Lift Off Lounge is open. Newcomer praised as a highly anticipated “non dive-bar” for the neighborhood (Rose City Park/Hollywood), The Lift Off Lounge had their soft opening last week; response from the neighborhood seems pretty positive. On Tuesday they posted on their Instagram account, “Thanks to everyone who came out to support for our soft opening weekend!!!……. we will be opening for regular hours sometime this week.” From what I can gather, 5pm seems to be their opening time of choice until they establish their regular hours. 5216 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland

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Photo credit: The Lift Off Lounge Continue reading “Restaurant Updates: Pizza, Bagels, Brunch and More”

Four Things I Learned This Week (October 4)

Here we go again—four new-to-me things I learned in Portland food this week.

Raclette returns to Cheese Bar. You know the weather has cooled down when the raclette comes out. Cheese Bar (6031 SE Belmont Street) does a terrific version every Wednesday, “until the tulips come up in the spring.” The melty cheese action starts at 5:30pm and goes until the cheese is gone. For $7 you get a plate of roasted potatoes, ham, cornichons and house mustard all topped with this wonderful Alpine cheese.

The rent is too damn high in Montavilla. Townshend’s Montavilla Teahouse (7940 SE Stark Street) is closing; the last day is Sunday, October 13. Word on the street is that they can’t afford the rent. This is just the latest in Stark Street closings, with the fear of gentrification nagging with each shuttering.

But there’s a new tea spot coming to NE Glisan. Neighbor Benjamin K reports that Glisan Halal (7830 NE Glisan) will open a small cafe next door. They’ll offer Arab-style tea (“black tea with cream brewed with cardamom, cinnamon and sugar”) and small bites (e.g. sambusas). Look for them in a couple of months.

Delores has a new bar menu. A small but focused menu, the food at the bar at Delores (1401 SE Morrison Street) sounds delicious! Save a kielbasa slider for me.

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.