Well, it’s been a little quiet around here since the arrival of the novel coronavirus crisis and its accompanying demon COVID-19, which has dealt a pretty severe blow to Portland’s restaurant world. I’ve also spent a month under the weather with some other kind of virus, which has squelched my own sense of inspiration; being sick is a drag. But, I’m finally feeling better and happy to post to this little blog.
Big shout out to some great spots we’ve eaten at during this crisis, in the current to-go/pickup/contactless reality we all live in: Red Sauce Pizza, Laughing Planet, Sa Bai Thai, Burrito Azteca, and Xico. Your food has been awesome with solid social distancing practicies.
I hope each one of you reading this is feeling well, and I send every good wish for continued health. Now, on to the Shake Shack news.
I’m spending a little time outside of Portland this week and next, so first-hand experiential tidbits are halved this time around. Still, here are four things I learned this week about (mostly) Portland food:
Tempeh! When I was in Laughing Planet recently, I asked about their crazy delicious tempeh and how they cook it. I was told they bake it, a treatment I had never considered. It’s wonderfully savory, and perhaps what is essentially roasting helps draw out delicious flavors (I think they must use a marinade of some kind, too). Another thing I learned from the staff is that if you steam tempeh first, it makes it easier to work with. Brilliant! I plan to try this soon.
French press your nuts. And by nuts I mean those ground up nuts you use to make nut milk (yes, this all sounds vaguely dirty). In the recipe for strawberry almond milk over on 101 Cookbooks, Heidi recommends one way to extract the milk—by using a large French press coffee maker. I think that’s a really smart idea. When strawberries arrive at the Hollywood Farmers Market, I’ll be making some strawberry almond milk for sure. P.S. Thanks to reader Lindsay Ingalls of Running With Tongs for alerting me to the availability of nut milk bags at People’s Co-op.
New brunch menu at Jackrabbit. After participating in the March For Our Lives + Rally last Saturday, I decided to have a solo brunch at Jackrabbit. The bartender told me that they had launched a new brunch menu that day. I enjoyed the Braised Pork Sugo—a base of soft polenta topped with pulled pork (rich, porky, and a bit sweet with vinegar notes), two poached eggs, and a dusting of grana. I think next time I’ll try the savory waffle. Jackrabbit is located at 830 SW 6th Avenue.
Eight restos just say not to straws. Over on Portland Food and Drink I learned that eight restaurants in Portland, members of the Independent Restaurant Concepts hospitality group, “will no longer be serving plastic straws as of Earth Day 2018.” This is great news! Conventional plastic straw are a negative on the environment, so they’ll be serving drinks with compostable straws (and sometimes no straws at all). Yet another step forward toward sustainability in our fair city.
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).
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”